View Full Version : Newbie question regarding barrels.
04-15-2009, 11:02 PM
Forgive my ignorance, but am I correct in my assumption that the home machinist is generally incapable of producing high quality rifled barrels from scratch?
04-15-2009, 11:23 PM
I'd guess it all depended on "how good" an HSM you are............and what you mean by "from scratch"........;)
04-16-2009, 12:04 AM
Also what type of barrel are you looking to make? Harry Pope, one of the best barrel makers of the late 19th and early 20th century used machinery that is relatively crude by modern hsm standards, but built barrels still in use today by some very dedicated cast bullet shooters...and still capable of winning matches! You'll have to master deep hole drilling, reaming and lapping, make a rifling machine and learn to make cutters for it, learn how to cut rifling without too much tool breakage, contour, thread and chamber your barrels to actions, and then hope that they'll shoot better than (or at least as well as) what you can buy from Douglas, Shilen, etc.
04-16-2009, 05:55 AM
David pretty well sums it up. There are several barrel makers who could be considered HSM's who do produce excellent barrels, and others who have made their own rifling benches just for their own use with good results.
So, while it is within the ability of the HSM to do, it is not a simple undertaking and will require a sizeable investment in time and money to aquire the necessary skills and equipment.
04-16-2009, 05:12 PM
Many thanks for the input! One more question- how does a rifling machine work?
04-16-2009, 06:28 PM
There are two types of rifling machines in general, one that cuts the rifling into the barrel about 2 tenths at a time and another type that pulls a carbide button with the reverse of the rifling on it through the reamed bore.
It is infinitely easier to make a button rifler than a sine bar cut rifling machine. They are completely different processes and both machines are fairly large. I hope you have a big shop!
04-16-2009, 10:41 PM
Might be easier to hammer forge the rifling. Make a mandrel with a mirror image of the lands and grooves in it, insert it into the bore, and then cold hammer forge it with a few (100?) tons of pressure. A little Giant Air Powered hammer might do it, some of those in pretty good sizes (tons of pressure I mean) are out there, a lot of the custom knife makers seem to have them in their shops. HK makes barrels that way.
04-18-2009, 01:28 PM
Go to the Practical Machinist web site and do a search for "rifling machine", there numerous threads with links. Guy Lautard has a video on how to make one, I have the 2'' pillow block bearings need to make the machine.
04-28-2009, 08:26 AM
i agree it requires a sizable investment in time, not so sure about tools. at the local Gun Makers' Fair at Dixon's in Kempton, PA, the guys making barrels have a wooden table with a wooden cylinder that is the pattern for the rifling. the cutters are a small piece of carbide on a metal rod that is pushed and pulled through the barrel by hand. their barrels are expensive not because they need to recoup $10,000,000 in equipment costs, but because it takes them a week to cut the rifling by hand. the process is very simple and you could probably make your own rifle cutting bench/machine for $500.
04-28-2009, 08:01 PM
you can make as good or better barrel on home made machinery as you can buy from any body else.it just takes time and being willing to do it.
even i made my own deep hole drilling and reaming machine. and sine bar rifling machine. if i can do it anybody can.
04-29-2009, 02:45 PM
Might be easier to hammer forge the rifling. <snip> HK makes barrels that way.
Ruger makes (made?) their Mini-14 and Mini-30 barrels this way and is cited as the reason for their notoriously bad accuracy. Seems that most if not all of the match grade barrels are made by cut rifling.
All Ruger barrels are made on hammer forging machines. They have several of them. They also make barrels for other companies.
Most all competition barrels are drilled because the million dollar cost of a HF machine is out of reach for smaller companies.
Grunig & Elmiger rifles are some of the finest CISM rifles made and have HF barrels.
04-30-2009, 01:36 PM
Steyr makes some of the most accurate sniper rifles in the world. I own an SSG model, and can confirm MOA accuracy at least with mine. They make all their barrels with Hammer Forge machines.
05-03-2009, 09:08 PM
The process described in the Lautard video looks very doable. I would like to build a machine for that purpose, though I worry that the reamers would escalate the price. The guy profiled in the videos, says he isn't commercial and is just making barrels for himself, but does on the odd occasion say something like the life of a particular tool is no more than 30 barrels. So if your personal need is for 30 barrels a year or something, then it might be a money saver. Of course saving money probably isn't the purpose but I'm not sure I could justify what it might cost.
The Lautard method of rifling looks pretty simple. it wouldn't take all that long I don't think. I think his process might have been closer to it taking all afternoon to make a barrel deep drilling, and reaming, cutting and polishing
I have the book about Pope and his barrels. I have yet to take the plastic off it. I believe his method of deep drilling is more like just drilling a little, and cleaning out. No 700 psi oil.
Also, I tend to think of rifle barrels only. deep drilling is a lot deeper with those. Not sure it would be such a big deal with a pistol barrel.
Love to see pics of any machines capable of cutting barrels for centerfire rifles!