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Old February 5, 2013, 05:03 PM   #1
Fire_Moose
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Buying a used bolt action.

I've been looking around for a bolt action In 308. Unfortch, I'm not really sure what I should be looking at. What's the best way of looking into the barrel? How can I tell throat erosion? How stiff should the action be? What other considerations should I keep in mind?

Thanks folks.

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Old February 5, 2013, 05:24 PM   #2
Babyfacenelson
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I typically use a small flash light on both ends and can tell whether or not i would even consider purchasing the rifle.
For the action, as far as i know (not far), it doesnt matter how "stiff" it is, so long as it cycles well and locks into place.
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Old February 5, 2013, 06:33 PM   #3
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Check the crown of the barrel if it looks uneven then someone was careless with cleaning. If the price is right as far as dirt cheap then buy it. A decent gunsmith can fix it for not too awful much. You would just have to wait till he gets to it.

A bore light helps to see inside the barrel. It is a hook shaped clear plastic light. Cost is less than $20 last time I looked at one. Look for pitting in the bore, and see if the rifling looks uneven. Most used rifles in .308 are in decent shape. Many get lost to the pawn shop when someone needed bill, gas, or grocery money. They had every intention of getting it out, and something else happened that prevented it. I have seen it happen more than a few times.

There are a few flea bitten dogs sometimes. Someone that was carless with one decided to offload it for what they could get for it to be rid of it. Sometimes there is a great one that just needs a little TLC, and turns out to be a fine shooter. A good friend bought a rifle from a distant relative that had an old rifle that would not shoot worth a darn. He sold it to my friend for a song. Turned out it was not screwed into the bedding properly, the scope mounts were loose, and the barrel was dirty, and copper fouled. Two hours of work, and was tack driving accurate. He has taken many white tailed deer with it since.
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Old February 5, 2013, 07:12 PM   #4
Tikirocker
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I've done just fine checking barrels by holding them up to a light source in the gun shop; look from the action, swap it around and look from the muzzle. I've never needed a bore light to do this job and never been disappointed with the bore when I got them home.

Crown is important but not the end of the world, more important is to check the throat for erosion or wear. You can do this observation just by eye, using the method suggested above. Look at the condition of the rifling in the first couple of inches of the bore from the chamber and compare then to the rifling elsewhere. You want to see a nice round leade ... if the throat is egg shaped or out of round, that's a deal breaker.

Don't be fooled by cosmetic condition, I've picked up some sensational rifles that looked beat to hell and transformed them in 24 hours. As long as the bore is in good shape and the action has a good positive lock up - nice and tight et al - the cosmetics can be improved at home. You can always use poor cosmetic shape as a bargaining chip as well.

A dark bore can clean up also ... as long as there is plenty of meat on the lands, it's a shooter.

Tiki.
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Old February 5, 2013, 08:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the tips! Keep em coming!

I was cHecking out a einfield jungle carbine today, looked rough and the action was mostly smooth but just before lock up you had to give it a good push then a nice (seemed) lock up. This normal? They were asking $199. But I tried pointing it at the light to look into the chamber and there was no room for line of sight.

Also, I don't know how to tell if it was some Frankenstein cheapo job.

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Old February 5, 2013, 08:16 PM   #6
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Fire Moose,

The Enfield action is a cock on closing design, so the last part of bolt lock up takes the pressure of cocking the bolt, that is why you felt resistance. People not used to COC actions often have problems with chambering and extraction with Enfields as well. You need a good positive action when cycling the Enfield bolt, so what you experienced is normal, if a little unfamiliar.

If you want some info on Enfields or the Jungle Carbine ... check my guides below...

No5 Mk1 ---> http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/vie...?f=27&t=127161

No4 Mk1* Longbranch ---> http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/vie...?f=27&t=127021

Cheers, Tiki.
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:02 PM   #7
Fire_Moose
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Wow thanks tiki! What a great guide, I feel like a pro now. Ill have to go check it out again tommorow, but from what I remember, I think its been bastardized.

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Old February 6, 2013, 12:12 AM   #8
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Moose,

Glad the guide helped, that's why I put them together ... if the No5 is legit and is not beyond restoration, it is well worth the effort. Very few No5 Mk1's were actually manufactured, they are among a rare breed of Military rifle and deserve care and preservation. If you need any help or advice you know where to find me ... or PM me.

Cheers, Tiki.
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Old February 6, 2013, 01:40 AM   #9
edward hogan
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You're looking for a rifle with minimum wear.

First, remove the bolt from the receiver and examine the bolt face; is it smooth and new looking or pitted and rough? If pitted, the gun has seen hard use.

The barrel is iffy. Most guys don't know how to clean copper and fouling from the barrel. With bolt still removed, point the barrel at a light-source and look down the bore. If it is shiny, it's at least clean. If dirty or dusty, that is a bargaining point. You are buying a used gun. Tell the pawnbroker you're concerned about the barrel if you make an offer.

Look at the stock for gouges or splits. Look at the screws, if they are beat-up it is an indicator.

Does the rifle come with a scope? With scope mount? Rings? Have bought a number of used rifles w/quality scopes at a good price. Leupold scopes, most often.

Never offer to pay the asking price. Always offer at least 25% below the asking price or much less if the guy has it marked way up. To get your best deal at a pawnshop, be sure to tell the guy you're gonna pay with CASH. Cash is king at the pawnshop. Not so much at a gunshop, but they should discount you 5% at least for not using a credit card...

Best deals at pawnshops. You can recognize junkers. Don't buy a junker. Rem 700, Win 70, Sako, Tikka, maybe a Savage or Ruger. I would avoid Ruger or Browning, Stevens, Mossberg.

If pawnbroker won't deal, leave right then. The next one will. Might not get as great a deal on an in-demand rifle as would have 3mos ago, but pawnbroker should save you money and bargain with you for cash...


When you get your new rifle, clean the barrel well with copper remover like Barnes CR-10. May as well buy a Dewey coated rod, some correct size phosphor brushes, solvent & patches to clean with if don't already own them...

good luck!
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Old February 6, 2013, 03:40 AM   #10
Fire_Moose
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Thanks ed, losta wisdom in there.

So how do you remove the bolt....how similar is it between models?

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Old February 6, 2013, 03:41 AM   #11
Fire_Moose
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N/m

YouTube is your friend.

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Old February 6, 2013, 07:17 AM   #12
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You're not likely to notice throat erosion with your naked eye even with good light. You're also not likely to find a commercial .308 that has been fired enough to erode the bore unless it's been used for an extreme amount of target shooting. In this case, there should be other factors showing such heavy use.
I have 3 rifles built using barrells taken off of .308(7.62x51)British military sniper/target rifles. God only knows how many rounds went down the bores and about all that did was make them smoother.
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
You're not likely to notice throat erosion with your naked eye even with good light
You can certainly detect erosion and wear of the leade with the naked eye ... it is quite obvious when you compare it to the rifling an inch in or more. When I talk of worn barrels I am speaking to Military rifles predominantly and having seen enough of them, they can vary a great deal.

Tiki.
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Old February 7, 2013, 05:35 PM   #14
Fire_Moose
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Just for the record.....

Went back to check out that jungle carbine. Definatly not a jungle carbine. The bolt is removed by bringing it all the way back, then flipping a piece up. No flip up sight, and the rear sight is in front of the bolt. My God I have never seen a dirtier barrel. You could make out the rifling but it looked fuzzy almost likea 1/16" dust covering it. On inspection of markings, I noticed it said. 303. Much of the other markings were hard to read. Needless to say it didn't fit in with my hunt for a bolt action in .308



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Old February 8, 2013, 07:42 AM   #15
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In 2011 I was looking for a BAG day project and wandered into the local pawnbroker. He had a rifle sitting forlorn in the rack, a Savage in .308 that someone had horribly modified. The gun was painted with Krylon, the stock was mis-matched to the action. (That is to say, the stock didn't fit the action. It had only one action bolt holding the stock, and it was bent.) This was a WECSOG job of the most mismanaged type.



I got the rifle for a song. I took it home, dismounted the scope and gave it to a grandkid as a "super-spotter-spy-scope", then removed the stock. I started using paint thinner and 00 steel wool to get the paint off the action. Then I callled Savage with the serial number, determined that the rifle had left the factory as an 11F blind magazine, so I ordered the stock, mag box, and action bolts, plus some assorted small parts that Savage recommended. I found a scope in my pile of used scopes, and mounted it. In about a week, my parts order had arrived, so I assembled the rifle.



Thence to the range with some ammo, and found that it will put three into 0.754 when I do my part. I started casting about for a use for that Choate stock, and my son told me that he wanted it for his Model 10 FLP, so I gave it to him. He took the stock home, cut a chunk out of the left side for his southpaw rifle and filled the hole on the right side of the stock.



Sometimes you can do very well with a pawnshop rifle.
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Old February 9, 2013, 08:42 PM   #16
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Sounds like a No. 1.
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Old February 9, 2013, 08:50 PM   #17
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Most used rifles are un-cleaned, so looking at the bore is almost pointless. A dog and a 100% bore look pretty much the same when filthy.
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Old February 9, 2013, 11:45 PM   #18
James K
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Fire_Moose says he is interested in a .308 caliber bolt action sporter. Such a rifle is almost certainly not going to have any throat erosion. It takes many rounds, mostly rapid fire, to create TE, and the possibility of a sporter being fired that way is about zero. The same is true of corrosion. There have been a few makes of .308 (7.62x51) with corrosive primers, all (AFAIK) military. Again, the possibility of primer-caused corrosion is about nil.

There are many used bolt action sporters in .308 from Remington, Savage, Winchester, Weatherby and Ruger, plus many more from foreign makers.

One you get into military surplus rifles, in calibers like the .303 British and 8mm Mauser, then rusted out barrels, throat erosion, muzzle wear, etc., become real possibilities.

Jim
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Old February 10, 2013, 12:02 AM   #19
Tikirocker
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Quote:
Fire_Moose says he is interested in a .308 caliber bolt action sporter. Such a rifle is almost certainly not going to have any throat erosion.

Respectfully disagree with this assertian - it will depend on the use a rifle has had and checking a bore for signs of wear to the throat, leade, crown etc are all buyers 101. A sporting rifle may have been used in Target Rifle competitions, field class for instance, which is common in my part of the world and .308 is commonly used for that competition. Many target shooters change out barrels after 10,000 rounds ... because of wear.

When a buyer comes up on a 2nd hand rifle he has no clue how it has been used. Depending on the loads a shooter is using also, throat erosion may be better or worse ... hot loads can vastly excellerate throat erosion. Giving a man all the tools he needs in order to check the quality of a 2nd hand rifle for purchase is what we are about here, not limiting his vision of what might or might not - "probably" - be the case.

Suggesting that checking a bore is a waste of time since when dirty they all look alike (#17) is not what I call smart practice. I've looked down plenty of dirty and dark bores and seen as many variations of condition as there are stars in the sky. If the OP wants to be casual and take a pot shot at a second hand purchase, it's his money and his decision, but as a fellow shooter I feel a duty of care to give a bloke as many tools as he can handle to help in his decision making process ... not less.

Tiki.
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Old February 10, 2013, 02:54 AM   #20
Fire_Moose
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It helped a lot tiki. And I agree.


Although I just decided and brought home my rifle today. Ended up getting a new T/C venture.

Thanks for all the help I'm 80% sure a milsurp will be next.

Sent from my CZ85 Combat
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Old February 10, 2013, 04:17 AM   #21
Tikirocker
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Good stuff Moose ... hope you enjoy your new bang stick and you're welcome over at Surplus any time should you need any help or assistance with military bolt guns.

Tiki.
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Old February 10, 2013, 08:36 AM   #22
30Cal
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Sorry I'm a little late in the game, but here's a couple thoughts when buying anything used.



Go in with the right mindset. If I'm actually considering a purchase, I stop admiring what I like about it. I shift gears and start thinking "there are issues with this rifle; I just have to look hard enough to find them."

You'll find some. It's a matter then of whether it'll still make you happy and what price is reasonable.

Besides the bore, muzzle, boltface, I look for signs of abuse (pitting, buggered screws), cracks in the stock (not all are a big deal), etc. It's not really that hard.
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Old February 11, 2013, 12:51 AM   #23
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http://www.academy.com/webapp/wcs/st...atalogId=10051

Don't leave home without it.
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Old February 11, 2013, 03:05 AM   #24
Fire_Moose
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Definately remembered that.

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Old February 11, 2013, 03:33 PM   #25
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Or a white piece of paper will show you the same thing. I have a rifle right now that yall can all ponder over and I am sure 95% of you will say the bore is good. It looks good. It actually looks wonderful. Its not. Its shot out. My rule for buying used is "dont pay more than the action is worth." That is unless I can get a buy back guarantee from the seller. I have had to sell some back over the years.
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