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Thread: Any Tip or Tricks on Barrel Removal?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy pertnear's Avatar
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    Any Tip or Tricks on Barrel Removal?

    I have several questions on barrel unscrewing from bolt action rifles for professional & home gunsmiths.

    • What are the hardest barrels to remove or is it just random on a case by case basis?
    • Are Rem 700 series & Win 70 barrels difficult to remove?
    • Any special tools needed (especially the Rem with round receiver & "washer" recoil lug)?
    • Best barrel vices & best action wrenches?
    • Special tricks & tips (Is applying heat ever needed?)



    Thanks in advance for your opinions & comments!
    Visit my fictional blog "The dr Chronicles" about a laid-back Texan named dr - Enjoy!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Remington 700 barrels are quite tight, I assure you!! I use the action wrench that looks like a “bolt” that’s made to fit the action raceways. Clamp it ( the barrel)tightly using lead or plastic sheets in your vice, using your action wrench, probably a cheater pipe on your action wrench
    Tool your using to turn the action wrench, it should come off easily! Hahahaha be prepared to bow up on it, it’s hell for tight!! Good luck
    I firmly believe that you should only get treated by how you act, not by who or what you are!!

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    My 700 wrench is a clamp on that is brass lined and tightens around the action with a hardened screw in the action screw hole. I clamp the barrel in a barrel vise and tighten everything up and then give the end of the wrench a good whack with a dead blow hammer. One or two whacks and the barrel is loose. Using the brass shims and rosin there is no marring to the finish of the barrel. My Mauser type wrenches are milled to fit the action flats. The toughest to remove intact are the old Trapdoor actions as the barrels are usually rusted in and there is just a small receiver ring easily cracked. I turn and mill my own wrenches as needed. The hardest barrel I ever took off was a 1917 Enfield that I ended up turning a relief in the barrel to get it to let loose. A 4 foot cheater wouldn't budge it after a week of soaking it in PB Blaster. My barrel vise for SMLE's is milled to fir the knox form. Lever guns are easy unless rusted in place than you have to be carefull not to crack the receiver ring. I have an insert for the lever gun actions to prevent distortion if I have to really wrench on them.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    I think the hardest to remove barrel I've run across was a mosin nagant. That took some serious muscle. I have twisted Mauser barrels in half, but that's not terribly hard to do. I do Rem 700 barrels most every day, and have not met one yet that was a big deal. But I do have a very stout barrel vise and homemade wrench.
    "Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est."

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I use a piece of leather to help hold the barrel and have sometimes used a bit of heat, not much maybe boiling water temp, on a 700 action where the action threads would be. Some haven't been horrible but some lately have been Gorilla'd on. Did have to cut a relief on the barrel, just ahead of the action, to get a barrel off an O3A3.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Worst one I had was an old garand (numbers didn't match). I believe it was rebarreled by a field armorer and when didn't time up he sucked it in tighter until it did. Then after 80 some years of being bedded, It was almost impossible to break loose. I cut a groove to just below thread depth .010 away from receiver. When the shoulder popped it pinched the cut off tool and broke it. But it did come loose then. The receiver face showed a very pronounced ring in the face when apart.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    The one that will catch you is one with the barrel glued in......these need either considerable heat to weaken the epoxy,or a special jig that applies the force .

  8. #8
    DOR RED BEAR's Avatar
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    While working i always used to say the easiest way to do something is to let someone else do it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy pertnear's Avatar
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    Any comments about removing Win Mod 70 barrels? Easier because of flat bottom & integral recoil lug?

    Are barrel vices that use wood blocks worth a darn?
    Visit my fictional blog "The dr Chronicles" about a laid-back Texan named dr - Enjoy!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pertnear View Post
    Any comments about removing Win Mod 70 barrels? Easier because of flat bottom & integral recoil lug?

    Are barrel vices that use wood blocks worth a darn?
    M70 is easier because of the flat bottom, the wrench has something to dog on. Just have to get it back in the right place so the extractor works.
    The wood blocks and some rosin work ok for previously swapped barrels but are a bit weak for never before removed factory ones.
    "Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est."

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Holding a factory barrel is the biggest problem. Action wrenches work, but a vice that will hold a thin factory barrel is another matter. I tried gripping the barrel right up close to the action, made an epoxy fill on wood blocks for a perfect fit. The problem is a factory barrel starts it's taper fairly quick from the action, and that slope just wants to slip. I wouldn't guarantee not marring a thin factory barrel, a heavier varmint is a possible. Now, if the old barrel isn't wanted, chuck it up, make a parting cut right next to the action, it'll almost come off by hand.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    While rebarreling 1903a3 drill rifles I tried wood blocks in the barrel vice, then soft lead ingots [ too soft ] , wheel weight ingots [ too hard, cracked in half ] , then clamped between ingots of #2 alloy with rosin, and that held. I also had to use a hacksaw to make a relief cut on a couple of really tight ones.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by B R Shooter View Post
    Holding a factory barrel is the biggest problem. Action wrenches work, but a vice that will hold a thin factory barrel is another matter. I tried gripping the barrel right up close to the action, made an epoxy fill on wood blocks for a perfect fit. The problem is a factory barrel starts it's taper fairly quick from the action, and that slope just wants to slip. I wouldn't guarantee not marring a thin factory barrel, a heavier varmint is a possible. Now, if the old barrel isn't wanted, chuck it up, make a parting cut right next to the action, it'll almost come off by hand.
    A thin layer of lead sheet works well *** a plus sprinkle a little pine rosin on surface. Also I have used oak blocks and crush them to final shape between barrel and vice blocks

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The wood blocks in a vise that holds then all around snuggly don't work to bad. In most barrel vises the blocks are held top and bottom sides are open and wood blocks here spring and stretch under pressure. I have a set of steel that use a poured lead insert. Soft lead and some rosin grips most barrels tightly. You want to be tight enough when starting since once it slips there is marring. Barrels that have been installed with Loctite or epoxy, or interference type threads can be a real bear to remove.

    A heavy vise on a heavy solid bench and fitted blocks with a little rosin tightened up properly and evenly then working slowly with the proper wrench will usually get it done

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Really tight barrels like M17 or Ross,you need fitting steel blocks,and I use a hydraulic press instead of bolts......the weight of the press means no more securing is needed......I have a 6ft length of 2" pipe ,and basically,if the vice holds,the barrel simply breaks free,no struggle..........be very careful with some rifles ,the reciever ring will crush...always fit an arbor to the ring on any gun ,and you wont have any nasty surprises...Dont attempt Weatherby Vanguard,unless you know what to expect.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check