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Author Topic: What would you do? First time rifle build...  (Read 17167 times)

booksmart

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What would you do? First time rifle build...
« on: June 26, 2019, 02:29:05 pm »
Last year, Brownell's was doing a closeout on some of their HOWA 1500 reciever offerings... I snagged a bull barrel .308 action.

I also snagged a nice walnut stock on ebay for cheap, but it is profiled for the tapered barrel, not the bull barrel.

I have a lathe, and a micrometer, so I could turn 1" dowels down to the right size to use as sanding blocks to change the barrel channel in the stock.

The question is, do I really want to, on my first bolt action build? Or do I want to pick up a bull barrel stock, and take the easy way out?

I plan on glass bedding the action.

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    Plebian

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #1 on: June 26, 2019, 02:42:49 pm »
    Last year, Brownell's was doing a closeout on some of their HOWA 1500 reciever offerings... I snagged a bull barrel .308 action.

    I also snagged a nice walnut stock on ebay for cheap, but it is profiled for the tapered barrel, not the bull barrel.

    I have a lathe, and a micrometer, so I could turn 1" dowels down to the right size to use as sanding blocks to change the barrel channel in the stock.

    The question is, do I really want to, on my first bolt action build? Or do I want to pick up a bull barrel stock, and take the easy way out?

    I plan on glass bedding the action.

    Just sand it out if you are comfortable with woodworking. You might also find some places to shape to your exact fit as well while working on it.
    Oklahoma"If all our problems are solved, we'll find new ones to replace them. If we can't find new ones, we'll make new ones."

    booksmart

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #2 on: June 26, 2019, 03:28:13 pm »
    I'm a little worried about whether or not there would be sufficient material remaining in the forearm, with how much I'd be sanding out.

    I'll post a pic tonight, showing the profile and the channel.

    coelacanth

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #3 on: June 26, 2019, 06:30:11 pm »
    Your caution may be well founded.  I attempted the same operation on a factory stock in order to relieve a couple of pressure points on the barrel and the stock ended up warping badly enough that I am now hesitant to use it.  To be fair, the previous owner had installed a bipod on the rifle and the stock was never intended for that type of use so that may have had as much to do with it as my removal of material from the barrel channel.  Still, the damned thing twisted along the axis of the grain and putting a straight edge across the top of the fore end side to side shows one side over 1/4" lower than the other and putting it along the top from about the recoil lug out toward the fore end shows a drop of about the same size.   I'm calling it scrap lumber and starting over with a laminated wood stock at this point.

    Natural wood stocks - particularly the inexpensive ones - tend to be selected with an eye toward maximizing the use of the wood to the greatest practical degree rather than making certain the resulting stock is completely aligned along the grain of the wood.  Bull barreled rifles add more weight to the action area and the mounting screws which compound the stress on those areas during handling and the recoil impulse.  Glass bedding helps with that by spreading that stress over a larger area and adding stiffness to the stock in critical areas but most glass bedding doesn't extend much past the end of the receiver.  Free floating the barrel leaves the wood out at the end of the stock to do what it is going to do in terms of warping or twisting. 

    Hey, all you can do is try it and see how it comes out unless you've got another project in mind for the stock you bought.   If you decide to enlarge the barrel channel go slowly and check your measurements periodically.  As I recall, the Howa is a flat bottomed action with an internal recoil lug so you won't really be doing anything that should affect that area unless it needs to be sanded or relieved for the glass bedding to be successful. 

    Most walnut is fairly hard and dense and takes a good finish.  For that job 180 grit to 220 grit is really as far as you need to take it but make sure you seal any sanded wood that is not covered by the glass bedding compound.
    Arizona" A republic, if you can keep it."

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    booksmart

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #4 on: June 26, 2019, 07:02:41 pm »
    The rest of the stock is gonna get TruOil.

    coelacanth

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #5 on: June 26, 2019, 10:18:58 pm »
    Probably OK if it doesn't spend any time out in the rain. 
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    ksuguy

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #6 on: June 26, 2019, 11:05:29 pm »
    As I see it, you have three options. 

    1.  Make a go of it,  if it fails, buy the bull barrel stock and throw the other away.
    2.  Sell the other one and buy the bull barrel stock.
    3.  Buy an extra barreled action that will fit the tapered stock and have two guns.  Maybe you could buy one in a different caliber?  6.5 Creedmoor or 7mm-08 perhaps? 
    Kansas

    Plebian

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #7 on: June 27, 2019, 02:45:44 am »
    As I see it, you have one option

    1.  Buy an extra barreled action that will fit the tapered stock and have two guns.  Maybe you could buy one in a different caliber?  6.5 Creedmoor or 7mm-08 perhaps?

    You make a good point here. There is no reason to waste the opportunity to get another gun.
    Oklahoma"If all our problems are solved, we'll find new ones to replace them. If we can't find new ones, we'll make new ones."

    ksuguy

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #8 on: June 27, 2019, 03:41:17 am »
    You make a good point here. There is no reason to waste the opportunity to get another gun.

    I once bought a gun to get a shipping box so I could send another one to the gunsmith.   
    Kansas

    aikorob

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #9 on: June 27, 2019, 06:58:20 am »
    I once bought a gun to get a shipping box so I could send another one to the gunsmith.   

    You Sir; win the internet for today  :thumbup1

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    booksmart

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #10 on: June 27, 2019, 09:34:26 am »
    3.  Buy an extra barreled action that will fit the tapered stock and have two guns.  Maybe you could buy one in a different caliber?  6.5 Creedmoor or 7mm-08 perhaps? 
    You make a good point here. There is no reason to waste the opportunity to get another gun.

    This has actually been contemplated very thoroughly, and is a very likely path forward, saving the walnut stock (which actually has some very nice figuring in it; it was sold as a second because of two very small pinhole knots on the butt end of the stock) for another build.

    Has anyone handled the Boyd AT-One and Varmint Thumbhole stocks?

    Anyway, here are the promised pics -

    Fit at the end of the action is good:


    Showing general straightness of the stock:


    Showing width of barrel channel walls:


    How much I'd need to remove to use with the bull barrel:


    How much I'd have still supporting the barrel:
    « Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 09:58:57 am by booksmart »

    ksuguy

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #11 on: June 27, 2019, 11:26:39 am »
    You Sir; win the internet for today  :thumbup1
    proving that any excuse to buy guns and gear is a good one

    It was actually 2 guns,  a Mosin Nagant and a Turkish Mauser.  Because the Mausers were like $60 at the time, so I figured I might as well throw one of those in too.   They go for quite bit more 17 years later, so it was a decent purchase.   
    Kansas

    coelacanth

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #12 on: June 27, 2019, 01:23:48 pm »
    Good pics.   :thumbup1   The project looks doable to me but only you can assess your level of skill and motivation. 

    I have not handled the Boyd's stocks you mentioned but that is the company I will likely go to for the stock to replace my scrap lumber stock that warped so badly ( that was the factory stock ).  They seem to know their business and have a good selection.  Lots of options out there but Boyd's has a pretty good reputation. 

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    ksuguy

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #13 on: June 27, 2019, 05:36:48 pm »
    I've got a set of Boyd's laminate handguards and butt stock on an AR.   Looks good.
    Kansas

    JesseL

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #14 on: July 01, 2019, 04:45:42 pm »
    Widening the channel for a bigger barrel isn't usually too difficult - assuming you take your time and use the right tools.

    Gunsmiths usually use one of these, and they work very nicely:
    https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/stock-work-finishing/stock-making-hand-tools/barrel-channel-cutting-tools/1-bedding-tool-sku364700900-6796-16655.aspx


    I've also taken the shortcut of getting a ball end router bit of the appropriate size and chucking it up in the milling machine. It works amazingly well, but it's not for the faint of heart. And you've got to have a mill.
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    booksmart

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #15 on: July 01, 2019, 05:28:35 pm »
    Widening the channel for a bigger barrel isn't usually too difficult - assuming you take your time and use the right tools.

    Gunsmiths usually use one of these, and they work very nicely:
    https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/stock-work-finishing/stock-making-hand-tools/barrel-channel-cutting-tools/1-bedding-tool-sku364700900-6796-16655.aspx

    I've also taken the shortcut of getting a ball end router bit of the appropriate size and chucking it up in the milling machine. It works amazingly well, but it's not for the faint of heart. And you've got to have a mill.

    Thanks for checking in, Jesse. I do not have a mill.

    I think the barrel contour goes from 1" to .92" (I haven't measured the contour yet - that will definitely be my first step).
    « Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 05:51:32 pm by booksmart »

    booksmart

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #16 on: July 05, 2019, 11:44:50 am »
    Had a further thought on how to accomplish this: wrap the barrel in butcher paper, then use sheets of sandpaper to contour the stock, sorta like you would shining a shoe, and just work my way down the barrel.

    On the other hand, found a Boyd AT-One stock in the right contour ( :cool), in coyote brown ( :shrug ), for $100 on ebay ( :thumbup1).

    So, that's on the way, and the next time Brownell's does a sale on the HOWA actions, I buy one in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO, with the tapered barrel.  I may go ahead and finish this stock, so it doesn't warp, sitting in the closet.

    coelacanth

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #17 on: July 05, 2019, 03:11:39 pm »
    Sounds like a plan.   :thumbup1
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    booksmart

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #18 on: July 05, 2019, 04:30:11 pm »
    Or in .300 BLK, because apparently that's an option, and I already stock the calibre (but I already stock .223 Rem, too, so hey... options).  >:D

    coelacanth

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #19 on: July 05, 2019, 09:45:54 pm »
    Well, if you reload or plan to start either choice would save you some coin in reloading equipment/supplies.   The .308 and the .300 could share some bullet weights and a few suitable powders.  The .300 and the .223 could share primers, powders, shell plates/holders and even brass in a pinch if you have the necessary expanders.  They could also both run out of the same AR pattern rifle with a few modifications.   :hmm

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    ksuguy

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #20 on: July 05, 2019, 10:00:52 pm »
    I'd go with 6.5 or 7mm-08, but that's mainly because I like bigger cartridges.   
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    booksmart

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #21 on: July 05, 2019, 10:28:12 pm »
    I have ARs in .300 BLk & 5.56... I'll eventually inherit (hopefully, many moons from now), a .30-06.

    Nick Cage

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #22 on: July 10, 2019, 05:17:32 pm »
    I would buy a stock made for that barrel profile. They aren't all that expensive...

    booksmart

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #23 on: July 10, 2019, 09:50:46 pm »
    I would buy a stock made for that barrel profile. They aren't all that expensive...

    I was trying to do it as cheaply as possible, so not buy crisp, new stuff.

    Right now, I've got $250 in the action and $100 in the stock, for what should be a very decent varmint remover...

    coelacanth

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    Re: What would you do? First time rifle build...
    « Reply #24 on: July 10, 2019, 10:00:30 pm »
    Pics upon completion - at your convenience.   
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