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Recommending barrel vise (if you don't have one)

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by P7id10T, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'm converting a Savage 7mmRM to a 338 Edge.
    I had a barrel vise with oak blocks & a straight 1" hole. Because of the taper on the Savage sporter barrel, no matter what I did that sucker would spin in the vise. So I built some blocks bored a hole and tapered it to match the profile (1" down to 13/16"). It still didn't hold.
    OK, time to buy another one. Good barrel vises ain't cheap. One that looked good, with inserts for different barrel diameters, as well as an insert specifically for a Savage sporter barrel, was not in stock.
    Came across the Bald Eagle vise at Grizzly. I'm not a fan of Chinese knock-offs, but the product is discontinued so it's $43 there. I thought "what the hell?" Their ground shipment is $14, Next Day Air is $18. Ordered it Wednesday, had it today.
    Here's what it looks like:
    Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.46.04 PM.png

    They say it will handle up to 1.5" diameter barrels.
    I installed it on my bench (1" x 36 x 48 steel plate).
    Still have the same problem of an aggressive taper on the barrel. Went to Bi-Mart hoping to find the lead tape we used as kids to provide ballast on our model sailboats. Nope. However, did find coiled lead in the fishing department. $4.99 for 1# of coil.
    Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 9.00.56 PM.png

    Wrapped the barrel with the coil 2x around in 2 places on the taper, making sure both spots were larger diameter than the major diameter by the barrel nut. Reefed the clamping bolts home, figuring I cranked >800 ft-lbs of torque into those bolts.
    It held. The barrel nut was "frozen" onto the shank. Removing the action was a job itself.
    When I loosened the vise, the lead looked like thick aluminum foil on the barrel.

    I have no affiliation with Grizzly, and I also hate posts by shills about a product. Reviews about this vise seemed to be full of that info. I was dubious, but thought $43 was worth a gamble. It paid off.
    BTW, they also had one of the best stocked selections of go/no-go gauges that I've seen. They were the only place I found that had a 338 Edge Go gauge in stock (PT&G part). Slightly more expensive, but I'd rather pay $3 more than wait for a backorder.
     
  2. ridnjon

    ridnjon vancouver wa Active Member

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    I have the same barrel vise and it works great!
     
  3. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    What kind of action wrench are you using? I will snap some photos of what I use...
     
  4. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Wheeler. Both my barrel nuts have the square splines.
     
  5. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    This is an old Pacific action/ barrel vise.. One of the best I've ever used. image.jpg I use 4 different barrel vises . The two bolt model like yours is the one that rarely gets used. Just not enough clamping force. Is this two bolt model made out of aluminum?

    I also don't use lead. Use rosin, and coat the entire clamping area. Works great!
    This 4 bolt vise is just like mine, I grabbed the pic off google. 4 bolts give you tons of clamping pressure.
    image.jpg

    image.jpg
     
  6. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    You can get rosin online or locally.this is what I use.
    Btw use a heat gun on your savage barrel but if you have trouble breaking it loose! Get it just hit enough so you can't touch it..

    image.jpg
     
  7. v0lcom13sn0w

    v0lcom13sn0w Keizer, or Well-Known Member

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    leather wrapped around in the direction you are turning (so the leather tightens as you loosen)and aluminum or wood"v" vise blocks work good on barrels too
     
    P7id10T likes this.
  8. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Nice vise, Velzey! Thanks for the tip on the rosin too. While I probably should be concerned about lead exposure, I played with so many lead soldiers and soldered so much copper pipe, I 'spect I'm significantly dumber as a result. Can't get much worse....
    Yeah, it's aluminum. The McGowen barrel didn't have the aggressive taper so I didn't even need to use the lead - I had some cork gasketing which I used. I worked great and even sprung back after releasing the clamps.
     
  9. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You can find powdered rosin in bowling alley vending machines if you are in a hurry and don't want to wait on shipping.
     
  10. Rick4070

    Rick4070 Central Oregon coast Active Member

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    We never used rosin in the shop I worked at for barrel shank vise inserts, believe it or not, we used powdered sugar.

    Yeah, I know, hard to believe, isn't it?

    The guy that had the shop, and his son, who I worked for about 10 years both used sugar.

    The shop was in Adna Washington for many years and moved to Chehalis for several more.

    Some of you might remember the shop....
     
  11. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    I've used grinding wheel dust...Anything to give it a little grip. I have also used emery cloth wrapped around the barrel. Grit facing out!

    If you remove the barrel from a Remington 700 or a model 70 Winchester you will find that aluminum is kinda lite duty!

    BTW, as for the .338 Edge...Your in for a real treat! Ive been shooting one for years and love it! Most excellent long range thumper! I built an older Rem 700 and put a 30" Pac-Nor tube on it!
     
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  12. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Light duty is right. I've already put a compression ding in the vise.

    I thought about a 30" barrel. IIRC, it only gets you ~50 fps more. Since I intend to pack this one around, I think 28" + brake is the longest I want to go. It's resting in a Choate stock. IMO, a mistake - it's poorly balanced with so much fore end weight. With the Leupold VX7L mounted, it's 13.5# +/-

    I was extending the LOP on it yesterday when my wife looked at it and said, "oohh, nice gun. When are we going to go shoot it?" Considering this one went completely under the radar, I'm pleased.

    I'll post pics once I have the camo paint on it.

    For reloading, do you use 375/338 RUM dies, or do you have a set of RCBS 338 Edge?

    J
     
  13. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    I have a set of RCBS .338 Edge dies that I got directly from RCBS. Little spendy but worth it. I have always had great luck with RCBS and they have a lifetime warranty so I went with them. But I think I paid $275..ouch

    Oh no that choate is evil...What were they thinking when they designed that thing...lol I am using a Boyds thumbhole stock with mine.

    TO be honest I am on the fence about which I like better these days. The Edge or the .338 Lapua Ackley improved. They are both the best long range cartridges I have ever had the pleasure to play with! Ive shot them both out to 1500 meters and had great performance!
     
  14. P7id10T

    P7id10T Cedar Hills Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yah, I went budget and got the 375/338 option. I was looking hard at Boyds. Good to know you like it.
    I built the edge to satisfy my long range jones until I get another Lapua built.