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GT, this happened to me a few years ago.

I never figured out why it started to chatter, but

I figured the barrel was ruined. It was a #4 stainless Shilen, (not much shank), so I knew I
couldn't set back enough to start over. I talked to David Kaiser at Brownell's and then to
Dave Manson. Dave K had some good suggestions, but Mr. Manson was specific about
what to try. On his recommendation, I took a .30 cal cotton cleaning patch and punched a
hole in the center just big enough to slide over the reamer pilot and back to the shoulder,
then lubed everything and fed the reamer in .010" and then pulled it out to clean it.
Repeated this 3 times with a fresh patch every time. It worked like magic. The reamer
flutes cut right through the patch, but it damped the reamer enough to stop it from just
deepening the chatter marks. Once the chamber cleaned up, I depth miked it and
determined exactly how much I had to set the shoulder and breech back.

I was curious enough to shoot the rifle with the chatter marked chamber before pulling
the barrel back off. It did not extract, and I had to tap the case out with a cleaning rod. I
kept the fired case, and it looks a lot like the .308 hulls out of an H & K.

A floating reamer is a great thing especially for those who work in the headstock and use
a highspeed flush system. As for comercially available floating reamer holders there is
the Clymer, Manson, JGS, Gre-Tan, and the Bald Eagle. Please forgive me if I have left
any out. A floating reamer holder is not rocket science. Someone previously posted that
they cut chambers within .001. I cut chambers using a JGS floating reamer holder and my
chambers have "less than" .0002 tir. The floating reamer holder will allow correction for
the spindle bearing runout. If I did not use a floating reamer holder I would do my
chambers like Mike Bryant of Bryant custom guns. I think you will find the better rifle
builders are all today using some form of floating reamer holder and piloted reamers. I
have talked personally with Dave Kiff, PTG, Dave Manson, Manson Precision Reamers
and Don L/N/U at Clymer, the big three reamer makers. All recommend a floating reamer
holder and a highspeed flush system. There are two schools of thought about chambering.
I would suggest you look at the methodology used by the benchrest and cross the course
shooters since they setback, rechamber and rebarrel with the most frequency.
I was a little flabergasted at the responses to your post. I would never tell someone else
how to do their chambers. There are many ways to skin a cat. I cut several hundred
chambers each year. My first concern is precision alignment and concentricity, IE:
quality work . My second concern is safety, time, tool wear. I don't know where you live,
but in almost every region of the country there is a rifle builder that uses a floating
reamer holder and a highspeed flush system that would show you his operation.
I have cut chambers every way conceivable. An for the guy who is going to just do one or
two barrels a year the best method is having someone else do them for them that does
them right. When I did all my chambering in the steady rest center to center I was lucky
to do 1 or 2 chambers in a weekend. Doing them with a highspeed flush system I can do 5
or 6 different calibers in a weekend. If I am doing multiples of the same setup I can do
maybe 20 chambers in a weekend.

If you use a highspeed flush system you don't have to predrill or use a roughing reamer.
The whole chamber is done with a finishing reamer. The reamer cuts like it is designed to
do and does not grind out the metal. A barrel set up in an alluminum, copper or brass wire
band inside a 4 or 6 jaw chuck with a spider on the end of the spindel is much more rigid
than a barrel set up in a center with a steady rest. Unless your steady rest is set up with a
center bearing and cathead. Most chambers cut using a steady rest have enough flex that
the chamber will indicate out or round or cnocentricity on a .0001 indicator. I have cut
chambers that it took an electronic guage .000001 to determine the out of round or
concentricity. I am not bragging but stating a fact. For hunting rifles being within .ooo5
may be alright. But for target quality rifles they need to be right on the money. .0002 or
better. I have the capabilities so I build all my rifles to the tightest specs possible.
I set up on deltroic pins or an indicator rod. If you are not familiar with these. I have pins
that are cut -.0002, .00000, and +.0002 for each caliber. My Indicator rods were made by
Dave Kiff at PTG. They have a removable pilot and I have 5 pilots in .0005 increments
above and below the indicated caliber sizes. The rod itself is precision ground 1.5* and
they are about 6 inches long. After inserting the rod down the bore one can take two
simultanious readings one on top and one on the side using .0001 indicators. I indicate
and center both ends of the barrel. I don't start chambering until I get them down to no
indicated run out or at least below .0002. The bearings in most lathes have .0002 to .0003
run out. I do my hunting guns the same way I do my target guns. I would not put my self
in the same class as Greg Tannel, Mike Bryant, Butch Lambert, Micky Coleman, etc. But
I am learning and my customers guns seem to be holding their own when it comes to
their shooting. As for floating reamers some people love them and some people cuss
them. I have seen floating reamers that were working perfectly but the gunsmith did not
understand how they worked and ruined it by modifying it.
I still say that the reamer makers know more than the adverage gunsmith because they
see what is being used in the commercial and industrial setting. The majority of old time
gunsmiths hated chambering. It was costly both in equipment and time. Only about 1 in
10 licensed gunsmiths chamber barrels. For every 100 gunsmiths who chamber barrels
about 1 does more than 100 barrels per year. They are the ones who are equiped,
experienced, and have a following of other gunsmiths and target/varmit shooters. Many
of the top shooters do their own work. I learned the old school way of chambering. But I
had an open mind and saw what was being done by the next generation of rifle builders.
The metals, machines, indicators, have all improved dramatically. I choose to use a
floating reamer holder others choose not to use a floating reamer holder. We live in a free
society and you can do as you please. The logic behind a floating reamer holder is sound.
The proof is in the final product. Do you want chambers cut within ten thousants that is .
0001 or do you want chambers cut within thousants that is .001.

High speed chip clearance

I use a 1/2 hp Sherwood Close coupled Carbonator gear pump with a relief valve (up to
125 PSI). MSC part number 09390774. I have it set up on a 15 gallon tank with a
recirculating bypass using two ball valves. It also has a well type 2 micron filter in line
after the pump. It goes from black iron pipe to a section of flexible hydrolic line with two
swivel couplers, then to a Duff Norton Rotary Coupler. I know of folks who use 100%
Molly Dee, Brownells Do Drill, and Black/Dark high Sulfer cutting oil. For the last 4
years I have used Rustlick 255R cut to 5:1. This was the recomendation of the
coolant/lubricant manufacture. It is an extreem high pressure coolant/lubricant and is
water soluble. Easy to clean up and enviromentally friendly.
I experience no heat or chatter problems. I cut at 175 RPMs throught the headstock
getting great chambers.
I have a new Micrometer Adjustable Reamer Stop that is coming out next month. You
should get a good floating reamer holder and a Micrometer Adjustable Reamer Stop.
These two idems along with a good flush system will make your chamber reaming much
better and without any costly mistakes.
Where do you purchase your reamer holder and stop?


Do you want to learn a trick to cure your spindel and chuck alignment problem?

Asuming the distance from in front of your chuck to out your spindel bore is not longer
than your barrel. (Then you have to do something else. IE: self aligning center bearing
with rigid pipe inside, to a hollow 60 degree taper.)

Assuming you are using a 4 jaw or 6 jaw independent chuck on one end and a spider on
the other end.

Get a piece of 4 gauge copper or aluminum ground wire. Cut a piece long enough for one
wrap around the barrel. Then tighten the jaws until you get it centered. Then center the
muzzle end using a indexing pin to within .00002 or better. Then center the tendon end .
0002 or better. Adjust both ends until you get them running true. It takes several
adjustments. when you get it right you can take two simultanious readings 4 inches
appart, off and indexing rod and have no run out.

Using the bearing surface of the wire it gives your barrel the ability to flex and not be in a
bind of two inches or more of clamping chuck jaws.

I credit this discovery to Butch Lambert, and Mike Bryant I learned this and did not come
up with it on my own.
here are a number of floating reamers on the market. In fact I have one under
Before you buy a floating reamer holder check out Mike Bryants website
"Bryantcustomguns". He uses just a cup on drill chuck. Pretty slick.
No particular order.

Bald Eagle floating reamer holders are available through Dave Kiff at PT&G
Manson Floating Reamer Holder is available from Dave Manson precision Reamers.
Clymer Floating reamer holder is available from Clymer tool company.
The JGS floating reamer holder is available from JGS tool company.
Greg Tannel makes a floating reamer holder.

The Micrometer Adjustable Reamer stop will be out hopefully in the next couple of
weeks some are being made as this is written. I have about 100 orders. We are going to
try and have them available from Brownells, Midway, and Sinclair.
Just be patient they will be worth the wait.
The floating reamer holder needs to adjust for both co-axial and concentric misalignment.
You want the reamer to follow the bore without influence from the reamer holder. All the
reamer holder should do is drive the reamer. If the smith takes his time and aligns the
barrel bore with two indicators spaced about 4 inches apart to .00002 or better then the
floating reamer holder will do the rest. The bigest problem I see is folks who don't use a
test bar and align their tailstock with their spindel. I have a 4", 6", 8", 10", 12", 14", 16",
18", 20", 22", 24", 26, 28", 30", 32", and 36" test bars. I don't care how good your lathe is
the beds will not remain perfectly aligned. Time, gravity, wear, all take their toll. You
can't make a good (accurate) cut on a lathe if the stock is not aligned with the spindel

You can use old barrels to make your test bars.

ery interesting pictures of your cam bar rifling machine!

I can add to those books of interest "Advanced Gunsmithing" by W.F.Vickery.
It was first printed in 1940.
You can fairly easily find it on the Net.
I bought three copies that way.
This book I consider one of the most completely covering the subject of gun building
AND making the necessary tooling for that.
Shows in detail how to build and operate both the scrape cutter and the hook cutter.
Really very instructive!
I have used this book very much during all the years I´ve been in the ML gunsmith`s
(see my homepage)
Also see page 204 in the 1968 Gun Digest.
It shows the way to build and use the slow-working scrape cutter head.
Magnus in Sweden