Brownells Gunsmith Kink: What To Do When the Gun Barrel Is To Long
Question: I ream barrels for screw in choke tubes using a lathe. I’m sure many other gunsmiths do as well. The reamer is held in the chuck and the chamber end of the barrel is aligned using a live center. If the barrel has an extension that prevents the live center from reaching the chamber, an adapter that goes into the chamber is used. I place the muzzle onto the reamer and the live center into the chamber end. While holding the barrel by hand, I use the tailstock to push the barrel into the reamer. If anything gets to tight, I just let go of the barrel. (Be sure to keep fingers out of any holes.) I only tap by hand. The kink is what to do when the barrel is to long to fit between the chuck held reamer and the tailstock. My lathe is 40″ center-to-center.
Answer: You will need to hold the reamer in a collet. I measured the choke reamers and the shafts are about .650″. I then ordered a 21/32″ (.656″) collet for my lathe. Since the force applied to the reamer is so great, there was sometimes slippage of the reamer in the collet. I bored a hole on the body of the collet and pressed in a pin to hold the reamer on one of its’ flats. The collet aligns the reamer and the pin insures the reamer doesn’t turn in the collet. Since the tail end of the barrel can move on the center, any slight wobble won’t be a problem. This system gets me about 3″ more length than using the chuck to hold the reamer. The barrel shown in the photo is a 30″ Remington 1100 barrel. Also shown are the extensions I use.
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