What are yall doing for bolt smoothness

stello1001

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  • Feb 20, 2017
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    So aside from the obvious, cycling the bolt over and over, what can I do to make a bolt cycle smoother?

    I bought a brand new howa mini to give my dad for hunting. I've already spent some coin in getting a decent bottom metal for it (the factory one sucks since it's plastic), and even had it bedded.

    I later stumbled onto a good deal on here for another mini and bought it. They are worlds apart in how they feel when you cycle the bolt. I could give this one to my dad instead but now this one is going to need bedding, another bottom metal, etc.

    Is there anything anyone can recommend? If it was for me, I wouldn't mind much. But since I gifting this to my dad, I want to make sure it's as good as it can get.

    The one I built for my dad
    20220909_173113.jpg


    VS the one I bought after the fact

    PXL_20220830_135612635.jpg



    The one I bought new has some finish on bolt and it looks shitty. The one I bought from here has a stainless bolt and they are worlds apart!
     
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    NBPRP

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    Jan 16, 2014
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    Your best bet is to take it to a competent smith so as to 'true' it up or for that matter 'blueprint' it. Both those terms are rather antiquated so what really would be in your best interest is to identify what is making one action seem 'smoother' that the other and attempt to correct the difference.

    Then again there is always 'Astro-glide'.

    P.S. By the way it does look kind or mangy, no wonder you are dissatisfied with it.
     

    Hobo Hilton

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    This issue goes all the way back to the "Assembler"... I'm not picking on Howa.
    Assemblers can pick and choose from thousands of parts in order to complete a weapon.. An experienced assembler develops a certain "feel" for matching parts... This has gone on for many generations. The men who built competition rifles for the Military teams knew how to match parts that performed.
    Fast forward to 2022.... Now every industry is experiencing parts shortages. When an assembler gets down to the last available parts, he has no choice other than to put the weapon together. It's not just weapons, it is everything mechanical that is having these issues.
    If anything mechanical does not meet your expectations, return it for another item or get a refund of your money.

    The world has changed.

    JMHO
     

    Kadams1563

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  • Feb 13, 2017
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    Fill it full of toothpaste and cycle it about 5000 times… or buy an impact.
     

    NBPRP

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    I realize the last portion of my response was rather smarmy and should be deleted.

    In all honestly, sometimes inspecting the bolt/action may reveal what makes it not cycle smoothly and once that is pin pointed you can address the issue.
     

    db2000

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    Luckyshot

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    A little grease or oil goes a long way on rear and bottom of lugs. If you have a dremel, you can go to town polishing the cocking ramp. A LITTLE grease on the cocking piece is great. No grease on the firing pin spring.
    Ive seen several custom actions feel like junk because the owners thought they shouldn't have to keep them wet. Factory actions are no exception.


    Really stiff bolt open you could try a lighter firing pin spring. Be aware that could lead to light-strikes though.

    If you have lots of cock-on-close, you can CAREFULLY file the sear where it interfaces with the trigger. Don't try that if you don't know what you're doing.

    I've heard about double sleeving the bolt body to keep it centered, but have no experience with that. In theory it would keep things from binding as much.

    Even changing the bolt handle to something longer/more ergonomic for you can help! My buddy's AntiX felt like garbage with the short & skimpy lightweight handle it came with. After swapping with a real bolt handle it felt like a Defiance

    Agree with an above commenter: observe for uneven or aggressive wear, and address that

    Good luck
     

    Ebar48

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    What I would do:
    Grease the lugs and cycle for a couple hours to smooth out the action. Then after it has smoothed up a bit I would recommend sending it in to AD arms for some bolt work. They will do fluting and add microslick coating for 75 bucks and have a quick turn around. They do Howa bolts. Fluting makes it look nice and the microslick will help with the feel.
     

    Baron23

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  • Mar 19, 2020
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    I have a gun I bought very slightly used that was built on a Seekins Havak action. It was NOT smooth feeling. Yes, grease on lugs but that's just standard care to prevent galling, yes?

    Anyway, I bought a small bottle of Bob Marvel's Custom Oil and just a thin coat on the bolt body and just cycled the dang thing. It got pretty smooth with use. Dunno if it was just cycling or the oil but I also have a Deviant that cycles pretty darn good but after cleaning the gun I put this oil on the bolt body and it does feel smoother than it did before hand.

    I believe...but dunno...that AR guys like this stuff.

     

    CK1.0

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    I've never played with a Howa Mini, but I've shot a Howa 1500 a bunch and know they're similar.

    Howa 1500's have a steep cocking-ramp, and their firing pin springs seem to be about 2-3x stronger than they need to be. IMO they seem to be classic old-school Japanese manufacturing ethos: reliable and will last forever. Not ideal for a light bolt-lift feel when cocking the firing-pin though.

    Keep some grease on the cocking-ramp, always. One day, if you and/or your Dad live long enough, you may not need to be so religious about keeping the cocking-ramp greased... until then, now you know what to do.
     
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    PhilOX11

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    On my CZ455 I used polishing stones of various grades, wet & dry and finished with metal polish.
    My Sig Cross I did not need to do anything as it was already like glass.
     

    Mbaysinger89

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    Are you wanting the bolt lift smoothed out or the full operation slicked up? Alot of new guns in my experience have some pretty ugly machined edges. I will usually grab the dremel and polish up the bolt to make it slicker.
     

    stello1001

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  • Feb 20, 2017
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    I was wanting the bolt to cycle back and forth smoother. Not necessarily the lift, although I wouldn't mind improving that as well.

    For those saying I need a Tikka or a custom or whatever, I have a bunch of other higher end and much better rifles.

    This was just a light handy truck gun for hunting I wanted to get my dad. He already has a hunting rifle on an older m70 which is honestly real slick!


    I appreciate all the recommendations. I knew of some of these general tips already but I learned some more. And a few of you even recommended some specific products that I'll probably end up trying out. Much appreciated!
     
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    flatland1

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    There are five Howa Mini rifles with custom barrels & stocks in my safe, and all but one of them have been CeraKoted, which usually seems to make a bolt run kinda sticky. But these rifles all have bolts that run slicker than snot. The little bolt handle (relative to a full-size 1500 action) does make for stiffer bolt lift, even with MolySlide on the cocking ramp. I could make myself another bolt holding collet for these smaller dia bolts, and clamp it in the mill vise so I could run an annular cutter down over the existing bolt knob, then thread the resulting stub for a longer knob, but these rifles are what I consider 'light 'n handy' little rigs, and I don't really want a longer bolt knob sticking out on them. That leaves trying a lighter striker spring, which I would prefer to do, but not sure where to look for them, or how much lighter compression weight to go with.