Removing a stuck Remington 700 barrel

I pull (unthread) rifle barrels from actions on an almost daily basis. Often, most of the most stubborn actions can be removed with the proper barrel & action vise and a little bit of effort. Sometimes more drastic measures, like cutting a relief cut or the use of heat will help. In this post, we’ll take a look at how cutting a relief cut will help remove an action.

Before we get to the work, please take a look at the following disclaimer:

The contents of are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.

Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.

Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.

For this post, I used the following items from Brownells:

I have a fairly robust barrel vise in the shop (above). I use a Farrell barrel vise from Brownells, coupled with a 20-ton press. In the event I have a stubborn barrel, I typically apply some rosin on the barrel, grab the wrench with a long pipe and the barrel comes off. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. For the rifle we will be discussing, a very old and weathered Remington 700, I decided to take a more drastic approach.

This is an old Remington 700 in 7mm Remington Magnum that I’m in the process of rebuilding. Since I couldn’t remove the barrel in my usual method, I decided to make some relief cuts on the shoulder, near the receiver. To accomplish this, I began by mounting the barrel in the lathe.

In this case, I covered the action in tape to prevent damaging the surface finish and supported the barrel with the tailstock. My favorite lathe is a Precision Matthews PM-1440GT.  I love it.

I made sure the recoil lug was resting against the chuck to prevent the action from slipping backwards.

With a 35 degree profile tool, I make a cut to relive the shoulder and release any pressure there. You can see the 35 degree cutter in the bottom left corner of the image above.

A quick trip back to the barrel vise and the action spins off easily. Time to start turning a new barrel!