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Breaking In A Bolt Action

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by sammass, Mar 11, 2013.

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  1. sammass

    sammass Member

    May 5, 2012
    Sacramento, CA
    I have time on my hands and am looking to smooth up an action on a virgin bolt action. Probably proofed at the factory, but that is it. Being factory fresh, I didn't see any curled slivers of metal, but the bolt seemed to drag and not as smooth as I might have expected; even a bit wobbly at the rear of the receiver.

    I heard of some folks using toothpaste, Flitz, or other slightly abrasive medium to smooth out the machining marks. I don't know if that is hype, bravado, good, bad, or indifferent. Not sure I want the action smelling 'minty fresh'. :)

    I was thinking of just cycling the bolt with dummy loads out of the mag, say a thousand cycles. As I mentioned, I have time to work it. Or just send it off to a smith to look it over?

    Suggestions or Opinions appreciated. Thanks.

  2. Reloadron
    • Contributing Member

    Reloadron Member

    Jul 6, 2012
    Cleveland, Ohio USA
    From your description it sounds like you want to lap the bolt ways. Usually done with a silicon carbide grease. Generally a 500 or 600 grit is used. You don't want to remove metal but more like polish the metal bearing surfaces. I just apply some lapping compound to the bolt ways and start exercising the bolt. Only the ways since you don't mention lapping the lugs which is another story.

    When you have the desired finish (smoothness) make sure you thoroughly remove all excess lapping compound. Clean everything and lightly grease the bolt ways and see what you have. That would be my suggestion anyway.

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