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Old May 12, 2013, 09:22 PM   #1
CodyB65
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.30-06 Remington 721

Hello all,

My great uncle gave me a '06 721 about 2 months ago. It was purchased by my grandfather in 54 and it has been passed around his brothers and shot by almost everyone throughout my great uncles side. Which his boys are both no longer living. He even said my great great grandfather may have hunted with it. So he asked me if I wanted, staggering, I couldn't say no. He insisted it get back to my grandfathers blood line. Cha-ching!

I took it out & shot it. 2 out of the 6 shots the case cracks, forcing a face full of powder. I thought it was the old brass I acquired from my old man. So I pulled all loads and discarded all brass that looked bad. Went out and did it again on some really good brass.

From what I gather, the head spacing is bad. Now, here's the question. What should I do? Keep it in the closet or rebarrel?

Thanks

CB
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Old May 12, 2013, 09:50 PM   #2
taylorce1
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I'd rebarrel it, since it and the M700 are basically the same rifle it is a good candidate for a rebuild.
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Old May 12, 2013, 10:27 PM   #3
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Seconded, Taylor.
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Old May 12, 2013, 11:18 PM   #4
NESHOOTER
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I also would rebarrel it its family
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Old May 13, 2013, 06:18 AM   #5
jmr40
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I'd shoot some factory loads in it first to rule out defective handloads. If the problem continues with factory loads then I'd have it checked by a good gunsmith before deciding.

I would certainly rebarrel rather than let it sit if that is really needed.
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Old May 13, 2013, 09:05 AM   #6
AllenJ
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I'd vote to rebarrel it, no use letting a great action sit around!

Last year my uncle gave his 721 in 264 Win Mag to his son-in-law who quickly had it rebarreled to 7mm Rem Mag. He used a barrel he had taken off another 700, had the action blue printed, Cerakote finish and set it into a Hogue stock. The gun shoots sub MOA and he used it to take a nice elk last fall.
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Old May 13, 2013, 11:35 AM   #7
CodyB65
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All, thanks for the input.

As weird as this sounds, I want to keep it all original. Do you think I could send it to the smith and he can cut the barrel down? All I would have is a gap on the stock, worse case scenario.

Though if I was to go the route of rebarreling, I would actually have it match to the existing. Even down to the pumpkin (lack for a better term) where the rear sight sits.

What's your thoughts?

CB
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Old May 13, 2013, 11:58 AM   #8
eastbank
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i vote for trying new factory shells before any thing else and haveing a gunsmith look at it.i have owned quit a few 721-722,s and never had one with bad headspace and some of these rifles were realy used hard. if you need another barrel you may be able to get a very good take off barrel on line. eastbank.
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Old May 13, 2013, 02:22 PM   #9
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Do try at least one factory round being mindful of your face and eyes. Should the case crack from this round, the measurements of what remains might be useful to the 'smith. If the problem remains, have the barrel checked for condition from throat to muzzle. I would have the barrel screwed into the receiver to correct a head-space issue if indeed the 'smith determines that to be the problem. Like you, my first preference would be to keep the original barrel due to all the family ties rather than put a new barrel on that piece of history, provided it is decent enough to keep.
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Old May 13, 2013, 06:10 PM   #10
Bart B.
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Have a 'smith check headspace on that rifle before firing another round. It may or may not be safe.

Or just shoot the darned thing and have problems; maybe dangerous ones.

It's your rifle and body that may get damaged.
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Old May 13, 2013, 08:24 PM   #11
eastbank
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did you use the same brass that came with the bad shells, the brass may have been old and brittle and looks alone may not have given it away as brittle.if the head space is bad the rifle must have been subjected to some hellish loads. eastbank.
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Old May 13, 2013, 08:57 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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The 721 is a strong action and it would take a lot of abuse to set the headspace back to a dangerous degree.
I suspect the ammo more than the gun.
It might be corrosion, age hardening, work hardening, or the shoulder set back too far in the sizing die.
Show pictures of the failed brass.
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Old May 13, 2013, 09:16 PM   #13
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Unless your rifle was monkeyed with in the past, I doubt it needs rebarreling. Try factory ammo first!
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Old May 14, 2013, 11:35 AM   #14
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It would be helpful to know where the crack appears in the cases that crack.
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Old May 14, 2013, 01:56 PM   #15
CodyB65
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All,

I found this photo online (not actual, but close). It breaks or splits closer to the base of the cartridge body. You know where the brass body becomes solid, at that point. I have shot factory out of it, and they come out different than normal. The whole body comes out looking like the stretch ring that forms in that area (attached picture) on old used brass. I hope didn't l lose you all.


Thanks for the help.

CB
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Old May 14, 2013, 04:41 PM   #16
Sarge
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Don't shoot it anymore, Cody. Take it to a rifle smith who can check it, head space it and if necessary, do a chamber cast. That is a crazy amount of case stretch if it's like what appears in your photo.
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Old May 14, 2013, 06:06 PM   #17
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Yep, when cases come out looking different than normal, that's a bad thing. Just curious - do the numbers on the bolt match the s/n of the rifle? A mis-matched bolt is a place where you can run into problems. While you have the bolt out, check the bolt lugs for cracks.
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Old May 14, 2013, 06:31 PM   #18
James K
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The pictured case shows a classic excess headspace problem. There can be more than one cause, but definitely take the rifle to a gunsmith before firing it any more.

Jim
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Old May 14, 2013, 06:36 PM   #19
CodyB65
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CVC,

Bolt numbers match the barrel serial. I have a 03 Springfield sporter that I need to rebarreled so I have to visit the smith anyways.

I will keep you all posted. Again, thanks for the suggestions.

CB
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Old May 15, 2013, 04:03 AM   #20
eastbank
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if your cases look like that,don,t fire it before haveing it looked at by a gunsmith, that rifle was abused in its life. i have a first year 1948 721 in 30-06 and its as good as it was when new,it has been used every year to hunt deer and varmites. what your are haveing is called insepit case speration(spelling bad) eastbank.
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Old May 15, 2013, 08:14 AM   #21
taylorce1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CodyB65
As weird as this sounds, I want to keep it all original. Do you think I could send it to the smith and he can cut the barrel down? All I would have is a gap on the stock, worse case scenario.

Though if I was to go the route of rebarreling, I would actually have it match to the existing. Even down to the pumpkin (lack for a better term) where the rear sight sits.
The worst thing about setting back the barrel is that you'll have to open up the barrel channel of the stock for when the rear sight boss aka "pumpkin" is moved back. I think you'll be better off in this case to have the barrel contour duplicated and installed. However you'll want to find out what is causing your headspace issues, is it recoil lug setback or a oversized chamber, anyway good idea to get it to your smith.
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Old May 16, 2013, 11:07 AM   #22
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Would I be right in thinking that the barrel would not need to be set back more than one turn to get good headspace? If so, it would not be difficult to inlet for the new punkin position. Then, I would glass bed the punkin area for a nice fit. The Model 70 Winchester, after all, had a screw into the punkin. This would be a nice, small way to get into stock work and glass bedding, and your fusil would remain largely original.

But, if the headspace problem is caused by locking lug mortices set back, ALL THIS IS MOOT.
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Old May 16, 2013, 11:31 AM   #23
taylorce1
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Depends on the reason the headspace is off. If the lugs are setback on the bolt, I would probably buy a different bolt. This may or may not require setting the barrel back to have correct headspace.

If it is a bad chamber, it could require trimming more than one thread off to clean up the chamber, if it can be done at all. You're right it really isn't a big deal to inlet the stock for the boss if the barrel can be set back, just money at the shop rate of the Smith you'll be using if you don't do it yourself. I'm sure most barrel makes have the 721 contour with rear sight boss programmed already so it wouldn't be a big deal to match the original barrel, once installed a head spaced then the Smith can cut the dovetail for the rear sight in the boss.

Until we know the exactly what is wrong it the headspace we can only speculate what will be involved in fixing the rifle. I wish the OP had taken some pictures of the ammunition he shot. The headspace problem could be a lot of different things to include a re-chambered barrel into something like a .30 Gibbs to where the shoulder has been moved significantly forward.
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Old May 18, 2013, 08:14 PM   #24
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721

I doubt the problem is with the rifle. I don't think that grandpa could have shot it enough to wear the bolt lugs enough to cause excessive headspace nor do I think he backed out the barrel. The case head seperation is caused by trying to get one too many reloads out of your brass. I do that all to often myself and the photo you showed is exactly what happens when I push the envelope. Headspace dosen't always do that. I watched a guy in a Leg match shoot 30 plus rounds of 7.62 in a 30-06 Garand and none of the case heads seperated. The brass looked like 45-70 but was intact and that's 1/2 inch excessive headspace. I'd try some new factory ammo as suggested. If the problem still persist have a gun mechanic gauge it.
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Old May 18, 2013, 11:40 PM   #25
taylorce1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CodyB65
I found this photo online (not actual, but close). It breaks or splits closer to the base of the cartridge body. You know where the brass body becomes solid, at that point. I have shot factory out of it, and they come out different than normal. The whole body comes out looking like the stretch ring that forms in that area (attached picture) on old used brass. I hope didn't l lose you all.
He did try new factory ammunition and said the brass came out looking stretched.
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