January 12th, 2009

Bill Myers’ Indexable Rimfire Action

Virginia’s Bill Myers is recognized as one of the top rimfire smiths in the country. We featured one of his “Spec Rifles” in a recent Gun of the Week story. Built on a blue-printed Suhl 150-1 action, Bill’s Bubinga-stocked benchrest rig proved to be a winner right from the start.

Bill is a creative thinker, and his own exhaustive testing has convinced him that barrel indexing can enhance accuracy in rimfire benchrest guns. Myers does acknowledge that, particularly with a very good barrel, the advantages of indexing may be subtle, and extensive testing may be required. Nonetheless, Myers believes indexing can improve rimfire accuracy.

The Challenge of Barrel Indexing
With a conventional barrel installation, employing a shoulder with a threaded tenon, it is difficult to index the barrel. Even with a cone breech that eliminates the problem of extractor cuts, you’d have to use shims to alter the barrel index position, or otherwise re-set the shoulder each time you screwed the barrel in further.

Bill Myers Indexing Action
Bill Myers Indexing Action

Bill has come up with a masterful solution to barrel indexing. He designed and built his own prototype custom action that clamps the barrel rather than holding it with threads. The front section of the action is sliced lengthways, and then clamped down with three bolts. A special bushing (the gold piece in photos) fits between the barrel and the action. By using bushings of different inside diameters, Bill can fit any barrel up to an inch or so diameter, so long as it has a straight contour at the breech end. To mount the barrel, Bill simply places the fitted bushing over the barrel end-shank, then slips the “sleeved” barrel into the front end of the action. Tighten three bolts, and the barrel is secure.

Indexing with the Myers’ Clamping Action
To index the barrel, Myers simply loosens the three clamping-bolts and rotates the barrel in the action. Because there is no thread to pull the barrel in or out, the headspace stays the same no matter how much the barrel is rotated. In other words you can rotate the barrel to any position on the clockface and the headspace remains unchanged.

Bill Myers Indexing Action

Bill Myers Indexing Action

Right now Bill has no plans to start building his own indexable rimfire actions for sale. However, he is involved in serious experimentation with barrel indexing, in cooperation with Gene Beggs and others. Over the course of the next year we may see a “semi-production” action offered that incorporates aspects of Bill Myers’ indexable, barrel-clamping receiver. For more information, contact Bill Myers, wzmyers [at] comcast.net, (540) 778-1782.

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