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Old November 3, 2008, 07:39 PM   #1
Shane Tuttle
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Barrel Straightening?

I just finished reading an article in American Rifleman by Bryce M. Towsley. It was about the Savage Model 110 turning 50. It was a pretty good read.

During the article, he talked about going through Savage's production line building his own Model 14 Classic (Man, I bet that was brutal). Along the way, one of the steps on building the rifle, Mr. Towsley stated he straightened the barrel.

I was taken aback. I thought the barrel stocks were checked for straightness before button-rifling more less accepting it as useable. What's involved in "straightening the barrel"? Is it straight forward or is this a generic term used for a more involved process not explained?
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Old November 3, 2008, 08:08 PM   #2
Dfariswheel
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During the barrel making process, the barrel is put under so much stress, it "can" warp or develop a slight bend.

A highly trained technician will put a warped barrel in an overhead straightening fixture to straighten it.
This is a "vise" with a large wheel mounted up above the operators head.
The operator looks through the barrel which is pointed at a black line on a white wall.
The black line makes shadows inside the bore, and a skilled operator can detect exactly where the barrel is bent by the shape of the reflected shadows in the bore.
He slides the barrel to that spot in the fixture and rotates the wheel to bend the barrel.
The operator bends the barrel until it's straight.
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Old November 3, 2008, 08:25 PM   #3
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Excellent description Dfariswheel. I saw a program a couple of years ago where they followed through Savages plant and watched the different stages of production. IIRC there's an older gentlemen who straightes ever Savage barrel and has been doing so for decades. I hope he gets paid well cause he's doing one *^(& of a job. He may be one of the most responsible people for why Savages shoot so good.
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Old November 3, 2008, 08:25 PM   #4
Hemicuda
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When you buy a new aftermarket barrel, (I know this is true, at least with Star, Schillen, and Lilja) you CAN specify a "premium" class barrel... if you use the right manufacturers jargon, it means one that came through boring, rifling, profile turning, heat-treat, and chambering, and never needed straightening... these are barrels that just accidentally DIDN'T need the straightening process, and even though they took less work to manufacture, they cost 2 to 3 times as much...

I HAVE a Star premium on my Mauser .243 Win it was NOT worth the extra coin...

I built a second Mauser in .243, with a Douglas blank, that I assume WAS straightened... and it shoots just as well...
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Old November 3, 2008, 08:36 PM   #5
skinewmexico
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Not exlusive to Savage.
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Old November 3, 2008, 08:43 PM   #6
Shane Tuttle
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Thanks, Dfariswheel for the description of barrel straightening. That's basically what I was looking for.

In the pic in American Rifleman, they show a gentleman and what looks like you described. The process looks like it would be a lost art in the coming years....kinda like bodymen don't use leading techniques anymore. They just replace the panel...
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Old November 3, 2008, 10:55 PM   #7
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some jobs can not be done buy a computer controlled machine in a timely manner or cost effective manner, this might be the case with this job.
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Old November 3, 2008, 11:01 PM   #8
Horseman
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Doing it by hand using shadows if amazingly accurate. Savage's reputation of accuracy is proof of that. Never underestimate the precision of a well trained eye. When you look at the last 60 years of gunmaking every time they replace a human job with a machine the quality gets worse IMO.
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Old November 4, 2008, 04:26 PM   #9
Scorch
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Yes, many barrels are straightened during the manufacturing process. But many are not straightened even though they might need it, and they shoot just as well as the straightened barrels.

Many premium barrel makers will not finish a barrel that needs straightening after rifling. They just sell them to companies who sell low-cost barrels.
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