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Putting an Old Remington 40X Back into Service

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Bob Smalser, Aug 10, 2014.

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  1. Bob Smalser

    Bob Smalser Member

    Apr 1, 2011

    Here’s another one from the 1950’s and at least three evolutions of our junior small-bore program that’s not useable. It won’t clean the targets anymore off the bench and the non-original, shop-fabricated stock has a comb height so low the youngsters have to use their chins to see through the sights. It also wears a tiny Redfield front sight difficult to see through for which we no longer have inserts. What I like about it is the turned-down and fluted barrel done in a home shop. While it’s not pretty, and not something I recommend doing, it does result in a rifle that comes in under 10 pounds and balances at the receiver ring. With some work the rifle is still capable of shooting, and I have a waiting list of youngsters ready to move out of the kiddie-rifles (Annie Achievers). I’ll also add an Annie front sight and an adjustable buttplate while I’m at it.


    The main reason it doesn’t shoot any more isn’t the barrel (We have a half dozen Remington target barrels made in 1943 that will still clean the targets), it’s the 6-dollar piece of wood on a 600-dollar rifle. Unstable, plantation-grown beech with 4 rings per inch that has moved seasonally over the decades beyond the ability of its original glass-bedding job to prevent it from twisting sufficiently to impinge on the action. So the first job is pillar bedding.


    The challenge is the top of the barrel channel isn’t flat, so I have no built-in index to drill plumb holes for the pillars. So rather than spend time building a one-time jig, I’ll do the best I can and will solve any resulting problems using epoxy in a separate stage. Numrich has replacement stocks for these at 45 bucks, but the originals were hardly ideal for 14-year-old position shooters either and rehabbing this one will cost fewer shop hours.


    Normally I don’t bed any of the barrel, but this one is so close to the action diameter I make an exception, and insure the recoil block is clear of the stock on its sides and bottom.


    As I suspected, alignment isn’t perfect, so I adjust the clamps to achieve a perfectly-centered front bedding stud with the rear bedding stud touching the rear of the pillar. After curing, I ream the rear pillar, and rebed the trigger guard in epoxy to achieve a perfectly-plumb bearing for the rear action screw.


    I freehand drill the holes for my 10-dollar, shop-made comb hardware, and again solve any alignment problems using a combination of oversize holes and epoxy. The dowel centers are used to locate the blind holes in the cheek piece, and the scoring and sawcuts are to aid bonding steel hardware to epoxy.


    After fitting the Annie buttplate and front sight, the result is functional if not pretty. The rifle came in a slightly over 9 pounds and balances at the front of the receiver ring where I want it. Looking at how much comb adjustment is required to achieve a firm stockweld with my large face, I’m surprised the youngsters could use this rifle at all.


    And the rifle no longer has any trouble cleaning the 50 and hundred-yard targets using irons, any vertical stringing having more to do with age and infirmity than the rifle. ;)

    Bob Smalser

  2. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    Alabama and Florida
    Love it! :D Great job.
  3. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

    Jun 30, 2011
    Time and money well spent.

    Old school solutions for an old school rifle. I love it too.
  4. 03fatboy
    • Contributing Member

    03fatboy Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Grand Island Nebraska
    I wish I had half your skills,another good job.
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