View Full Version : building my own rifle (gunsmithing class)

October 18, 2006, 12:48 AM
I am planning on taking a Fundamentals of Gunsmithing class at a local college. I am doing this for personal information rather than professional reasons. As part of the class we get to build our own rifle. I am assuming that it will be a bolt action. What should I be looking forward to building? I really want a varmit rifle and a big bore dangerous game rifle, but I think that these might be better bought than built by a beginner. Any input as to what I should shoot for. I haven't started the class yet or even met the instructor so will have more info in a couple of weeks.


October 18, 2006, 12:53 AM
I would say a varmint rifle or a hunting rifle because they are the most versatile. Dangerous game rifles are not something yoy take out for an afternoon of pleasant shooting. Most likely in the first class, you will not get into stockmaking or bluing, it will mainly focus on the building of the barreled action. But I could be wrong!

T. O'Heir
October 18, 2006, 01:58 AM
"...a big bore dangerous game rifle..." There many lions or Cape Buffalo in OK? Build a varmint or target rifle. Concentrate on learning the techniques of building an accurate rifle. Glass bedding, installing custom triggers, mounting scopes, etc. These are fundamentals that go into building a custom rifle.
How long is the course?

October 18, 2006, 01:56 PM
The class is roughly a 50 hour college course. It will not cover stockmaking but will cover bluing.

While there isn't much dangerous game in Ok there is plenty in Africa. It is my dream to hunt Africa. I think plenty of practice with your rifle is an absolute necessity before anyone would go.

Do you all think that a varmit rifle built by a beginner would be up to the standards accuracy wise?

October 18, 2006, 04:29 PM
That will depend on how good you become as a machinist and smith. I would say build yourself a Mauser in one of the calibers that you might hunt in Africa with. It will be a fine gun for that purpose and it can be used at home to shoot as well. Harry Bonnar likes the big 9's and I think that would be an excellent round for you as well. Maybe he will chime in and give you some info in the cartridge.

I wish they had classes like that when I was in college, they didn't even have a machine shop at my school.

October 18, 2006, 08:04 PM
Africa, with a rifle you built yourself....? I'm jealous,,,
I'm not going to Africa... But I have been buying parts recently to build a .30-06 mauser,, I guess you could call it a mauser....

October 18, 2006, 09:04 PM
Talk to the instructors and ask for their input. They should have a basic knowledge of your skills by the time you start building and be able to advise you on what would be best for you.

October 18, 2006, 10:17 PM
I really have my doubts that you could get instruction AND BUILD a rifle in a 50 hour course. Unless you can use their shop on your own time. It sounds more like a hobby type course as opposed to a "Gunsmith" sort of course. You could not learn about chambering, blueing,threading a barrel and so many other things in 50 hours,, Just not possible. It takes a LONG time to simply learn a lathe and how it works much less all the other functions needed to build a rifle. I do hope you enjoy the classes, but I have my doubts you are going to be a "Gunsmith" when it is done. It just doesn't happen that fast, sorry to say. The class is "Fundamentals" that is a long way from being a Gunsmith and I have no idea of how you would create a gun in such a short "lesson"

Harry Bonar
October 19, 2006, 03:45 PM
I agree with CNTRYBOY1289 and I'd use a 98 Mauser as they are easiest to re-bbl, etc.
Yes I like the 9.3X62 and Doc and I this Thanksgiving are going to build two 9.3X64s! That is equal in energy to the 375 H&H. Suprisingly these big guns do not have punishing recoil - my 62 is pleasant to shoot - my 416 Taylor (458 win mag necked down to 416 dia bullets) and can be used on deer and other small game as it just punches a big hole and will not ruin much meat. The Germasns were far ahead of us and our high velocity cartridges for big game!
I built one 416 on a Boyd stock and used a Turkish Mauser , model 38 - I have found these actions to be very fine in hardness.One is an Adams & Bennet bbl (416) on a light Savage 110 action and as far as recoil it's very, very manageable as a big game round! The range in the gun press is rated at 250 yards! And, regardless of the "story" of 300 to 600 yard kills, the actual yardage is probably only actually around 150 yards or less. Yes, I like the 9.3s. and the 416s!
May you be successful.
Harry B.

October 19, 2006, 04:27 PM
Building a new rifle is not as difficult as you could expect, provided you have some skills on turning a lathe and running a milling machine.
A good start is buying one of these little lathes with a milling head and making a lot of work with it.
The firs step to build a rifle could be buying an old military rifle with a good bore and stripping it for the barreled action, then fitting a new match trigger, a good fixed scope mount and perhaps making a new stock.( with bedding!!!!).
The second step could be in fitting a new barrel on your action.
If you don't want to get in trouble with turning, threading and chambering a barrel blank you could have a ready made threaded (for your receiver), turned and chambered barrel in the caliber of your choice.
As about the caliber you shold keep in mind that nearly all of the old military rifles are chambered for calibers with standard brass heads and therefore the bolt's head only accepts standard width brass, unless some modifications are made on bolt's head.
There are more things to learn and a good gunsmithing book will be an invaluable soure of informations.
Good Luck

October 20, 2006, 09:16 AM
I really have my doubts that you could get instruction AND BUILD a rifle in a 50 hour course.

I dunno, 50 hours is a fair bit of time. But, I suspect rather than a lot of Lathe/Mill working, you start out with an action, and a threaded barrel. Probably more of an "assembly" type focus, checking headspacing, maybe reaming, scope mounting, bluing....that kinda stuff. Wish something like that was offered around here, I would find it very interesting (Besides my dad was a machinist, so I know how to work a lathe and a mill and such. I'm also a self-taught, but pretty expert welder)

My (so far) adventures in gunsmithing have been to "sporterize" a Turk Mauser, including drilling/tapping scope mounts, bending/welding the bolt, some trigger work, porting the barrel, and bedding it into the stock. FUN! starting on next project, now, a "scout type" in 8mm-06 on a VZ-24 action...should be a bit more challenging.

October 20, 2006, 12:35 PM
Some more info: Machine Theory, Theory of Precision Tools, Modern Firearms, Antique Firearms, Machining Practices including Safety, Machine Setup, Reamer Use, Precision Tool Usage, Threading, Chambering, Rough Headspace, Finish Headspace, Lathe Fundamentals, Mill Fundamentals, MetalFinishing, and Hot Salt Blueing.

I was also given this list of expected prices for the rifle components.

Approximate amount for Trigger, Barrel, Base and Rings: $156.92
Approximate amount for Stock will run from $119$
259 (or more if student selects most expensive stock)
Type of Part Estimated Price Notes from Instructor
Trigger $32.99
Barrel $88.99
Base $15.99
Rings $18.95
Walking Varminter Stock $120.00$
Fiberglass Varmint/Tactical Stock $152.00$
Sporter Stock $119.00
Fajen Ace Varminter Rifle Stock $139.00
Bell and Carlson Medalist Varmint/Tactical Stock $219.00$
Approx. Cost for Supplies (before shipping): $275.96$
Note: The instructor does not recommend using a Thumbhole Stock

I noticed there was not any listing for the actual reciever.

October 20, 2006, 06:08 PM
You'll have to supply that I am sure. It sounds like a terrific class that you have lined up for yourself. Very similar to one of the NRA Summer course which you can take at a couple of the gunsmithing schools. Sounds like the prices are ok, but if you get the chance, check out Boyd's stocks for a decent price as well. Best of luck with the project.