After careful deliberation and looking at my set-up over the period of a couple weeks I decided that I could drill my ramrod hole... I was wrong.
(I have been trying to post some pictures but my isp seems to have a problem letting me on the Internet and the pc I am currently using will not read my phones memory... will post pictures as soon as possible.)
The rifle is a half-stock. I lined up the underlug and super glued the thimbles on to the underlug then electrical taped the whole thing to the barrel, I may not have set the thimbles are enough apart.
I drilled the hole and felt very little binding and after the hole was drilled I reversed the drill and slid the drill rod into the hole, a little pressure but not much and it went all the way down.
So, last night I was cutting the relief for the barrel tennions (sp) and I got this sick feeling as I watched the cutouts pierce into the ramrod hole … but off center.
So, where I am at is... about halfway up the barrel channel the ramrod hole is almost centered under the edge of the barrel flat... So that tells me I am about 3/16 off center and if I project that out to the end of the RR hole I am going to be 5/16 - 3/8 to the side opposite the lock.
How do I extricate myself from this? Cut the ramrod channel through the bottom of the barrel channel and then use glass bedding and epoxy in a section of hard dowel to take up my mistake?
(Two lessons I have learned in this ongoing fiasco... Let someone else inlet the barrel and drill The RR hole... more lessons to come.)
anything worth shooting is worth shooting once.
I've been making guns for nearly 20 years and I still can't reliably drill a ramrod hole right. It is the one gunsmithing task I dread and despise the most. It is amazing how much and how quickly a ramrod hole drill can wander off. (by the way, the straight flute, single edge "deep hole" drill is the worst).
So, what to do about it. Well first, it is more important to get the hole in the right spot vertically (the distance from the barrel up and down). There is NO room for error here. If it is off a itty bitty bit towards the sideplate side (NOT towards the lock), it would be ok. 3/8" off is not ok!
The solution starts with plugging the hole. Get a somewhat snug (NOT tight) fitting plug (a piece of ramrod is fine, just make sure it is hickory or good hard wood and NOT ramin wood, which is useless). Make sure it fits well all the way to the bottom, but not so tight you can't get it out and glue it in with something like Titebond II or III wood glue. I ABHOR epoxy. Over the years I have found it extremely unreliable (no matter what brand) and despite what everyone says, I find that it definitely does NOT stick to wood very well at all. Use the Titebond. Now again, if your plug fits the hole too tight, you'll NEVER be able to get it in once glue is applied, since the glue will swell everything up. The plug needs to be "snug", but loose enough to press it in even with glue.
Now, after a day or so of drying, you can proceed one of two ways. You can attempt to drill it again, or, you can do what you alluded to, and cut down from the barrel channel and make yourself a groove precisely where you want the rod to go. A lot of trouble, but certainly less problematic than drilling. When the groove is in proper position, and you can put your rod in all the way back and it is spaced the right distance from the barrel, then what you can do is clean up the sides of the groove you cut in the barrel channel, straighten them up, and then make yourself a filler block of wood to glue back into place over top of the ramrod. Basically inlet the strip in, and like the plug, fit it "snug" but not super tight. Keep the strip thicker than you need, of course, the excess can be cut off later as you "re-inlet" the barrel. You can, if you wish, even cut a semi-circular groove on the bottom of the strip, so it sits down closely on top of the ramrod. Ok, hole in the right place, filler strip made and fitted, take a ramrod and wax it up (better if you have a steel or brass rod that fits, but a wood rod is fine as long as it is well waxed so it doesn't stick). Put the waxed rod into place, and apply glue (Titebond II or III again) to the sides of the slot and the sides of your filler strip, let it soak in a few minutes, then press the filler strip into place, and clamp it down so it's tight against the rod (can't pull it out) and you know it's all the way down. Now, let off the clamps and pull the rod out, and hopefully the strip will stay in place and not pop up any. If it's fitted well, it will be fine. Then let it sit and dry, come back the next day to cut off the excess in the barrel channel, run your ramrod or ramrod drill down the hole to make sure it's ok, and there you have a perfectly positioned ramrod hole.
I had to do this with the gun I'm working on now. I found the drill bit beginning to wander off right away. When I drill a rod hole, I will drill only about 3 inches, then drill a quarter inch witness hole down through the barrel channel to check to see where I am. Well, this time the rod was fairly well centered, but was wandering down, naturally, towards the bottom of the stock. Ok, no problem, I haven't gone far, and it was caught in time, so I plugged the hole and tried again. Drilled it again, and looked through the witness hole and it was pretty good. Yay! Drilled another 3 inches and drilled another witness hole. Crap. It began to swerve UP this time. Not too bad, still within the ok range, so I drilled another 3 inches and found it was darn near touching the barrel! Ok, so then I cut down through the channel to correct it. I found that just past the last "good" witness hole, the drill bit really jumped and started swerving. It's amazing what it will do... I really need a better ramrod drill!!! Anyway, made my groove for about 5 or 6", got the rod where it needed to be, fitted my filler and tried to drill it the rest of the way. It went ok, still continued to swerve closer to the barrel, but not TOO badly.
Here's the "after" picture, with it all done, holes plugged, and everything refitted:
I like the idea of a few holes for guidance. Will put that tip in my toolbox.
Will report back when I get it fixed.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Huntinguy,
anything worth shooting is worth shooting once.
I say leave it alone. You want the drill hole to go to the side panel side and not the lock area. If it went into the lock area it would interfere with the lock mechanism.
Some gunmakers purposely will drill the ramrod hole at an angle toward the side panel for this purpose.
If you redrill it and it wanders toward the lock area, you have a MAJOR problem.
I agree with Hoot Al. I have seen an off center ramrod hole mentioned as a method intentionally used to provide for a longer ramrod. Keep it "as is" and promote it as a customized feature that is very difficult to pull off, but after much careful deliberation and diligent work, you managed to "Git 'er Done".
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