I really enjoy the custom Remington 700 .308 Winchester tactical rifle I built in Building a Custom Remington 700 .308 Tactical Rifle. After I wrote that, I did a few more modifications and posted them in How to cut and crown a rifle barrel and install a brake. I affectionately refer to it as my OD .308 (olive drab).
Built on a trued factory Remington 700 short-action and equipped with a McMillan A5 stock, Surgeon bottom metal, Timney 510 trigger, Surefire brake and Shilen #7 select match barrel, it is topped with a Nightforce 5.5-22x56mm scope. This rifle has been a constant companion to the range. It also fills an important role as my backup rifle for just about any important school or match I might attend. While I may have plans on shooting a more exotic cartridge in a more specialized configuration, a 22″ .308 can pretty much do anything (I think of them as the F-150 of the gun world).
Usually it shoots great, but, I would occasionally get an unexpected flyer.
Above, a 10-shot group that made me happy. Occasionally, I would get an odd flyer, as shown below.
Most shooters can rattle off the long list of potential rifle accuracy problems: loose mounts, bad optics, bolt handle touching the stock, bad bedding, loose action screws, etc. The list is quite long; and it seems, the more you know, the longer it gets. If your rifle has a forward mounted rail, get ready to add another one.
Inspection of the rifle revealed that the space between the Badger Embedded Front Rail (EFR) night vision mount and the barrel was fairly tight. The Shilen #7 contour barrel has a fairly heavy profile. As a blank (before machining it to fit the rifle) it has a 3″ long 1.250″ shank with a straight taper to .875″ (more information about Shilen contours can be found here). The space between the EFR and barrel was a concern (a minor one) when I originally built the rifle so I had relieved the inside of the EFR to provide greater clearance with some abrasive cloth.
I cut a .005″ thick flexible plastic shim (from a sheet of overhead transparency) and placed it between the barrel and EFR. Depending on how I loaded the bipod, the shim would bind between the barrel and the EFR. It looks like the barrel may have been bumping the mount as it vibrated- this would explain the occasional flyer. Further research supported this theory. A few custom gun builders step their barrels down .025″ to provide ample clearance for the barrel. I decided this was the route I would take. Alternatively, the EFR could be machined, however, it is already epoxied into a stock and there isn’t much extra material on it to remove.
All lathe work is conducted on a Grizzly 4003G lathe with a Bald Eagle spider attached to the faceplate.
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I used the following items from Brownells:
- 3/8″ High-speed steel turning kit (080-000-835)
- High-speed steel 35 degree profile kit (080-000-836)
- Starrett Dial indicator (749-007-761)
- Viper’s Venom cutting oil (100-013-369)
- Lathe file (191-076-980)
With the cut blended, I need to focus on the crown. I adjust my steady rest on the muzzle brake’s tenon and secure a .420″ crown tool in a Manson floating reamer holder. I used to run my crown tools at 70 RPM, but have since upped the speed to 360 RPM. I find the finish superior at the higher RPM.
All parts are degreased and assembled. I take the time to verify the headspace is correct.
The rifle shoots well. A fresh coat of Olive Drab Cerakote and it is as good as new.
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