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Thread: Recrowning Rifle Barrels

  1. #1
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    Default Recrowning Rifle Barrels

    This is a way to recrown rifle barrels without marring the finish. Steve Acker demonstrated this technique in one of his Gunsmithing Videos published by our sponsor.

    Fitting a tapered bushing to a barrel is time consuming and it seems that every one is a different taper. The trick is to use auto body putty to attach a bushing that doesn’t have to be an exact fit. A live center is used in the old crown and the outside of the bushing trued up with a light cut. The steady is installed on the bushing and the tail stock moved and the new crown cut. When you are through warm the bushing with a butane torch and tap the bushing off the taper. Some putty will stick to the barrel but it is easy to remove with a small piece of wood or your fingernail. This technique works much easier than the fixtuering alloys that I had used previously.
    Byron Boucher
    Burnet, TX

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boucher
    This technique works much easier than the fixtuering alloys that I had used previously.
    Byron, what makes it any easier than simply pouring the alloy? Please elaborate.
    Do you think the putty would work well for removing barrels? You have me curious.


  3. #3
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    It is probably a matter of technique but I had trouble controlling the fixturing alloys. This was in relation to attaching a bushing to protect the finish for use with the steady rest. I don’t think this would work for barrel removal.

    When I started trying to remove barrels I had lots of problems. I purchased a Brownell’s barrel vice and a half dozen of their steel bushings. The bushings never seemed to fit the barrel that I needed to remove. My solution was ultimately to cast bushings to fit the individual barrel using Devcon Aluminum liguid. I made a simple mold from steel and split it longitudinally. It sprung open slightly when it was cut. I put it in the vice and spring it back slightly and tape the slot to seal it. The barrel is hung vertically in the mold and the bottom sealed with modeling clay. The barrel is waxed with Johnson paste wax as a release agent. The mold is poured full of Devcon aluminum and allowed to cure overnight. The vice is relaxed and the bushing tapped off the barrel and then split longitudinally. I clean everything with acetone and coat the ID of the bushing with rosin and set everything up as shown.



    If it is a Remington factory barrel I set the electric iron on linen and set it on the action wrench and go have a cup of coffee. This degrades the loctite without hurting anything. The table is heavy enough that it doesn’t move around. The handle of the action wrench is oriented horizontally to the left so one just pushes down to unscrew the barrel. Looks like you have made the steel bushings fit. I would be interested in your technique.
    Byron Boucher
    Burnet, TX

  4. #4
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    Slick trick with the iron, I hadn't heard that before.

    Devcon is good, but I usually use JB Weld, it is the same or close to, easier to get and more economical. I find that just about every barrel I remove or install requires a new bushing.

    The steady rest sleeve is also a good idea, I wonder how hot melt glue would work in that application.
    Last edited by JCHannum; 02-27-2011 at 08:20 PM.
    Jim H.

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    The trick with the iron goes back to the guys that used to glue bench rest barrels into the stocks. Some people advocated freezing them for removal but the iron works better for me.

    Devcon aluminum liquid is an outstandingly good bedding compound. Devcon steel is very similar to JB weld in characteristics and both are good bedding compounds. Accuglas with aluminum and steel powders added are also similar. In business I used lots of Devcon and always had it on hand.

    I suspect that the hot glue would work for the steady bushing. I always have body putty on hand. It does require the right amount of hardener. I tend to get too much and it sets up faster than I want it too. It does remove rather nicely.
    Byron Boucher
    Burnet, TX

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    Byron, my method is pretty much the same as yours. I just use the steel bushings and slip a couple of shims in between the halves to hold them apart a bit, then clamp them together with a radiator hose clamp. Wrap the chamber end of the barrel with a few turns of masking tape and slide the bushing onto the barrel. The tape seals that end of the bushing. Turn the muzzle up and then pour Cerrosafe into the gap between the barrel & bushings. I warm up the barrel and bushing a bit with a heat gun (around 200 deg F) while waiting for the alloy to melt. After it is poured and cooled I remove the clamp and shims, add my rosin then install the works in the barrel vice.

    I tried Brownells "Steel Bed" compound, lead sheets, wooden bushings, etc. on this Remington Model of 1917 - but the barrel always slipped. The Cerrosafe is what finally did the trick without loosing grip. It made me a believer.



    I also like the iron trick. Great idea! My only problem with body putty (and epoxy for that matter) is that I end up adding too much hardener also. And by too much, I mean enough that it doesn't cure AT ALL and just remains a sticky mess.

  7. #7
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    Enfields can be realllly tight. I have had some luck with Crazy Gluing the bushings in place after making them to shape.

    BTW, for those who don't know, if the barrel is not to be reused, a tight barrel can be relieved by taking a plunge cut with a cutoff tool the depth of the threads a few thousandths away from the receiver. This relieves the pressure on the threads and the barrel can be removed with little force.
    Jim H.

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    That is a good point Jim. The only thing wrong with this barrel was that the bolt recess (cone) was a solid block of rust when I got the rifle. Good bore and muzzle so I really wanted to try and save the original barrel. I'm really surprised it cleaned up as well as it did.



    This Enfield was the toughest barrel to remove I have come across. It finally came loose with a BANG! (and a 4 foot cheater pipe...)
    I believe the front sight base was even tougher, because I ended up having to press the barrel out in my shop press.

    Byron, did your steady come with the rollers or did you add them yourself? That is another item on the "to-do" list for me. I not real crazy about the brass pads on mine.
    Last edited by Highpower; 02-28-2011 at 09:22 PM. Reason: spelling

  9. #9
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    The steady shown in the first post is the factory Nardini rest. They can be had with either bearings or pads. My lathe didn’t have the steady with it. I let my mouth overload my pocket book and ordered that one. It took $450 and a year to get it. In the mean time, I found a steady from an older larger lathe that was a pad type. I cut it down and installed a new base and got it working. It is actually nice to have both. John Stevenson had a recent post / dissertation on steadies that was very good. I am in the process of building one like he showed with a large bearing and a cathead to hold the work. The bearings do tend to marr the surface that they run on. That bushing in the photo is 7075 T6 and you can see the burnished track where the bearings ran. I probably had them adjusted too tight. The cuts on the recrowning job were very light.
    Byron Boucher
    Burnet, TX

  10. #10
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    Bryon,

    1. Let me make sure I completely understand "body putty". When I "fix" holes in car fenders, etc. I get body putty like "Bondo". Mix the liquid with the putty, spread it on and wait a few minutes. Usually it dries a "pinkish color". When sanded, dust goes everywhere. When you speak of body putty, is this the stuff you are talking about?

    2. Let's assume you remove a *blued* barrel from an action for the expressed purpose of re-crowning the barrel. The finish on the barrel is good and does not need to be re-blued. Can you get the body putty off the barrel without causing damage to the blue finish?

    Harold
    For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
    Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

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