Getting Rid of Barrel Ports
You discussed muzzle brakes in your Powder Keg column (Handloader No. 208) but
left something important out. I had my 7mm-08 Remington ported for my kids and wife to
shoot. I thought it would be the perfect thing to do for recoil, etc. Wrong!!! It scares
them to death. How can I plug up the holes? - R.G., Kentucky
A: Actually I did
sort of mention the problem. You must realize that folks who drill holes in barrels get
really upset when I mention them by name, so I just mentioned the little holes that make a
lot of noise and do not really help recoil.
There are two possible ways to get
rid of the problem. The easiest is to have the barrel cut off just behind the mess and
recrowned. The down side is that if the barrel is short already, as they often are on
7mm-08s, it will get a bit loud just from the shorter length - although not nearly as bad
as the ports.
An alternative plan will take a
little more gunsmithing skill. This is an untried thought I came up with as an answer to
your problem, but I think it will work. If I had this rifle, I would pull the barrel out
of the action and center the muzzle carefully in my lathe. Then I would turn down the
outside of the barrel about .050 inch, cutting from the muzzle back to just past the
ports. Then I would make a steel sleeve that would slip over the reduced diameter portion
of the barrel and solder it in place. The sleeve could be turned, polished and blued
making it nearly invisible. I cannot see that the holes would affect accuracy any more
covered than open, but they could not leak gas and scream at your family any more.
If you try this, let me know how it
works. As it is, you have nothing to lose, because the ultimate cure will be a new barrel,
or selling this rifle and buying a new one.
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Misaligned Iron Sights
My .35 Whelen on a VZ 24 action was to be my one iron-sighted rifle among many
scope-sighted guns. But, I find on sighting in that the front post must be moved nearly
half its width out of the dovetail slot and the rear peep far to the right in order to
zero the rifle. The effect is the same with all the loads I have tried. The accommodation
required makes shooting slow and awkward. I would rather not have to make the severe stock
alterations needed to correct this if there is another option. Do you know any way to cure
- H.S., Oregon
A: I can only think
of two easily cured diseases that might be causing the problem. Both are remote
possibilities, because I think I know what is wrong with the rifle, but we will get to
that in a minute.
First, you can hope that the crown
on the muzzle is badly out of square or that the crown has quite a large ding in it.
Either of these may be pitching the bullets far to the left. If you inspect the crown and
it looks pretty bad, try having it recut and lapped to perfection.
Another possibility is that the
barrel bedding is extremely bad, literally bending and forcing the barrel to the left. The
case would have to be very severe to cause this kind of windage problem, but it is
From the description of the .35
Whelen on a VZ 24 action, it is apparent this is a custom rifle. The most likely reasons
for the trouble are: the barrel misaligned with the receiver, one sight or the other
grossly off center or a barrel that is bent or extremely crooked. If the gunsmith who did
the work is handy, you might have a stern discussion with him regarding his warranty.
Lacking the help of the original smith, you might find one who has some serious talent and
have him measure and test the metalwork to see which piece is pointed the wrong direction.
If it is, as I suspect, the barrel being at an angle to the receiver, your best option
would be to set the barrel back and rechamber it. This time be sure the face of the
receiver is square and the barrel threads are centered, square with the world and
shouldered 90 degrees to the bore.
* * *
Stevens Action for
enjoyed your article on rook and rabbit rifles in the November-December 2000 Rifle (No.
192). I did not even know such a thing existed.
Would a Stevens single shot in .25
Stevens caliber be strong enough to make a rook rifle in .297-250? I have one of these
rifles, but the ammunition is $50 a box and is rimfire. I would like to build the .25
caliber on the .22 Hornet case like the one you described.
- N.E., New York
A: The .297-250 is
a very mild, low-pressure cartridge. Therefore my answer is yes, the Stevens action has
plenty of strength. Actually any action that is suited to .22 rimfire should be fine. The
one consideration is the alteration of your original Stevens rimfire rifle to centerfire.
I am not sure how complicated the conversion is or how badly it will influence the value
of the original rifle.
* * *
Chamber Fouling in
I have an early 1874 Shiloh Sharps (C. Sharps on the barrel) in .45-120. The problem is
every load I have tried produces so much fouling the chamber must be cleaned after one or
two shots before I can chamber another round.
I have tried black powder and
Pyrodex and closely followed the instructions in the black powder cartridge manuals.
Something I have not tried is a duplex load. Some other shooters have said you
wrote an article about black powder cartridges that burn clean. If you have any advice, I
will appreciate the help.
- T.V.M., Washington
A: I am trying to
read between the lines to get at the root of your problem. First, it seems unlikely the
fouling is actually in the chamber. About the only way this could happen is with blow-back
past the brass case. If the fouling is really in the chamber recess, try leaving a little
flair on the case mouth to form a perfect seal before the cartridge is fired.
I believe the most likely location
of the problem is in the throat, and the bullet is running into fouling, rather than the
case. If you have the problem with Pyrodex (it fouls much less than any black powder),
there is some mechanical problem with the bullets or the chamber instead of your loads.
(By the way, I always heartily recommend against using any kind of duplex loading. It is a
very good way to create excessive chamber pressure.)
What I suspect is wrong is either
the throat portion of your chamber is too small, or the noses of your bullets are too
large in diameter. Short of using nitro powder, you will get a reasonable accumulation of
powder residue in the throat. There must be a little clearance between the bullet and the
barrel, or as you have experienced, it quickly becomes impossible to chamber a round.
Assuming your bullets have a large,
parallel surface in front of the case, you might try another nose profile or diameter that
will create the necessary clearance. If your bullets are reasonably tapered and the
correct diameter, you might have the folks at Shiloh Sharps run their current chambering
reamer into your barrel to create the necessary dimensions. I guess the bottom line is a
lot of people do a lot of shooting with
black-powder cartridges and do not have to clean the chambers between shots. Therefore,
you must have some mechanical problem that should be relatively easy to fix.
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