View Full Version : shortening an old .22
03-27-2011, 09:44 AM
I have an .. well, it's a coast to coast model 13, about as simple a single shot bolt action .22 as you can find.
My son is nearly 8 and loves to shoot, and I've been looking at shortening the pull (easy enough, I can even rework the buttplate) and the barrel.
The barrel is nominally 24 inches (more like 23.5) and I'd like to pull it down to 18 inches +/- (the variance being what balances right, it could go down to 17!).
Only thing is, I have to cut a new slot for the front sight. Turns out all my dovetail cutters are .5 or .75 inches, so I've ordered a 3/8 which is the right size.
So far, so good. I know how to cut a barrel, I have a 9 inch southbend available for dressing and recrowning.
But how do I most easily cut the new slot at the right angle? I'm just a bit lost on setup for that job on the mill.
Use the back dovetail the get the action square in the mill and then cut the front dovetail. A (shudder) carpenters try square will work if you don't have a square with a narrow base.
I cut down a Stevens M15 for my daughter almost 30 years ago now and it's being used by my grandson now.
03-27-2011, 10:00 AM
The rear ramp is a screw in. (yeah, I know, weird) but I can line up off that. I can chuck in a piece of rod with threads cut and get right perfect with that hole, in fact.
I have 3 and 6 inch machinists squares and enough travel on the mini-mill that I can get from there to the new slot. that should work out. (of course, he'll have a sight radius of ... 13.5 inches until he grow into the savage, and then I have daughters who will shoot it)
I would honestly not do this since for all it's cheapness, the gun shoots, but I has a mossberg 42 for my .22 target shooting and I have 4 other projects that are related and... well, this is a $40 rifle. And a new cricket is closer to $150 once you pay the taxes.
03-28-2011, 04:34 PM
Use a square to true the receiver perpendicular to the table and a level to get the barrel level.
Larry Potterfield has a You Tube video on how to cut a dovetail with a flat file and a triangular file.
Don't forget to cut a slot with the right sized endmill before you cut the dove tail.
03-28-2011, 05:29 PM
What you can do is remove the front sight first assuming you are going to use it again on the rifle and level the rifle using the front dovetail and see if there is another place on the receiver that is level at the same time and use that to level the rifle when you cut the new dovetail.
03-29-2011, 07:33 AM
Sense I cut dovetails practically every day I have a couple pieces of 3/16" key stock about 1' long that I can set in a sight dovetail or any flat surface on a receiver to check level with the vice or table. A single shot bolt action 22 probably does not have any flat spots. Probably the only flat area would be the rear sight. Might be able to put a block under the frame where the trigger/sear cut is or if the barrel has not been cut yet use the front sight dovetail.
I usually make the first pass with a 1/4" endmill before using the dovetail cutter. Check the depth of the front dovetail, it can be anywhere from .050" to .090" deep.
After cutting the barrel you may find the bore is not centered to the barrel. This is quite common on the less expensive 22s. When cutting the crown, center the bore with a four jaw chuck using a dial indicator or anything ells that will work.
03-29-2011, 09:55 AM
I don't know why I did not think of this earlier, remove the front sight and put the gun in the vise of you mill and level the gun using the old dovetail then re-cut the new dovetail where you want it. After it is done you can cut the barrel and re-crown it.
03-29-2011, 09:32 PM
this has got me thinking
is it appropriate to use a .375 dovetail cutter? or should one use a slightly smaller one and work his way to "snug fit" as the dovetail itself is not parallel, is it?
IIRC, the slot is tapered and the sight base is parallel...
or do I have it backward?
an old GS up here told me I needed a smaller size and endmill out the slot first with at least 1/8"
As I will never have a mill, I ask only for the educational purposes
03-29-2011, 10:04 PM
Well, my current working plan is to use the rear sight screw to true to my mill head- I have a piece of rod with the end cut to match the rear sight threads. once I am true there, I'll put the mill on- first a 3/16 end mill, then finish with the dovetail.
The problem with using an undersize dovetail is finding one. 3/8 is what I've found. If I could find a .350 one, I'd use it and finish with a file as needed.
Of course, given what I've got, if I ahd to make a new front sight it would be easy.
I'm also stuck now on thinking about cutting down and narrowing the forestock a bit as it looks a bit odd:
barrel is recrowned and shoots. Tomorrow the dovetail mill shoudl be in and I'll set the job up after I bake the gunkote on a couple knife blades and finish 2 sheaths.... and run to the post office!
03-30-2011, 06:29 AM
This is where I get my dovetail cutters, some in carbide.
04-08-2011, 02:42 PM
Cutting a dovetail correctly is pretty precise work. You can get front sights from Midway that go on with a pair of screws. They are much easier to install. Also, if you do goof & get them mounted a little too far to the right or left, you can move back another 1/4" on the barrel & drill/tap a second set of mounting holes to take another shot at getting it lined up right.
If you do decide to cut a dovetail, please heed the advice that John gave & rough a slot out with a regular end mill first. The dovetail cutter should only be used to take out the material that a standard end mill can not reach. Dovetail cutters don't take well to plunging nose first through solid material.
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