Barreling a bolt gun...and other build questions

alamo5000

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This is just a generic question but how hard or easy is it to barrel or rebarrel a bolt action rifle? I know there are different systems out there now that make it a bit easier but what all is involved in the process and how do those various rifle barreling systems hold up? This has basically been a lingering question for me for a while now.

The background on the question is that I don't own any modern bolt guns. That said it's not a lack of interest that keeps me from it and I've definitely shot a bunch of them but not the higher end/nicer stuff that I am looking into now. I have several really nice AR's and one thing I really like about that platform is the ability for me to work on the firearms myself (for general things). I am definitely willing to put money towards the bolt gun side of the house but in the event that I need to rebarrel what kind of tools or whatnot would I need to do that job and what kind of cost outlay would it be to tool up for that? For ARs you just buy a barrel that meets your parameters when they are in stock. For a bolt gun it doesn't seem like off the shelf options are typically what people go for. I read online about people waiting 10 months or more for a barrel from certain manufacturers so if you know the general outlay of that aspect please let me know your experience as well.

I am asking these questions basically to call on the collective experience here so that I can 'see the end from the beginning' about what I am getting into and to basically make wise choices. I've been eyeballing the bolt side for a while now but I don't have any concrete buying plans as of right now. That said the purpose of the rifle will definitely be for long range precision. I haven't decided on calibers or any of that yet. Basically my buying habits for expensive toys are that I nerd out and learn as much as possible first primarily so I can make wiser decisions and get what I want up front.

Just like with all things AR related--when I first started out to build a nice AR I was pretty much paralyzed by too many choices (now I have several of them) In a way I am experiencing that all over again when I read about all the various actions and so forth. So many choices.

I know someone will inevitably say to just buy a factory gun and go from there but I know enough about my personal likes and wants to know that I will enjoy a more customized rifle. I am not at all a 'new shooter' but specifics to the various brands and offerings are not really my forte. I also pretty much enjoy the whole learning and putting a build together process. That's all part of the fun.

Please share your experiences...
 
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ShtrRdy

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    Are you interested in a Savage/Remage type of system or a purpose fit barrel onto an action?
     

    alamo5000

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    Are you interested in a Savage/Remage type of system or a purpose fit barrel onto an action?

    Not sure. That's the purpose of the thread to kind of narrow down my choices.

    Basically I want to learn the pros and cons of each system, what kind of chassis system is available for each and so forth.

    The ability to barrel or rebarrel is bonus points.
    I don't see barreling the action as a deal breaker but I kind of want to know what I am getting into for both the build side and later on up the road maintenance.
     

    Steel head

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    It’s more work to cut a shoulder and you need the action or it’s pertinent dimensions to do it.

    With a barrel nut you just cut the chamber, thread the shank and the nut sets headspace, just tenon thread pattern and a general go gauge protrusion is needed.

    I’ve had half a dozen barrel nut barrels.
    Only big disadvantage is if your running a really big cartridge.
     
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    Krob95

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    Whether you go with a barrel nut system prefit for a zermatt origin or a true prefit like what you find on impact’s, zermatt tl3, etc, you’re gonna need some basic tools if you plan on rebarreling. A barrel vise (or vise block to set you action in for a barrel nut setup), a torque wrench, an action wrench for the action you have, go and no go gauges to either set headspace (barrel nut) or double check headspace (true prefits).

    Custom actions hold very tight tolerances so for example if I wanted to rebarrel my Impact, I would acquire the tools listed above, order a prefit barrel from my vendor of choice (straight jacket armory, Altus, proof, bugholes, etc). Then when it showed up in a few weeks depending on lead time, I would install it, check headspace with go and no go gauges, and go shoot it. There was a good thread about a fella who pieced together a TL3 build from Altus and put it together himself. Build info HERE

    As far as chassis options, if it’s a R700 footprint you should have zero issue finding a chassis or stock for it.

    Cost wise you’re looking at 60-100 bucks for a barrel vise, 50-300 bucks for a torque wrench depending on quality, 100 bucks or less for an action wrench, and 80 bucks or so for no go and go gauges for the specific caliber. And then whatever a barrel costs for your action
     

    jcmullis2

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    It’s not difficult or expensive. A barrel vise, action wrench, torque wrench, headspace gauges. Order the barrel you want and screw it on. If you’re running a barrel nut you set the headspace and torque the nut to spec and recheck your headspace. If you’re using a shouldered barrel torque to spec and then check the headspace. Pretty basic stuff. The barrel nut barrels are easily obtained and less expensive. They shoot just as good and you save a chunk of money. If you have the coin buy you a custom action if not wait until you do. They seem like they’re a lot more but in the long run they save you money. After you get your action get a barrel, trigger, and stock. Some assembly required. I tell you what, assembling my daughter’s swing set was way more difficult lol. Good luck and happy shooting
     
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    The D

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    *disclaimer: I do not have this yet, but it’s rattling around my head as part of my dream build*

    The barloc system from ARC looks much more convenient for barrel changes. All you need to do it; allen wrench, barloc spanner, chamber gauges.

    Seems like if you’re not going to go with a shouldered barrel this would be really convenient to change calibers with minimal tools. And the tools that you do need, you can keep in a range bag
     

    jcmullis2

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    I can see why it might be appealing to some. However I’ve got several actions in different chambering so I don’t change out barrels that often. When I do change barrels speed isn't something I see as a good thing. I think I t’s good to remember that you’ll be causing thousands of controlled explosions with approx 60,000 psi only a few inches from your face. I sure don’t want to mess up and blow my face off but I’m funny like that. That’s one of the reasons I love the Remington 3 rings of steel design. Lots of protection there in case of a catastrophic event.
     

    reubenski

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    *disclaimer: I do not have this yet, but it’s rattling around my head as part of my dream build*

    The barloc system from ARC looks much more convenient for barrel changes. All you need to do it; allen wrench, barloc spanner, chamber gauges.

    Seems like if you’re not going to go with a shouldered barrel this would be really convenient to change calibers with minimal tools. And the tools that you do need, you can keep in a range bag
    Solution to a non-problem. Buy a shouldered barrel. If you really must have a barrel nut'd prefit, loctite the nut after you get it headspaced and use it like a shouldered barrel.

    There has also been much discussion about floating zeros from guys using a barloc after bumping their barrel on a barricade.
     
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    reubenski

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    I can see why it might be appealing to some. However I’ve got several actions in different chambering so I don’t change out barrels that often. When I do change barrels speed isn't something I see as a good thing. I think I t’s good to remember that you’ll be causing thousands of controlled explosions with approx 60,000 psi only a few inches from your face. I sure don’t want to mess up and blow my face off but I’m funny like that. That’s one of the reasons I love the Remington 3 rings of steel design. Lots of protection there in case of a catastrophic event.
    Remington 3 rings of steel?....We're way past that. I'm guessing you've never shot a hand tight barrel.
     
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    Steel head

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    *disclaimer: I do not have this yet, but it’s rattling around my head as part of my dream build*

    The barloc system from ARC looks much more convenient for barrel changes. All you need to do it; allen wrench, barloc spanner, chamber gauges.

    Seems like if you’re not going to go with a shouldered barrel this would be really convenient to change calibers with minimal tools. And the tools that you do need, you can keep in a range bag
    I just swapped in a new barrel with a bar loc on Friday.
    Easy peasy.
    5833C6A8-E1DF-4AC7-9CA2-DC6075F4DDEC.jpeg

    Screw barrel down on go gauge, preload the nut, torque the screw.
    I consistently get about a thou or two over the gauge Headspace, perfect!
     
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    reubenski

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    This is just a generic question but how hard or easy is it to barrel or rebarrel a bolt action rifle? I know there are different systems out there now that make it a bit easier but what all is involved in the process and how do those various rifle barreling systems hold up? This has basically been a lingering question for me for a while now.

    The background on the question is that I don't own any modern bolt guns. That said it's not a lack of interest that keeps me from it and I've definitely shot a bunch of them but not the higher end/nicer stuff that I am looking into now. I have several really nice AR's and one thing I really like about that platform is the ability for me to work on the firearms myself (for general things). I am definitely willing to put money towards the bolt gun side of the house but in the event that I need to rebarrel what kind of tools or whatnot would I need to do that job and what kind of cost outlay would it be to tool up for that? For ARs you just buy a barrel that meets your parameters when they are in stock. For a bolt gun it doesn't seem like off the shelf options are typically what people go for. I read online about people waiting 10 months or more for a barrel from certain manufacturers so if you know the general outlay of that aspect please let me know your experience as well.

    I am asking these questions basically to call on the collective experience here so that I can 'see the end from the beginning' about what I am getting into and to basically make wise choices. I've been eyeballing the bolt side for a while now but I don't have any concrete buying plans as of right now. That said the purpose of the rifle will definitely be for long range precision. I haven't decided on calibers or any of that yet. Basically my buying habits for expensive toys are that I nerd out and learn as much as possible first primarily so I can make wiser decisions and get what I want up front.

    Just like with all things AR related--when I first started out to build a nice AR I was pretty much paralyzed by too many choices (now I have several of them) In a way I am experiencing that all over again when I read about all the various actions and so forth. So many choices.

    I know someone will inevitably say to just buy a factory gun and go from there but I know enough about my personal likes and wants to know that I will enjoy a more customized rifle. I am not at all a 'new shooter' but specifics to the various brands and offerings are not really my forte. I also pretty much enjoy the whole learning and putting a build together process. That's all part of the fun.

    Please share your experiences...
    It's pretty easy.
    20200712_193913.jpg


    1. Just slip it under the scope
    20200712_193941.jpg


    2. Screw it in by hand.
    20200712_194003.jpg


    3. Torque it down

    20200712_194050.jpg


    Reverse as necessary to remove. Takes about 60 to 90 secs. Less time than a PRS Skills stage.
     

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    The D

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    Solution to a non-problem. Buy a shouldered barrel. If you really must have a barrel nut'd prefit, loctite the nut after you get it headspaced and use it like a shouldered barrel.

    There has also been much discussion about floating zeros from guys using a barloc after bumping their barrel on a barricade.
    Different solution to a problem, imo.

    And even if a zero did shift and it could be narrowed down to a properly assembled barloc, theoretically a removal and re-install of the barrel should take care of that
     

    reubenski

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    Different solution to a problem, imo.

    And even if a zero did shift and it could be narrowed down to a properly assembled barloc, theoretically a removal and re-install of the barrel should take care of that
    But why do you need an extra piece of equipment to screw a barrel in? Why the Barloc in the first place? Screw it in and torque it on. A design from an engineers perspective that theoretically provides a massive clamping force. But in practice has been dubious. And definitely unnecessary. Hence my belief that its an engineers math solution to a problem already solved by the simplest method.
     

    Steel head

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    But why do you need an extra piece of equipment to screw a barrel in? Why the Barloc in the first place? Screw it in and torque it on. A design from an engineers perspective that theoretically provides a massive clamping force. But in practice has been dubious. And definitely unnecessary. Hence my belief that its an engineers math solution to a problem already solved by the simplest method.
    I won’t argue it’s superior but if running barrel nuts it’s nice to not have to pull the scope and stock/chassis.
    I’ve had three barrels now using a barloc and I’ve never had a zero drift issue.
     

    reubenski

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    Again...

    20200712_200603.jpg


    I changed to a nut'd prefit, took a photo and responded in less than a couple of minutes. With a consistent headspace and return to recorded zero
     
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    The D

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    But why do you need an extra piece of equipment to screw a barrel in? Why the Barloc in the first place? Screw it in and torque it on. A design from an engineers perspective that theoretically provides a massive clamping force. But in practice has been dubious. And definitely unnecessary. Hence my belief that its an engineers math solution to a problem already solved by the simplest method.
    Why do I need an allen wrench, tiny spanner, and go gauge in my bag as opposed to a large-ish torque wrench?

    I’m not saying one is better than the other. All I’m saying is that a Mausingfield is the basis of my dream gun and everything else that ARC makes seems legit as fuck
     

    reubenski

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    Why do I need an allen wrench, tiny spanner, and go gauge in my bag as opposed to a large-ish torque wrench?

    I’m not saying one is better than the other. All I’m saying is that a Mausingfield is the basis of my dream gun and everything else that ARC makes seems legit as fuck
    I'm not as specific

    20190914_162847.jpg
     
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    reubenski

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    View attachment 7372961

    as I said, in no way do I think barrel nut are superior.
    My next 7 saum barrel Will have a shoulder.
    The wrench flats or barrel vice and action wrench are super easy and fool proof.
    Looks like a badass setup
    I feel like the sham-wow guy trying to convince people they don't need a complex, proprietary, highly engineered tooling. People always react like you're selling snake-oil. But it's just butt-simple and works.
     
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    Steel head

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    I feel like the sham-wow guy trying to convince people they don't need a complex, proprietary, highly engineered tooling. People always react like you're selling snake-oil. But it's just butt-simple and works.
    It is butt-simple.
    And I’m actually excited to see a full heavy Palma screwed into the Nuke.
     
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    The D

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    I feel like the sham-wow guy trying to convince people they don't need a complex, proprietary, highly engineered tooling. People always react like you're selling snake-oil. But it's just butt-simple and works.
    Then keep enjoying your rifles. Maybe some day the rest of us will come around to agreeing with you about this
     

    jcmullis2

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    Remington 3 rings of steel?....We're way past that. I'm guessing you've never shot a hand tight barrel.
    No sir not knowingly I haven’t. I’m not as savvy as you fellas. I’m just an old country boy that loves long range shooting. What gadget allows you to do that safely or are you pulling my leg?
     

    reubenski

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    No sir not knowingly I haven’t. I’m not as savvy as you fellas. I’m just an old country boy that loves long range shooting. What gadget allows you to do that safely or are you pulling my leg?
    Exactly my point. No gadget required
     
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    chevy_man

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    No sir not knowingly I haven’t. I’m not as savvy as you fellas. I’m just an old country boy that loves long range shooting. What gadget allows you to do that safely or are you pulling my leg?


    I use barrel nuts because I don't change barrels until they're shot out. It takes 15 minutes once you've done it a few times.

    I use about 50-60 ft lbs on the nut because it's overkill. I had one on there at "snack the nut wrench with the hammer handle" tight. It shot just fine, until my can had carbon fouled itself on and I unscrewed the barrel instead of the can. This prompted a go through of all the barrel nuts to good and stupid tight with zero issues removing a stuck can ever again.

    If you're not using a removable muzzle device, hand tight is really all you need.
     
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    jcmullis2

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    I use barrel nuts because I don't change barrels until they're shot out. It takes 15 minutes once you've done it a few times.

    I use about 50-60 ft lbs on the nut because it's overkill. I had one on there at "snack the nut wrench with the hammer handle" tight. It shot just fine, until my can had carbon fouled itself on and I unscrewed the barrel instead of the can. This prompted a go through of all the barrel nuts to good and stupid tight with zero issues removing a stuck can ever again.

    If you're not using a removable muzzle device, hand tight is really all you need.
    I’ve never tried it like that. Does it ever loosen up and cause poi problems?
     

    chevy_man

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    I’ve never tried it like that. Does it ever loosen up and cause poi problems?


    Many here that run bare muzzles or just brakes spin them on by hand. Back off a 1/8th turn, and give it a snap.

    I like a bit of torque myself, but I was only using 15 ft lbs before I had a stuck can.
     

    reubenski

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    I use 40ft lbs bc it's the most I can physically torque by hand with an 11" torque wrench and flats. With the exception of a 6BR and 22BR barrels I've been too lazy to have flats machined in. I've tested 20, 30, and 40. No change in accuracy, POI, or brass headspace. For that matter, hand tight doesn't produce a POI shift either. Half the time I just use a crescent wrench. The barrel has no idea what the specific torque is and it doesn't matter if its 35 vs 41.5.
     

    alamo5000

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    Thanks for all the responses given so far. I have been working overtime so I haven't had a chance to read in detail all the comments. From what I have read though, if you have the right tools (I have a bunch already but maybe not some of the specialized ones mentioned here) then barreling an action is not that hard. I'm pretty much figuring that is the hardest part of a build so that opens up possibilities to me being able to piece together a build the way I want it. It also lets me know that if I am having trouble or don't like the barrel length or profile or whatever that I can switch all that around with not much problem. Honestly I hear of lots of people that send their rifles out to be worked on and they end up with no rifle for extended periods of time or something like that.

    I am still not sure which action I will get but before I do I will definitely be asking for advice/opinions on what I am buying.
     

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    I've been living with Savages for so long since the '90's, and swapping barrels off one gun to put on another, that I don't even consider a shouldered barrel anymore.

    Greg
     
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