8 replies [Last post]
Offline
Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 02/23/2009
Posts: 181
Free Float the Barrel - Good or Bad?

I have a Win Mod 70 Featherweight and the stock was rubbing the barrel on one side.  So, before I went and spent any $$$, I decided to take some sandpaper and free float the barrel.  I haven't shot it yet, but I'm wondering what your opinions are on this?  If you have done this, what were your results.  Also, I will have to reseal the wood where I sanded.  I'm thinking about using boiled lin sead oil, does anyone else have an opinion.  The area I sanded is not visible - I carefully sanded the channel so that it would be 'invisible' to anyone looking at the rifle. 

exbiologist's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
I go either way

There's a reason that manufacturers do some measure of upward pressure on sporter weight barrels.  I suspect it would probably be easiest for them to free float everything, but they probably think they can get better accuracy from a wider variety of loads with their method.  

I haven't experimented enough to have developed a strong opinion one way or the other.  However, I 've gone every which way and have found them all to be acceptable.

 

I've even full length bedded my 7mm Rem Mag, but I did so as a way to partially correct some poor inletting by the stock maker. 

 

Just shoot it first.  But use some truoil to seal it up.  If you want a different kind of sealer, go with Laurel Mountain Forge sealer.  Some people even use that as their only finish.

ADKBEAR's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Central NY
Joined: 09/16/2003
Posts: 823
Shoots good

Free float or bedded I don't much have a preforance as long as it shoots good!

As far as a sealer I am a huge fan of the boild linseed oil stock finish.  If done correctly it is a pretty durable stock finish.  Still since the area you have sanded is not exposed and covered by the barrel (i.e. not seen) you could use any quality grade wood sealing product you have incluging varnish or poly?

WesternHunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
boiled linseed oil

ADKBEAR wrote:

Free float or bedded I don't much have a preforance as long as it shoots good!

As far as a sealer I am a huge fan of the boild linseed oil stock finish.  If done correctly it is a pretty durable stock finish.  Still since the area you have sanded is not exposed and covered by the barrel (i.e. not seen) you could use any quality grade wood sealing product you have incluging varnish or poly?

I would argue that a boiled linseed oil finish on walnut is a more durable and serviceable finish than any modern varnish finish is, or even better than many commercial finishes were from a few decades ago.  Proof for me is from examining and even owning a few old military bolt rifles from WWI to WWII.  Having survived harsh military use on the battlefield and being exposed to conditions that few sporting rifles get exposed to, the stocks on these older military issued rifles held up better than most sporting rifle stocks with commercial finshes from the same era. Even many 19th century commercial stocks with linseed oil finsihes are often found to be in pretty good condition today despite being on daily use ranch guns in their heyday.  Linseed oil once cure in the wood doesn't flake, chip, peel, or haze as many poly varnishes tend to do. Any scratches are easily blended in and covered up with a few simple reapplications of boil linseed oil into the scratch. Many other wooden articles that were finished with linseed oil as far back as 300 years ago have survived in great shape today too.

WesternHunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Mod 70 Featherweight

I shoot a Winchester Model 70 Classic Featherweight in .270 Win for all my biggame, had it since 1994 and was made in the old USRAC facility in New Haven, CT.  Never noticed if the inletting of the forend is touching the barrel.  The best advice I can give regarding the Featherweight's accuracy is to realise that what you have is a light contour barrel, it's a Featherweight for a reason and that reason is for ease of carry while hunting with the idea that only one or two shots will be needed to down an animal.  Just realise what you have is all I mean.  That means that when sighting-in at a range to expect the barrel to heat up faster than normal.  To minimize this overheating, shoot in a method that keeps that barrel cool to the touch to maintain accuracy.  Meaning three shot groups with at least 2 to 3 minutes between shots keeping the action open bewteen shots.  I use a very slow burning powder in my reloads and this goes a long way towards keeping that barrel cooler despite throwing at 130 grain bullet out at around 3080 ft/sec. With my own reloads that rifle will shoot inside 1 MOA at 100 yrds in my hands and can probably do better than that in more capable hands with my reloads. Plenty accurate enough for taking Pronghorn out to 400 yrds and elk inside 200 yrds. 

Don Fischer's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3177
I've also got a New Haven

I've also got a New Haven featherweight but one of the last made there. First thing I did with it, with every rifle, is see how it shoots as it come's. This one shot fine as it came and I haven't done a thing to it. I am a big fan of free floated barrels and all of mine are,the featherweight came that way. But free floating won't cure everything. Now that you've done it, I would check for stress in the reciever. Also the recoil lug could be touching where it shouldn't or not where it should. I check for bind in the reciever and if I find it, fix it and the recoil lug at the same time.

I had a friend years ago that had a full stock rifle the the tip of the forend was warpped so bad you could tell it pressed hard right there. Rifle shot great and I suspect it's still the same way today.

WesternHunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
accuracy

I agree Don.  Best for him to shoot it first and see how it shoots as is.  Freefloating isn't a cure all for accuracy, neither is bedding. Many older bolt action service rifles were built and designed with barrel bands, even many sporterized safari rifles hjad barrel bands on them.  A great many of those old rifle were plenty accurate in the hands of a capable shooter.  My Featherweight shot great from the factory and that's why I never did anything to the rifle itself to improve acuracy.  I simply tightened up accuracy by tweeking my reloads, as well as modifying my habits of how I shoot that particular rifle.  It's not meant to fire repeated rounds without a cooldown break.  But, as I said in my previous reply - you need to reasize what you have when you shoot a Featherweight or any rifle with a light countoured barrel.  They will perform great with a cool barrel, but tend to heat up much faster than a benchrest heavy barrel target rifle will or than a sniper rifle will.  That was my advice, just realise what it is that you have there, and realise that it is what it's not, if that makes any sence.  Meaning that the Featherweight is a "hunting rifle", made light weight and designed with a slim profile meant for ease of carry while hunting the field with the idea that a biggame hunter will only need one or two rounds to take down a game animal.

nozzlehead's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/10/2012
Posts: 20
I'd sand it

I know this thread is several months old without a post but in case somebody else pulls it up I'd thought I'd put a word in here also. I'm not a "one brand" guy. I own, or have owned, Remington, Winchester, Ruger, Savage, etc. I also do not worry about punching the same hole at 300, 200, or even 100 yards; but, I do want to stay under an inch at 100 yards. I am just startig to handload so what I report here is all using factory ammo. I've always found Winchester to shoot just fine the way I got them. Remingtons are another story. 1st rifle - Remington 30.06: they use a pressure band about an 1 1/2" from the end of the forearm. When I got this rifle, the best group I was able to get with many different test ammos, was 3 1/2" @ 100 yards. I removed the extra wood and free floated the barrel. Took it back out and nothing shot over 2 1/2" with the best being just under 1". This came from a Federal Premium load. 2nd rifle - Remington 6.5 Swede: Out of the box, the best group was about 1 3/4" @ 100 yards. Back to the bench, remove the extra wood, back to the range. With a load from Hornady, it would shoot under 1/2" all day!

These "bands" of wood were designed to put even pressure on the barrel. If you have a stock that is only pressing on 1 side of the barrel I would think it may have warpped or there was a soft spot in the wood at that point and allowed swelling. I, personally speaking, have never seen a rifle from the factory with a spot specific pressure point.

I hope this helps anyone that may have this question in the future.

AFHUNTER...I would love to hear a range report as to the results.

Offline
Location: Neveda
Joined: 07/22/2008
Posts: 179
2 cents

reading the comments:

Yes a free floating barrel allows the barrel to "whip" the same every time, this is very importan, but we must start back behind the barrel. Make sure you have a good solid stock to start with if you have that, then Start with your action, do you want to bed it of have it resting on studs (Pillar) both will keep the action in the same spot if done right, if you bed make sure you bed the recoil lug (bed to about 1 1/2 inch past your action).Once you have your action locked into the stock, open your barrel channel so you have 1/8 inch clearance on the bottom (the old dollor bill trick is worthless, make it 2 cards).

Now here is where the work begins: what most people will not tell you: find your trist rate and find the proper bullet weight, then buy as many brands of bullets as you can. now start loading groups of 6-9. you will find the bullet that your barrel likes the best (i am assuming that you are able to shoot sub moa) you will also find out what speed your bullet wants to travel at.

OK off the Soap Box

Best of luck

 

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
bedding ruger m77 7 mmmagmaddawg906/12/2010 09:42 am
Barrel CoolingAFHunter708/02/2010 11:00 am
NH MOOSE LOTTERY WINNER! WMU D1 SCOUTING INFO NEED!Highwaystar107/01/2006 18:15 pm
Remington 1100 12ga barrel for sale.tyusclan012/02/2006 19:12 pm
Seasoning my barrelMisplaced_Missourian210/09/2005 20:48 pm