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Thread: Opening a barrel channel

  1. #1
    Boolit Master slughammer's Avatar
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    Opening a barrel channel

    I recently rebarreled my Rem 722 and cut the raw blank to a heavier profile. 3.6lbs (Modified Palma profile, straight tapers).

    The 20 inch barrel has a 3 inch straight section 1.2 dia, then tapers 2.5 inches to 1.0 dia, then the forward 14.5 inches tapers from 1.0 to .63.


    https://i.imgur.com/6AX6PXl.jpeg

    https://i.imgur.com/Dw5svC2.jpeg


    I want to move the rifle back into the factory stock and need to open the factory channel to accept the heavier barrel.

    I'm trying to figure out what tools, how many and what sizes do I need to open the channel on this project (and of course future projects).

    I see the gunline bedding tools in several different sizes.
    I also see some simple scrapers in different sizes.

    Based on my barrel dimensions what size tools would I need? How much do I need to spend?

    I've got plenty of woodworking hand tools, saws, chisels, planes..... just not this kind of stuff.

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    Last edited by slughammer; 08-10-2022 at 04:30 PM.
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    Because of the different tapers of the barrel I feel that Gunline barrel bedding tools won't do you much good. You're going to have to get some scrapers (Fisher and Bone brands are good) and revert to the old tried and true way of barrel bedding. Get a small jar of bone black (Jarrow's) or Prussian Blue and a small acid brush. Get or make some action bedding screws (might be able to buy them ready made from Brownell's) to keep the barreled action properly aligned with the stock on subsequent insertions. Coat the bottom of the barrel with the black or blue using the acid brush. Align the screws with the receiver screw holes and insert the barreled action into the present inletting. Smack the barreled action a couple of times with a wooden or leather mallet-- not hard, just enough for the black/blue to make a transfer onto the wood. Remove the action and scrape away any location where the black/blue has left a mark. Repeat, perhaps hundreds of times until the barrel is an exact fit to the channel. You will be rewarded with a perfect fit

    An alternative is to hog out the barrel channel with a rotary tool and glass bed the barrel into the channel, using plenty of release agent. Of course the bedding will be very visible on the sides of the barrel when the job is finished. You can also free float the barrel.

    Your attached images didn't show up for me...all I saw was a black screen.

    DG

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Over the years I have installed larger barrels and used the loose barrel to get there. It is by no means fast and much stopping and looking is required. Chisel/blade straight chamber area forward of receiver for clean line to break 1/4" or so down, then lower floor area will be slightly enlarged for securing bedding. I always bedded out to the diameter change then floated. Stock in vise and wrap lower 180 of barrel with a full sheet of 100 grit diagonally and pinch on top and back and forth stopping short on forward march. A lot of stop, blow, look and then when getting close 180, 220 for pretty, much attention needed due to X, Y and Z and with the real attention of and to forward pitch. Getting close I would hand screw into receiver for real mock up. Yes it takes some time but a true negative with straight clean lines was worth it to me.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master slughammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    Because of the different tapers of the barrel I feel that Gunline barrel bedding tools won't do you much good. You're going to have to get some scrapers (Fisher and Bone brands are good) and revert to the old tried and true way of barrel bedding. Get a small jar of bone black (Jarrow's) or Prussian Blue and a small acid brush. Get or make some action bedding screws (might be able to buy them ready made from Brownell's) to keep the barreled action properly aligned with the stock on subsequent insertions. Coat the bottom of the barrel with the black or blue using the acid brush. Align the screws with the receiver screw holes and insert the barreled action into the present inletting. Smack the barreled action a couple of times with a wooden or leather mallet-- not hard, just enough for the black/blue to make a transfer onto the wood. Remove the action and scrape away any location where the black/blue has left a mark. Repeat, perhaps hundreds of times until the barrel is an exact fit to the channel. You will be rewarded with a perfect fit

    An alternative is to hog out the barrel channel with a rotary tool and glass bed the barrel into the channel, using plenty of release agent. Of course the bedding will be very visible on the sides of the barrel when the job is finished. You can also free float the barrel.

    Your attached images didn't show up for me...all I saw was a black screen.

    DG
    Thank You

    I figured out the pictures and they should be working now.

    I looked in Browells and Midway and found the Jerry Fisher scrapers. (Did not find Bone).

    Is there anything special about the scrapers? It says to sharpen with a bench grinder, so I doubt they are hollow ground. I have used blades and scrap chisels, what kind of thickness are they? They look heavier than a cabinet scraper, more like a plane Iron, planer blade, or carbon steel saw blade.

    I'll make a set of bedding screws as you suggest for the process. I'll need those again when I get to bedding the action. Plan is to free float the barrel, but I want the result to be neat.

    If i make the scrapers, I'll just need to get some black for the job.

    Regards - Slughammer

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  5. #5
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    The scrapers are made of flat steel and the edges are just naturally sharp being a 90 degree angle. Kind of like broken glass, the edges are what cuts. I've had one set of the Fisher scrapers for many years and just sharpened them a bit one time. The bedding technique doesn't require heavy cuts, just scraping away the mark left by the barrel bedding black...1/64 of an inch would be a heavy scrape. The technique I've described for you requires patience, but you'll be amazed at the fit you'll eventually achieve. I wish you luck with your project.

    DG

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    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Alternately, the barrel channel can just be gouged out enough for the barrel to drop in, then the barrel glass bedded, using strips of waxed (removable) masking tape on the barrel where some clearance is needed.
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  7. #7
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    dont overthink it...sandpaper wrapped around a steel bar of correct size and have at it...I did mine with a surform and finished with sandpaper around a tyre iron of all things... the kinked handle made it work rather well.

  8. #8
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    Pictures didn't work for me, but that is probably my old computer.

    You can make your own scrapers too. I have made several from old hacksaw blades. They will work using DG's technique, although only using a scraper does take time. Some times it is a lot of time.

    Robert

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I have made scrapers out of old worn out Files.
    I ground them on my 12" bench sander to get a sharp square edge.
    I also made them in different sizes and shapes.
    Like round ends of different sizes for barrel inletting.
    And others with straight ends for other inletting or stock shaping.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy hoodat's Avatar
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    I grab my set of deep sockets. Tear sandpaper to proper width, and go to town. I start with 80 grit, and finish with 250. The different sizes of sockets allow for the various areas of the channel, and It is easy to gradually taper the channel. I've got metric and standard sockets, and that allows for many different diameters in very small increments. jd
    It seems that people who do almost nothing, often complain loudly when it's time to do it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoodat View Post
    I grab my set of deep sockets. Tear sandpaper to proper width, and go to town. I start with 80 grit, and finish with 250. The different sizes of sockets allow for the various areas of the channel, and It is easy to gradually taper the channel. I've got metric and standard sockets, and that allows for many different diameters in very small increments. jd
    That's the way I do it too! Sometimes I'll find a dowel that is similar in diameter and use it alsoo.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Working with a spotting agent ( lamp black lipstick ect) you can use a scrapper or even a sanding drum in a die grinder. the form with sand paper over it works well. Just work slow and watch the spotting. I have used files and die riffles for this also. A medium coarse half round file might speed things up bend the tang up 90* to the file and a block glued to the back front to comfortably push on.

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    Boolit Buddy schutzen-jager's Avatar
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    ordinary auto deep sockets of various diameters wrapped in sandpaper will do it - lighten pressure as taper gets smaller + take your time -
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  14. #14
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    I once cut a barrel channel on a table saw. I clamped a makeshift fence at an angle, and moving the blade up just a little at a time, until I reached the depth i wanted. Remember, you are basically cutting wood with the side of the teeth, so you can't hog out the material. I did use a test piece, before actually cutting the stock, and tested the profile, to verify the barrel would fit properly. It was for a black powder pistol.

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    I use sections of cut off barrels. Use them as scrapers. Around 12" is pretty good to handle.
    Beware of taking wood from the top of the inletting. You will get false spotting from inletting black. Only remove lower spots until you are sure the fit is right.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master slughammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    I use sections of cut off barrels. Use them as scrapers. Around 12" is pretty good to handle.
    Beware of taking wood from the top of the inletting. You will get false spotting from inletting black. Only remove lower spots until you are sure the fit is right.
    OK, I'll pay attention to the black on the low spots until it doesn't touch a low spot, then I'll take the next higher spot.

    I like the barrel idea, I don't have many laying around to hack up, but I've got round stock I can face in the lathe for a sharp edge.

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  17. #17
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    For the final sanding in the barrel channels.
    I took a short piece of EMT electrical tubing about 1" long and brazed a steel rod with a bend in it as a handle.
    Then I glued sandpaper to the tubing with rubber cement or contact cement.
    It was easy to sand the length of the barrel groove.
    I made sever in different sizes to fit different areas of the barrel channel , or follow the taper of the barrel.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy 405grain's Avatar
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    I despise opening a barrel channel. It is my least favorite of gunsmithing tasks. It takes forever. Chiseling, sanding, scraping - so tedious and boring. But, it is a necessary evil of the smith, so do it we must. I have found a hack that has work pretty well for me. Instead of using bone black, prussian blue, lip stick, shoe polish, or other messy goo to detect high spots, I've found that a pack of black dry erase markers works really good. You just draw the marker on the object that your trying to fit (in this case the barrel) and press it into the barrel channel. It leaves marks on the high spots, but these don't soak into the wood, and the marker is easily wiped from the barrel with a dry rag. This works equally well for doing inletting too. A lot less messy and easy to clean up.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master slughammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAGS View Post
    For the final sanding in the barrel channels.
    I took a short piece of EMT electrical tubing about 1" long and brazed a steel rod with a bend in it as a handle.
    Then I glued sandpaper to the tubing with rubber cement or contact cement.
    It was easy to sand the length of the barrel groove.
    I made sever in different sizes to fit different areas of the barrel channel , or follow the taper of the barrel.
    About 20 years ago I used EMT that I sharpened to open the channel of a 10-22 that I put a bull barrel on. That worked great, but this project has a taper and I'd like to improve my craft, thus the question. Thanks for the idea. - Slughammer

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master slughammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 405grain View Post
    I despise opening a barrel channel. It is my least favorite of gunsmithing tasks. It takes forever. Chiseling, sanding, scraping - so tedious and boring. But, it is a necessary evil of the smith, so do it we must. I have found a hack that has work pretty well for me. Instead of using bone black, prussian blue, lip stick, shoe polish, or other messy goo to detect high spots, I've found that a pack of black dry erase markers works really good. You just draw the marker on the object that your trying to fit (in this case the barrel) and press it into the barrel channel. It leaves marks on the high spots, but these don't soak into the wood, and the marker is easily wiped from the barrel with a dry rag. This works equally well for doing inletting too. A lot less messy and easy to clean up.
    I have a whole box of dry erase markers and didn't order any bone black yet! This is a great idea. I'm going to give this a try.

    Thank You - Slughammer

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