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January 16th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: Remington 700 — History, X-Ray, Blueprinting

remington 700 bolt-action rifle gunday X-Ray Blueprinting

For today’s Sunday GunDay story, we look at the legendary Remington 700, perhaps the most popular American bolt-action rifle of all time. After covering the history of the Rem 700 rifle, we provide an inside look at the Rem 700 through a series of cutaway animations. Then we explain how gunsmiths can enhance a Remington 700 action through “blueprinting” procedures.

Remington 700 Origins and History

remington 700 manualAfter World War II, Remington Arms engineer Mike Walker began designing lower-cost alternatives to the Model 30, which resulted in the Model 721. These used a cylindrical receiver produced from cylindrical bar stock that could be turned on a lathe, rather than machined in a series of milling operations, which significantly reduced the cost of production. Further developments of the basic 721 action under the direction of Walker produced the Model 722 and Model 725, and ultimately in 1962, the Model 700.

Walker sought to increase the accuracy of the rifles, by utilizing tight tolerances in the chamber and bore, a short leade, and a very fast lock time. Like the earlier 721, the Remington 700 action was designed for mass production. Remington initially produced two variants of the Model 700, the ADL and BDL, in both long- and short-action versions. In 1969, Remington introduced upgrades for the rifle, including a longer rear bolt shroud, a jeweled bolt, and improved stock finishing. Four years later, production of left-handed Rem 700s began, to compete with the Savage Model 110, at that time the only major American-made left-bolt rifle.

Other Rem 700 versions include the titanium receiver 700ti, the 700 SPS (which replaced the ADL in 2005), and the CDL model. In addition to its development as a hunting rifle, the Model 700 also provided the basis for military and police sniper rifles, starting with the M40 rifle in 1966, which was initially ordered by the U.S. Marine Corps. The U.S. Army adopted the M24 Sniper Weapon System in 1986.

remington 700 bolt-action rifle gunday X-Ray Blueprinting
The Remington 700 is sold in both short action and long action variants. This photo is from the Big ED YouTube video comparing the two action lengths.

The Remington 700 is a manually-operated bolt action with two forward dual-opposed lugs. The bolt face is recessed, fully enclosing the base of the cartridge, The extractor is a C-clip sitting within the bolt face. The ejector is a plunger on the bolt face actuated by a coil spring. The bolt is of 3-piece construction, brazed together (head, body and bolt handle). The receiver is milled from round cross-section steel.

Chassis Systems for Remington 700s

With the popularity of the Remington 700 series rifles, and the availability of Rem 700 barreled actions by themselves, many companies have created after-market chassis systems. This GunMan YouTube Video reviews five modern chassis systems configured for Remington 700 barreled actions. Modular chassis systems have become particularly popular with PRS/NRL competitors.

Rem 700 Cutaway Video Shows Components + Operation

Ever wish you could look inside your rifle, to see how the trigger and fire-control system work? Well now that is possible with the magic of 3D computer graphics. Modern software allows detailed “cutaway” side-views (see below), as well as 3D views with 360° rotation. The software can also provide X-Ray-type views into the gun’s internals — as you can see above. And computer animation can show the complete firing process from trigger pull to chambering of the next round.

3d firearms modeling gun CGI software encylopedia gun disassembly

READERS — Do take the time to watch the video! This Rem 700 animation is really outstanding! EVERY bolt-action shooter should watch this video all the way through.

The Model 700 series of bolt-action rifles have been manufactured by Remington Arms since 1962. All are based on basically the same centerfire bolt action. They are typically sold with an internal magazine depending on caliber, some of which have a floor-plate for quick-unloading, and some of which are “blind” (no floor-plate). The Model 700 is a development of the Remington 721 and 722 series of rifles, which were introduced in 1948.

3d firearms modeling gun CGI software encylopedia gun disassembly

The Remington 700 is a manually-operated bolt action with forward, dual opposed lugs. It features “Cock On Opening”, meaning the upward rotation of the bolt when the rifle is opened cocks the firing pin. A cam mechanism pushes the firing pin’s cocking piece backward. The bolt face is recessed, fully enclosing the base of the cartridge. The extractor is a C-clip sitting within the bolt face. The ejector is a plunger on the bolt face actuated by a coil spring. The bolt is of 3-piece construction, brazed together (head, body. and bolt handle). The receiver is milled from round cross-section steel.

Blueprinting Rem 700 Action — Making a Good Action Better

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizingYou may have heard the phrase “blueprinting an action”, but do you know what that really means? Do you know what operations are done to an action during the blueprinting process? To help you understand, gunsmith Bill Marr of RifleShooter.com has created a helpful article showing a Rem 700 blueprinting job start to finish. This article spotlights how the procedures can be done with manual tools. Bill, who runs 782 Custom Gunworks Ltd., can also perform many of these operations with modern automated machinery. In fact, Bill has written a follow-up article on Truing a Rem 700 receiver with a Lathe.

Bill explains: “Blue-printing, or truing a rifle action, ensures the receiver face, threads, lugs, bolt lugs, and bolt face are square to the center line of the receiver.” In Bill’s informative article, Bill shows how he blueprints a Remington 700 short action receiver with .308 Win bolt face. He covers the following procedures step by step:

Action Disassembly
Ream Minor Diameter of Receiver Threads
Square the Receiver Lugs
Square the Face of the Receiver
Lap the Bolt Lugs
Square the Bolt Face

Bill employed a variety of tools from Brownells to complete the blueprinting job, including: Remington 700 Armorer’s Kit; Manson Receiver Accurizing Kit; Bolt Lapping Kit; Bolt Face Truing Tool; Manson Receiver Ring Facing Cutter; Multi-Vise with Jaw Pads; Silicone Carbide Abrasive; and Do-Drill Cutting Oil.

1. Truing the Receiver Face

Using the receiver facing tool, the front of the receiver is trued. The tool is placed over the tap and turned by hand. We used Do Drill to lubricate it.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

2. Lapping the Lugs

The bolt lapping tool screws into the front of the action and applies rearward pressure on the bolt face. A little bit of lapping compound is placed on the front of the receiver lugs. The bolt handle is then raised and lowered repeatedly. Note — it is critical that we do not get any lapping compound on any other surfaces.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

3. Truing the Bolt Face

On this bolt, the central part of the bolt face was low. After the truing operation, this Rem 700 bolt face is now completely square to the action.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

READ Full Action Blueprinting Article HERE with 30+ Photos »

IMPORTANT: Rifleshooter.com states: “This article highlights our project and is presented for information purposes only. This provides an overview of the process and should not be attempted without the guidance and supervision of an experienced gunsmith“.

PT&G Pacific Tool Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

If you like the idea of a Blueprinted action, but do not have a good gunsmith nearby (or don’t want to wait many weeks), you can order high-grade blueprinted Remington 700 actions from Pacific Tool & Gauge starting at $637.99 (see above).

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December 5th, 2021

REMAGE Project — Building Rem 700 with Pre-Fit Barrel

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr
Barrel nut system allows “Pre-Fit” barrel installation on a Remington action. CLICK photo to zoom.

REMAGE Project Report by Bill, Rifleshooter.com Editor
Installing a new barrel on your Remington 700 (especially without a lathe) may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to companies like McGowen Precision Barrels and Criterion Barrels there are easier alternatives. By adopting a Savage-style barrel nut on a 1 1/16″ thread for a Remington 700 receiver, pre-chambered (aka “pre-fit”) barrels can be easily swapped with just a few hand tools. This system is sometimes called a REMAGE conversion (for “REMington savAGE”). With simple tools a “Pre-fit” 6mmBR-chambered barrel was installed on the author’s Remington action — no machining or lathe-work required.

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr

Using a few tools from Brownells: Remington 700 Action Wrench, Barrel Vise, Go and No-Go Gauges, Recoil Lug Alignment Tool, and a Savage Barrel Nut Wrench, I was able to swap the .308 Winchester barrel off of my Remington 700 short action and install the new McGowen pre-fit, pre-chambered barrel, converting it to a tack-driving 6BR (aka 6mmBR Norma).

The existing barrel is simply removed from the action (normally the hardest part) and the new barrel is screwed on with the Go Gauge in place. After headspace is verified with the Go Gauge, the barrel nut is tightened against the action and you are off to the range. It takes all of the machine work out of the barreling process.

Note: Because barrel nut has a slightly larger diameter, some stocks may require minor inletting. Also, if you are shooting fired brass from another rifle with the same chambering, you should FL-size the brass before loading it for your new pre-fit barrel. And always check the set-up with a dummy round loaded to normal cartridge length BEFORE you head to the range. With Pre-Fits, the freebore should be adequate for your cartridge, but always check and adjust your seating depth as needed.

remage 6mm BR 108 berger best group 360

My McGowen Remage barrel looks and shoots great. I’ve written two longer articles that provide greater detail about this project. To learn more about how the barrel was installed, read: Rebarrel a Remington 700 without a lathe: McGowen’s Remage barrel conversion. To see how the rifle performed at the range, read: McGowen Remage Barrel Review: Spoiler Alert — It Shoots!.

Bill has been a serious shooter for over 20 years. A former Marine Corps Sergeant, he’s competed and placed in High Power Rifle, ISPC, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, F-Class, and precision rifle disciplines. In addition to being an NRA-certified firearms instructor and range officer, Bill has hunted big game in North America, South America, and Africa. Bill writes extensively about gunsmithing, precision rifles, and the shooting sports on his blog, Rifleshooter.com.

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October 31st, 2021

Sunday Gunday: Howa Rifles — Factory Rigs and Custom Builds

Howa 1500 rifle KRG Bravo Bill Rifleshooter.com
At top is a Howa 1500 in KUIU Vias Camo stock. Lower image is a Howa 1500 with KRG Bravo chassis.

If you are looking to acquire a reliable, accurate rifle for a late fall hunt, Howa can be a good choice. Howas feature smooth-running actions with fine two-stage HACT triggers. A Howa barreled action can also be a good basis for a DIY project. But some folks have heard that it may be difficult to find stocks, or to fit an after-market barrel. That’s not true. There are many stock options available, and in this article, Bill of RifleShooter.com shows that it is easy to remove the factory-installed barrel with the right tools. We think a Howa makes a fine basis for a varmint rig or field rifle. Or you can build a tactical rifle as Bill did. You can start with the factory barrel and when you want/need more accuracy, then have a gunsmith install a custom barrel from Krieger Barrels, Lilja Barrels or other quality brand.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com
Howa mini action carbon stalker hunting rifle
The Carbon Stalker is an excellent ultralight factory option, weighing just 4.6 lbs. with Mini Action (before optics). All Howa Carbon Fiber Stalker rifles come with a Sub-MOA Guarantee and Lifetime Warranty.

What You Need to Know About Howa 1500-series Rifles

Tech Feature by Bill, editor of RifleShooter.com
Consider this article the “Howa 1500 Overview”. There has been a lot of interest in Howa rifles and barreled actions imported by Legacy Sports International. In addition to being able to buy a complete rifle from a dealer, Brownells sells barreled actions in a wide variety of calibers and configurations. In this post we are going to take a look at the Howa 1500 series.

Howa Rifles — General Background
Howa is a Japanese heavy machinery company. One of its product lines are firearms, which, are imported into the United States of America by two different companies, Legacy Sports International and Weatherby. Legacy sells the 1500 under the manufacturers name while Weatherby re-brands the guns as the Weatherby Vanguard. In general, the finishes on the Weatherby rifles are more refined than the LSI-imported 1500s.

General Evaluation of Howa 1500 Rifles
I’ve found Howa 1500s to be solid, entry-level rifles that are capable of sub-MOA accuracy out of the box. I’ve actually purchased two Howa rifles I’ve tested because I like them so much. The gun below, a Howa Mini-Action in 7.62×39 Russian, is one of my favorite factory guns to shoot.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Check out this three-shot group I drilled at 100 yards with the rifle above and 125-grain Sierras. It took a lot of work and load development to get there, but when it did, it worked well.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1600 HACT Two-Stage TriggerHowa 1500 HACT 2-Stage Trigger
Howa 1500s feature the very nice Howa HACT trigger. This is an adjustable, two-stage trigger, set for about 3 pounds (combined stages). Crisp and repeatable, this is an excellent trigger for a factory gun. There is no annoying Glock-style safety lever in the middle of the trigger blade. The 2-stage design and pull weight range works well for a hunting rifle or a rig for PRS competition. Rifleshooter.com says the Howa trigger is “one of the best factory triggers, along with Tikka. I’ve found the Howa trigger superior to a Remington 700 — the Howas doesn’t need to be replaced.”

Writing for the Western Outdoor News, WONews.com, Steve Comus has field-tested the HACT Trigger. Steve writes: “I always liked two-stage triggers, because of the way I could take-up the slack and then actually know when the rifle was going to go off. The take-up on the [HACT] trigger was fast and easy. The crisp, positive release when pressure was put on during the second stage [reminded me] of some of the target rifles I shot through the years.”

Howa Actions — Three Options
Howa offers three action lengths: Mini, Short, and Long. You can see the bolts for the three action lengths in the image below. The Mini-Action has similar external dimensions to the Remington Model Seven, however, the Mini-Action’s bolt does not travel as far to the rear. This is a mixed bag. The upside is you have a quicker action (shorter bolt throw). The downside is you are limited to shorter rounds such as the .223 Remington, 7.62×39mm Russian, and 6.5 Grendel. But if you need a bigger cartridge, just choose the standard or long action Howa variant.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 vs. Remington 700 — Important Differences
Is the Howa 1500 a Remington 700 clone, or some kind of improved Remington 700? No, not really. While the top radius of the Howa 1500 does match the Model 700, and they can both use the same two-piece scope bases, there are a number of differences.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

If you look at the Howa 1500 alongside the Remington 700 you’ll note the M700 is a round action, while the Howa is a flat-bottom action. In many ways the Howa’s bottom half reminds me of a push-feed Winchester. This means the chassis and stocks that support a Howa 1500 are not V-block based like you’ll find on a 700, instead they have a flat bottom. While the bolt of the Howa is similar in external appearance to the Model 700, it does offer some improvements, notably an M16-style extractor and a firing pin assembly that can be easily removed without tools.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 action screws are metric and are in a different location from the 700. The Howa 1500 has an integral recoil lug that accepts the front action screw, this means you have more of the front action screw engaging the action. WARNING: If you install it into a poorly-fitted stock or action you may bind it.

Can a Howa Action Be Used for a Custom Rifle Project?
Absolutely! You can either buy a barreled action from Brownells and throw it in a chassis system/stock of your choice or you can use a stripped action to build a custom rifle. If you are in the chassis market, MDT offers a wide variety of chassis in different price ranges. All have worked well for me.

How to Remove Howa Factory Barrel from Action
You may have heard internet grumblings about removing Howa barrels. Some keyboard commandos say they are extremely difficult to remove without a relief cut. Well Bill at Rifleshooter.com demonstrates that Howa barrels can be removed without trouble, provided you have the right tools. Watch this video:

Watch Howa Barrel Removal Video — Quick and Easy (Click Speaker Icon for Audio)

Q: Is it difficult to remove a barrel from a Howa 1500?
A: Not very. I’ve heard from some smiths that worked on Howas (years ago) that the factory barrels are difficult to remove. However of the half dozen or so Howa barrels that I’ve pulled, they’ve been very easy. I use a Brownells action wrench with the top piece for a Rem Model 700 and the flat bottom resting against the flat on the wrench.

Howa Actions Require Metric Barrel Threads
It’s easy to thread a barrel for a Howa Action. You just have to cut metric threads — most lathes out there can cut them. I cut the threads below on a manual lathe using change gears. [Editor: John Whidden cuts metric tenon threads with a CNC lathe. “It’s easy,” John tells us, “No issue whatsoever.”]

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Using Howa Actions for Custom Rifles
I have built a few customs with Howa actions. Below is one of my favorite, a .308 Winchester. It consists of a Howa 1500 action, Shilen Select Match Rem Varmint contour barrel, and Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) ESS chassis. Great rifle and it hammers!

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

To learn more about Howa rifles, visit Legacy Sports International. To buy a Howa barreled action, visit Brownells.com. To learn more about modular chassis systems for Howa rifles, visit MDTTAC.com.

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July 29th, 2021

.308 Win Velocity vs. Barrel Length — 28″ to 16.5″ Cut-Down Test

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

With barrels, one wonders “Can a little more length provide a meaningful velocity gain?” To answer that question, Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting a .308 Win barrel from 28″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .308 Win factory ammunition were chronographed at each barrel length.

This is a very useful test is you’re thinking about building a .308 Win hunting rifle, or perhaps thinking of going shorter for your F-TR rifle to save weight.

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

READ RifleShooter.com .308 Win Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 22.7 FPS Per Inch (.308 Win Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. With a barrel reduction from 28″ to 16.5″, the average speed loss of the four types of .308 ammo was 261 fps total. That works out to an average loss of 22.7 fps per inch. This chart shows velocity changes for all four ammo varieties:

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

Summary of Findings:
The average velocity loss per inch, for all four ammo types combined, was 22.7 FPS. By ammo type, the average FPS loss per inch was: 24.6 (Win 147 FMJ), 22.8 (IMI 150 FMJ), 20.9 (Fed GMM 168gr), and 22.5 (Win 180PP).

Interestingly, these numbers jive pretty well with estimates found in reloading manuals. The testers observed: “The Berger Reloading manual says for the 308 Winchester, ‘muzzle velocity will increase (or decrease) by approximately 20 fps per inch from a standard 24″ barrel’.”

How the Test Was Done

The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Since we would be gathering data on 52 different barrel length and ammunition combinations and would not be crowning the barrel after each cut, we decided to eliminate gathering data on group sizes. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 47° F.”

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers, multiple line charts, and complete data sets for each type of ammo. Rifleshooter.com also offers ballistics graphs showing trajectories with different barrel lengths. All in all, this was a very thorough test by the folks at RifleShooter.com.

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .308 barrel cut-down test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″, we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was 5″ longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .308 Win start length. Velocity loss can be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths (and bigger cartridges). Powder burn rates can also make a difference.

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April 19th, 2021

.223 Rem Velocity Per Inch Revealed by Barrel Cut-Down Test

.223 Rem Cut-Down Test barrel UMC m855

Most of us own a .223 Rem rifle. Now, thanks to our friends at Rifleshooter.com we can assess exactly how velocity changes with barrel length for this popular cartridge.

Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting the barrel of a .223 Rem rifle from 26″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .223 Rem/5.56 ammo were chron’d at each barrel length. The Rifleshooter.com team that conducts these tests has a full-service gun shop, 782 Custom Gunworks — visit 782guns.com.

READ RifleShooter.com 5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Test Article »

Test Barrel Lost 25.34 FPS Per Inch (.223 Rem Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. The average speed loss of the four types of .223/5.56 ammo, with a 9.5″ shortening of barrel length, was 240.75 fps total (from start to finish). That works out to an average loss of 25.34 fps per inch.

5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Speed Test 26″ to 16.5″ Start FPS at 26″ End FPS at 16.5″ Total Loss Average Loss Per Inch
UMC .223 55gr 3182* 2968 214 22.5 FPS
Federal M193 55gr 3431 3187 244 25.7 FPS
Win m855 62gr 3280 2992 288 30.3 FPS
Blk Hills .223 68gr 2849 2632 217 22.8 FPS

*There may have been an error. The 25″ velocity was higher at 3221 fps.

See inch-by-inch Barrel Cut-Down Velocity Data HERE »

Rifleshooter.com observed: “Cutting the barrel from 26″ to 16.5″ resulted in a velocity reduction of 214 ft/sec with the UMC 223 55-grain cartridge, 244 ft/sec with the Federal M-193 cartridge, 288 ft/sec with the Winchester M855 cartridge and 217 ft/sec with the Back Hills 223 68-grain match cartridge.”

How the Test Was Done
The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel-mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 45.7° F.”

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers.

See More Barrel Cut-Down Tests on Rifleshooter.com
Rifleshooter.com has performed barrel cut-down tests for many other calibers/chamberings including 6mm Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .338 Lapua Magnum. See these test results at Rifleshooter.com.

.308 Win barrel length cut test

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .223/5.56 test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″ we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .223 Rem start length. Velocity loss may be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths. And, of course, different cartridge types and powder/bullet combinations will yield different results.

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February 17th, 2021

How to Blueprint a Rem 700 Action — Rifleshooter.com Reveals

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizingYou may have heard the phrase “blueprinting an action”, but do you know what that really means? Do you know what operations are done to an action during the blueprinting process? To help you understand, gunsmith Bill Marr of RifleShooter.com has created a helpful article showing a Rem 700 blueprinting job start to finish. This article spotlights how the procedures can be done with manual tools. Bill, who runs 782 Custom Gunworks Ltd., can also perform many of these operations with modern automated machinery. In fact, Bill has written a follow-up article on Truing a Rem 700 receiver with a Lathe.

READ Full Action Blueprinting Article HERE with 30+ Photos »

Bill explains: “Blue-printing, or truing a rifle action, ensures the receiver face, threads, lugs, bolt lugs, and bolt face are square to the center line of the receiver.” In Bill’s informative article, Bill shows how he blueprints a Remington 700 short action receiver with .308 Win bolt face. He covers the following procedures step by step:

Action Disassembly
Ream Minor Diameter of Receiver Threads
Square the Receiver Lugs
Square the Face of the Receiver
Lap the Bolt Lugs
Square the Bolt Face

Bill employed a variety of tools from Brownells to complete the blueprinting job, including: Remington 700 Armorer’s Kit; Manson Receiver Accurizing Kit; Bolt Lapping Kit; Bolt Face Truing Tool; Manson Receiver Ring Facing Cutter; Multi-Vise with Jaw Pads; Silicone Carbide Abrasive; and Do-Drill Cutting Oil.

Highlights from the Rifleshooter.com article:

1. Chasing the Threads

We use the bushings to guide the receiver tap. This chases the threads and ensures they are square.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

2. Truing the Receiver Face

Using the receiver facing tool, the front of the receiver is trued. The tool is placed over the tap and turned by hand. We used Do Drill to lubricate it.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

3. Lapping the Lugs

The bolt lapping tool screws into the front of the action and applies rearward pressure on the bolt face. A little bit of lapping compound is placed on the front of the receiver lugs. The bolt handle is then raised and lowered repeatedly. Note — it is critical that we do not get any lapping compound on any other surfaces.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

4. Truing the Bolt Face

On this bolt, the central part of the bolt face was low. After the truing operation, this Rem 700 bolt face is now completely square to the action.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

READ Blueprinting Rem 700 Action with Lathe Article HERE »

IMPORTANT: Rifleshooter.com states: “This article highlights our project and is presented for information purposes only. This provides an overview of the process and should not be attempted without the guidance and supervision of an experienced gunsmith“.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 30th, 2020

REMAGE Pre-Fit 6mmBR Conversion — How to Do It

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr
Barrel nut system allows “Pre-Fit” barrel installation on a Remington action. CLICK photo to zoom.

REMAGE Project Report by Bill, Rifleshooter.com Editor
Installing a new barrel on your Remington 700 (especially without a lathe) may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to companies like McGowen Precision Barrels and Criterion, there are easier alternatives. By adopting a Savage-style barrel nut on a 1 1/16″ thread for a Remington 700 receiver, pre-chambered (aka “pre-fit”) barrels can be easily swapped with just a few hand tools. This system is sometimes called a REMAGE conversion (for “REMington savAGE”). With simple tools a “Pre-fit” 6mmBR-chambered barrel was installed on the author’s Remington action — no machining or lathe-work required.

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr

Using a few tools from Brownells: Remington 700 Action Wrench, Barrel Vise, Go and No-Go Gauges, Recoil Lug Alignment Tool, and a Savage Barrel Nut Wrench, I was able to swap the .308 Winchester barrel off of my Remington 700 short action and install the new McGowen pre-fit, pre-chambered barrel, converting it to a tack-driving 6BR (aka 6mmBR Norma).

The existing barrel is simply removed from the action (normally the hardest part) and the new barrel is screwed on with the Go Gauge in place. After headspace is verified with the Go Gauge, the barrel nut is tightened against the action and you are off to the range. It takes all of the machine work out of the barreling process.

Note: Because barrel nut has a slightly larger diameter, some stocks may require minor inletting. Also, if you are shooting fired brass from another rifle with the same chambering, you should FL-size the brass before loading it for your new pre-fit barrel. And always check the set-up with a dummy round loaded to normal cartridge length BEFORE you head to the range. With Pre-Fits, the freebore should be adequate for your cartridge, but always check and adjust your seating depth as needed.

remage 6mm BR 108 berger best group 360

My McGowen Remage barrel looks and shoots great. I’ve written two longer articles that provide greater detail about this project. To learn more about how the barrel was installed, read: Rebarrel a Remington 700 without a lathe: McGowen’s Remage barrel conversion. To see how the rifle performed at the range, read: McGowen Remage Barrel Review: Spoiler Alert — It Shoots!.

Bill has been a serious shooter for over 20 years. A former Marine Corps Sergeant, he’s competed and placed in High Power Rifle, ISPC, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, F-Class, and precision rifle disciplines. In addition to being an NRA-certified firearms instructor and range officer, Bill has hunted big game in North America, South America, and Africa. Bill writes extensively about gunsmithing, precision rifles, and the shooting sports on his Rifleshooter.com website.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tactical No Comments »
November 14th, 2020

Building Rifles with Howa 1500 Barreled Actions — Expert Advice

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com
Rifleshooter.com built this tactical rifle (top image) with a Howa 1500 action, Shilen barrel, and MDT chassis. Below is a factory Howa 1500 Multi-Cam rifle.

Many of our readers are thinking of purchasing a Howa rifle or barreled action. These feature smooth-running actions with a good two-stage HACT trigger. But some folks have heard that it may be difficult to find stocks, or to fit an after-market barrel. That’s not true. There are many stock options available, and in this article, Bill of RifleShooter.com shows that it is easy to remove the factory-installed barrel with the right tools. We think a Howa makes a fine basis for a varmint rig or field rifle. Or you can build a tactical rifle as Bill did. You can start with the factory barrel and when you want/need more accuracy, then have a gunsmith install a custom barrel from Krieger, Shilen, or other quality brand.

What You Need to Know About Howa 1500-series Rifles

Tech Feature by RifleShooter.com
Consider this article the “Howa 1500 Overview”. AccurateShooter.com’s editor mentioned there’s been a lot of interest in Howa rifles and barreled actions imported by Legacy Sports International. In addition to being able to buy a complete rifle from a dealer, Brownells sells barreled actions in a wide variety of calibers and configurations. In this post we are going to take a look at the Howa 1500 series.

Howa Rifles — General Background
Howa is a Japanese heavy machinery company. One of its product lines are firearms, which, are imported into the United States of America by two different companies, Legacy Sports International and Weatherby. Legacy sells the 1500 under the manufacturers name while Weatherby re-brands the guns as the Weatherby Vanguard. In general, the finishes on the Weatherby rifles are more refined than the LSI-imported 1500s.

General Evaluation of Howa 1500 Rifles
I’ve found Howa 1500s to be solid, entry-level rifles that are capable of sub-MOA accuracy out of the box. I’ve actually purchased two Howa rifles I’ve tested because I like them so much. The gun below, a Howa Mini-Action in 7.62×39 Russian, is one of my favorite factory guns to shoot. I’m running a Tract Optics Toric on it, these are solid little rifle scopes that offer great performance for the money.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Check out this three-shot group I drilled at 100 yards with the rifle above and 125-grain Sierras. It took a lot of work and load development to get there, but when it did, it worked well.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1600 HACT Two-Stage TriggerHowa 1500 HACT 2-Stage Trigger
Howa 1500s feature the very nice Howa HACT trigger. This is an adjustable, two-stage trigger, set for about 3 pounds (combined stages). Crisp and repeatable, this is an excellent trigger for a factory gun. There is no annoying Glock-style safety lever in the middle of the trigger blade. The 2-stage design and pull weight range works well for a hunting rifle or a rig for PRS competition. Rifleshooter.com says the Howa trigger is “one of the best factory triggers, along with Tikka. I’ve found the Howa trigger superior to a Remington 700 — the Howas doesn’t need to be replaced.”

Writing for the Western Outdoor News, WONews.com, Steve Comus has field-tested the new HACT Trigger. Steve writes: “I always liked two-stage triggers, because of the way I could take-up the slack and then actually know when the rifle was going to go off. The take-up on the [HACT] trigger was fast and easy. The crisp, positive release when pressure was put on during the second stage [reminded me] of some of the target rifles I shot through the years.”

Howa Actions — Three Options
Howa offers three action lengths: Mini, Short, and Long. You can see the bolts for the three action lengths in the image below. The Mini-Action has similar external dimensions to the Remington Model Seven, however, the Mini-Action’s bolt does not travel as far to the rear. This is a mixed bag. The upside is you have a quicker action (shorter bolt throw). The downside is you are limited to shorter rounds such as the .223 Remington, 7.62×39mm Russian, and 6.5 Grendel. But if you need a bigger cartridge, just choose the standard or long action Howa variant.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 vs. Remington 700 — Important Differences
Is the Howa 1500 a Remington 700 clone, or some kind of improved Remington 700? No, not really. While the top radius of the Howa 1500 does match the Model 700, and they can both use the same two-piece scope bases, there are a number of differences.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

If you look at the Howa 1500 alongside the Remington 700 you’ll note the M700 is a round action, while the Howa is a flat-bottom action. In many ways the Howa’s bottom half reminds me of a push-feed Winchester. This means the chassis and stocks that support a Howa 1500 are not V-block based like you’ll find on a 700, instead they have a flat bottom. While the bolt of the Howa is similar in external appearance to the Model 700, it does offer some improvements, notably an M16-style extractor and a firing pin assembly that can be easily removed without tools.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 action screws are metric and are in a different location from the 700. The Howa 1500 has an integral recoil lug that accepts the front action screw, this means you have more of the front action screw engaging the action. WARNING: If you install it into a poorly-fitted stock or action you may bind it.

Can a Howa Action Be Used for a Custom Rifle Project?
Absolutely! You can either buy a barreled action from Brownells and throw it in a chassis system/stock of your choice or you can use a stripped action to build a custom rifle. If you are in the chassis market, MDT offers a wide variety of chassis in different price ranges. All have worked well for me.

How to Remove Howa Factory Barrel from Action
You may have heard internet grumblings about removing Howa barrels. Some keyboard commandos say they are extremely difficult to remove without a relief cut. Well Bill at Rifleshooter.com demonstrates that Howa barrels can be removed without trouble, provided you have the right tools. Watch this video:

Watch Howa Barrel Removal Video — Quick and Easy (Click Speaker Icon for Audio)

Q: Is it difficult to remove a barrel from a Howa 1500?
A: Not very. I’ve heard from some smiths that worked on Howas (years ago) that the factory barrels are difficult to remove. However of the half dozen or so Howa barrels that I’ve pulled, they’ve been very easy. I use a Brownells action wrench with the top piece for a Rem Model 700 and the flat bottom resting against the flat on the wrench.

Howa Actions Require Metric Barrel Threads
It’s easy to thread a barrel for a Howa Action. You just have to cut metric threads — most lathes out there can cut them. I cut the threads below on a manual lathe using change gears. [Editor: John Whidden cuts metric tenon threads with a CNC lathe. “It’s easy,” John tells us, “No issue whatsoever.”]

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Using Howa Actions for Custom Rifles
I have built a few customs with Howa actions. Below is one of my favorite, a .308 Winchester. It consists of a Howa 1500 action, Shilen Select Match Remington Varmint contour barrel, and Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) ESS chassis. Great rifle and it hammers!

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

To learn more about Howa rifles and actions, visit Legacy Sports International. To buy a Howa barreled action, visit Brownells.com.

To learn more about modular chassis systems for Howa rifles, visit MDTTAC.com

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February 22nd, 2020

.224 Valkyrie Barrel Cut-Down Velocity Test — 4 Ammo Types

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMKVelocity vs. barrel length — How much speed will I sacrifice with a shorter barrel? Hunters and competition shooters often ask that. Today we DO have solid answers to that question for many cartridge types thanks to Rifleshooter.com.

Rifleshooter.com has conducted a series of barrel cut-down tests for many popular chamberings: .223 Rem, 6mm Creedmoor, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua Magnum and more. And recently Rifleshooter.com added the new .224 Valkyrie cartridge to the list, cutting a 28″ Shilen barrel down to 16.5″ in one-inch increments. Rifleshooter.com measured the .224 Valkyrie’s velocities at each barrel length with four different types of factory ammo.

For its .224 Valkyrie test, RifleShooter.com sourced a Shilen Match Barrel and fitted it to a Rem 700 short action employing a one-piece PT&G bolt with the required .440″ (SPC-sized) bolt-face. The barreled action rides in a MDT LSS-XL Gen 2 Chassis.

READ .224 Valkyrie Barrel Cut-Down Test on Rifleshooter.com »

Bill, Rifleshooter.com’s Editor, explained his test procedure:

“I gathered four different types of factory Federal 224 Valkyrie ammunition, the 90gr Sierra MatchKing (SMK), 90gr Fusion soft point (SP) (referred to a Fusion MSR), 75gr Total Metal Jacket (TMJ) and 60gr Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint (NBT). After a brief barrel break in and zero, I fired 5 rounds of each cartridge at each barrel length (except the 75 TMJ, I fired 4 rounds at each barrel length due to limited resources). I recorded the average muzzle velocity and standard deviation for each ammunition and barrel length combination and cut the barrel back 1 inch and repeated the process. I recorded barrel lengths from 28″ to 16.5″ (I try to save these barrels as finished 16″ tubes so they don’t go to waste).”

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

The Heavy Bullet 90gr Ammo Lost about 21 FPS per Inch
How did the test turn out? You’ll find all the results summarized in helpful tables with inch-by-inch velocity and SD numbers. For the two, 90gr ammo samples, results were similar. The 90gr SMK ammo started at 2782 fps (28″), finishing at 2541 fps (16.5″). That’s a loss of 241 fps, or 20.96 fps average per inch of length. The ammo loaded with 90gr Fusion SPs started at 2797 fps (28″) and ended at 2561 fps (16.5″), a drop of 236 fps. That’s 20.5 fps loss per inch. NOTE: Ambient temperature during the test was 45° F. You could expect the overall velocities to be a bit higher during hotter summer months.

See 90gr SMK Velocity/Length Test Chart | See 90gr Fusion SP Velocity/Length Test Chart

.224 Valkyrie Velocity Cut-Down Test

With a the smaller bullets, the effect was even more dramatic. As you’d expect they started out faster. The ammo with 60gr Nosler Ballistic Tips (NBT), a good choice for varminters, started at 3395 fps (28″), and declined to 3065 fps (16.5), a total velocity drop of 330 fps. Average velocity loss was 28.7 fps per inch of barrel length. Rifleshooter.com also tested Federal 75gr TMJ ammo.

About the .224 Valkyrie Cartridge

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

The new .224 Valkyrie was introduced late last year as a Hot Rod cartridge that will work in AR15s. Designed to rival the .22 Nosler while still running well in ARs, the new .224 Valkyrie offers excellent long-range performance when loaded with modern, high-BC bullets. We expect some bolt-action PRS shooters might adopt the .224 Valkyrie. Why? Reduced recoil. With the 90gr SMK, the .224 Valkyrie offers ballistics similar to the 6.5 Creedmoor but with significantly less felt recoil. Check out this chart from Federal showing comparative recoil levels:

.224 Valkyrie Federal Rifleshooter.com cut-down barrel

.224 Valkyrie vs. .22-250 Remington
The Social Regressive explains: “There are two key reasons why the 224 Valkyrie is unique and desirable. First, it is specifically designed to fit the limitations of the AR-15 platform. It does so even when loaded with gigantic bullets, like the 90-grain SMK that Federal announced. .22-250 Rem is too long and too fat to work in the AR-15 platform; it needs an AR-10 bolt and magazine.”

Image from Social Regressive .224 Valkyrie Youtube Video.

The new .224 Valkyrie is basically a 6.8 SPC case necked down to .22-caliber. You can use your existing AR15 lower, but you will need a dedicated .224-Valkyrie upper, or at the minimum a new barrel, modified bolt with proper bolt face, and 6.8-compliant mags.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
October 31st, 2019

.223 Rem Barrel Cut-Down Test — Velocity Loss by the Inch

.223 Rem Cut-Down Test barrel UMC m855

Most of us own a .223 Rem rifle. Now, thanks to our friends at Rifleshooter.com we can assess exactly how velocity changes with barrel length for this popular cartridge.

Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting the barrel of a .223 Rem rifle from 26″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .223 Rem/5.56 ammo were chron’d at each barrel length. The Rifleshooter.com team that conducts these tests has a full-service gun shop, 782 Custom Gunworks — visit 782guns.com.

READ RifleShooter.com 5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 25.34 FPS Per Inch (.223 Rem Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. The average speed loss of the four types of .223/5.56 ammo, with a 9.5″ shortening of barrel length, was 240.75 fps total (from start to finish). That works out to an average loss of 25.34 fps per inch.

5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Speed Test 26″ to 16.5″ Start FPS at 26″ End FPS at 16.5″ Total Loss Average Loss Per Inch
UMC .223 55gr 3182* 2968 214 22.5 FPS
Federal M193 55gr 3431 3187 244 25.7 FPS
Win m855 62gr 3280 2992 288 30.3 FPS
Blk Hills .223 68gr 2849 2632 217 22.8 FPS

*There may have been an error. The 25″ velocity was higher at 3221 fps.

See inch-by-inch Barrel Cut-Down Velocity data HERE.

Rifleshooter.com observed: “Cutting the barrel from 26″ to 16.5″ resulted in a velocity reduction of 214 ft/sec with the UMC 223 55-grain cartridge, 244 ft/sec with the Federal M-193 cartridge, 288 ft/sec with the Winchester M855 cartridge and 217 ft/sec with the Back Hills 223 68-grain match cartridge.”

How the Test Was Done
The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel-mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 45.7° F.”

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers.

See More Barrel Cut-Down Tests on Rifleshooter.com
Rifleshooter.com has performed barrel cut-down tests for many other calibers/chamberings including 6mm Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and .338 Lapua Magnum. See these test results at Rifleshooter.com.

.308 Win barrel length cut test

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .223/5.56 test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″ we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .223 Rem start length. Velocity loss may be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths. And, of course, different cartridge types and powder/bullet combinations will yield different results.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Reloading 2 Comments »
August 27th, 2019

Cutting .338 LM Barrel from 30″ to 17″ — Velocity Loss Revealed!

.338 Lapua Magnum LM barrel length vs velocity cut down test chrono rifleshooter.com

With Randy Wise’s recent record-setting ELR performance with a .338 Lapua Magnum Savage rifle, we thought our readers might be interested in a .338 LM velocity test conducted by our friend Bill Marr, Editor of Rifleshooter.com.

READ FULL .338 Lapua Magnum Barrel Cut-down Velocity TEST »

782 custom gunworks ltdA couple seasons back, Bill did a fascinating barrel cut-down test on a .338 Lapua Magnum rifle. Bill, a skilled gunsmith who runs 782 Custom Gunworks, cut down the barrel from 30″ to 17″ in one-inch increments. During the cut-down process, Marr measured velocities at each barrel length, shooting four rounds after each cut. As you’d expect, there was a huge change in velocity from long to short. Speeds were measured at the muzzle with a Magnetospeed barrel-mounted chronograph.

If you’re looking for max velocity with the .338 LM, go long. With 250-grain Sierra MK bullets, the peak velocity Bill measured was 2942 FPS at the full, 30-inch length. This decreased pretty steadily down to 2547 GPS at the shortest 17″ length. That’s an average decrease of 30.4 FPS per inch from 30″ to 17″.

.338 Lapua Magnum LM barrel length vs velocity cut down test chrono rifleshooter.com

Bill also tested 300-grain Sierra MatchKings. This is interesting because Randy Wise ran 300-grain bullets (Berger Hybrids) in a 26″ factory barrel for his ELR record. Peak velocity was 2833 FPS at 30″, 2799 FPS at 26″, and 2492 FPS at the shortest 17″ length. Interestingly, velocity at 29″ was higher than at 30″ for the 300-grainers. Bill notes: “The 300 SMK load showed a slight increase from 30 to 29″. I’ve recorded this in other tests and it seems to be more common with a heavier load. I suspect it is primarily due to the small sample sizes being used along with the relative proximity of muzzle velocities in adjacent lengths.”

At each new (shorter) barrel length, velocity was measured with a MagnetoSpeed chronograph using two different loads, 250gr SMKs with H4831sc and 300gr SMKs with Retumbo. Four shots were fired at each length with each load, a total of 112 rounds.

Load #1: 250gr Sierra MK, Lapua brass, CCI #250 primer, H4831SC, OAL 3.720″.
Load #2: 300gr Sierra MK, Lapua brass, Win WLRM primer, Retumbo, OAL 3.720″.

.338 LM Barrel Cut-Down Test Results Summary

.338 Lapua Magnum LM barrel length vs velocity cut down test chrono rifleshooter.com

.338 Lapua Magnum with 250gr Sierra MatchKings
After shortening the barrel from 30″ to 17″, total velocity reduction for the 250-grainers was 395 FPS, an average loss of 30.4 FPS per 1″ cut. The amount of velocity loss per inch rose as the barrel got shorter, with the biggest speed reduction, a loss of 55 FPS, coming with the cut from 18″ to 17″.

Start Velocity: 2942 FPS | End Velocity: 2547 FPS | Average Loss Per Inch: 30.4 FPS

(more…)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
August 17th, 2019

Truing a Rem 700 Action — RifleShooter.com Shows the Process

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizingYou may have heard the phrase “blueprinting an action”, but do you know what that really means? Do you know what operations are done to an action during the blueprinting process? To help you understand, gunsmith Bill Marr of RifleShooter.com has created a helpful article showing a Rem 700 blueprinting job start to finish. This article spotlights how the procedures can be done with manual tools. Bill, who runs 782 Custom Gunworks Ltd., can also perform many of these operations with modern automated machinery. In fact, Bill has written a follow-up article on Truing a Rem 700 receiver with a Lathe.

READ Full Action Blueprinting Article HERE with 30+ Photos »

READ Blueprinting Rem 700 Action with Lathe Article HERE »

Bill explains: “Blue-printing, or truing a rifle action, ensures the receiver face, threads, lugs, bolt lugs, and bolt face are square to the center line of the receiver.” In Bill’s informative article, Bill shows how he blueprints a Remington 700 short action receiver with .308 Win bolt face. He covers the following procedures step by step:

Action Disassembly
Ream Minor Diameter of Receiver Threads
Square the Receiver Lugs
Square the Face of the Receiver
Lap the Bolt Lugs
Square the Bolt Face

Bill employed a variety of tools from Brownells to complete the blueprinting job, including: Remington 700 Armorer’s Kit; Manson Receiver Accurizing Kit; Bolt Lapping Kit; Bolt Face Truing Tool; Manson Receiver Ring Facing Cutter; Multi-Vise with Jaw Pads; Silicone Carbide Abrasive; and Do-Drill Cutting Oil.

Highlights from the Rifleshooter.com article:

1. Chasing the Threads

We use the bushings to guide the receiver tap. This chases the threads and ensures they are square.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

2. Truing the Receiver Face

Using the receiver facing tool, the front of the receiver is trued. The tool is placed over the tap and turned by hand. We used Do Drill to lubricate it.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

3. Lapping the Lugs

The bolt lapping tool screws into the front of the action and applies rearward pressure on the bolt face. A little bit of lapping compound is placed on the front of the receiver lugs. The bolt handle is then raised and lowered repeatedly. Note — it is critical that we do not get any lapping compound on any other surfaces.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

4. Truing the Bolt Face

On this bolt, the central part of the bolt face was low. After the truing operation, this Rem 700 bolt face is now completely square to the action.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

IMPORTANT: Rifleshooter.com states: “This article highlights our project and is presented for information purposes only. This provides an overview of the process and should not be attempted without the guidance and supervision of an experienced gunsmith“.

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May 7th, 2019

6mm Creedmoor — How Many FPS Will a Shorter Barrel Cost You?

6mm 6.5 Creedmoor rifleshooter.com Bill Barr barrel length cut-down velocity test chronograph Magnetospeed chrono

Our friend Bill Marr of Rifleshooter.com has done it again — conducted a fascinating 6mm Creedmoor barrel cut-down test that reveals how velocity changes with barrel length. This time Bill started with a 24″ Proof Research stainless steel barrel on a Howa action. Bill says this was a well-used barrel, with over 1800 rounds through it. So, the velocities might be a bit different than a new barrel of similar length. Bill cut the barrel down in one-inch increments. Here are some results from the test:

24″ Velocity: 2893 FPS | 20″ Velocity: 2755 FPS | 16.1″ Velocity: 2598 FPS

CLICK HERE for FULL TEST REPORT on RifleShooter.com »

6mm 6.5 Creedmoor rifleshooter.com Bill Barr barrel length cut-down velocity test chronograph Magnetospeed chrono

6mm 6.5 Creedmoor rifleshooter.com Bill Barr barrel length cut-down velocity test chronograph Magnetospeed chronoFor this latest test, Rifleshooter cut the barrel in one-inch increments from 24″ to 16.1″ (just over legal minimum). Velocities were measured with a MagnetoSpeed V3 chronograph mounted on arm attached to the stock. This allowed the chrono to be adjusted inwards as the barrel was cut shorter, inch by inch.

For the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, Bill loaded Hornady 108gr ELD Match bullets over 41.5 grains of Hodgdon H4350 with CCI 200 primers in new Starline brass.

The results were interesting to say the least. Bill reports: “Muzzle velocities ranged from 2,893 ft/sec at 24″ to 2,598 ft/sec at 16″ for a decrease in muzzle velocity of 295 ft/sec. Muzzle velocity changes per inch of barrel length ranged from 6 ft/sec per inch between 20 and 19 inches to 63 ft/sec per inch between 19 and 18 inches. Average velocity change per inch of barrel length was 37.9 ft/sec.”

Bill concludes: “An average drop of 37.9 ft/sec/inch of barrel is fairly significant and is what would be expected with a fast moving 6mm cartridge like the 6mm Creedmoor. While I’m used to seeing 6mm Creedmoors with slightly longer barrel lengths than 24″, when coupled with a sound suppressor the additional length can make moving the rifle quickly more difficult.

I’d suggest staying with longer barrel lengths wherever possible with this cartridge. At shorter lengths, it does give up more performance than its big brother the 6.5 Creedmoor.”

More 6mm Creedmoor Velocity Data from 2017 Cut-Down Test

If you’re curious about 6mm Creedmoor velocities at longer barrel lengths, back in 2017 Rifleshooter completed a 6mm Creedmoor barrel cut-down test from 31 inches all the way down to 17 inches. The test included four bullet types from 95 grains to 110 grains. With the 110gr Sierra MK, velocity at 31″ was an impressive 3110 fps. Surprisingly the velocity didn’t decrease that much for the first few inches. Even at 26″ (a five-inch reduction), measured velocity with the 110s was 3073 fps, a loss of 7.4 fps per inch on average. With a barrel shortened all the way to 20″ however, velocity had dropped down to 2949 fps, a significant (161 fps) loss. CLICK HERE for complete results from that 31″-17″ Barrel Cut-Down Test.

6mm 6.5 Creedmoor rifleshooter.com Bill Barr barrel length cut-down velocity test chronograph Magnetospeed chrono

CLICK HERE for 31″ to 17″ 6mm Creedmoor Barrel Test Report »

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January 21st, 2019

RifleShooter.com .308 Win Barrel Cut-Down Velocity Test

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

With barrels, one wonders “Can a little more length provide a meaningful velocity gain?” To answer that question, Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting a .308 Win barrel from 28″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .308 Win factory ammunition were chronographed at each barrel length.

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

READ RifleShooter.com .308 Win Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 22.7 FPS Per Inch (.308 Win Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. With a barrel reduction from 28″ to 16.5″, the average speed loss of the four types of .308 ammo was 261 fps total. That works out to an average loss of 22.7 fps per inch. This chart shows velocity changes for all four ammo varieties:

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

Summary of Findings: The average velocity loss per inch, for all four ammo types combined, was 22.7 FPS. By ammo type, the average loss per inch was: 24.6 (Win 147 FMJ), 22.8 (IMI 150 FMJ), 20.9 (Fed GMM 168gr), and 22.5 (Win 180PP).

Interestingly, these numbers jive pretty well with estimates found in reloading manuals. The testers observed: “The Berger Reloading manual says for the 308 Winchester, ‘muzzle velocity will increase (or decrease) by approximately 20 fps per inch from a standard 24″ barrel’.”

How the Test Was Done
The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Since we would be gathering data on 52 different barrel length and ammunition combinations and would not be crowning the barrel after each cut, we decided to eliminate gathering data on group sizes. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 47° F.”

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers, multiple line charts, and complete data sets for each type of ammo. Rifleshooter.com also offers ballistics graphs showing trajectories with different barrel lengths. All in all, this was a very thorough test by the folks at RifleShooter.com.

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .308 barrel cut-down test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″, we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was 5″ longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .308 Win start length. Velocity loss can be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths (and bigger cartridges). Powder burn rates can also make a difference.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
September 9th, 2018

“REMAGE” Remake — Converting Remington to Barrel Nut System

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr
Barrel nut system allows “Pre-Fit” barrel installation on a Remington action. CLICK photo to zoom.

REMAGE Project Report by Bill, Rifleshooter.com Editor
Installing a new barrel on your Remington 700 (especially without a lathe) may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to companies like McGowen Precision Barrels, there are easier alternatives. By adopting a Savage-style barrel nut on a 1 1/16″ thread for a Remington 700 receiver, pre-chambered (aka “pre-fit”) barrels can be easily swapped with just a few hand tools. This system is sometimes called a REMAGE conversion (for “REMington savAGE”). With simple tools a “Pre-fit” 6mmBR-chambered barrel was installed on the author’s Remington action — no machining or lathe-work required.

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr

Using a few tools from Brownells: Remington 700 Action Wrench, Barrel Vise, Go and No-Go Gauges, Recoil Lug Alignment Tool, and a Savage Barrel Nut Wrench, I was able to swap the .308 Winchester barrel off of my Remington 700 short action and install the new McGowen pre-fit, pre-chambered barrel, converting it to a tack-driving 6BR (aka 6mmBR Norma).

The existing barrel is simply removed from the action (normally the hardest part) and the new barrel is screwed on with the Go Gauge in place. After headspace is verified with the Go Gauge, the barrel nut is tightened against the action and you are off to the range. It takes all of the machine work out of the barreling process.

Note: Because barrel nut has a slightly larger diameter, some stocks may require minor inletting. Also, if you are shooting fired brass from another rifle with the same chambering, you should FL-size the brass before loading it for your new pre-fit barrel. And always check the set-up with a dummy round loaded to normal cartridge length BEFORE you head to the range. With Pre-Fits, the freebore should be adequate for your cartridge, but always check and adjust your seating depth as needed.

remage 6mm BR 108 berger best group 360

My McGowen Remage barrel looks and shoots great. I’ve written two longer articles that provide greater detail about this project. To learn more about how the barrel was installed, read: Rebarrel a Remington 700 without a lathe: McGowen’s Remage barrel conversion. To see how the rifle performed at the range, read: McGowen Remage Barrel Review: Spoiler Alert- It Shoots!.

Bill has been a serious shooter for over 20 years. A former Marine Corps Sergeant, he’s competed and placed in High Power Rifle, ISPC, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, F-Class, and precision rifle disciplines. In addition to being an NRA-certified firearms instructor and range officer, Bill has hunted big game in North America, South America, and Africa. Bill writes extensively about gunsmithing, precision rifles, and the shooting sports on his blog, Rifleshooter.com.

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August 12th, 2018

6.5 Creedmoor Barrel Length Test — Velocity Per Inch Revealed

Rifleshooter.com 6.5 Creedmoor cut-down test

Rifleshooter.com does some great original research — providing “hard data” you can’t find anywhere else. Here are the eye-opening results of Rifleshooter.com’s 6.5 Creedmoor barrel cut-down test. You may be surprised at the results. Read on…

What do you get when you cut a 6.5 Creedmoor-chambered barrel down to just over 16 inches? A lot more velocity than you might think. Our friends at Rifleshooter.com recently did a barrel cut-down test with 6.5 Creedmoor test rifle, shortening the barrel from 27 to 16.1 inches in one-inch increments. Surprisingly, with a 142gr Sierra MK, the total velocity loss (as measured with a Magnetospeed) was just 158 FPS, an average of 14.4 FPS per inch of barrel length. With the lighter 120gr A-Max bullet, the total velocity loss was 233 FPS, or 21.8 FPS average loss per inch of barrel.

» CLICK HERE to SEE All Velocity Values at All Barrel Lengths

To perform this velocity test, our friend Bill, Rifleshooter.com’s editor, built up a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle using a Remington Model 7 action, 1:8″ twist Green Mountain CM barrel, and MDT LSS Chassis, all obtained from Brownells.com.

Test Procedure
Five (5) rounds of each type of cartridge were fired at each barrel length and the velocity data was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed V3 barrel-mounted chronograph. The rifle was then cleared and the barrel was cut back one inch at a time from 27″ to just over 16″. NOTE: During this winter test, the air temperature was a very chilly 23° F. One would expect higher velocities across the board had the outside temperature been higher.

» Read Full Story with All Test Results at Rifleshooter.com

The photo below shows how the barrel was cut down, inch-by-inch, using a rotary saw. The barrel was pre-scored at inch intervals. As the main purpose of the test was to measure velocity (not accuracy) the testers did not attempt to create perfect crowns.

Rifleshooter.com 6.5 Creedmoor cut-down test

6.5 Creedmoor vs. Other Mid-Sized 6.5mm Cartridges
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very popular cartridge with the tactical and PRS crowd. This mid-size cartridge offers good ballistics, with less recoil than a .308 Winchester. There’s an excellent selection of 6.5mm bullets, and many good powder choices for this cartridge. When compared to the very accurate 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers similar performance with less expensive brass. For a tactical shooter who must sometimes leave brass on the ground, brass cost is a factor to consider. Here’s a selection of various 6.5mm mid-sized cartridges. Left to right are: 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor with 120gr A-Max, 6.5 Creedmoor with 142gr Sierra MK, and .260 Remington.

6.5 Creedmoor Rifleshooter.com velocity barrel cut cut-down test saw blade

When asked to compare the 6.5 Creedmoor to the 6.5×47 Lapua, Rifleshooter.com’s editor stated: “If you don’t hand load, or are new to precision rifle shooting, get a 6.5 Creedmoor. If you shoot a lot, reload, have more disposable income, and like more esoteric cartridges, get a 6.5×47 Lapua. I am a big fan of the 6.5×47 Lapua. In my personal experience, the 6.5×47 Lapua seems to be slightly more accurate than the 6.5 Creedmoor. I attribute this to the quality of Lapua brass.” Now that Lapua offers 6.5 Creedmoor brass with small primer pockets, the 6.5 Creedmoor is even more attractive.

The creator of Rifleshooter.com also operates a Custom Rifle Building enterprise and gun shop in Long Island, New York: 782 Custom Guns Ltd.. He tells us: “We offer an unparalleled level of gunsmith machine shop services in the Long Island region. From precision rifles (USMC M40A3/A5/A6 XM3 clones) to customized Remington 870 and Mossberg 590 shotguns, and customized 1911s, chances are if you can dream it, we can build it!”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip 14 Comments »
March 4th, 2018

Valkyrie Velocity: Barrel Cut-Down Test with 60, 75, 90 grainers

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMKVelocity vs. barrel length — How much speed will I sacrifice with a shorter barrel? Hunters and competition shooters often ask that. Today we DO have solid answers to that question for many cartridge types thanks to Rifleshooter.com.

Rifleshooter.com has conducted a series of barrel cut-down tests for many popular chamberings: .223 Rem, 6mm Creedmoor, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua Magnum and more. And recently Rifleshooter.com added the new .224 Valkyrie cartridge to the list, cutting a 28″ Shilen barrel down to 16.5″ in one-inch increments. Rifleshooter.com measured the .224 Valkyrie’s velocities at each barrel length with four different types of factory ammo.

For its .224 Valkyrie test, RifleShooter.com sourced a Shilen Match Barrel and fitted it to a Rem 700 short action employing a one-piece PT&G bolt with the required .440″ (SPC-sized) bolt-face. The barreled action rides in a MDT LSS-XL Gen 2 Chassis.

READ .224 Valkyrie Barrel Cut-Down Test on Rifleshooter.com »

Bill, Rifleshooter.com’s Editor, explained his test procedure:

“I gathered four different types of factory Federal 224 Valkyrie ammunition, the 90gr Sierra MatchKing (SMK), 90gr Fusion soft point (SP) (referred to a Fusion MSR), 75gr Total Metal Jacket (TMJ) and 60gr Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint (NBT). After a brief barrel break in and zero, I fired 5 rounds of each cartridge at each barrel length (except the 75 TMJ, I fired 4 rounds at each barrel length due to limited resources). I recorded the average muzzle velocity and standard deviation for each ammunition and barrel length combination and cut the barrel back 1 inch and repeated the process. I recorded barrel lengths from 28″ to 16.5″ (I try to save these barrels as finished 16″ tubes so they don’t go to waste).”

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

The Heavy Bullet 90gr Ammo Lost about 21 FPS per Inch
How did the test turn out? You’ll find all the results summarized in helpful tables with inch-by-inch velocity and SD numbers. For the two, 90gr ammo samples, results were similar. The 90gr SMK ammo started at 2782 fps (28″), finishing at 2541 fps (16.5″). That’s a loss of 241 fps, or 20.96 fps average per inch of length. The ammo loaded with 90gr Fusion SPs started at 2797 fps (28″) and ended at 2561 fps (16.5″), a drop of 236 fps. That’s 20.5 fps loss per inch. NOTE: Ambient temperature during the test was 45° F. You could expect the overall velocities to be a bit higher during hotter summer months.

See 90gr SMK Velocity/Length Test Chart | See 90gr Fusion SP Velocity/Length Test Chart

.224 Valkyrie Velocity Cut-Down Test

With a the smaller bullets, the effect was even more dramatic. As you’d expect they started out faster. The ammo with 60gr Nosler Ballistic Tips (NBT), a good choice for varminters, started at 3395 fps (28″), and declined to 3065 fps (16.5), a total velocity drop of 330 fps. Average velocity loss was 28.7 fps per inch of barrel length. Rifleshooter.com also tested Federal 75gr TMJ ammo.

About the .224 Valkyrie Cartridge

224 .224 Valkyrie barrel cut-down test velocity 90gr Sierra MatchKing Fusion SP TMK

The new .224 Valkyrie was introduced late last year as a Hot Rod cartridge that will work in AR15s. Designed to rival the .22 Nosler while still running well in ARs, the new .224 Valkyrie offers excellent long-range performance when loaded with modern, high-BC bullets. We expect some bolt-action PRS shooters might adopt the .224 Valkyrie. Why? Reduced recoil. With the 90gr SMK, the .224 Valkyrie offers ballistics similar to the 6.5 Creedmoor but with significantly less felt recoil. Check out this chart from Federal showing comparative recoil levels:

.224 Valkyrie Federal Rifleshooter.com cut-down barrel

.224 Valkyrie vs. .22-250 Remington
The Social Regressive explains: “There are two key reasons why the 224 Valkyrie is unique and desirable. First, it is specifically designed to fit the limitations of the AR-15 platform. It does so even when loaded with gigantic bullets, like the 90-grain SMK that Federal announced. .22-250 Rem is too long and too fat to work in the AR-15 platform; it needs an AR-10 bolt and magazine.”

Image from Social Regressive .224 Valkyrie Youtube Video.

The new .224 Valkyrie is basically a 6.8 SPC case necked down to .22-caliber. You can use your existing AR15 lower, but you will need a dedicated .224-Valkyrie upper, or at the minimum a new barrel, modified bolt with proper bolt face, and 6.8-compliant mags.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 25th, 2017

Happy Holidays to Our Readers — Thanks for Your Support

Christmas AccurateShooter.com tree snow
Image from HDfreewallpaper.net.

Christmas AccurateShooter.com Elk CanadaHoliday Greetings to Our Readers
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our readers and especially our 38,000+ Forum Members. This marks our 13th Christmas “in business”, and the site is stronger than ever thanks to our contributing Forum members and industry sponsors. AccurateShooter.com is now accessed by over 500,000 visitors every month, who enjoy our Feature Articles, Daily Bulletin, Shooters’ Forum, and our Facebook Page. Part of the reason for that success is the hard work of our hard-working staff and volunteer helpers.

Unsung Heroes Deserve Recognition
I want to acknowledge those guys who have really helped out the site. Number one is our Systems Admin, Jay Christopherson. Along with being a darn fine shooter, Jay is a computer guru who keeps the servers running smoothly and maintains our Forum. Jay has set up distributed computing and secure firewalls, making the site both speedier and more stable. We must acknowledge Boyd Allen and EdLongRange who tirelessly supply story leads for the Daily Bulletin. Thanks also go to Jeff Williams, our “Answerman” who fields miscellaneous questions from our readers. We have a great place to test rifles thanks to our valued friend (and designated trigger-puller) Joe Friedrich. Special thanks go to: Ed Mobley and Steve Lawrence of 65Guys.com; Bill, Editor of Rifleshooter.com; and Erik Cortina. These folks have worked with us on important product tests and contributed stories and videos. I also want to recognize our regular contributors, including Vince Bottomley, Jason Baney, Mark LaFevers, James Mock, and John Whidden. All these men (and many others) have all contributed much time and effort.

We also want to thank our major sponsors, without whose support the site could not provide the full AccurateShooter.com experience, with an active Forum, an archive of in-depth articles, and fresh content 365 days a year in our Daily Bulletin. We’re grateful to all our sponsors and advertisers. In particular, we want to acknowledge the major online retailers who have been strong supporters of this site for many years: Bullets.com (and Grizzly Industrial), Bruno Shooters Supply, Graf & Sons, EuroOptic, Midsouth Shooters Supply, Powder Valley Inc., and Precision Reloading. Their continuing support helps us keep up the flow of information and serve our readers and Forum members.

Christmas AccurateShooter.com Elk Canada

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December 3rd, 2017

Howa How-To: Basics of Howa Rifles and Barrel-Swapping Tips

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com
Rifleshooter.com built this tactical rifle (top image) with a Howa 1500 action, Shilen barrel, and MDT chassis. Below is a factory Howa 1500 Multi-Cam rifle.

Many of our readers are thinking of purchasing a Howa rifle or barreled action. These feature smooth-running actions with a good two-stage HACT trigger. But some folks have heard that it may be difficult to find stocks, or to fit an after-market barrel. That’s not true. There are many stock options available, and in this article, Bill of RifleShooter.com shows that it is easy to remove the factory-installed barrel with the right tools. We think a Howa makes a fine basis for a varmint rig or field rifle. Or you can build a tactical as Bill did. You can start with the factory barrel and when you want/need more accuracy, then have a gunsmith install a custom barrel from Krieger, Shilen, or other quality brand.

What You Need to Know About Howa 1500-series Rifles

Tech Feature by RifleShooter.com
Consider this article the “Howa 1500 Overview”. AccurateShooter.com’s editor mentioned there’s been a lot of interest in Howa rifles and barreled actions imported by Legacy Sports International. In addition to being able to buy a complete rifle from a dealer, Brownells sells barreled actions in a wide variety of calibers and configurations. In this post we are going to take a look at the Howa 1500 series.

Howa Rifles — General Background
Howa is a Japanese heavy machinery company. One of its product lines are firearms, which, are imported into the United States of America by two different companies, Legacy Sports International and Weatherby. Legacy sells the 1500 under the manufacturers name while Weatherby re-brands the guns as the Weatherby Vanguard. In general, the finishes on the Weatherby rifles are more refined than the LSI-imported 1500s.

General Evaluation of Howa 1500 Rifles
I’ve found Howa 1500s to be solid, entry-level rifles that are capable of sub-MOA accuracy out of the box. I’ve actually purchased two Howa rifles I’ve tested because I like them so much. The gun below, a Howa Mini-Action in 7.62×39 Russian, is one of my favorite factory guns to shoot. I’m running a Tract Optics Toric on it, these are solid little rifle scopes that offer great performance for the money.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Check out this three-shot group I drilled at 100 yards with the rifle above and 125-grain Sierras. It took a lot of work and load development to get there, but when it did, it worked well.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1600 HACT Two-Stage TriggerHowa 1500 HACT 2-Stage Trigger
Howa 1500s feature the very nice Howa HACT trigger. This is an adjustable, two-stage trigger, set for about 3 pounds (combined stages). Crisp and repeatable, this is an excellent trigger for a factory gun. There is no annoying Glock-style safety lever in the middle of the trigger blade. The 2-stage design and pull weight range works well for a hunting rifle or a rig for PRS competition. Rifleshooter.com says the Howa trigger is “one of the best factory triggers, along with Tikka. I’ve found the Howa trigger superior to a Remington 700 — the Howas doesn’t need to be replaced.

Writing for the Western Outdoor News, WONews.com, Steve Comus has field-tested the new HACT Trigger. Steve writes: “I always liked two-stage triggers, because of the way I could take-up the slack and then actually know when the rifle was going to go off. The take-up on the [HACT] trigger was fast and easy. The crisp, positive release when pressure was put on during the second stage [reminded me] of some of the target rifles I shot through the years.”

Howa Actions — Three Options
Howa offers three action lengths: Mini, Short, and Long. You can see the bolts for the three action lengths in the image below. The Mini-Action has similar external dimensions to the Remington Model Seven, however, the Mini-Action’s bolt does not travel as far to the rear. This is a mixed bag. The upside is you have a quicker action (shorter bolt throw). The downside is you are limited to shorter rounds such as the .223 Remington, 7.62×39mm Russian, and 6.5 Grendel. But if you need a bigger cartridge, just choose the standard or long action Howa variant.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 vs. Remington 700 — Important Differences
Is the Howa 1500 a Remington 700 clone, or some kind of improved Remington 700? No, not really. While the top radius of the Howa 1500 does match the Model 700, and they can both use the same two-piece scope bases, there area number of differences.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

If you look at the Howa 1500 alongside the Remington 700 you’ll note the M700 is a round action, while the Howa is a flat-bottom action. In many ways the Howa’s bottom half reminds me of a push-feed Winchester. This means the chassis and stocks that support a Howa 1500 are not V-block based like you’ll find on a 700, instead they have a flat bottom. While the bolt of the Howa is similar in external appearance to the Model 700, it does offer some improvements, notably an M16-style extractor and a firing pin assembly that can be easily removed without tools.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 action screws are metric and are in a different location from the 700. The Howa 1500 has an integral recoil lug that accepts the front action screw, this means you have more of the front action screw engaging the action. WARNING: If you install it into a poorly-fitted stock or action you may bind it.

Can a Howa Action Be Used for a Custom Rifle Project?
Absolutely! You can either buy a barreled action from Brownells and throw it in a chassis system/stock of your choice or you can use a stripped action to build a custom rifle. If you are in the chassis market, MDT offers a wide variety of chassis in different price ranges. All have worked well for me.

How to Remove Howa Factory Barrel from Action
You may have heard internet grumblings about removing Howa barrels. Some keyboard commandos say they are extremely difficult to remove without a relief cut. Well Bill at Rifleshooter.com demonstrates that Howa barrels can be removed without trouble, provided you have the right tools. Watch this video:

Watch Howa Barrel Removal Video — Quick and Easy (Click Speaker Icon for Audio)

Q: Is it difficult to remove a barrel from a Howa 1500?
A: Not very. I’ve heard from some smiths that worked on Howas (years ago) that the factory barrels are difficult to remove. However of the half dozen or so Howa barrels that I’ve pulled, they’ve been very easy. I use a Brownells action wrench with the top piece for a Rem Model 700 and the flat bottom resting against the flat on the wrench.

Howa Actions Require Metric Barrel Threads
It’s easy to thread a barrel for a Howa Action. You just have to cut metric threads — most lathes out there can cut them. I cut the threads below on a manual lathe using change gears. [Editor: John Whidden cuts metric tenon threads with a CNC lathe. “It’s easy,” John tells us, “No issue whatsoever.”]

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Using Howa Actions for Custom Rifles
I have built a few customs with Howa actions. Below is one of my favorite, a .308 Winchester. It consists of a Howa 1500 action, Shilen Select Match Remington Varmint contour barrel, and Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) ESS chassis. Great rifle and it hammers!

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

To learn more about Howa rifles and actions, visit Legacy Sports International. To buy a Howa barreled action, visit Brownells.com.

To learn more about modular chassis systems for Howa rifles, visit MDTTAC.com

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
June 18th, 2017

6.5 Creedmoor with Howa 1500 Barreled Action in MDT Chassis

Howa 6.5 Creedmoor barrel action tactical rifle Sierra RifleShooter.com
RifleShooter.com built this rig with Howa 1500 barreled action and MDT ESS chassis. READ TEST HERE.

We’ve been telling folks that the Japanese Howa 1500 barreled actions are an attractive option for a hunting, varminting, or tactical rifle. Priced at under $450.00, these barreled actions include the excellent HACT two-stage trigger. These Howa 1500 actions are smooth-running (noticeably more so than some “major-brand” domestic receivers).

Our friends at RifleShooter.com recently acquired a Howa 1500 barreled action in 6.5 Creedmoor and installed it in an MDT ESS modular chassis. This project turned out well. The barreled action mated well to the ESS chassis, providing an ergonomic platform with comfortable grip, adjustable cheekpiece, and adjustable LOP. Most importantly the gun shot well. With virtually no load development, the project rifle delivered 3/4-MOA accuracy right out of the gate.

Howa 6.5 Creedmoor barrel action tactical rifle Sierra RifleShooter.com

As tested with Hornady brass and Hodgdon Varget powder pushing Sierra 123gr MatchKings, the Howa 1500 MDT showed good accuracy right from the start. With more load development (and a few more rounds through the new barrel), half-MOA groups may be possible.

Brownells now sells barreled Howa actions in a variety of configurations. Rifleshooter.com acquired a Howa 1500 barreled action with a 24″ #6 contour barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. RifleShooter.com plans to test this barreled action in multiple modular chassis systems. That should provide an interesting comparison test, providing the pros and cons of various stock/chassis configurations.

Read the Full 6.5 Creedmoor Project Review HERE »

RifleShooter.com’s Editor writes: “I was pleasantly surprised by the number of chassis and stock offerings for the Howa barreled action.” For this project rifle, RifleShooter.com chose the Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) Elite Sniper System (ESS) chassis, for the initial build.

Like MDT’s other chassis systems, the ESS uses any AR-15/M16 M4 pistol grip. The ESS departs from the rest of the MDT product line it does not use a standard AR-15/M16 M4 stock. Eliminating this interface allows for a design that does not increase the length of pull. The stock has an adjustable comb, adjustable length of pull, and horizontally adjustable recoil pad. Comb and LOP adjustments are accomplished with a hand wheel, plus a cap screw and clamp system.

RifleShooter.com’s Howa 6.5 Creedmoor rifle has the following components:

While the HACT 2-stage trigger is very good, RifleShooter.com’s Editor replaced the HACT with a Timney because he favors a single-stage design. The Timney adjusts lower than the HACT, allowing a crisp pull at ~1.5 pounds: “You’ll notice I swapped out the factory trigger in favor of a Timney. I’ve had great luck with their products and Timney’s Howa trigger was no exception. Adjusted to 1.5 pounds, it is a pleasure to shoot with.”

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