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  • Writer's pictureHootey Cline

Accurizing Firearms 101

In today’s blog we are going to give a very very VERY brief introduction into the process of accurizing firearms. We will break down some critical areas including trigger jobs, ammunition, stocks, and more. We will also discuss the differences between rifles, shotguns, and handguns. One of the biggest things to keep in mind as a gunsmith is that all rifles have their own personality just like people. Each one will be slightly different and likes different ammunition and different shooting conditions. It should be noted that this is also true of rifles that are manufactured by the same company; at the same assembly plant and can also include the exact same model of firearm.

With this in mind let’s begin looking at rifles, namely bolt-action rifles. When looking to accurize a rifle the barrel is by far the most critical piece to be inspected and taken under consideration. For a competition grade rifle it is absolutely imperative that the barrel be broken in correctly. If you do not have the knowledge or resources to do it correctly then you should pay to have it done professionally, or don’t do it at all. Competition rifles are very expensive and breaking them in incorrectly is an even more costly mistake. You would be much better off to just use the firearm like a “normal” gun. You will be much better off in the long run than messing it up.

A properly broken in barrel will be more accurate and last longer. I also want to note that you should never use abrasive compounds of any kind during the break in process. If you absolutely feel that you need to use something you should consider a high-polish toothpaste. It’s abrasive properties are so minute that it will not mess with the rifiling in the barrel but it can still attack fouling that will build up during the break in process. However, you must be sure to thoroughly clean the barrel each and every time that the toothpaste is used.

If I was going to assign another crucial area to be considered when accurizing a rifle I would have to choose the way it is bedded. The process of bedding incorporates synthetic material in a way that binds the barrel to the stock to allow for consistent barrel harmonics. Going back to the point that I made earlier, about firearms having individuality, not every firearm is a good candidate for bedding. Not every rifle will like being paired with a free-floating barrel; it depends on the action.

When it comes to shotguns there is not quite as much to consider. Because shotguns are still a “long gun” bedding can be utilized to help with accurizing. Aside from this, accuracy is generally all about having proper pattern density. The factors that dictate pattern density are utilizing the proper choke, making sure that the choke is concentric with the bore (absolutely crucial), and utilizing a longer forcing cone.

Since we are on the subject of long guns let’s talk about stocks. When it comes to stocks synthetic stocks are always better than wood (when it comes to practicality and engineering). They do not swell or shrink like wood; basically changing the characteristics of the firearm. Composite stocks are made up of two or more synthetic materials, which can give you a recipe to further control your firearm. Graphite composite is generally the best for most applications, but is also usually some of the more expensive varieties

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The last platform to discuss is handguns. When it comes to handguns the two biggest things to consider are barrel fit and talent. Barrel fit is absolutely crucial, and should always be the first thing completed. Slide fit is also important but in the grand scheme of things it should always be considered second. Taking a true honest look at your level of talent is something else to consider. As harsh as it may seem to you reading this it is VERY expensive and I will ask if you can justify the money that you will spend to accurize a handgun to a competition level. One special note that I will leave for revolver users is that the most critical component for you to consider is proper throat size.

No matter what platform you are considering ammunition will always be an important consideration. What good are our toys without decent batteries. It is best to tune your firearm to a specific cartridge for overall consistency. Overall consistency is the key, no matter what ammunition camp you fall in to. If you are one who buys your ammunition then you need to always buy the same box recipe. If you are one that reloads your own ammunition then you should ALWAYS use the same hand-load recipe. Again, the thing to remember is consistency is key

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