what l do to make a new howa better

Improving and repairing firearms. Rifle bedding, barrel work, stock replacement and other ways to improve your firearms.

Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by Oldbloke » 10 Jan 2020, 6:52 am

Great. Lots of detail too
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by bigrich » 10 Jan 2020, 9:06 am

This is a very timely post MM, as I’m looking into buying a Howa. Good detail and information on your modifications, I’m sure it’s appreciated by many :thumbsup:

If I could afford to, I think the best way to fix a Howa is to buy a Sako :lol:
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by Am88 » 10 Jan 2020, 9:35 am

It's good to see how people do things so differently, some handy little tips I picked up out of that which I will now use. good stuff
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by marksman » 10 Jan 2020, 10:25 am

thanks guys
the idea is to show some of the work you can do yourself to improve your rifle, the methods can be transferable to other brands including sako BR :drinks:
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by Wapiti » 10 Jan 2020, 2:08 pm

Great informative post tgere mate.

Interesting you've used JB Weld to set up the scope bases to the action.
Agree that using a scope alignmemt bar or lapping too when setting up the rings will minimise the misalignment of some degree (always a little, sometimes a detrimental lot) except that I've routinely used "Loctite 668 High Strength Retaining Compound" which does the same thing, yet can squeeze down to a few microns thick on the high spots.
That'll be my trade background, my mates in the game would kill me if I used JB Weld. Although, it might do a better job of bridging hideous big gaps. But luckily, I've never struck any yet.

I'm ashamed to say I was a big brand snob once, but having bought two Howas, both little action 223s for knock around farm guns, when clocking them in the 4-jaw and setting up the DI, I found they are straighter than most stuff 3x+ the price. Or 5x for that matter.
And, I don't know about this gritty bolt story, these two haven't a machining mark on them and are oily piston smooth. A credit to them too.
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by Stix » 10 Jan 2020, 2:24 pm

marksman wrote:thanks guys
the idea is to show some of the work you can do yourself to improve your rifle, the methods can be transferable to other brands including sako BR :drinks:


:shock: Well dont mistake me for a fox--that was my ears that pricked up when you said that last sentence marksman... :lol:

There is a thread wsy back in the depths of this forum on bedding a model 85, but id be keen to hear what you say about bedding & accurising them... :)

Our mate with the silly 'iccint' on the floating rocks way out off the south east coast of Aust doesnt have much at all nice to say about those rifles...!!!
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by AZZA'S HJ47 » 10 Jan 2020, 3:44 pm

I can also add a log to the fire on this one i purchased a howa 1500 in 308 stainless. Out of the box it would have had to have been the worst shooting rifle i had ever bought. However after doing some bedding and fiberglass reinforcing the foreend and a gun bloke trigger spring turned the rifle into my go to 30 cal rifle. Uncomparable to the rifle when purchased it
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by sungazer » 10 Jan 2020, 4:21 pm

The big gaps you may find where the rail really needs bedding can be found on some Remington 700 actions. One of mine if the screws were tightend down in the wrong order would change the windage bu 22 MOA the rail would slide or be pulled out from the centre by that incredible amount. The Remington 700 actions are not a fully round action and it is not an isolated issue with many people reporting the same issue.
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by Stix » 10 Jan 2020, 5:41 pm

So what ewuipment & process do you bolt lug lappers use to ensure youve got all the cutting compound out of the area the lugs live in...?
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by marksman » 10 Jan 2020, 5:41 pm

Stix wrote:
:shock: Well dont mistake me for a fox--that was my ears that pricked up when you said that last sentence marksman... :lol:

There is a thread wsy back in the depths of this forum on bedding a model 85, but id be keen to hear what you say about bedding & accurising them... :)

Our mate with the silly 'iccint' on the floating rocks way out off the south east coast of Aust doesnt have much at all nice to say about those rifles...!!!


l have done two 85's Stix it's just a different coloured dog to bed, l found and looked at the thread here on bedding a sako 85 :thumbsup:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7281
there is a couple of ways to do it but since yours is a smaller cal, 204 l believe, this is how l would attack it, (this is not how l would do a bigger cal)

basically take out the recoil plate from the stock, play-do dam the mag well in the stock, tape the stock up as for the howa, play-do dam the trigger cutout near the tang

relive edges in the cutout in the action so you dont get the broken edges like in Apollos bedding job with skinny play-do worms ( not hanging it on your job Apollo just what l would do ) this will also make installation easier without the hassle of breakage crumbs of bedding upsetting the bedding

Image

remove trigger and mag release
tape the sides of the action side flats and around tang to relieve them, tape the bottom of the action near the tang where you do not want bedding material to enter leaving where you want the bedding to sit untaped

Image

play-do worm where the barrel meets ect..
play-do dam in the mag inlet on the action, make some headless bolts to use for centering the action and tape these to fit the existing king screw holes (tight but so you can move them in and out without much pressure,
l know it's a ****** photo but when you go to put the job together these bolt's will be in the stock and you will have to hold the action out of the puddle to screw these bolts into the action before lowering the action onto the puddle of bedding compound

Image

tape the barrel at the end of the forend so the barrel is centered snug, no pressure

before doing the job do a trial fit as you would be when doing the job without bedding material :thumbsup:

lots of kiwi boot polish dabbed on all over the action and the centering bolts spray with cheapo furniture spray

mix the bedding material, l suggest jb for how l have explained, and do it as practiced using no stress on the action

have a beer and kentucky fried rabbit waiting for the bedding material to cure, break it out after curing, should be easy, clean it up put it together light tightness on kings screws till a good proper cure then maybe a bit more cleanup and tighten up to spec and shoot

l have probably left some info out as the missus is wanting me to watch a movie but l will reread it later to be sure
hope this helps you out Stix :drinks:

l forgot to add the finish should be the same as Apollo's :thumbsup:

so an important part that should be done is that you will need to dig out and rough up some stock material
the ideal thickness of the bedding material should be around 2mm minimum but on the howa l did minimum around 1mm in the thinnest places
l roughed up and gouged out some of the aluminum bedding block so there was at least 1mm of bedding, and had probably the same amount under the start of the barrel, obviously edges ect... will be less
before taking the recoil plate out it is also important that you put the tape around the barrel at the forend to give you the height that the action and barrel will be sitting at when the job is done, the tape is a snug fit into the barrel channel, you want no stress, just drop it in to a runny puddle and it will find its own home when using JB, l would consider putting in a rear tang pillar

l'm sure that's about it, l was in a hurry last night :drinks:
Last edited by marksman on 11 Jan 2020, 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by Potatoes » 10 Jan 2020, 7:56 pm

I just ditched my hogue for a boyds thimbhole stock the other week. I wish i had seen this post before, damn. I put aluminium pillars in too. My groups had slightly opened up, but found they improved back to normal when i loosened the rear bolt, as they were both quite tight. I filled in behind the tang unlike you marksmen, so i might cut this bit out with the rotary tool and see if that helps. I am also much prefering the ergonomics of the thumbhole, i think that old hogue may have put me off sporter stocks for good. I put the 1.5lb sping in from the gunbloke, its as good as gold and he gave pretty good instructions for a beginner gunsmith such as myself.
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by bigrich » 10 Jan 2020, 10:40 pm

i bought a standard 308 sako a7 a couple of years ago, and with hand loading it made one ragged hole . no mods . standard as supplied . howa are good value for money , but sometimes you do get what you pay for
JMHO :thumbsup:
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by Kelsey Cooter » 11 Jan 2020, 8:45 am

Cheers for all the info, how come you want tape on the rear surface of the recoil lug? Isn't this where you want contact?
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by marksman » 11 Jan 2020, 9:16 am

Kelsey Cooter wrote:Cheers for all the info, how come you want tape on the rear surface of the recoil lug? Isn't this where you want contact?


good call, yes you are right that is where you want contact :thumbsup:
l taped the rear because it was a pain to tape the front to relieve it and taped the tang twice so there would be contact at the rear of the recoil lug
there is good contact at the recoil lug and a tiny gap at the tang :drinks:
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by marksman » 11 Jan 2020, 11:38 am

sungazer wrote:The big gaps you may find where the rail really needs bedding can be found on some Remington 700 actions. One of mine if the screws were tightend down in the wrong order would change the windage bu 22 MOA the rail would slide or be pulled out from the centre by that incredible amount. The Remington 700 actions are not a fully round action and it is not an isolated issue with many people reporting the same issue.


one of the really good accuracy gunsmiths l use told me that remington actions are hand finished this may explain what you are saying
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by marksman » 11 Jan 2020, 11:45 am

Stix wrote:So what ewuipment & process do you bolt lug lappers use to ensure youve got all the cutting compound out of the area the lugs live in...?


l saturate the area with brake cleaner and squash a rag into the the hole twisting it, then do the same using inox
l also use bent q-tips soaked in inox and lots of compressed air
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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by marksman » 11 Jan 2020, 10:30 pm

the first 10 shots through the bore at 50 yards, factory loads, 1st shot is the high one the rest grouped low
the rifle was cleaned after the first 5 shots with minimal copper and after the 10th shot the same minimal copper
the owner then shot 15 shots without cleaning and still minimal copper, he is very happy, it was a very windy day so not very good for sighting in
next he is going to try different factory ammo at 100 to see what the rifle likes

Image

this group at target shows the first shot high seating the action to the stock then another 9 shots that formed a group lower down
what l didn't say previously because l didn't have the photo was that all of these shots were bits and pieces of factory ammo l had in the gun room
different brands and projectile weights, 150gr, 165gr and 180gr, this is why the owner was happy with the group
the reason why we used the odds and sods was to get rid of them and see if there was any copper fouling, to run in l suppose

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Re: what l do to make a new howa better

Post by sungazer » 13 Jan 2020, 7:34 pm

[quote="marksman"So what ewuipment & process do you bolt lug lappers use to ensure youve got all the cutting compound out of the area the lugs live in...?

l saturate the area with brake cleaner and squash a rag into the the hole twisting it, then do the same using inox
l also use bent q-tips soaked in inox and lots of compressed air[/quote]

I do the same and sometimes I will run hot to boiling water through the action and bore as well if I have been using a bore past or cutting compound. The water will work well for softening up carbon and heating up the barrel as well which helps all the chemicals with better efficiency.
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