Brownells Brownells Brownells 75th Anniversary - A Shooting Heritage

Brownells Gunsmith Kinks® - Inletting a Tapered Octagon Barrel

By Bill Shodlatz, Ruston, Louisiana

I have done gunsmithing for years and have more recently added furniture making to my list of hobbies. A lot of ideas from each craft can be applied to the other. As in making furniture, precise measurements and careful set up of the saw will give a professional job when inletting a stock.

I first measure the barrel with a dial caliper at the action and at the at the spot where the end of the forearm will come. This gives me the amount of change I need in the barrel groove. I divide that amount by two to get the amount of change needed on each side. On a squared up stock blank, I mark the thickness of the required change with masking tape on each side (left and right) of the blank. This will help me set up the fence on my table saw to get the precise taper I want when I start cutting. I also measure the total thickness of the barrel and divide by two to get the depth of the barrel groove, and I carefully measure the barrel flat with a dial caliper.

Setting the saw for half depth, I make my first cut down the middle of the blank and carefully widen it until it is the same width as the barrel flat. It's important to remember to change the side of the locating fence on the saw when working left or right of the center cut. Next, I measure the total width of the barrel and divide by two for the distance of the next cuts from the centerline. Setting the saw blade to cut 1/2 the depth of a flat, I move the fence out to make a cut at the edge of the channel. I keep moving the fence until I've cleared the wood to the centerline. Then, move the stock to the other side of the fence and repeat the cuts on the other side. I finish up working by hand with a sharp flat chisel to remove any remaining wood.