View Full Version : True home built Rifles. No gunsmiths

February 3, 2014, 11:19 PM
We all know that custom shops with 100k in tooling can build long range, beautiful guns... My journey was inspired not so long ago and with the help of youtube and good ol Larry Potterfield this is what I have so far... (Disclaimer: I had help thread it, crown it, I dont own a lathe! I also had a gunsmith tipple check all my work before I sent the first round out of her...) It's a fun task when your teaching yourself and very rewarding the closer you get to being finished.

Started with a CG 1918 M96 Mauser 6.5x55

Krieger SS Target Bull approx 24" now

Richards Microfit stock was a clearance that no COD was paid. Barrel Channel was for a stock step down barrel. This was a big time consuming challenge to Fit!

Found a used safty on EBay just to try out, also the scope base was a sun optic rail which proved to be incorrect and later replaced with a redfield JR base, those rings are Warne and although they are of excellent quality I had to put them up for later use.


Using Tung Oil on the stock. Still applying coats to this Day.. I will get the polish right in a few more coats...



And here is how she shoots. Not quite fully broken in but fantastic IMO so far...


Thanks for looking. Show off more GARAGE builds here please!

February 3, 2014, 11:42 PM
That is a beautiful job. I think I may have found a new project. That looks really fun. I will have to learn to finish the projects I have started first I suppose.

Jim March
February 3, 2014, 11:48 PM
For pure weird I don't think anybody is going to match Maurice the FrankenRuger - a New Vaquero rigged with up to 9rd swappable magazines (retained with flat springs made out of hacksaw blades with the saw teeth ground off) and automatic gas-powered ejection of empty shells. I can get up to 14rd capacity by stacking a 9rd mag on top of 5rds in the cylinder and yes, it will auto-switch from one feed to the other as soon as an empty chamber passes in front of the mag.


February 3, 2014, 11:57 PM
Thats pretty cool!

February 4, 2014, 11:41 AM
You did a beautiful job on that stock. Have you kept track of how many coats of oil you used? What grit are you using between coats?

February 4, 2014, 11:52 AM
A fantastic job and the proof is in the pudding on how well you did.

February 4, 2014, 12:16 PM
Nice, very nice & a real shooter ta' boot! Did you rebarrel in the same caliber 6.5x55? I'd love to DIY a Mauser home project. Was it hard to find the M96 or is it a rifle you already had.

Congratulations on a job well done!

...bug :)

February 4, 2014, 12:25 PM
Wow very nice job with the Mauser,Congrats!!

44 AMP
February 4, 2014, 12:30 PM
you build that at home, you are a gunsmith. Maybe not a fully qualified machinist & gunsmith, but you ARE a gunsmith.:D

Great job!

February 4, 2014, 01:49 PM
Thanks for the nice comments.

I kept the cal 6.5x55.. It doesn't get the following that it should.

As far as the grit sand paper, I started with 80 took it to 400, applied 1 coat of oil and used angled light to find any blems. Used 120 -400 to remove blems. Hit it with coat 2 of oil and used 000 steel wool to fix any remaining blems. I am now to approx 7-8 coats. After a few more I will polish it out.

This process differs from most that you read but it was recommended buy my 84 yr old grandpa. And it's working out great.

I used a dremel to assist in wood removal because the barrel is 30mm and a chisel would have taken yrs! I stayed away from the dye and used white grease to inlet. Seems odd, another grandpa trick...

February 4, 2014, 01:59 PM
What are you going to use to polish out the wood when you are done applying oil? I'm asking because I'm thinking about buying an unfinished stock for a Savage 110 30-06.

February 4, 2014, 02:29 PM
000 steel wool... I used that to polish the barrel too. The trick from what gramps has told me is to use enough coats to fill in any voids. then polish it out with wool and then apply a last coat.

February 4, 2014, 03:22 PM
I play with the erector set of rifles the Savage 10 actions. Never tried messing with a Mauser, I may have to do it someday.

February 4, 2014, 03:47 PM
You can find small ring mauser's with great actions and poor wood and bad bores for around $150.... The parts are extremely cheap, all the cost is in the barrel and stock... Low safety's are like $30, and bold or timmney triggers are between $35-100... As long as you true the receiver and bolt face and chamber with snug tolerances they are extremely accurate. I stay away from the cock on close BS. I actually like the bold trigger best and run it down to about 2lbs... I also stay away from the trigger safety's. You have to relieve the cocking piece to clear the low throw safety Allen screw...

February 4, 2014, 03:50 PM


Magnum Wheel Man
February 4, 2014, 03:57 PM
very nice work... my local builder buddy ( a retired tool & die guy ) had been building his own actions & bolts, as well using interrupted threads for lock up, as he can do that on his own equipment... so far, all ( 4-5 rifles ) have been single shots... but he's thinking about doing one more that will accept AR magazines as a repeater... mostly he just uses old stocks he has accumulated over the years, chambers them in non common calibers by todays standards, but I have ordered 2 Richards stocks in the past, & he's waiting for one more, for his latest

Brian Pfleuger
February 4, 2014, 04:06 PM
I'm not familiar with that action.... how do you install/headspace the barrel?

February 4, 2014, 04:48 PM
That very short question could lead to hours of typing!

Barrel was threaded for me and short chambered. ( i dont have a lathe)
You need a special receiver clamp for the specific action your working with to remove the old barrel. After the old barrel is removed without damaging the receiver you need to true the face of the action. Once your able to get the receiver threaded onto your barrel (closed bolt) you can finish ream the chamber. Mine had 4thousanths clearance (luck!) after the first fitting and after a piece of scotch tape was put on the face of the go gauge (2 thousandths ) to confirm the bolt would not close. That ensures a very tight head space. There is much more to it but I am no gunsmith and would hate to try to explain it and steer you wrong...

February 4, 2014, 11:53 PM
There in lies the rub and why I mess with Savage and not any other actions. The cost of investment in tools to do one Mauser rifle is quite large. With a simple bench vise, barrel nut wrench, and a go-gage is all I need to re-barrel a Savage.

To re-barrel a Mauser I'd need:

Barrel vice, fabricate or buy ($70)
Action Wrench ($60)
Headspace go-gage buy ($30-40) or rent ($10)
Reamer rental ($35) ($180-200 deposit)
T-Handle for reamer ($45)
Cutting Fluid ($15-20)

Then you mention truing the action and I can't do that without a lathe so that means I have to take it to a gunsmith anyway. A local guy will square the action and bolt face and lap the lugs for $105, way cheaper than I can buy any specialty tools to do it without a lathe.

So the way I look at it to re-barrel a Mauser, I'm into the cost of tools, gunsmith work, and supplies for about $320. My gunsmith charges $350 to install and chamber customer supplied contoured blank which includes truing the action, bolt face, lapping lugs, threading and crowning the barrel, as well as reaming the chamber and setting headspace. If you bring him a short chambered barrel the cost of install is less than $200. I was out less than $70 in tool cost not counting the set of gages I purchased to swap barrels on Savage rifles.

I'm not trying to detract from the amazing job you did with your rifle,. I'd like to hear how much expense you have in the rifle and where you were able to save money on your build? I do realize what you learned in making your rifle was priceless.

I have a couple works in progress on small ring actions.

Mauser 93 .300 Savage, bold trigger, dogleg bolt handle, and Richards stock as well Safari Classic. I need to finish the stock work.

Kimber M96 6.5X55, bold trigger, COO conversion, commercial bolt shroud, Wolf spring kit, needs new barrel, Richards Old Classic 102 stock.

February 5, 2014, 01:41 PM
Those are both close to being really beautiful rifles. I would love to see updates as you continue the process. It's really nice to see others who enjoy this process. I wish I had stayed away from retail gun shops 15 yrs ago and did it this way from the start!

I didn't actually save money by doing it myself vs having a gunsmith do the work... I grew up close to lassen college so I have friends who have old school replaced Mauser rcvr clamps/tools.. I didn't have to buy or make anything. I simply borrowed them... The firearm I started with was dirt cheap. I had a smith verify the safety of workmanship prior to firing the first round and was offered $700 on the spot in his shop for the gun before I could get out the door. Where I saved was.... I built the whole gun that shoots sub .40 MOA for less than $700, and you spend 2-3x's that to buy such a shooter. I also, like you already addressed have had the pleasure in being able to say "I built that gun that shoots those groups"... That sir makes me pretty darn proud. The other thing is my very old grandfather, has new found youth all of the sudden over this whole deal. To the point he pulled out one of his old 98's and took it to the college to have the barrel removed. That's the priceless part. He may or may not finish it, only time will tell. I know that if he doesn't finish it, I darn sure would be proud to finish it for him with skills taught by him.

February 5, 2014, 01:43 PM
Question for you... What improvements have you noticed with the cock on close conversion? How are your primer strikes? Got any pics of fired rounds I can see?

Magnum Wheel Man
February 5, 2014, 01:56 PM
what ??? you guys don't buy your reamers :eek:

I guess I've amassed a pretty good collection of reamers... about 1/2 of which, my builder buddy has wanted, in trade for labor, & half I have in a reamer drawer... just put my latest... ( 6.8 SPC ) in the drawer last night :) I'm thinking about a reamer & set of dies for 22 K Hornet to try to settle down the Hornet I use for targets

I'm hoping the day my buddy dies ( well... that since I'm younger, that I outlive him ) that I have enough spendable money to get some of those reamers back, the barrel vice that's mounted on the wall, & a few of the more basic tools, as well as a couple of his hand built guns, not that I "need" more guns, but so I have a couple of his built from scratch rifles to remember him by...

February 5, 2014, 02:13 PM
Finally Getting the depth!


February 5, 2014, 02:19 PM

February 5, 2014, 06:01 PM
Well at least you answered my question. Without the access to tools like you have at your disposal, a home built Mauser is probably not going to happen anytime soon. Even my last couple of Savage builds I took to a gunsmith just to get them finished as my new job was getting in the way.

Question for you... What improvements have you noticed with the cock on close conversion? How are your primer strikes? Got any pics of fired rounds I can see?

Actually both rifles have the Dayton Traister speed lock kits without triggers, which converts them to "cock on open". Improvements is that the rifles now have the same feel as my commercial rifles, and that's about it. I also used Wolff 26lb firing pin springs instead of the lighter weight 22lb springs in the DT kit. So short answer is I'm getting solid primer strikes out of both rifles, but I don't have any pictures of fired ammunition to show you.

The M96 sporter was done by Kimber of Oregon before they went out of business. It was in a Ramline stock, I never could get it to shoot better than about 4-5" with my hand loads. I bedded the rifle and it was shooting about 2-3" after that. So I took it to a gunsmith to diagnose. He said after running the scope down it my throat is shot and there was no point in continuing until I replace the barrel.

I'll probably send it off to McGowen for a new barrel this summer sometime. However, life might get in the way again as I'm trying to sell one house to buy another with some acreage so I can set up my own shooting range. If things go as planned these projects will probably go on the back burner again for another year like they did when I took a new job.

Magnum Wheel Man
February 5, 2014, 06:20 PM
I added a Dayton cock on open kit to this gun, about 6 months ago, ( seems to dent the primers just fine ) when we took the original, worn "cut" barrel off, as it wouldn't group tight enough for me, & replaced it with a new stainless take off 7 mag barrel, & trimmed the chamber off, & re threaded it for this gun... chambered back in 7 X 57

thread on original "custom" gun, as purchased...


looks just like this, but with a coarse bead blasted stainless barrel now...



February 6, 2014, 02:34 AM
I meant cock on "open".... There is a new 96/38 barrel (brand new) on GB for $115 right now!

Nice sporter! Glad to see more pics!

February 7, 2014, 07:18 AM
I've rebarrelled/restocked a couple of 03A3's and "assembled" 3-4 Mausers from boxes of parts(no two parts attached except the aftermarket triggers). All came out to my satisfaction but none would be called "pretty".

February 7, 2014, 09:05 AM
I've made a few. In the early 80s I bought "6" model 70 actions off a guy for a total price of $235. Made some good rifles off these actions. I do have two lathes and a milling machine, bluing tanks and other assorted tools so I had an advantage.

This is the 1000 yard target rifle that served me well over the years, Its a 300 WM (single shot). Still shoots well today.


This is a Rem 700 action I got in a trade, made a hunting rifle in 308 for my Grandson.


While deployed my wife broke her back, has three rods between her shoulder blades so she can't handle the recoil. Took my last Model 70 Action and made her this Model 70 in 243. She had no problem with the recoil of this rifle. Got the stock brand new from a guy who bought a rifle and had a synthetic stock added.


And of course there is my M1903A4 parts gun I built for the CMP Vintage Sniper Matches. All GI parts I fitted, except the stock which is from the CMP.
Since I took the picture I replaced the Weaver K2.5 with a M-82 repo from the CMP.


I have several others but no pictures. I do do my own barrel and machine work. I still have a couple rifles in parts waiting to be put together.

Cant beat the satisfaction you get from putting together your own rifle. Especially if it turns out to be an highly accurate target rifle. Or better yet a gun for family members.

February 8, 2014, 04:12 AM
Very nice! I love the speed goat pic... My rifle is to heavy for deer but I fully intend to use it long range for goats!

February 8, 2014, 06:33 PM
How long did it take you to get the stock? I've had a bad experience with them and I've heard of others with similar problems with Richards.


February 9, 2014, 02:11 PM
It took 5 days. This stock was a close out clearance item on there site. It was ordered and not paid for. It had a stepped barrel channel which I had to relieve a lot! Action was not plum with forearm. It took lots of work to get it fitted correctly... Only order from there existing in stock list!