Blueprinting custom actions...why?

Discussion in 'Main Message Board' started by Tommie, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. Tommie

    Tommie Gold $$ Contributor

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    I've seen reports of some custom actions needing little to no blueprinting. So that must mean that others do need blueprinting, right? Since I have never owned a custom action, I'll have to plead ignorance here: Aren't custom actions supposed to be plug-n-play?
     
  2. spclark

    spclark Gold $$ Contributor

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    If you subscribe to the adage “You get what you pay for” then yes, that’s what I’d expect for my $$$.

    Were I a doubter with $$$ to burn I ‘spose I could rationalize throwing some of it at my Gunsmith of Choice... specifically for him to make sure an action I’ve sent for, say fitting a barrel to, is ‘worth it.’

    But having owned only one ‘factory’ action (Pre’64 Model 70 stainless) that got sold off w/barrel (308WM, B.O.S.S.’d) PDQ I’ve never (well, not yet anyway!) thrown $$$ at my GoC I don’t expect him to earn.
     
  3. Someoldguy

    Someoldguy Guest

    Trust, but verify.
     
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  4. jimmymac

    jimmymac Gold $$ Contributor

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    For the money spent on a custom BR gun, I’m counting on my gunsmith to check everything over and tweak as required.

    If he’s not doing that, then all he’s done is assemble some parts.
     
  5. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    Some get it and some dont. Its all in what you want. A good action out of the box is good enough for most instances
     
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  6. DaveTooley

    DaveTooley Silver $$ Contributor

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    To put things in perspective.
    What's the application?
    Did you buy the best action for that application or are you making do with lesser (perceive or real) quality action? Nothing is free.
    If I was building a competition rifle I know what brand I'd use. If I was building a hunting/repeater type rifle there are several brands that would be more than adequate.
     
  7. MGYSGT

    MGYSGT Silver $$ Contributor

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    I think that a $1200 to $2000 action should be trued. Otherwise why not buy a Rem 700 and have it trued.
     
  8. Richard Coody

    Richard Coody Silver $$ Contributor

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    If i spend the money on a custom action then i want a gunsmith that knows his stuff to build the rifle around it. Trigger and ignition timing, Extraction/cocking timing lots of little things adding up to the difference between a custom action and a custom rifle.
     
  9. urbanrifleman

    urbanrifleman Site $$ Sponsor

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    I would seriously question whether the average smith has the tools to "true" a Borden, Bat, or Kelbly and make it more "true" than it was made. But you sure keep hearing about it how those actions made on half million dollar machines need to be "trued up" on an old Bridgeport or Grizzly tools gunsmith lathe or mill. I am sure there are exceptions. If I spent $1500 on an action and was told it needed to be "trued" I would lose my mind. I bet if you told Mr. Borden or Mr. Kelbly you "trued" one of their actions because it "wasn't true" that would be an interesting conversation.
     
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  10. urbanrifleman

    urbanrifleman Site $$ Sponsor

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    Yah I certainly see what you do, but that really isn't "trueing" that is more like "tuning". :)
     
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  11. wedgy

    wedgy Gold $$ Contributor

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    Recently a fairly well known smith who posts here quit carrying a custom action because the bolt faces weren't true, he now carries another brand that he hasn't had to fix. It does happen especially when production is increased and things are sped up, QC suffers. It's only human.
     
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  12. eddief

    eddief Gold $$ Contributor

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    Nothing is perfect. When someone claims "perfect," remember measurements change with temperature. To the absolute best of my equipment and abilities is a better choice of words IMHO. I check every custom action that i install a barrel on, and on the critical dimensions, 98% or better are good to go. If it's out, call the customer and ask which route he would like to take to correct...the smith or action maker.

    Subpar quality does get out once in awhile and most action manufacturers are more than willing to correct issues. There are the rare ones that think nothing could ever come bad from them...avoid them and move on.

    Tuning an action and small details is a different story. My guess is a lot of accuracy minded smiths fix small details to improve the feel that the customer doesn't even know about.
     
  13. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    Once you true them up on that 600lb machine then theyre not the same as the ones that come out of the 100,000lb machine all done in the same setup and should be marked as such so the next guy knows he cant get a barrel done without the action
     
  14. tomswede

    tomswede

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    There are tolerances to everything, question is what is needed for your discipline and who knows that?
     
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  15. gunsandgunsmithing

    gunsandgunsmithing The best tuners and wind flags on the market Gold $$ Contributor

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    ^^^Yessir!^^^^
    The equipment matters but being done in a single setup can not be reproduced on any machine. Further, most new machines...even top of the line cnc stuff, won't hold better than a tenth or so...brand new....much less the wwII era lathe in someones basement garage.
    A test fixture has standards. At worst, it should be capable of half of the claimed tolerances and 3-4x is better...and this assumes superhuman perfection from the operator that sets the part up for testing/fixturing. Tenths get tossed around like child's play in this industry. If it was child's play, you'd think companies like Haas would build a machine that is absolutely perfection, regardless of the environment it or the tools to measure it were in.

    The saving grace is that most barrel and receiver work is done a short distance from the chuck and a reamer induces far less bearing and tool deflection than a typical cutting tool. There are so many variables when talking about holding .0002" or better tolerances in a production environment that it's not funny. I gave up a long time ago at trying to convince people of these things. I'll just say this, and it might make some people mad....If you're smith can guarantee .0002", you should either marry him or run away as fast as you can. You get to pick which. I did true tool and die work for a living, on top flight equipment and in a controlled environment. Mics were checked every morning and sometimes several times a day. Tip...you can't hold it in your hand checking it several times, until you get it to read what you want it to.

    Truth be told, top flight gun work is rather crude by comparison. Lets say that I can true an action to absolute perfection...then sandwich a recoil lug that is .0005 or considerably worse, between the action and the perfect barrel. What was gained and how many here have measured a perfect recoil lug?

    I've got the inspection report here for a brand new lathe. Brand new, straight from the factory the headstock bearings held .0002. Someone please tell me how I can claim better than the bearings that the lathe spindle runs on. Now, even if you can, please tell me how I can machine a part BETTER than the machine itself even after the part having been removed from its original setup and machined from a new setup in said machine.

    Don't get me wrong...I've seen some messed up custom actions but with those, the problems were apparent.

    All that said, if you want something truly to size, you polish or grind it to dimension.:eek:
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
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  16. Evan

    Evan Gold $$ Contributor

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    I'm just going to step onto my soapbox for a moment and pedantically rant:

    Please oh please stop calling it blueprinting! Blueprinting is recording measurements off an action so that it can be reproduced or, more practically in the gunsmithing world, a new barrel can be made from the recorded measurements.

    I know it's just me, the a^^hole engineer over here, who has a problem with this gross misuse of technical jargon, but without concise language we misunderstand each other. What is being discussed is truing an action, not blueprinting. Every smith worth anything blueprints every action they work on and keeps it on record, if for no other reason than that it's good business practise to know exactly what you did on each job and it helps prevent mistakes and skipped steps.
     
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  17. davidjoe

    davidjoe Skunkworks Gold $$ Contributor

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    Real wedge of an issue. Two words: “King’s clothes”. I don’t understand how a perfect action (by the standard of lathes cheaper than one rifle) as originally delivered can be ruled out, even going into the future. I have never received a poorly made custom action. Smiths are painted into a corner if they feel compelled to cut on rifle actions to justify fees.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  18. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    Actually if you want to get into symantics, blueprinting is making an action, engine, etc match a standard thats on the original print. I think this got lost and twisted with the old hot rodder engine builders making everything measure/ weigh the same- like making an action as straight as possible because you know the print said it was supposed to be straight
     
  19. riflewoman

    riflewoman Gold $$ Contributor

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    i stepped in this goo a few years ago over on Benchrest Central when the subject of action truing came up. A (admittedly good) machinist chimed in with “just turn up a (threaded) stub on a lathe” as a way of checking an action for true. I jumped in it by asking questions on the trueness of the spindle, the trueness of the thread axes to said spindle after it was machined, and which thread “diameter” (major, minor or pitch) was the most important. Holy hell broke loose...

    One thing to remember, that gunsmiths are decent if slow machinists, but few have the skills of an honest-to-god toolmaker. To “true” an action requires the skills of a toolmaker. With specialized equipment and gaging to match.
     
  20. Dusty Stevens

    Dusty Stevens COVFEFE- Thread Derail Crew Gold $$ Contributor

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    We just happen to have one of the best toolmakers that ever gaged a surface finish right here on this forum. It takes a guy like that to even realize the equipment it takes to measure it. @geo.ulrich
     
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