View Full Version : Hand chamber with finish reamer

January 3, 2011, 02:23 PM
Has anyone reamed a chamber by hand with out taking the barrel off.
Thinking about Ackley improving a 1903 Springfield, but dont want to remove the barrel.
Can I get a finish reamer and very slowly open it up by hand?

January 3, 2011, 02:50 PM
This is a very common use for pull-through reamers. But be careful, or you may end up taking the barrel off anyway.

James K
January 3, 2011, 03:01 PM
Yes, of course. It was done that way before pull through reamers ever existed.


January 3, 2011, 04:03 PM
I couldn't figure why it wouldn't work, just wanted to see if anybody had done it, I know if I go too deep.....the barrel comes of anyway.

James K
January 3, 2011, 11:19 PM
Use an extender to reach through the action. Take it very slowly and use lots of cutting oil. After a few times, you get a feel for when you are getting close, but on a one-time job, just take it slow, make a turn, flush, use the GO gauge, do another turn, etc. Tedious.


Jim Watson
January 3, 2011, 11:27 PM
Aren't you supposed to set the barrel back a turn for an AI anyhow?

January 4, 2011, 12:53 AM
Aren't you supposed to set the barrel back a turn for an AI anyhow?
Technically yes, but I have seen them done without it. It leaves a very small area at the base of the neck uncut, but it will make little or no difference.

January 4, 2011, 12:41 PM
The problem is cutting to the base of the neck without going even the slightest bit deeper.

Precision chambering is done with dial indicators to monitor depth throughout the cut.

January 4, 2011, 02:07 PM
I have had good results hand turning a reamer.Between the reamer pilot and the old chamber to follow.The reamer will want to self center and cut true.What will mess that up is if you are appying any side loads as you turn it.A Crescent wrench is not OK.You need a tee handle.There is a feel to rotating around the axis without applying side loads.It would not hurt if your driver extension had a portion that is about bolt diameter to be supported by the rear receiver ring.You need to be able to draw the reamer out of the cut as you are turning it in the clockwise cutting direction.This means the driver needs to hold on tight to the reamer.Seems like a tool I made was bored/reamed to a close slip fit to just accept the reamer shank diameter.I then drilled and tapped for a couple of set screws to engage the square shank of the reamer.The other end of this driver was cross drilled for the tee handle,I think I used a 10 inch ejector pin.This worked good.
I suggest having a 1 lb coffee can with some solvent and a toothbrush handy.Every time you withdraw the reamer,wash all chips off with the toothbtush,and use a cleaning rod,patches,air,to make sure all chips are clear before you go back in with the reamer.You really do not want a chip bridged across a cutting edge.
Ackley designedd the AI's to use the juncture of the shoulder and neck as an alternate headspacing feature for fireforming or using factory ammo in a pinch.
I load long bullets into the rifling to hold my brass to the bolt face when I form cases.I also headspaced the chamber tight,mine was not a conversion.

You might evaluate how tight/loose the original headspace is before you begin.If it is tight,just don;t cut too deep and you will be fine.If it is already loose,the setback idea is worth consideration.If this is a personal rifle that you will keep,and you are carefully handloading fireformed ammo,it is workable.I think headsp-ce gages specific to the AI's are available