Anyone who has bedded a rifle knows the feeling of relief when they successfully removed their action from the stock after the epoxy has cured. Most guys, myself included, tap the action with a hammer, and pull straight up on it hoping for the best- a stuck action is a big problem. While this method works, it lacks sophistication and can result in chipped bedding.
An action puller is a tool that hooks onto the action and mechanically lifts it straight out of the stock. It prevents damage to the new bedding material.
I’ve seen pictures of action pullers from time to time, but recently located a set of drawings for one. TM 05539-IN, which is the Technical Manual for the USMC M40A3 and M40A5, (you can find a copy of it here) has a set of drawings for a “M40A3/A5 sniper rifle action puller” included in it. I’ll be using those drawings to build mine. During the course of this post, I’ll mention some dimensions, but the rest can be obtained from this manual. While this puller is designed to work with a Remington 700 action, it should work on others.
The action puller consists of a base, handle, “c” holder, and shaft. With the bolt removed from the action, the shaft is inserted into it, the “c” holder engages the shaft, and the base is placed over the action. The handle is threaded through the base into the “c” holder. As it is rotated the action is lifted from the stock.
If you don’t have access to a milling machine and lathe, you could easily modify this design to be built with simpler tools. A hacksaw or hand grinder would yield a workable fixture.
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I used the following tools from Brownells:
The plans call for a combination of aluminum and steel parts. My local dealer didn’t have aluminum in the proper sizes, so I used all steel.
I used 2″x3″x.250″ thick wall rectangular tubing to make the base and the “c” holder. These could be constructed of solid stock as well. The handle requires a piece of 3/4″ round bar and the shank 11/16″ round bar. I cut my stock longer than the finished length.
Making the base
I began work on the base since this is the largest part. The base is a “U” shaped saddle that straddles the action.
The stock is secured in a vise and each end is squared with an end mill in the milling machine.
The base is placed in the vise with the bottom facing up. The finished height will be 2.400″. I’ll cut the stock to this dimension in this set up. I’m using a 5/8″ roughing end mill to make these cuts. They are designed to take heavy fast cuts.
The base is inverted. A 7/16″ center cutting end mill is used to cut a slot down the center of the base. Note the weld on the inside of the base, I ground this down with a belt grinder. The base is now complete.
Making the “c” holder
The “c” holder engages the shaft and is lifted by the handle.
The bottom of the “c” holder, needs to be .200″ thick. Since the material is .250″ thick, I mill .050″ off the bottom.
Now the “c” holder can be shaped. I’ll cut it out of the tube with two passes.
The roughing mill makes short work of the “c” holder.
The top of the “c” holder is threaded. The hole is located with a center drill and completed with a 5/16″ drill.
A tap, with a tap guide secured in the mill, is used to thread the “c” holder.
Making the handle
Each end of the handle is squared in the lathe and the corners are eased.
The bottom of the handle is threaded 3/8″-16. A tenon 1.135″ is turned on the lathe.
The threads are then cut with a die secured in the tailstock of the lathe.
The finished threads look good.
The handle is turned with a piece of 1/4″ round bar 7″ long. The top of the handle is secured in the milling machine vise with a v-block. A center drill is used to locate the hole followed by a 1/4″ drill bit.
Making the shaft
The shaft is the easiest part of the fixture to make. Made out of a piece of 11/16″ steel, both ends are squared in the lathe prior to being worked on the milling machine.
The shaft is secured in the mill’s vise with a pair of v-blocks. A 1/4″ center cutting solid carbide end mill is used to machine a slot 1.530″ long, .565″ deep.
All of the parts are deburred prior to use. A scrap piece of 1/4″ round bar is inserted into the handle. Next time I have some parts to finish, I’ll spray this with Cerakote.
Using the action puller
The shaft is inserted into the action.
The “c” holder is placed into the shaft.
The base is placed over the action. The handle is threaded into the “c” holder.
As the handle is turned the action is lifted out of the stock.
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