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Old 11-17-2022, 04:58 PM   #1
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Default Action Truing Ride Along

Since this subject comes up here from time to time, and almost daily in my work – I thought I’d document the steps typically taken to “True” a Remington action. Truing can mean different things to different folks depending on who’s doing the work and what level you are taking it to, but this is my take on what a basic truing job entails when someone employs us to do it. This may help some folks answer the age-old question of “Should I use a custom action, or a 700 donor?”

Step 1 – Evaluating the action. That’s right, there are some actions that aren’t worth your time. The thing to know is that almost all Remingtons are going to exhibit some level of warpage. Some more than others, but it’s always there(which is also why I’m not a fan of bedding blocks, mini chassis, etc for rem 700 applications).


This is not the end of the world and is just an artifact of the way they are manufactured. It only becomes a problem if it is severe enough that it hinders with locating the centerline of the action. This becomes immediately apparent when using the ground mandrel and precision bushings used to locate centerline. If the mandrel won’t slip through both bushings without using force, you just hit a red light. I’d punt on the project right there.


Assuming we made it through the first step, it’s on to the next go/no go evaluation. How far out are the receiver threads? It can almost always be “trued”, but at some point the juice may not be worth the squeeze. The worst one I’ve seen had .047” of runout. I’ll not do that again☹ Now we need to indicate the action in so we can see exactly what we are dealing with. I use a truebore alignment system fitted with a 6 jaw that lets me coaxially indicate without inducing stresses between the receiver ring and the rear bridge like most jigs or fixtures I have seen or used typically do.



Once we are dialed in on centerline I remove the mandrel and insert a threaded stub that has almost no runout. I have several of these in different thread sizes so we can get a before/after truing measurement. Basically the first mandrel lets us dial in to the action’s true centerline, and the threaded stub will follow the receiver threads to allow us to see/measure the runout in relation to centerline.


We will take a runout measurement right in front of the receiver face, and another about 3.5” out on the mandrel. We are looking for runout on 2 axis here. I refer to them “offset” and “deflection”. Offset which is measured just at the receiver face is referencing how centered the tenon is in the receiver itself. This has little impact on accuracy(within reason) and mostly affects how far off center your firing pin will strike the primer(assuming the firing pin is centered in the bolt bore. Lol).



Deflection is the real enemy here. It is the next measurement taken 3.5” downstream. This measurement determines how far from centerline your barrel is running out on the existing threads. Knowing these 2 measurements is critical and plays a big role in whether we want to proceed or take our 2nd opportunity to punt the project.

This is the point where the water can sometimes turn muddy, and also the point where a project has the potential to turn into a lot of wasted effort. We need to get real with our expectations, be honest about the limitations of what can/should be corrected and what the limitations of the tooling and action itself will allow.

There are several levels and steps of correction that can be applied here to yield an acceptable result depending on what those initial measurements looked like. I’ll run through some common scenarios.

Scenario 1 – Offset less than .005 and deflection less than .002 = do nothing with receiver threads and preserve standard tenon dimensions. This is actually pretty common on RR prefix actions believe it or not. The facing cut will only improve these numbers when we get to it later.

Scenario 2 - Offset less than .005 and deflection between .002 and .008 = Take a clean up pass on action face and cut tenon threads on new barrel to factory or prefit spec(loose) and still preserve standard tenon dimensions.

Scenario 3 – Offset greater than .005 and deflection greater than .008” = No getting around it, we’re boring the receiver .010 over and freshening up threads. This is the standard way most are treated from the beginning. I try not to go there unless it’s truly warranted. You end up with a ******* tenon dimension that could hinder future projects using pre-fits or remage systems, or trip up the next guy re-barreling it. But if you have to, you just have to.

Scenario 4 – Offset whatever and deflection between .008 and .015 = This is not ideal, but we’re still in the game if you really want to be there. We are boring .020 over and hitting the threads pretty good. You now have a super ******* tenon and really need to be mindful of that first scope base screw…..because the receiver ring just got a little thinner. LOL

Scenario 5 – Offset whatever and deflection greater than .015 = Can it be trued? YES. Is it worth it? My opinion is, no. I will usually call the customer at that point and let them make the call. Anything beyond this point I will punt! Haha

I mentioned realistic expectations and equipment limitations earlier. When it comes to receiver threads, you have to accept the possibility of a little runout when chasing threads. Holding .0005” or less is always the goal, but chasing existing threads can sometimes defy your best efforts. Single pointing a set of threads from scratch, or thread milling existing threads are the better options, but most shops aren’t going to offer thread milling. Mandrel guided tap systems are out there, but only follow the existing path. I have some and have tested them extensively, they live in a drawer collecting dust. Single point chasing existing threads is going to make up 99% of your options. By default your tool path will not be following a centered bore(or we wouldn’t need to correct it) so tool loading will be pretty uneven and tool flex will be a reality. It’s hard to predict or completely control runout in that situation down to the numbers we’re comfortable with in other operations.

Understanding all of that, and assuming our action met our initial requirements…………… Let’s true an action!

Last edited by Stick1; 11-17-2022 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:03 PM   #2
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Step 2 – Receiver truing. The actual work here outside of picking up the threads is pretty simple. We’ll start with a before shot so we can monitor progress.


First, we’ll make a facing cut to true the receiver face. I recommend this cut even if the action isn’t being completely trued.


Next we clean up the lug abutments with a long boring bar


Last, we begin addressing our receiver threads. We must first open up the inside diameter so we can re-center the new thread path. We’ll open this one up by .010 with a boring bar.


Next we will pick up the existing threads and make fifty bazillion passes until we get to our new final thread depth.


Basic receiver cuts are now complete
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:07 PM   #3
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tag...thanks for posting.
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:09 PM   #4
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Step 3 – Bolt truing

We first set the bolt up in our fixture and get it indicated it in.
Before pic


Setting up the fixture


Now I will take a clean up pass on the back of the lugs. I usually start at .002 and only remove as much as necessary to get full clean up.


Next we clean up the bolt face with a custom tool we made to clear the factory extractor.


Finally, we take a clean up pass on the bolt nose and the front of the lugs. A lot of folks won’t bother with these cuts as they are not considered “critical”. I like to do it because it keeps my clearances uniform and consistent when I map out my barrel tenon cuts.



That pretty much covers the basic truing of a Remington action, but depending on our final goal, it may be just the beginning...........
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:15 PM   #5
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Step 4 – Now that we have the basic stuff out of the way, what’s left to do? Maybe nothing, maybe plenty. We may have actually created a new issue or made an existing one worse that will need to be addressed now. A bunch of you already know where I’m heading with this. Remington’s primary extraction…….quite frankly sucks. If you even had any to begin with, we just lost some of it in the truing process. We will need to do something to restore it to what it should have been from the factory.

We can now throw another $150 at it to have the bolt handle removed, tigged into the proper position then cleaned up and re-finished. But wait, there’s more. Trigger timing may have also been affected if we had to move very much material, and it was probably off before that anyway. Throw a little more $$ and machine time at it and it will be as good or better than many customs. If ultimate accuracy is our goal, we will need to do some ignition work to get it on par with the customs. We’ll want to bush the FP hole, turn the pin and re-spring it. A couple hundred should cover it easily. In order to take advantage of the new truing we will need to surface grind the existing recoil lug so that it is parallel or better yet, just replace it with an upgraded version. A little more $$ added here. At this point, might as well throw a side bolt stop in it to get rid of the sticky Remington version. We didn’t talk about uniforming the raceways or converting the extractor yet. I also failed to mention straightening up the scope base hole alignment that is fairly common. $35 per/ times 4. You see where all of this going?

We live in a great time with some really, nice affordable custom actions. There is absolutely nothing wrong with building off a 700, even without doing a single thing to it. But my advice is don’t chase a 700 too far down the rabbit hole. By the time you get it “almost” to the level of an entry level custom it still has some shortfalls that can’t be addressed and will have a higher price tag than the custom when it’s all said and done. A guy can get a lot done with a simple 700 receiver without going broke. Check the primary extraction, clean up the receiver face and throw a good aftermarket recoil lug on it and go. It just doesn’t make much financial sense to chase them any farther now days. Maybe this will help someone who is struggling with the decision of which way to go on their next or first build.

Thanks for following along.

Robert
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:31 PM   #6
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Well written! Completely agree with the sentiment that it generally makes more financial sense, depending on expectations, to just start fresh.
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:33 PM   #7
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A little better view of the before/after
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stick1 View Post
Step 4 – Now that we have the basic stuff out of the way, what’s left to do? Maybe nothing, maybe plenty. We may have actually created a new issue or made an existing one worse that will need to be addressed now. A bunch of you already know where I’m heading with this. Remington’s primary extraction…….quite frankly sucks. If you even had any to begin with, we just lost some of it in the truing process. We will need to do something to restore it to what it should have been from the factory.

We can now throw another $150 at it to have the bolt handle removed, tigged into the proper position then cleaned up and re-finished. But wait, there’s more. Trigger timing may have also been affected if we had to move very much material, and it was probably off before that anyway. Throw a little more $$ and machine time at it and it will be as good or better than many customs. If ultimate accuracy is our goal, we will need to do some ignition work to get it on par with the customs. We’ll want to bush the FP hole, turn the pin and re-spring it. A couple hundred should cover it easily. In order to take advantage of the new truing we will need to surface grind the existing recoil lug so that it is parallel or better yet, just replace it with an upgraded version. A little more $$ added here. At this point, might as well throw a side bolt stop in it to get rid of the sticky Remington version. We didn’t talk about uniforming the raceways or converting the extractor yet. I also failed to mention straightening up the scope base hole alignment that is fairly common. $35 per/ times 4. You see where all of this going?

We live in a great time with some really, nice affordable custom actions. There is absolutely nothing wrong with building off a 700, even without doing a single thing to it. But my advice is don’t chase a 700 too far down the rabbit hole. By the time you get it “almost” to the level of an entry level custom it still has some shortfalls that can’t be addressed and will have a higher price tag than the custom when it’s all said and done. A guy can get a lot done with a simple 700 receiver without going broke. Check the primary extraction, clean up the receiver face and throw a good aftermarket recoil lug on it and go. It just doesn’t make much financial sense to chase them any farther now days. Maybe this will help someone who is struggling with the decision of which way to go on their next or first build.

Thanks for following along.

Robert
With all that being said, what do you do to true up a custom action. Specifically one of the aforementioned affordable ones? Or do they meet your specs from the factory?
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:35 PM   #9
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Thanks for the detailed breakdown! Very cool and great insight into why using a donor 700 action probably isn't the best option these days - dependent on the customer of course...
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Big Ace View Post
With all that being said, what do you do to true up a custom action. Specifically one of the aforementioned affordable ones? Or do they meet your specs from the factory?
We don't. I can't speak for every custom action out there, but the vast majority are simply outstanding now days. What we choose to run as our base action simply doesn't need it.
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Old 11-17-2022, 06:08 PM   #11
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I find this sorta thing fascinating. Thanks for the detailed write up.
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Old 11-17-2022, 06:30 PM   #12
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Wow, I was engulphed in the the tech 5 sentences in. That stuff is way above my pay grade. Appreciate your knowledge and willingness to share. I prefer Browning over Remington, but that does not disqualify any short comings of any product.
Sam J.
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Old 11-17-2022, 06:47 PM   #13
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Thanks for an outstanding write up Robert!! Makes me want to cash in my retirement and buy tooling. I love my precision rifles dang it now I need another haha


Sierracharlie out....
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Old 11-17-2022, 08:42 PM   #14
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Thanks for the write-up, with pics, Sir. I've done some machine work in the past (but much larger equipment). And this pretty much sums up why I can now justify a custom build . You did some rebarrel work for my brother a few years ago. And he's been pretty solidly happy with it.
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Old 11-17-2022, 09:00 PM   #15
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Man that was a super informative write up. Years ago, Hill Country offered an "action truing" or blue printing service in the 700 action.

Not sure what all they did to my rifle but there was nothing I could visibly see that changed.

Gun shot good before and slightly better afterwards. Makes me wonder how much of how little they did. My barrel stamps are still in the same place. So not convinced the barrel was removed.
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Old 11-17-2022, 11:13 PM   #16
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Great write up for all the regular folks like me to understand. I often watch videos on YouTube about action truing…I could watch those lathes cut for hours if I didn’t have to get any work done.
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Old 11-18-2022, 12:00 AM   #17
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Great write up and explanations!!! Fairly certain Jimmy might have put you up to this after I ran my fast twist .270 project past him
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Old 11-18-2022, 04:58 AM   #18
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Robert, love the write up bud. Awesome coverage and it needed to be said as Remingtons seem to have gotten worse and worse and you never know how bad it is until you tear into one.

Jon b, don’t get me started on that.
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Old 11-18-2022, 07:17 AM   #19
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Robert,
How true are the actions on the more premium production rifles (e.g., Cooper)?
Cheers,
Mitch
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Old 11-18-2022, 12:07 PM   #20
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excellent pics , write-up, and description Robert. Having done that more times than I can count, the whole process takes hours and is very tedious. Lots of measuring and gauge reading to make sure you're dead nuts on perfectly.

That being said, it's amazing what technology can do. Video of a 5-axis CNC automated mill doing a complete action truing job in roughly 7 minutes.

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Old 11-18-2022, 12:38 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Cajun Blake View Post
excellent pics , write-up, and description Robert. Having done that more times than I can count, the whole process takes hours and is very tedious. Lots of measuring and gauge reading to make sure you're dead nuts on perfectly.

That being said, it's amazing what technology can do. Video of a 5-axis CNC automated mill doing a complete action truing job in roughly 7 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfDM996TxcM
It's pretty amazing for sure. As far as I know, Chad is the only one actually doing it in the industry. We have transitioned every other machining op to CNC over the years except for action truing(though we did for a short time on a CNC lathe). We have looked at adding a probe to our mill, or just replacing it with something newer altogether to go down that path. Seeing fewer and fewer Rem based builds each year makes it hard to justify the expense. As the guy that is tasked with all of the truing that comes through here, I'd sure welcome the change
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Old 11-18-2022, 12:44 PM   #22
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Robert,
How true are the actions on the more premium production rifles (e.g., Cooper)?
Cheers,
Mitch
I have never measured a cooper, so I don't know. The problem with measuring any of them is determining the centerline so that you have a baseline to reference. I'd need a set of bushings ground for each and every raceway diameter out there, which varies by maker. I have a pretty good collection that covers what we do day in and day out, but far from enough to cover everything out there.
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Old 11-18-2022, 12:55 PM   #23
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Man that was a super informative write up. Years ago, Hill Country offered an "action truing" or blue printing service in the 700 action.

Not sure what all they did to my rifle but there was nothing I could visibly see that changed.

Gun shot good before and slightly better afterwards. Makes me wonder how much of how little they did. My barrel stamps are still in the same place. So not convinced the barrel was removed.
That's one of the reasons that prompted me to post this. There seems to be a lot of different opinions and confusion on what truing an action actually consists of. There isn't really a standard out there, so a lot of folks really don't know what to expect when requesting to have it done.
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Old 11-18-2022, 03:05 PM   #24
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Great information Robert.

I have an action that i think will fall into the punt pile, but I want to re-barrel it.

Other than a paper weight, can an action that is imperfect be used or barreled with a 0.75MOA instead of a .25MOA expectation?
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Old 11-18-2022, 04:20 PM   #25
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Great information Robert.

I have an action that i think will fall into the punt pile, but I want to re-barrel it.

Other than a paper weight, can an action that is imperfect be used or barreled with a 0.75MOA instead of a .25MOA expectation?
You just hit on another great point! I don't think anybody can really tell you exactly how much truing an action actually impacts accuracy. There is no real way to test it. By truing you have changed headspace at a minimum, and likely taken the original barrel out of the picture altogether if you had to open up the receiver threads. There is no way to really isolate the truing work from the other work that needs to be done to accommodate it. We have to assume that eliminating as many surface errors as we can will have positive results. It for sure won't shoot any worse, and a new barrel and straight chamber will hide a lot of sins. I've seen plenty of 1/4 MOA 700 builds on untouched actions.
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Old 11-18-2022, 06:09 PM   #26
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Thanks Robert. One of your customs is a bucket list item for me but with a factory 700 shooting sub moa with cor-lokts I can never seem to wrench my wallet open.
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Old 11-18-2022, 08:44 PM   #27
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Robert, thanks for the detailed postings! Have you had an opportunity yet to evaluate the new Remington’s 700 receiver? Just curious to learn how they are stacking up in regards to quality of the build.
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Old 11-19-2022, 09:46 AM   #28
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Cool video, Blake!
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Old 11-22-2022, 04:12 PM   #29
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Robert, thanks for the detailed postings! Have you had an opportunity yet to evaluate the new Remington’s 700 receiver? Just curious to learn how they are stacking up in regards to quality of the build.
I have not had a chance to see one yet. I am looking forward to seeing what, if any changes were made. I'll report my findings when I do!
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Old 12-07-2022, 12:58 AM   #30
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Robert, what is it about the manufacturing process with 700 actions that (presumably) make them more susceptible to warpage than the 700 "clones"?
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Old 12-07-2022, 06:26 AM   #31
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Curious if you have had any experience with the Nosler Liberty Actions? If I would have known about Alamo back then I would have saved up a few more $100 bills and bought a true custom.
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Old 12-07-2022, 10:06 AM   #32
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What is your take on Winchester model 70 actions? Are they usually worth building off of? I have a older post 64 I want to build a 280ai on but if it’s going to cost the same or close to the same as a custom action I’d rather just do that.
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Old 12-07-2022, 10:46 AM   #33
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Robert, what is it about the manufacturing process with 700 actions that (presumably) make them more susceptible to warpage than the 700 "clones"?
The heat treat is done after the machining process. Easier on tooling, but can allow for some migration in the process. Most of your customs will be machined using pre hardened material.
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Old 12-07-2022, 10:48 AM   #34
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Curious if you have had any experience with the Nosler Liberty Actions? If I would have known about Alamo back then I would have saved up a few more $100 bills and bought a true custom.
I don't have much experience with the Nosler actions. I feel like we may have re-barreled one or two over the years, but rarely see one come through the shop.
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Old 12-07-2022, 10:51 AM   #35
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What is your take on Winchester model 70 actions? Are they usually worth building off of? I have a older post 64 I want to build a 280ai on but if it’s going to cost the same or close to the same as a custom action I’d rather just do that.
They are definitely worth building on for hunting rifle projects. The biggest downside is selection of aftermarket parts, like stocks, will be limited compared to the 700 footprint stuff.
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Old 12-10-2022, 03:55 AM   #36
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When you bore out the old threads in the receiver, do you simply add the 0.010" to the major diameter of the barrel tenon thread or do you have a specific way to measure the new thread depth on the receiver?
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Old 12-10-2022, 01:26 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptaylortx View Post
When you bore out the old threads in the receiver, do you simply add the 0.010" to the major diameter of the barrel tenon thread or do you have a specific way to measure the new thread depth on the receiver?
Yes, the thread depth will obviously need to increase by whatever amount the receiver was opened up. When I am opening up the receiver I carry it all the way back to within about .025" of the lug abutments. This creates a new qualified surface to zero out the threading tool. Then we know exactly how deep to cut. I also extend the existing threads a couple revolutions, so essentially you are cutting an entirely new set of threads, although it will be a ghost pass over the existing portion until you get close to final depth.
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