View Full Version : Jeweling a bolt?

Capt. Charlie
July 10, 2005, 03:57 PM
I just got a Remington 700 with a plain-Jane finish on the bolt. I'd like to jewel it. I have some experience in polishing bolts to a mirror finish using very fine emory cloth and then sequentially finer grades of jeweler's rouge on a powered buffer wheel, but I've never tried jeweling before. I have a drill press with a machinist's precision vice and was thinking about using hard rubber Dremel bits impregnated with jeweler's rouge. Any tips, or should I even try this at all?

July 10, 2005, 04:06 PM

Good write up on this and all he uses is a drill dress and a homemade jig. Looks simple enough.


July 10, 2005, 04:51 PM
I built his jig and use my drill press with a engine turning brush and Clover 400 grit. The fact that you already know how to polish the bolt is very useful in that the bolt must be polished before jeweling. If you want to build the jig on Steve's web site, one tip that I can give you is to make sure you use a very fine tip marker to make the lines on the length of board that you use to adhust the jig with. I used a mechanical pencil to make mine after the first attempt simply turned out to have the lines run too close together. Make sure if you use the jig to start at the same end each time, simply use a black line on the first run and then a red line on the next run, but from the same end. I usually just count to 8 for each swirl before letting up on the quill. The vise you have can come in handy when you are jeweling a bolt out of a 10/22 or the like that has a flat surface. I use mine to jewel the bolts of 10/22's and shotgun bolts as well by simply rolling the bolt and retighten the vise when needing to adjust the surface to keep the line you are jeweling level.

James K
July 11, 2005, 11:58 AM
I have jewelled many bolts, always against my better judgement (but the work is easy and the profit is high). The reason I don't like to do it is that, almost inevitably, normal bolt function wears the jewelling and leaves worn "streaks" on the bolt. The result is, IMHO, far worse looking than the normal polished bolt, and the customer is ultimately unhappy. If the jewelling is then removed, the bolt fit is sloppy.

If the rifle is strictly for looking, not shooting, jewelling is pretty, but for a working rifle, I don't recommend it.

BTW, jewellers' rouge is far too fine and won't give any pattern. 120 grit is commonly used.


Capt. Charlie
July 11, 2005, 12:52 PM
Thanks guys! The article was outstanding, and I've printed it out for future use. But Jim's post made me stop & think. I've had to re-polish bolts before because of drag lines. This rifle is absolutely mint. It will be a shooter and a looker :D , so I'm thinking I can re-polish the bolt a lot easier than I can re-jewel it. Thanks again for the replies! :)

Dave Sample
July 11, 2005, 01:02 PM


Some one asked me "Why do you jewel those barrel hoods?" It is because I can!

July 11, 2005, 02:32 PM
You said that the jeweling process made your bolt fit worse than before jeweling. How much are you polishing the bolt prior to jeweling? I have never jeweled a bolt or barrel hood to a point that it reduced the outside diameter to the point that the bolt fit worse. Jeweling serves two purposes:
1) it gives the bolt surface something for oil to get a hold of so you get better lubricity over the bolt's surface.
2) it of course looks good

Maybe you are polishing the bolt too much before jeweling and then using the 120 grit is just too course. I jewel using 400 grit and the swirls look very good and they polish the bolt as well. I would think that if you are reducing the diameter that much then you are correct that the working of the bolt would scratch the jeweling and leave streaks. I haven't had anyone bring a bolt back with streaks are scratches. Here are a few pics of the ones I have done.

I shoot these guns regularly and they show now wear marks or anything on the jeweling.

Capt. Charlie
July 11, 2005, 03:21 PM
Some nice work there Dave & Cntryboy. So what actually causes the "skid marks" (for lack of a better term)? Are they rough edges on the inside of the receiver, and can they be smoothed down? I polished the barrel hood on my Smith 645 to a mirror finish, but a couple hundred rounds finds it with drag marks again :( .

July 11, 2005, 03:54 PM
Dear Messrs. Sample, Countryboy, Keenan, etc.:

The bolt of my new Rem 700 Classic came from the factory jeweled. Do you often see wear marks develop on the factory-jeweled bolts, or is the wear typically found on the non-factory jeweled bolts? Is there some way to prevent the wear?

Thanks in advance for answering my (admittedly) selfish concern........

July 11, 2005, 05:31 PM
I have seen wear occur with factory and custom jeweling. Most of the time the reason is there is a larger discrepancy of the specs between the reciever and the bolt itself. You can mic a hundred different recievers and get a hundred different measurements of the diameter of the bolt raceway. Mic the bolts and you can get a variance there as well. The better manufacturers have less variance between to the two specs. If you have someone who doesn't work the bolt smoothly, that is they force the bolt upwards or downwards when they cycle the bolt, you can get the streaks or wear marks on them. Most of the time it is when a person drops the rifle from their shoulder and hold it at an angle to work the bolt back and forth. This will put a downward pressure on the bolt which will cause it to drag. If you have a bolt that is a good bit smaller than the raceway, then you will get drag marks when this happens.

As far as the jeweling on a pistol barrel hood, if there isn't a good fit between the hood and the reciever, you can get these marks as well. The pistols I showed the pics of have been jeweled for over 3 years and have fired over 2000 rounds a piece in that time. They still look like they did when the jeweling was first done. You can take some crocus cloth and smooth the top of the reciever and see if that helps, but I would think you have a barrel lug that isn't fitted just right.

The 10/22 is my personal weapon as well and it was done three years ago and shows no wear marks. The bolt was from a Winchester model 70 and it was brought to me scratched up and had wear marks. The guy told me to order him a new bolt and barrel for the gun. I suggested that the bolt could be cleaned up, but he wanted the new bolt ordered. I cleaned it up for myself and put it into a different reciever that I didn't have the bolt for it. I have shot close to 600 rounds through it since that time. I would think that the wear marks would tell you that there is a problem with the parts mating up correctly. If you have a bolt that has long streaks of wear on it, you might need to consider having it either sleeved or welded with a drop of weld and machined to the specs of the reciever to tighten it back up.

The remington shotgun bolt was one I did for my son and it shows where I messed up keeping the lines of swirls straight, but it still shows no wear marks.

Dave Sample
July 11, 2005, 07:06 PM
The 1911 Barrel hoods last a long time sometimes and then others self destruct right away. I like the idea that they hold lube a little better and [erhaps that is where this jeweling stuff started. I started doing it 18 years ago when a pal inj Raton showed me how simple it was to set up and do. I use a little mill table from Sears that he gave me.

I liked to do it because I made forty bucks for the job.



This one has had a lot of rounds through it and still looks good. It was built 12 years ago.

James K
July 12, 2005, 08:45 PM
Hi, Cntryboy,

I actually said that if the jewelling is removed, the bolt will be sloppy. I have had a couple of cases where the customer insisted on jewelling the bolt, and then as soon as wear developed demanded I remove the jewelling and polish the bolt smooth. That will remove enough metal to create play in what was originally a smooth bolt. I agree that the barrel hood area on the 1911 should not contact the slide at all if things are set up right, so that is an area where jewelling should last. But I think you are a bit unrealistic in expecting the user of a bolt rifle to always work the bolt in a perfectly straight line - it don't happen!

Hi, Fremmer,

I have seen wear marks on jewelling done by both gunsmiths and the factory. There are ways of reducing the wear, especially making sure that the inside of the receiver is smooth with no sharp edges, and using a good lubricant. But in most cases it is not really possible to totally eliminate wear on a part that moves inside another part, and any wear on jewelling, IMHO, makes it look worse than no jewelling at all. Let us hear from you after you have used that rifle a bit.

Hi, Dave,

As you say, the original purpose of jewelling was to hold lubricant. So if jewelling is used someplace where there is no contact, it is strictly decorative; if it is used where there is contact and friction, it may serve a purpose but won't be decorative.

Anyway, to each his own.


July 13, 2005, 04:20 PM
Mr. Keenan, I am not trying to argue with you here, but I think maybe you are removing too much metal when polishing the bolts. I have polished off jeweling and rejeweled the bolt when learning how and I still didn't remove enough metal to cause slop. I have only seen one bolt that needed to have a lot of metal removed to polish it and it was one that had deep scratches in it. I polished the scratches out as best I could and then welded the bolt to where it had a drop of weld behind the lugs and in the rear and machined it where it would be tight when it was locked up. I then jeweled the bolt. Now, this particular bolt had a good bit of slop in the fit and it would move around a good bit when working it rearwards to recock the gun. I had to remove a few thousandths, I would think, to remove the scratches, but this bolt still does not show wears marks on the jeweling, especially not when it is in battery. I still jewel mauser bolts and they are renowned for having slop, and they don't show wear. Clean up the reciever and leave a drop of oil on the bolt to lubricate it, and I think this may go away.

James K
July 13, 2005, 06:10 PM
Hi, Cntryboy,

Just reporting some of my own experience. Perhaps I jewel deeper than you do, as just a light circular polish won't last long. I understand what you are saying, and I agree that care will prevent some of the problems, but I am still of the opinion that jewelling the bolt of a working rifle is not worth the cost and effort.


July 13, 2005, 07:40 PM
I have always used 400 grit Clover compound and a engine turning brush. I want to be able to drag a fingernail and barely feel anything when I jewel the bolt. I haven't done any using the 120 grit and it probably leaves a deeper impression on the bolt than I do myself. I wasn't trying to argue with you, was just curious about it.

James K
July 15, 2005, 10:02 AM
Hey, Cntryboy,

Discussions and differences of opinion among friends are not arguments, they are what makes life interesting.


Dave Sample
July 15, 2005, 01:44 PM
You guys got me so excited that I jeweled the hood of the great EAGLE III 400 Cor Bon. I use the 400 Clover can stuff and a wire brush and know how much pressure to apply and how long to hold it there. They come out very nice. If it wears off, I will shoe shine it off and do it again!

July 15, 2005, 05:18 PM
This is why I was so curious about what Mr. Keenan had said in his earlier post. I have never removed a lot of metal if I have to clean up the jeweling. I generally just use my buffer and it comes right off. I use to just use crocus cloth and shoe shine it, but I like to use the buffer with the white cake and it polishes it like it needs to be without much fuss. Now and then I have to use a little more agressive compound, but not normally. I know from reading this, you wouldn't think the jeweling would wear as well as it does, but if the bolt is right to begin with and the reciever is cleaned up and polished on the inside, there isn't a problem for me.

June 6, 2010, 09:22 PM
hey about jewling a bolt, could you do that to a semi-auto .22 ifle? cause me and my dad are gonna build a thing to remember eachother by, and want to rebuild his 70 year old savage model 85. and could you use a 100 volt drill to jewel a bolt, or do you need a drill press? and please give me an exact list of things I need, and if I need a drill press, a place I could rent one. and also, do you have any tips about ebony forends and spacers and checkering and engravings in a stock? we plan on completely redoing the gun, and could you remove the old blue from the barrel and jewel the barrel and then re-blue it? we want to go above and beyond with it and make it a piece to pass down for generations.