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Gunsmithing Gunsmith said this about installing a Tikka prefit

carbonbased

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Jul 26, 2018
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Ok, bought a m24 Mueller 204 barrel from bugholes/Southern Precision and had them thread it for my Tikka and also chamber it. I didn’t have them install it on my rifle because they said it would take some absurd amount of time due to their backlog.

The barrel just came in the mail. Brought the barreled action to a gunsmith in town and asked for him to remove the factory barrel and install the bugholes barrel.

Note that I’ve never had anybody install a barrel, nor ever installed a barrel myself. Currently, due to remodeling my garage is full and I have no workbench or even a place to mount a barrel vice etc to change my own barrels.

He said:
  1. Removing factory barrel: “I use lead in my barrel vice to clamp around the barrel. But with Tikka barrels being on so tight, the barrel just spins in the lead. Therefore I can’t use the lead so you might have some scratches on the barrel.”
  2. On new barrel install: “Just so you know, I always have to touch up the chamber when I install a barrel (head spacing). And please bring in the stock because I want to test fire to make sure everything is safe.”
Should I be using this guy?
 
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Wrong.

Its actually good advise and shows the smith knows what he is talking about.

A. Tikka barrels are ridiculously over torqued from the factory. They have to be over 200 ft lbs and getting them off is a nightmare. Most smiths will make a relief cut and throw away the stock barrel to make it easier. Getting a factory barrel off to use again is a real bitch and usually involved big wrenches, long pipes and a MAP Torch. I have destroyed an action before getting the barrel to even budge before. It sucks.

B. Tikka actions while close to being able to hold headspace, are not. One smith I trust who has done hundreds of tikka builds says he has seen about a .010 to .012 variation in headspace across all tikka actions. This is enough to fall outside of tolerance and have serious issues. Its why any smith who will blindly make a tikka prefit without disclosing this... SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED.

Not every smith has a ton of extra stocks and tooling to go test fire every action that comes through their shop. Thats a good sign.

Carbon, I think he sounds like a reasonable, experienced and competent guy. If you feel good about him, I would let him do the work. He clearly cares about the end product and wants to make sure you end up with something you are happy with.
 
Tikka uses gorillas to install their factory barrels. I sent mine to LRI and they have built tooling to remove them without any marks. But plenty of other gun smiths will simply cut them because it’s such a pain to do it cleanly.
So at least he’s being honest about that part.

I do wish more smiths would test fire, but that seems to be less and less that case
 
I'm convinced that Tikka factory torques these barrels on using a gallon of superglue, and a two-story lever being pulled by a team of a half dozen large elephants chasing a dump truck full of peanuts. I tried soaking with Kroil, two different action wrenches (one inside, one outside), heat, cold, heat and cold ... wouldn't budge. And it wasn't the barrel vise, because my 240 lbs were all the way off the ground, and it still wouldn't move. Ended up sending it to LRI and they used their mystical powers to remove it without a relief cut. Any gunsmith that prepares you for Tikka barrels installed like this, is probably OK, or at least, experienced with Tikka barrels. The one to worry about is the one that takes your Tikka from you and says "No sweat, I'll have this barrel off in about 10 minutes".
 
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  1. Removing factory barrel: “I use lead in my barrel vice to clamp around the barrel. But with Tikka barrels being on so tight, the barrel just spins in the lead. Therefore I can’t use the lead so you might have some scratches on the barrel.”
Any shop is going to be limited by their tools, fixtures and experience. Tikkas are super tight so he is not out of line warning you about the possibility of surface finish damage based on his shop capabilities.

But.

  1. On new barrel install: “Just so you know, I always have to touch up the chamber when I install a barrel (head spacing). And please bring in the stock because I want to test fire to make sure everything is safe.
This is where I raise an eyebrow.

He is straight up telling you that he is going to jack with your already reamed chamber before he even checks it.

Even if the headspace is wrong for your action, there may be no need to "touch up the chamber" (if the HS is too long just bump the tenon shoulder back accordingly).

If he did insist on sticking a reamer in your chamber, there is a good chance his reamer dims will be different than what SPR used.
He would have to dial your barrel into the lathe before doing any reamer work and at that point, you are paying for a chamber job on a pre-fit.
Are you tracking so far?

Have him install the barrel and check with HS gauges. If out of spec, take it up with SPR/Bugholes. You paid for a prefit which they are standing behind. I believe you will be fine. If not, Greg and company will take care of you.

.
 
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Ok, bought a m24 Mueller 204 barrel from bugholes/Southern Precision and had them thread it for my Tikka and also chamber it. I didn’t have them install it on my rifle because they said it would take some absurd amount of time due to their backlog.

The barrel just came in the mail. Brought the barreled action to a gunsmith in town and asked for him to remove the factory barrel and install the bugholes barrel.

Note that I’ve never had anybody install a barrel, nor ever installed a barrel myself. Currently, due to remodeling my garage is full and I have no workbench or even a place to mount a barrel vice etc to change my own barrels.

He said:
  1. Removing factory barrel: “I use lead in my barrel vice to clamp around the barrel. But with Tikka barrels being on so tight, the barrel just spins in the lead. Therefore I can’t use the lead so you might have some scratches on the barrel.”
  2. On new barrel install: “Just so you know, I always have to touch up the chamber when I install a barrel (head spacing). And please bring in the stock because I want to test fire to make sure everything is safe.”
Should I be using this guy?
No, just get a better rifle
 
I can vouch that the torque values are insane on Tikkas. Mine had red residue inside which I assume was thread locker. Lots of heat and ass required to get the factory barrel off.
 
Any shop is going to be limited by their tools, fixtures and experience. Tikkas are super tight so he is not out of line warning you about the possibility of surface finish damage based on his shop capabilities.

But.


This is where I raise an eyebrow.

I is straight up telling you that he is going to jack with your already reamed chamber before he even checks it.

Even if the headspace is wrong for your action, there may be no need to "touch up the chamber" (if the HS is too long just bump the tenon shoulder back accordingly).

If he did insist on sticking a reamer in your chamber, there is a good chance his reamer dims will be different than what SPR used.
He would have to dial your barrel into the lathe before doing any reamer work and at that point, you are paying for a chamber job on a pre-fit.
Are you tracking so far?

Have him install the barrel and check with HS gauges. If out of spec, take it up with SPR/Bugholes. You paid for a prefit which they are standing behind. I believe you will be fine. If not, Greg and company will take care of you.

.
Thats what caught my attention. Why does he have to mess with the chamber? Plus, I wouldn't want just any smith and any reamer in my chamber.
 
I can vouch that the torque values are insane on Tikkas. Mine had red residue inside which I assume was thread locker. Lots of heat and ass required to get the factory barrel off.
Oh interesting. I know Sako barrels are put together in a similar fashion, but heard the trick was heating the surfaces then cooling them.

I haven’t successfully removed a Tikka or TRG barrel at home when I had examples of either.
 
Any shop is going to be limited by their tools, fixtures and experience. Tikkas are super tight so he is not out of line warning you about the possibility of surface finish damage based on his shop capabilities.

But.


This is where I raise an eyebrow.

I is straight up telling you that he is going to jack with your already reamed chamber before he even checks it.

Even if the headspace is wrong for your action, there may be no need to "touch up the chamber" (if the HS is too long just bump the tenon shoulder back accordingly).

If he did insist on sticking a reamer in your chamber, there is a good chance his reamer dims will be different than what SPR used.
He would have to dial your barrel into the lathe before doing any reamer work and at that point, you are paying for a chamber job on a pre-fit.
Are you tracking so far?

Have him install the barrel and check with HS gauges. If out of spec, take it up with SPR/Bugholes. You paid for a prefit which they are standing behind. I believe you will be fine. If not, Greg and company will take care of you.

.
Well one of the best just gave the best advice
 
Ah OK. I missed the part of it being a prefit. That's changes things a bit.

Just get a cheap barrel vise and a trailer hitch tool post from Amazon. Now you can swap barrels in the field.
 
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Wrong.

Its actually good advise and shows the smith knows what he is talking about.

A. Tikka barrels are ridiculously over torqued from the factory. They have to be over 200 ft lbs and getting them off is a nightmare. Most smiths will make a relief cut and throw away the stock barrel to make it easier. Getting a factory barrel off to use again is a real bitch and usually involved big wrenches, long pipes and a MAP Torch. I have destroyed an action before getting the barrel to even budge before. It sucks.

B. Tikka actions while close to being able to hold headspace, are not. One smith I trust who has done hundreds of tikka builds says he has seen about a .010 to .012 variation in headspace across all tikka actions. This is enough to fall outside of tolerance and have serious issues. Its why any smith who will blindly make a tikka prefit without disclosing this... SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED.

Not every smith has a ton of extra stocks and tooling to go test fire every action that comes through their shop. Thats a good sign.

Carbon, I think he sounds like a reasonable, experienced and competent guy. If you feel good about him, I would let him do the work. He clearly cares about the end product and wants to make sure you end up with something you are happy with.

I've pulled or helped pull five tikka barrels, a couple took some persuasion with a tap of a mallet. None were terribly difficult, though a couple did get marred a bit, but nothing significant. Between a buddy and myself we've also put on 5 prefits, amazingly they all head spaced correctly. Guess we were just lucky.
 
Tikka barrel removal is tough. But if the barrel we made for you needs to be modified to fit your action, then I want to be the one to do it. While nobody is mentioning this, the more people that mess with your barrel, the less likely any one person is going to want to stand behind it if there’s an issue. Minimize your exposure
 
Tikka barrel removal is tough. But if the barrel we made for you needs to be modified to fit your action, then I want to be the one to do it. While nobody is mentioning this, the more people that mess with your barrel, the less likely any one person is going to want to stand behind it if there’s an issue. Minimize your exposure
Thx for chiming in! Nothing has been done yet. The barreled action and barrel were still in the packaging/wrapping and sitting on the table between us while he was just stating what he does, what to expect etc.

When he said he always touches up the chamber I was like WTF? But it felt totally awkward to to just bail as I buy a fair number of guns from that shop (not from affiliated independent gunsmith, however). I really like that gun shop.

Well, he said he’s not doing anything until I get him the Bravo chassis.

I’ll call him first thing Monday and make sure the brakes are on the project.

Thanks all that chimed in. Right off the bat I didn’t want to put my finger on the scale by mentioning my specific misgivings (chamber) until I heard everyone’s opinions.

Maybe I’ll just tell him to NOT NOT NOT touch the chamber. Or just have him remove the barrel and I’ll buy a damn vise and either use a trailer hitch adapter or see if a buddy/neighbor will allow me to use their bench vise to mount the barrel vise into.

I really miss my garage.
 
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+1 for tikkas being tight. From what i hear, they induction heat the receiver or something, then torque it on, so it bites hard.

IF!! Theres a headplspace issue, send it back to the manuf for inspection or RMA. Id be amazed if it needs adjusting.

The "want to test fire in its stock / chassis" is good. Ensure fit and finish, feeding, extraction, etc..
 
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I think I’m just going stop letting my garage situation box me in, do it all myself, and just buy:

1) this trailer hitch vise mount (thx @DeathBeforeDismount)
1714857410671.jpeg


2) the modular SAC barrel vise (or maybe the beefy LRI one)
1714857921572.png


3) the Wheeler #1 external action wrench and flip one part over to fit the flat sides of the Tikka receiver

4) and an internal Tikka action wrench (SAC, Bugholes) to install the new barrel

5) some USA made go/no-go gauges for peace of mind, knowing that every manufacturer’s gauges are going to dimensionally vary a little, even from each piece to piece

Here’s a thread in which I got some of the good info above:

And this seems like a decent vid on how to do it:


Please do let me know if there is some critical failure in my plan or if you have some specific helpful tips.

Thanks everyone.
 
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You don’t need a garage. I use two C clamps to clamp my barrel vise down to a counter / table / bench when I need to use it.
 
I have the PMA vise and just mounted it to a piece of square tubing that goes right in my receiver hitch.

A few bucks in scrap steel.

3 holes drilled.

2 bolts and nuts (and washers).
Under $100 all day long.

Then a good dead blow and a breaker.

🤷‍♂️

You can spend more and why???
 
I did a write up on this. It's way easier than what most people make it out to be. Not sure where you live but if you're in southern Idaho I'd be happy to pull your barrel for you I've done about a dozen now and it only takes a few minutes. Everything I've done has headspaced within a couple thousandths.

 
I bolted my barrel vise to a two by four. I wrap the barrel in an old toilet paper tube trimmed to fit one lap around the barrel and then tighten the barrel vise bolts.

I stand on one end and slide the other end under a ledge on my gun safe. Insert the action wrench into the action, attach a 3/8” socket to the wrench, clip my torque wrench to that.

Slide an old iron pipe over the torque wrench, give it a good pull ensuring the far end of the board is under the safe, and I’m standing on the board, and the barrel breaks free.

Reverse to install ensuring I coat the barrel threads with automotive anti sieze, and set the torque wrench to 50 ft-lbs.

Easy peasy.

I’ve probably done 15 barrel swaps using takeoff tikka barrels. The lettering never lines up properly, but the installed barrel passes a go no-go gauge test.

And the fired cases never show excessive headspace, so there’s that.
 
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3lb sledge hammer is key for breaking loose Tikka barrels. You don’t need a long bar. Just a couple solid hits on the external action wrench handle on a solid bench it will break loose. I recommend buying longer fine thread bolts for the wheeler external wrench to get a better thread engagement than what wheeler sends you. I have done 3 barrels so far on viper vise no issues marred one receiver a little because the bolts pulled out of the external wrench. It’s not the easiest job but people also must be scared to use hammer sometimes. Letting the barrel soak in kroil over night doesn’t hurt either.
 
The trick is a mallet to give it a bit of shock, just trying to lever it off doesn't work as well.
I personally take my time, talk gently, act calm, be generally smooth when im clamping it in the vice and softly inserting the action bar, and at the last second, hurl abuse loudly and frown harshly at it.

Its the shock technique method, just approach it from a different angle.
 
I personally take my time, talk gently, act calm, be generally smooth when im clamping it in the vice and softly inserting the action bar, and at the last second, hurl abuse loudly and frown harshly at it.

Its the shock technique method, just approach it from a different angle.
I prefer the hard and fast method haha.
 
I personally take my time, talk gently, act calm, be generally smooth when im clamping it in the vice and softly inserting the action bar, and at the last second, hurl abuse loudly and frown harshly at it.

Its the shock technique method, just approach it from a different angle.
Lol.
That's like throwing a punch on 2 instead of zero!
Tikkas never see it coming!
 
I personally take my time, talk gently, act calm, be generally smooth when im clamping it in the vice and softly inserting the action bar, and at the last second, hurl abuse loudly and frown harshly at it.

Its the shock technique method, just approach it from a different angle.
I can see your masterful technique in my mind’s eye…it starts they way Love starts, by opening doors.

You open the safe door real slow, you look around, spy your target, and go,

“Hey baby, been lookin’ all over for you girl.”

1714925413622.jpeg


And so it proceeds apace.

Lol
 
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I only know one person who had a tikka barrel removed and it required a relief cut on the barrel. For what it’s worth.
 
For added clamping force, I put the barrel vise in a 20 ton shop press. Then beat the hell out of the wheeler action wrench with a 4 pound sledgehammer. With various cuss words to let the barrel know I'm not messing around.
 
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Mel Doyle who was the most fair priced smith to blue rifles ever showed me the lead plates in a 20 ton press trick. He could clamp onto a barrel in 2 seconds and snap it off. If the barrel did not move, there was no sign it had ever been clamped up.
 
the barrel just spins in the lead. T

Barrel blocks are for people who don't own a welder. :D

I mean, unless you want to keep the old barrel to kick around in the garage for 20 years. ;)


(no, no.... I know, you keep the barrel in case you need it. Then one day you start thinking "I have that take off barrel, I should buy an action for it. Build a cheap beater rifle." Then you buy a stock. Then you get frustrated, remember why you pulled it in the first place, then go buy another new barrel. Then put the old one back in the garage for 15 years until you start thinking about buying an action for it...)
 
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I'm convinced that Tikka factory torques these barrels on using a gallon of superglue, and a two-story lever being pulled by a team of a half dozen large elephants chasing a dump truck full of peanuts. I tried soaking with Kroil, two different action wrenches (one inside, one outside), heat, cold, heat and cold ... wouldn't budge. And it wasn't the barrel vise, because my 240 lbs were all the way off the ground, and it still wouldn't move. Ended up sending it to LRI and they used their mystical powers to remove it without a relief cut. Any gunsmith that prepares you for Tikka barrels installed like this, is probably OK, or at least, experienced with Tikka barrels. The one to worry about is the one that takes your Tikka from you and says "No sweat, I'll have this barrel off in about 10 minutes".
Sounds like you need to equally invest in elephants and peanuts.
 
If it was me I'd call Chad at LRI and ask about his work load and turn around time.
 
Tikka barrels are a MF to remove as mentioned. Are you planning on re-installing on another rifle? If not, save yourself a bunch of aggravation and put a pipe wrench on it. Guaranteed not to slip...:)

I have not installed enough Tikka barrels to comment on consistency of boltface to receiver ring dimension consistency.
I do know this- if it's as bad as stated above- it's ridiculous to install (and just as ridiculous for anyone to manufacture ) a shouldered prefit that has a slim chance of headspacing "correctly". By correctly, I don't mean "go" + .005...

I get the recent push for shouldered prefits- but if the receivers and bolts aren't machined to the very tight tolerances needed to make them work properly, they shouldn't be done. The barrels need to be equally precise. How the hell can anyone chambering a shouldered prefit be confident spinning one up if there's a relative mile of deviation in the receiver dimensions? Buying a shouldered prefit- then needing a smith to deepen the chamber, or set back the shoulder is absurd on it's face. This is why we have nutted prefits...
 
Tikka barrels are a MF to remove as mentioned. Are you planning on re-installing on another rifle? If not, save yourself a bunch of aggravation and put a pipe wrench on it. Guaranteed not to slip...:)

I have not installed enough Tikka barrels to comment on consistency of boltface to receiver ring dimension consistency.
I do know this- if it's as bad as stated above- it's ridiculous to install (and just as ridiculous for anyone to manufacture ) a shouldered prefit that has a slim chance of headspacing "correctly". By correctly, I don't mean "go" + .005...

I get the recent push for shouldered prefits- but if the receivers and bolts aren't machined to the very tight tolerances needed to make them work properly, they shouldn't be done. The barrels need to be equally precise. How the hell can anyone chambering a shouldered prefit be confident spinning one up if there's a relative mile of deviation in the receiver dimensions? Buying a shouldered prefit- then needing a smith to deepen the chamber, or set back the shoulder is absurd on it's face. This is why we have nutted prefits...
What inconsistency are you seeing up above that equates to tolerance differences? Just because people have a hard time getting a thread off? There is one consistent element that I have seen from those have gotten barrels off. Whack the wrench with a hammer.

Then why do so many reputable places make shouldered prefits? Some didn't start at the beginning til they had enough to measure. Now they do them. Ask @bohem yourself. He has done the measurements.
 
@Baron23

Wasn’t meant in a mean way.

I did use a breaker bar on a torque wrench once. Had the wrench set to 100 ft-lbs, just to see if it would cam over before the barrel broke loose. Having heard all the “even Thor can’t break a Tikka barrel loose! They’re torqued to well over 100 ft-lbs!” Stories, I figured that was a good way to see if 100+ or not.

In that case, not.

Now I just use a breaker bar and socket wrench.
 
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No. I use a socket wrench. That was misstated.

I use the torque wrench when I install a barrel.
You should edit your post instead of just mentioning a correction in a later post.

Some dudes just read a post and run off and go to town lol (not me).
 
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