Precision Barrel Fitting, Part One

The first in a series to guide gunsmiths with some machine tool experience for chambering and fitting a rifle barrel safely.

by Chick Blood

I think it appropriate to begin with a bit of biblical theology as I understand it. Here goes: The Old Testament emerged from the words of Hebrew prophets. The New Testament grew from the Disciples of Christ. Together, the two are the basis for all Jewish and Christian religion. That brief summation might be over simplified. To say the least, it is definitely the oddest of ways yet attempted to start off an article on gunsmithing. There-in other Testaments must be added.

Colonel William S. Brophy authored The Springfield 1903 Rifles, considered the bible on Springfields. The same Brophy composed another bible, Marlin Firearms: A History of the Guns and the Company That Made Them. Both belong in your reference library right next to Hatcher’s Notebook. Add to them another unchallenged bible, Mauser Bolt Rifles by Ludwig Olson, The Winchester Book by George Madis, Remington: America’s Oldest Gunmaker by Roy Marcot and you’re beginning to sense a trend here.

So far, I haven’t mentioned The Complete Illustrated Guide to Precision Rifle Barrel Fitting by John Hinnant. Without question, it is recognized as the bible on the subject by the publishers of American Rifleman and Precision Shooting, Shilen Rifles, as well as several dozens of greatly respected precision toolmakers and ‘smiths. It also provided the road map that kept yours truly from fouling up big time way back when I first tackled a rifle barreling job. I have received permission from its author to borrow significantly from his work in preparing and illustrating this article. As entitled above, this will not be a pure, condensed version of the Hinnant work. That approach, in my opinion, assumed the serious risk of accidentally omitting even one or two of the vital details he provides.

Read more in our April 2014 issue. Back issues are available.

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