Since this thread got resurrected, I thought it might be worth mentioning that I have completed (well enough for myself at least) the plans for the action I will be making. I have the material (4140 heat treated to RC 30-32 for the receiver and RC 35-37 for the bolt). There is enough for 3 receivers and 4 bolts. There was enough for 4 receivers, but the toolbit caught while putting int he barrel threads on the first receiver blank, so it had to be scrapped.
After the research I did, I believe it would be pretty easy to fabricate your own bolt with a bolt face small enough to accept a .223 cartridge. That said, I have also heard of them already existing (Remington makes .223 extractors for the 700 action).
As for why I didn't just get an existing action, well there are a host of reasons. For one, I am a college student, and it isn't legal to have gun parts, let alone a gun on campus, where much of the design work was done. Secondly, I don't have the money for buying the action (I'd rather sink that money in tooling for my shop or materials for subsequent actions), and also yes, copying an exiting action would have turned this into a pure machining project, without any of the fun of the design work. That's no good.
In the end I used Stuart Otteson's excellent references on bolt action rifles. The first book is better than the second, although the Newton rifle definitely had some interesting design quirks.
A picture of the SW model for the current design is below. I'll do a writeup of the fabrication of the action when it is done (college keeps getting in the way. I only have time to work on break).
Well if you can make a little trip to Rapid City, SD. HS Precision will often give a tour if you make arrangements in advance. The make their entire rifle from scratch. So you will get to see a broaching machine at work cutting the raceways. Then next door is Jack Firsts with every sort of odd ball ever made. Of interest is the displaysd in the JF lobby. All the guns blow up one way or another like a 12/20 or the stacked bullets in a .357 barrel by a careless reloader.
If you want a little closer. Go to Pacific Tool & Gauge in White City, OR. They make most parts for the Rem 700 including bolts ( I like the spiral fluting made for another manufacturer).
In case common sense rears it's ugly head, you can buy a drilled and broached receiver blank that would make a dandy 700 here:
Not knocking that guy, but at $200-$240 a receiver blank, I don't think he will sell that many.
Originally Posted by RWO
By comparison a CM steel Remmy style completed bolt, ground to your specified diameter from PTG is only $106 w/o the handle.
With all due respects, if you check how much it costs to have just that much done in any EDM equipped shop, I think you'll find this guy aint all that pricey at all. When you decide to go all out with your EDM let us know how much more competitive you are.
Originally Posted by Doug W
A few years ago, before I bought my EDM Machine I tried very hard to find someone to cut some action blanks. The best price I ever found was $200.00 each for a quanity of 5. That was with me supplying the material and drilling the start hole for the wire. Just drilling the start hole is a pretty good project.
Now that I have the capability to cut my own, I thought I would make them available to others that had an interest in building their own action.
McMaster Carr gets $81.00 for a 1 foot piece of 17-4 prehard with out any material certifications (http://www.mcmaster.com/#1141t331/=53v7qt) and it takes about 10 hours to produce a benchrest quality blank on my machine. I have material certifications for my stock so that you don't have to worry about it.
I make a few dollars but more important it helps to keep my machine running. Wire EDM is not the kind of thing that does well when you turn it on once a month.
If I was depending on my machine for a living I could not begin to offer these for the price that I have them, but thankfully I don't have to depend on you all buying my blanks to survive.
It is quite enjoyable to start out with a piece of bar and end up with an action of the same quality or better than a $1000.00 - $1500.00 custom action.
The one you see pictured on the link is not quite complete, but it is a dual port. It loads on the right and ejects left. It has one of the PTG bolts that were mentioned and is sized with only .0005" clearance between the bolt and action bore. The PTG bolt is a fantastic deal by the way. I plan to finish this one as a 6 Dasher for IBS 600 yard competition.
I would urge any one that has a lathe and a mill to take on an action project and not because I am selling a few blanks, but becuase it is a nice project and as long as firearms can be built in the home shops of America it be imposible to disarm us.
Its an interesting concept, I wonder why he doesn't use a supported cutter bar in a shaper or slotter to do this cavity, even heat treated he would still come out ahead of 250 clams, but hey you sell em for what you can get and that's his prerogative. I myself would prefer a surface finish from a cutter as opposed to an EDM for a smoother bolt travel, but thats just me
Originally Posted by gamma
With all due respect, here in North America, that is pricey for an un-machined receiver(block of metal with shaped hole), but then again I doubt much of England is exposed to arms manufacture anymore, I think they outlawed pea shooters.
Edited to add: I'm not knocking the man or his products, it is a very neat idea and he's obviously a shooter who feels strongly about quality firearms and there production, as well as seeing firearms ownership continue .
Last edited by hickstick_10; 12-27-2009 at 03:25 AM.
I should probably leave this alone as it makes me no difference, but I haven't ever seen anyone who preferred the smoothness of a cutter finished action (Remington, Savage, Muaser) over that of a fine EDM cut custom action such as a Stiller or Surgeon. There is no comparison and EDM leaves no tool marks, no polishing required.
Also I have tried to cut a blank with a cutter on a mandrel and it is no small project especially if you are building an action with full length raceways, however it can be done.
Halcohead, I think you design looks great and I am looking forward to seeing your work progress. I very much enjoy watching the progress as builders put together there actions. The homegunsmith.com site has a lot of builds posted and you can see a variety of different methods to skin the same cat. If you haven't visited it is worth you time.
If i had an edm I would be using it to make my actions but sense that's not an option for me i use a shaper. as Gary said the edm leaves a better finish this isn't a big deal to me sense the shaper with a little tooling can lap the tool marks out in no time.
pictures worth a thousand words
Nice setup you have there
I appreciate you responding to my comment.
I have looked for a while for unfinished Remy blanks just like you are now selling. Since quality bolts have been available for some time and with all the work required to blueprint a action, well why not start with a blank?
I am glad to see you have seized that opportunity!
However, I must stand with my comment.
Certainly to have the pleasure and novelity of making owns own rifle can not be discounted.
But when you look for example at a benchrest quality Surgeon action with the completed helical milled bolt, firing pin assembly, sight rail, all finished machined and polished (I assume) for $1250 retail and know it comes with the warrantee, excise tax (I believe on actions?) and unfortunately some form of liability insurance I don't see how it can be cost effective or financially rational to start with a $200 plus blank, the hours, the consumables, all the other parts and that may possibly end up as scrap.
I just have the gut feeling that if it was possible to produce 4140 blanks, in quanity in the $125 price range you would sell a far greater volume of blanks than otherwise.
Based on my outside observations of the gun business I simply think that at the higher price range you are limiting yourself to a very small niche.
There might be a larger market for a less precision blank for all the discarded factory bolts that PTG is replacing for those that wish to build unregistered rifles.
I also believe that once it become known that you are selling these you will have some competition in the market as has happened in the 100% FAL, HK, 1919A4, AR, 1911A1 and AK receiver and 80% and less manufacturing business.
Again thanks for your insight!
Best Regards, Doug
Since there seems to be so much interest in the project, I guess I'll post a preview picture of the receiver as it currently stands. This picture was taken ~6 hrs ago.
Material is 4140, heat treated RHC 30-32. All cutters are hand-ground HSS (well, except the carbide tipped boring bar I had laying around).
I don't plan on documenting this as I go, since it could be 6 months before the action is completed (school tends to get in the way... i'm just on break right now).
Anyways, I appreciate all the advice ya'll have given me, and I will certainly tell you how it turns out.
P.S. I don't think i would have bought the EDM'd blanks, even if I didn't already have the material on hand. My costs for enough material for 4 receivers, including heat treat, were ~$100. Being a poor college student, even that was a bit steep. Furthermore, at least for me, this is about the design and fabrication challenge, not outsourcing the difficult parts to someone else. If I wanted to do that, I'd just buy a rifle whole.
P.P.S. The closeup is of the threads and what will become the lug abutements. Note that there is a double-row of lug abutements (similar to the Weatherby action in that way, except with 2 instead of 3?) so as to get adequate bearing area without making the bolt diameter ridiculously large. Also note the farther back lug abutement is thicker. This isn't for any particular reason, except it means that the bolt lugs will be the limiting factor in action strength.
Can anyone post a picture of there setup of how to cut the locking cams. I remember seeing something on here before where a guy had a setup in a bridgeport. It was a manual device which was fixed in the head, a helical slot was cut in the device which allowed a manual handle to be move the cutter in a helical pattern which in turn cut the cams. It was a great little piece of enginuity.
For cutting chambering cams.
For a one off or a small batch, it is a two start internal thread cutting operation that you can do on the lathe, with a boring bar.
I've tried googling for the previous thread on this but no luck.
Good man Wsnyder, thats the little baby I was after. Great stuff from you.
If you're interested, here is a thread my friend started.
He decided to build his own action and posted most of his progress on it. He also has a picture of the tool we made to cut the locking cams. I'm still not completely clear on what you intend on doing for the raceways...Do you have or have access to a shaper? I can't think of any other way of doing it than shaper, broaching, or EDM.
Also, I am not quite sure about the number of actions one can build with out a manufacturers FFL. We had to go almost to the top of the ATF just to clarify the legality of him building his action. We found it's perfectly legal for him to build his, provided he didn't later sell it. I seem to recall there being a limited number of actions one person can build per year without the FFL. I could be mistaken, but it would be a good idea to look into it. Josh
Nice job, looking forward to seeing it completed.
Out of curiousity, are you doing the work at school? The reason I ask is when I was enrolled in a mechanical engineering program, as soon as the faculty found out I was a gun guy, I was explicitly told that I was not to build firearms in the schools shop. (Talk about a buzzkill) They did let me do a bolt action as a strictly design project though.
Ha, the school shop is far cleaner than the mess that is the background of the photos I've been posting. To elaborate, the answer is no, no machining whatsoever has been done at school. My school explicitly bans firearms from campus, so that precludes doing any firearms work in the shop. All machining has been done in my home shop, between the hours of 10PM and 3AM (college has made me a night owl).
I did bring the action to school with me to show the machinist. But I thought hard about whether it would be a problem. I decided it would be ok since the action still lacks a firing pin, firing pin spring, cutout for a sear, cutout for a trigger, and a few other critical details like a barrel, etc.
Sorry for the wait guys, but the project is now on hold until the semester is done, since I can't work on it in the school shop. I'll get back to you guys with more progress (or mistakes) in July, if all goes well.