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questions on gunsmithing ...

Old 03-06-2014, 05:49 PM
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got a couple questions here....
what do each of these mean? and if its possible to short and to the point explain how to do each thing here that would be helpful. im just curious. I work on guns quite often and would like to get more involved with some builds so what does it mean to 1) Recrown the barrel
2) Bed the stock? and also how do you polish a bolt? and when or under what circumstance should I do a polish job on the bolt?
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by NjHunter85
1) Recrown the barrel
Th crown of a barrel is the muzzle end of the bore. Literally, the transition between the bore face and the end of the barrel steel. The SKS you asked about likely has a rounded crown. A damaged crown will have dings or burrs, or may have torching/pitting around the crown. Barrel crowns are important to ensure that the bullet makes a clean, even departure from the rifling, and that the propellant gases are released cleanly. For the SKS in question, or really any rifle, there's not much reason to recrown the barrel unless it has been damaged.

Recrowning is best done on a lathe, but can be done with crowning tools and proper pilots by hand. It's far from ideal, and if you do not know what you are doing, you could damage your barrel. It is NOT, under any circumstances, a project for the inexperienced. Bluntly (they call me Nomercy for a reason), if you're asking what it means, you're NOT ready to do it yourself.

Originally Posted by NjHunter85
2) Bed the stock?
Bedding the stock, actually rather bedding the ACTION into the stock, is the process of preparing the stock inlet to receive a layer of bedding compound to ensure consistent, repeatable contact between the action and stock. Bedding is typically accompanied by free floating the barrel and installing bedding pillars in the stock action screw holes. Free floating the barrel means hogging out the barrel channel to ensure there is no contact between the barrel and stock in front of the action, in other words, leaving the barrel "free-floating" in air within the barrel channel. This relieves pressure on the barrel from the stock. It's very common in sporting weight rifles that as the barrel gets heated and expands, the pressure points between the barrel and stock will change, causing the subsequent shots to "drift" or "walk". Bedding pillars installed in the stock allow a fixed tension to be applied to the action screws by creating a rigid, fixed length. In this way, if the wood were to swell or shrink, or warp, it will have little to no effect on the action screw torque, because the screws are no longer clamping the action against the wood, they're clamping it against the pillars, which are holding onto the wood.

Bedding an SKS would be a waste of time, in my opinion, and might be relatively difficult for someone inexperienced with bedding to do properly without getting bedding compound into the internal works. Frankly, it's foolish to think about bedding an SKS stock, from the aspect that there are no action screws, but rather a pivot pin and a locking tab. Adding bedding compound without removing EXACTLY the proper stock material, and adding EXACTLY the right depth of bedding compound might leave you unable to lock up the action to the FCG, and adding anything but the EXACT dimensions would not produce the even action support you're looking for anyway (since it's a levering, fixed depth fixture, not a screw fixture). I'm sure some guys have bedded SKS's, but the amount of time it took me to type this was literally MORE time than ever should be spent thinking about bedding an SKS.

Bedding is a pretty remedial level task, but a poor bedding job is a waste of time. Hogging out the barrel channel and getting proper compound thickness, and bonding to the stock takes skill. Properly seating the pillars takes skill. The downside of a poor bedding job is low, in other words, it's takes skill to do a proper bedding job to BENEFIT your accuracy, but it's pretty hard to HURT your accuracy with a bad bedding job (unless the rifle is exceptionally accurate without bedding, or you're exceptionally terrible at bedding).

Originally Posted by NjHunter85
3)how do you polish a bolt? and when or under what circumstance should I do a polish job on the bolt?
Polishing a bolt basically means exactly that. Polishing the bolt. For a blued bolt, polishing can remove, or harm the integrity of the bluing, so it isn't recommended. Polishing the bolt is 100% aesthetic. Do it when you have money to burn and time to spare, and think a polished bolt would look cool.

Polishing the traces and bolt engagement is a practical application, but takes a masterful skill to do properly. This is polishing the interfacing surfaces between the bolt and action. For what it's worth, it only really makes you feel better as you cycle the bolt, and doesn't necessarily effect the accuracy of the rifle, unless you OVER DO IT and end up "polishing" your way to a loose lock up. Inexperienced hands can RUIN a firearm by improperly "polishing" the bolt traces, and can even make a firearm unsafe.

For that SKS, if you over-polish, the actions capture of the bolt may become reduced, which could cause failure. And of course, polishing ANYTHING on an SKS is much like polishing a turd. It's NOT MEANT TO HAVE EXACTING DIMENSIONS, the bolt has a very loose travel, so polishing won't help much.

Probably not as brief as you may have wanted, but these are not tasks that: "I read 100 words on the internet and did a precision action job". These are skilled tasks that take practice, understanding, and knowledge to do well.

Last edited by Nomercy448; 03-06-2014 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:00 PM
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dude thanks. that was everything I asked for...like I said I love working on guns and reading and learning new things everyday. the learning process is like my hobby now. thanks again
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:07 PM
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I would never jump into something on a gun that I didn't know how to do. That is why im asking. The more I can learn and start to get a hands on experience with something of "less value" haha then that's how it starts.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:12 PM
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Like anything, there's a process of development. Three E's of skilled workmanship... Education, Experience, and Equipment...

To pursue a skilled task (of any pursuit) uneducated and inexperienced person needs two things. Education, and Experience.

Education comes with effort, experience comes with time.

A person that has no experience, but puts in a lot of effort to learn proper processes, and learn the proper tools to use, can position themselves to gain valuable experiences that improve his skill. Education before experience = ready to develop a skill.

A person that has no experience, and does NOT put in the effort to learn will never gain skill, even with a lot of experience. Experience without education = bad habits, and shoddy skills (or rather lack thereof).

Part of the education AND experience is knowledge and familiarity with equipment. You can know it all, but if you don't have the right tools, you can't gain experience in doing it right. You can know it all, and have all of the right tools, but still not have a skilled hand (experience). Or you might find yourself using a tool improperly because you don't know it's proper use.

If you go into a task without knowing the proper techniques, or knowing to use the proper tools, you will teach yourself a bad habit, so endless experience will still leave you without true skill. Prime example: I recently read about a guy that ruined a 30yr old Ruger revolver by cutting the barrel with a hacksaw and crowning with a 3/4" drill bit. He noticed groups suffered, then noticed that his muzzle wasn't square at all, and the crown was jagged (anyone surprised). Had to pay a smith to redo it. I cringe just thinking about it. The tools to do this properly are SO READILY AVAILABLE, it makes no sense to do it half-assed with a poor technique and improper tools.

Or for example, MANY guys find themselves with an illegally modified firearm when they try to improve the trigger on an SKS, some guys even so on AR-15's. Lack of knowledge, leads to an improper trigger job which destroyed the integrity of the sear engagement, allowing the action to run-away fire.

Or another FAMOUS example, or rather INFAMOUS, the "unsafe remington 700 triggers". Even professional gunsmiths failed to understand how these triggers, and their safeties, functioned, so when they did a standard polish and spring job, they were suddenly unsafe and the rifles would fire when the safety was disengaged. Lack of knowledge and experience with that particular trigger caused improper trigger jobs with potentially deadly consequences.

Buy a couple books on gunsmithing, check out midwayusa's videos on youtube. Pay close attention to the TOOLS THEY USE - do NOT think in the back of your mind about the tools you own that "could work well enough". There is a reason that gunsmithing tools exist, and a reason that gunsmiths use these specialized tools.

Specifically, focus on learning what makes different firearms tick. For example, on that SKS, polishing the bolt tracks is a waste of time, by design, whereas polishing the engagement on a bolt action rifle might be worthwhile, polishing the engagement on a semiauto pistol might be incredibly dangerous, etc.

Beyond all that, don't pursue anything that may effect the integrity of the action's function. Triggers, action work, etc, unless you are 100% educated, THEN experienced with the tools on OTHER non-critical projects, you are asking for trouble. Honing a trigger is a dangerous project, but you can develop experience with a hone by honing front sights, or opening up rear sight channels, etc. Chambering barrels by hand is exacting work, but you can practice with piloted reamers by working on chamber throats and crowns.

And fully recognize that you might be ruining your guns as you go, and swallowing that investment. If you are gunsmithing for yourself because you're broke, then you'll likely find yourself in an even deeper hole after you ruin a couple gun parts and have to have them fixed by a proper pro.

Last edited by Nomercy448; 03-08-2014 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:36 PM
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By the by...

Brownells has a lot of different smithing tools. Midwayusa used to have a lot more than they do now. Midway is great for a "safe" DIY'er, but when it comes to action work, they've gone away from carrying a lot of that gear. Brownells still has a lot of honing fixtures, reamers, etc etc. They don't have anywhere near all of the tools a guy would need to open a proper smith workshop, but they have a LOT of stuff. I have several grand (big money) in tools bought through brownells. (much of which is firearm specific so it was only usable on the one or two projects I needed it for, and will sit unused until I either sell it - which I won't - or until that one particular firearm model comes across my bench again for the same work).
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:02 PM
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yes I was just looking on amazon for gunsmithing books, and I will check out the places you told me to check out. I am very close to pulling the trigger on going to school for it, but the only thing holding me back is whether or not in the area I live in will it be worth it due to the laws, and the other stores nearby. But then again, do what you love, and love what you do right. as far as the tools go i def always use the right ****. I went and ordered the Wheelers kit online for the smith and Wesson mp15 rifle in 5.56 so that i could work on it the right way, and learn more about the tools that are out there.
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