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Advice for first time gunsmithing?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Lucky, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. Lucky

    Lucky Senior Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Calgary, near Rocky Mountains - Canada
    I'm going to be taking an M98 action with a turned-down bolt handle, and turning it into a rifle. It's a course I'm taking, evenings.

    I'm way in over my head, where do I start? We're going to be taking barrel blanks and starting from scratch, basically, and it's overwhelming.

    I'm figuring on making the rifle into a .308, but that's just because I've seen that it's possible on other posts here, I'm not sure what I'll have to do to the magazine or anything like that.

    When you look at an action, you all probably see all the possibilities that it can become, and what it can't. I'd like to be able to do that, so where do I start reading?

  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Mentor

    Dec 26, 2002
    First get a copy of Brownell's catalog, and possibly a gunsmithing catalog from Midway:

    The Brownell's catalog is necessary equipment for any gun owner or gunsmith.
    If you order anything, they'll give you a free catalog, and if you buy a catalog, they'll give the price back on the first order.

    A really good start on education on rifle work is Jerry Kuhnhausen's book "The Mauser Bolt Actions: A Shop Manual".
    This is available from Brownell's, Midway, and book sellers.

    This is a professional gunsmith's training manual on how to gunsmith a Mauser rifle, and covers everything from 100% disassembly to installing barrels, to trigger work.

    Next, you'll need a general rifle gunsmithing book that covers stock work and bedding. Jack Mitchell's "Rifle smithing" is a Gun Digest large paperback and is also available from Brownell's.

    The NRA Gunsmithing Guide has an excellent article on how to convert a Mauser Argentine Model 1909 into a fine sporting rifle.

    Just what you can do is directly related to the action you have.
    If you have a large ring M98 Mauser, there's no limits.
    If you have something like a Model 93, 95, or 96 type small ring action, you'll be limited on how powerful and how long a cartridge you can use.

    A lot depends on what TYPE of rifle you want to build.... a nice sporter, a target, a varmint, or what.
    Sporters often tend to be fancier rifles with target and varmint more utilitarian in appearance.

    Once you've decided the type rifle to build, you'll need to buy a barrel blank, semi-finished stock or stock blank, or even a synthetic stock, a trigger if you want something different then the excellent Mauser trigger, sights or scope blocks.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Elder

    Dec 31, 2002
    If you have good instructors, they should provide the information you need, though I certainly agree with Dfariswheel on the books he recommends. But the thoughts that come to me tend toward wondering just what is involved.

    Are the barrel blanks threaded and chambered? Short chambered or fully chambered? Will you need to learn how to use a lathe to cut threads and if so is that part of the course? Will you have reamers and headspace gauges, a barrel vise and receiver wrench?

    How much work will the stock need? Is it fully inletted or partiall inletted or synthetic? There is just too much involved to give real advice without knowing exactly what you are going to be involved in, what equipment and tools you will have available, and whether your instructors can tell you all you need to know.

  4. Lucky

    Lucky Senior Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Calgary, near Rocky Mountains - Canada
    Haven't picked a stock yet, aiui most of the class is learning how to use the tools, mostly lathe I think, and fitting the action. So barrel blanks are as raw as possible, and we do the work.

    Thanks for the tips!
  5. dfaugh

    dfaugh Participating Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    My only comment:

    It's NOT rocket science....the first project can be a bit daunting, but if you break it down into alll the individual operations, now of them are that difficult. Have patience with the first project, learn to do it right, and it'lll just get easier the next time.
  6. Sunray

    Sunray Elder

    May 17, 2003
    London, Ont.
    "...a course I'm taking, evenings..." Have you posted this on http://www.canadiangunnutz.com/forum/?
    Relax and pay attention to the instructor. You'll be learning stuff that actually requires patience. Just take one step at a time and you'll be fine. And you'll learn more about rifles in general than you can by doing anything else firearm related. Go buy a digital camera too. We want blow by blow pictures.
    The NRA Gunsmithing Guide is a dandy book even if you never do anything in it.

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