Brownells 75th Anniversary - A Shooting Heritage

How To Build Your Own Remington 700 - Part IV

By Larry Weeks

Last time, we bedded the gun, shot it a bit, and then talked about the Manson tooling .

I thought using the Manson tooling was going to be the toughest part of the job but, naturally, I was wrong. Marc kept saying “No, big deal, half an hour and we’ll be done.” Well, he was wrong, only because I kept stopping him to take pictures. Ah, maybe 45 minutes, since he took the stock and scope mount apart while I was grabbing some supplies, but still, Manson’s tooling is so well designed that everything flows smoothly.

The advantage to not having cranked the barrel and action together with a 5-foot cheater bar showed up right away in the disassembly. Marc clamped the barrel in the vise’s v-grooved jaws, installed the Brownells Action Wrench and one quick tug popped it loose.

A quick clean up to get the thread lube out and make sure the action body is completely clean inside and we’re ready to start. Dave Manson’s tooling comes with two, tapered bushings.

Slip the Manson Tooling Bushings into the action

The outside taper helps them center in the action to take up any manufacturing slop. Lube them up with your cutting oil, Do-Drill, Clean-Cut, ( etc. and slip the .702” Bushing into the rear receiver ring, the .703” in the front. This can be a three-handed job, with two, oily bushings trying to pop out of place while you slide the lubed shaft of the Manson Piloted Receiver Reamer through the front ring and both bushings. This reamer cuts the minor diameter of the threads and squares the face, inside the receiver, where the bolt lugs ride.

The Piloted Receiver Reamer ready to do its job

Alright, I know you’re thinking that cutting the lug face, then lapping the bolt lugs to it will change the headspace. You were thinking that, right? Well, yes, it can. Marc thought we’d be okay since we had the headspace set at minimum to begin with, and we’ll also be taking metal off the front ring of the receiver. While the bolt will move “back,” the barrel should move “back” a bit, too.

Back to work. Stand the action up, vertically, in your bench vise. Clamp in aluminum v-groove jaws, or use the Action Wrench Vise heads to hold the action, and clamp them into your vise. Don’t crush the action by doing a gorilla crank on the vise handle. Mount the big tap handle on the reamer, make sure the cutting edges are well lubricated with cutting oil and start turning the handle, slowly. When it bumps against the bolt lug face, stop. Push up on the guide shaft from below the action while you turn the tap handle to the right, and turn the reamer up, out of the action. Remember, don’t turn the cutter to the left, it’s not like a bolt, you don’t have to “unscrew” it out of the hole. And most importantly, – turning to the left will dull the edges. Clean the reamer and inside of the action; we used Brownells TCE to get rid of all chips. Re-lube the shaft, bushings and cutting edges, and bolt lug face; slide the reamer back into the action, the shaft through the bushings, and make sure the tap handle is tight.

The lug face needs just a whisker more taken off to be completely faced.

Make two revolutions with firm pressure on the tap handle. Do the remove- and- clean procedure and check the lug face for evidence of your cutting. Proceed slowly and cut until you just get a smooth cut all the way around, and edge to edge. DON’T get carried away, cut only enough to get the face even.

>After the bolt lug face is cut, lube up the Piloted Tap and run its pilot through the same bushings. Turn the tap in, carefully, until it just bottoms out..

The Receiver Tap will clean the threads and serve as the pilot for the Receiver Ring Facing Tool.

Here’s the neat part. Leave the tap in place, take the handle off, lube the shank of the tap and slide the Receiver Ring Facing Cutter over the tap’s shank. Again, lube up the carbide cutters, turn one or two revolutions and lift the Facing Tool up.

Receiver Ring Facing Tool in place on the shank of the Receiver Tap.

Take a peak to see how you’re doing. Again, cut slowly, a couple of revolutions at a time, until the face is clean and uniform. Clean everything thoroughly to get rid of all the cutting oil and metal chips.

Our receiver face was definitely a bit crooked and needs only a couple of more revolutions of the Facing Tool to be dead-on square.

Last step. Lap the bolt lugs to match the newly squared and faced bolt lug surfaces in the action. This is another of those jobs that takes longer to set up and clean up than it actually takes to do. First, take the bolt apart. The Kleinendorst Remington Bolt Disassembly Tool hooks the cocking piece and holds it back so you can unscrew the entire firing pin assembly. With it out, dab a bit of Brownells 320 Grit, Silicon Carbide Abrasive Compound on the Bolt Lug faces inside the action. Slide the bolt back into the action and close it. Install the Brownells Bolt Lapping Tool threaded sleeve and plunger into the action’s barrel threads following the supplied instructions.

The Bolt Lapping Tool delivers constant pressure against the bolt to keep it in place during lapping.

The spring-loaded plunger keeps constant pressure against the bolt face while you rotate the bolt handle. That pressure transfers to the lugs and their mating surfaces in the action. With lapping compound between the two, they’ll quickly end up perfectly fitted to each other. Run the bolt handle up and down 10 times, take the Lapping Tool out, pull the bolt out of the action, clean the lugs and check all of the surfaces. The pictures nearby show that these were slightly different “heights.” One lug is bright while the other barely touched. That’s why we lap.

The lug on the left is almost fully lapped, note the lug on the right still shows most of its bluing.

Once both show at least 80% contact, you’re done. Take everything apart, clean thoroughly to get rid of all lapping compound and metal residue.

Both lugs are fully lapped giving 100% contact; 80% would do.

Put the gun back together, check the bore sighting of the scope and let’s finally head to the range one more time. And, then, back to town to get the ammo I forgot to bring. Between vacations, computer crashes, and sheer procrastination, the only day we had to shoot was perfect – for one of those dripping wet scope photos that show how tough brand “X” is. 50 degrees, drizzle with gusting winds and haze that made the 100-yard target look like a fuzzy spot.

Drizzle on the scope lens isn’t much fun.

There really is a target down there.

But, even in this “bleep,” Marc and I ended up the happiest we’ve been with any of our shooting sessions. After three or four groups looking for that “money” group, Marc came up with the right word. Consistency.


This really is five rounds, the lower right shot is a double hole that tore slightly onto the left side.

We got that nice, 1/2”, five-shot group, but none of the groups had those unexplained flyers, an inch away from the rest, that we experienced when we first started shooting the gun. The Cloverleaf 80 grainers had developed into the gun’s favorites, but I was able to shoot a decent, 1” group using the 100-grain Cloverleaf, without trying particularly hard. We found that three-shot groups were easy, fives were hard.

One of several great little 3-shot groups.

Although Marc kept cursing the thin, sporter barrel, by the end of the session, even he was grudgingly admiring our little, practical hunting rifle. There you have it. From a bolt together shooting 1-1/4” and 1-3/4” groups, which really isn’t terrible, to consistent 5-shot groups well under an inch, with a 1/2 incher for show-off purposes.

Hope you’ve learned as much, and had half as much fun as I have through the project.

How To Build Your Own Remington 700 - Part III