Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Remington 700 Accurized, Part II.

     On the rifle herself I ditched the ancient Redfield one-piece mount I'd put on thirty years ago (stripped two Allen head screws' heads in the proccess, met the local gunsmith and watched him work the drill press and screw extractor) and shopped around for something more.....solid and less restricting on access to the breech and magazine. I stopped at Leupold Mark IV bases on Midway's site and clicked, "buy", along with their compatible scope rings and an "extra" pair of "PRW" scope rings in case.
     I got over my fear of steel wool, and used OOO triple-ought to remove oxidation that resulted after thirty years despite keeping her wiped down with Remoil and Hoppes. This was critical in bringing back a beautiful finish! After sanding the bottom of the bases for perfect fitting to the receiver, and checking for scope accomodation, I screwed them in to the recommended 22 lbs. torque with the Wheeler fat wrench and checked everything out for fit:

     I "lapped" the rings with the Wheeler lapping and alligning kit, and was impressed with the difference in the allignment of the scope itself, and the added grip of the rings to the scope. It was especially important to allign the rings on these mounts, which are Picatinny/Weaver style mounts, as there is NO WINDAGE adjustment screw. Getting them even with each other reduces the amount of windage manipulation needed, thank God! Bore-sighting has not been a problem out to 100 yards, at least, adn the scope's internal adjustment should be adequate for longer shots. Of note, the Leupold Mark IVs also have a 20 Minute of Angle that you can see, a "downward" angle of the scope along the barrel to allow compensation for raising the barrel way high for turbo-distance shots way out there. Just picture Drew Breeze (or the great Dan Pastorini, who had a rocket arm) cocking his whole body back at an angle for a 60-plus yarder, and you'll get the idea.
     On the scope itself priority Number One was eye relief, the proper distance for full-focus through the scope's rear optic, along with the safety of distance from the shooter's actual eye. Have you met a member of the "Ringers Club"???? You have, if you've seen a man with "the crescent moon" around his shootin' eye. I do not wish to join this exclusive club. I've seen a member as he was being created and it was ugly. I wish I'd realized what was about to happen in time, so that I could have stopped it.
      4-5" of eye relief worked with the old, Leupold Vari-II 4X12 with 50 mm front optic. The "Medium" height PRW rings gave plenty of clearance for this front optic, and, with some 5 mm of clearance,  should provide enough clearance for even the 56 mm front optic of a future scope, provided I can place the large front objective casing in front of the bullet chamber's slope, which seems to be the most restrictive area for scope accomodation. This is good to know, as I love light-gathering optics for night hunting the piggies! I've been very pleased with the old Leupold (1989 model) in this regard, having adequate light for the taking of several boar under the light of the full moon periods, and even three-quarter full moon light. This is what the rifle is made for!

     So now all I've left to do is take her to a range and shoot her? Of course not. Something new will occur and I'll have another "project" but for now, yes, she's bore-sighted and range-ready:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Accurizing a Remington 700

     "Accurizing": a new word to me, a verb that this hunter of wild pigs and lobber of blazing lead projectiles finds fascinating of late. I wonder if my Brit friends would spell it "Accurising" with an "s" in the fashion they spell "defense" with a "c"???? Sorry about that interruption..
     Nonetheless it starts with something good and not mucking it up but instead solidifying any "looseness" anywhere behind the cartridge inside the chamber, and allowing the barrel in front of it to "free float" with no contact on the stock, anywhere. That's what I've read, anyway, and it makes sense: lock the cartridge and bullet inside the chamber like an iron glove and, upon firing it, have nothing interfere with the flight of the bullet down the barrel. So I chose a Remington 700 action and barrel in .280 that I've had in another less functional stock for thirty years, a sporter 22" barrel and no super 26" Howitzer launcher just yet, but one with which I've managed to drop an antelope at a guide-estimated 600-700 yards in its previous incarnation and know it to be consistent, which is what this whole game is about in the first place: know exactly where your bullet is at ALL times, from box to flight to zero velocity, dead-stop downrange. To do this, it's necessary to memorize the ballistic chart of the bullet you're shooting. There really is no substitute for that and it is proven when one misses a shot by an inch or whatever distance for no other reason than what was printed in black on white right there, on the chart.
     I'm still working on that myself but it's true.
     Here's a shot of the rifle in mid-metamorphosis in her Bell and Carlson Mountain synthetic stock of Kevlar and fiberglass and other non-warpable things, after a lot of shaping and tinkering, just to get a feel for things coming together...

Onward to beginnings, to what cradles this "baby," the stock:
After holding a standard Remington synthetic stock, which I liked, I wanted something with a different texture and I definitely wanted Aluminum Pillars in the stock to connect to the receiver or an entire bed of aluminum, for both solidity and stability, that one-piece unit feel. The Bell and Carlson had these pillars already installed, and after browsing and selecting, Midway zipped one out to me within a week.  All that was needed was a little sanding to get everything to meet up smoothly and tightly for a custom fit, and a lot of sanding on the barrel channel to allow for a free float of the heavier Sporter barrel I have (the B and C stock was currently only available for the skinnier, "lightweight" barrel and I was not feeling patient that day, I can tell you--I was hot to get on this project). This is simply a good feeling stock. And it would feel even better, soon, after I further customized her to my rifle's action and barrel...
Onward to the real adventure of potential disaster, the "Glass Bedding" of the stock, to form-fit the stock to the whole gun, specifically the receiver and barrel chamber areas, and all the way back down along to the tail of her, the "tang" area, where the back-most screw tightens things together.
The most important area, I've been told, is the receiver and chamber area, where solidity is paramount. Here it is, after I've done the epoxy treatment for a form-fit, using Miles Gilbert Bedrock, also from Midway (it took me three epoxy application sessions to get it really smooth back-to-front, as it was my very first time to try this and I went cautious).
You can see the receiver screw hole, the hole for the forward trigger screw (It's an ADL), and the slot for the all-important lug stop, the bar on the barrel that puts the brakes on everything inside the stock when you set off that small, progressive explosion that sends the bullet down the barrel. This forms an almost air-tight seal and I really like the final feel. (Note: the entire receiver/action area is glass-bedded in the photo--see the "slick" portion? That's the epoxy "glass". The third and final epoxy session was without the included black dye because I'd tossed the messy little tube of it after the first session).
     On first handling this "Bell and Carlson Mountain Stock with Aluminum pillars and Lightweight barrel channel, black",  and checking her for compatibility, everything fit fairly snugly except for the thick, sporter barrel, which of course rode a little high, but she would have bolted right in and a lazier man would've stopped with that and probably have been satisfied.
     The only digging and routing necessary was for the barrel channel. The stock's shallow channel for the "lightweight" Remington 700 barrel was not nearly deep enough to allow a free-float of my Sporter 22" barrel, a rather stout barrel. So I first tried worked, but way too slowly, Amazon we go, looking under "Dremel Moto-tool". A week later the Dremel 4000 created a new, deep barrel channel for my Remy inside of ten minutes. The Kevlar and fiberglass was nothing to shave away for this beast. I find myself looking for other projects to tear up with this thing. 
     There was maybe 1/16-1/8" of airspace around the receiver sides and after sanding a lot of airspace in front of the barrel stop lug. Not good enough.....So, I watched the "Glass bedding a rifle stock" video on Midway's Video Library and was struck with the mission. I would not be stopped. I should have been. I learned the importance of black, electrician's tape a little late, but the patient survived. Critically, line the stock's edges all around whereever you intend to epoxy, and whereever you do not wish to epoxy, and you will do fine. Also, APPLY PLENTY OF THE INCLUDED 'RELEASE' COMPOUND TO ALL EXPOSED AREAS OF THE BARREL AND RECEIVER THAT WILL EVEN POSSIBLY COME INTO CONTACT WITH THE GLASS EPOXY . Enough of that all-caps scary stuff. On to part II.