Refreshing a poorly machined Remington 700 action

Wow, this one isn't very pretty!

We are putting a new barrel on the rifle used in 223 Remington/5.56 NATO, velocity versus barrel length: A man, his chop box and his friend’s rifle.  When we removed the factory barrel we were shocked at how crudely machined the action was.

Wow, this one isn't very pretty!
Wow, this one isn’t very pretty!

If you take a close look at the photo above (you can click on it to see a larger version), you’ll notice the machine marks on the front of the receiver ring, chatter on the threads, and paint on the bottom of the receiver ring.  The paint shows this action wasn’t square to the axis of the barrel shank and wasn’t fully seated against the recoil lug.  This is by far the worst Remington 700 action any of us have seen to date.

This is an older J-lock 223 bolt face factory rifle.  Despite the poor machining, the rifle shot sub MOA prior to disassembly.

We ran a standard sized Manson Receiver Accurizing System (513-000-050) into the action and it didn’t cut any material.  This was the first time we’ve encountered this on a M700 action.  We went back with a .010″ over system (513-000-003) and trued up the action.

The Manson Receiver Accurizing System
The Manson Receiver Accurizing System
Note the top lug is cut, while the bottom isn't.
Note the top lug is cut, while the bottom isn’t.

The Manson system aligns itself with tapered bushings in the receiver’s bolt hole.  To see how the system is used, read Blueprinting a Remington 700 .

You can see how far our of square the lugs were.  We had suspected only one bolt lug was making contact on the receiver lugs.  When we started cutting the lugs, we needed to remove a lot of material from the top lug, before the bottom lug was cut. This confirmed our suspicions.

Note the shiny cut surface on the top of the receiver.
Note the shiny cut surface on the top of the receiver.

Running the receiver ring tool on the front surface of the receivers shows how out of square it was.

The newly "blueprinted" M700 action.
The newly “blueprinted” M700 action.

Here is the action once we finished truing it up.  We used the Manson kit to cut the receiver ring, bolt face, and receiver lugs.  We used the lathe to clean up the bolt lugs and the bolt nose.

This may have been a poorly machined receiver, but it still shot well.

Note: Current production Remington 700 receivers we’ve encountered have exhibited far better machine work.

The Manson Receiver Accurizing Systems (513-000-050, standard size) and (513-000-003, .010″ over) are available from Brownells.