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A method of crowning a muzzle

By Jim

Sometimes a barrel needs to be cut down in length to make a handier carbine out of it. Hunters especially like to have a rifle they can get in and out of the truck with and not be hung up on seat belts or snagged on the steering wheel.

Most of the time, I like to use the lathe to do this but occasionally there's a rifle barrel that doesn't fit in the spindle bore of the lathe to cut and trim.

Such is the case with a barrel from a Remington 7600. I measure the length to be cut, and use a common hacksaw to bring it to the new length. In this case, we're going from 22" to 18". I dress up the saw cut on a belt grinder and get started with the crown.

I clamp the barrel upright in the soft jaws of a vise, and color the muzzle with Dykem blue.

Using a pilot of the right caliber, I insert it into a large 90* cutter head with a T handle. I turn the cutter to make the muzzle perpendicular to the bore.

I keep the cutter moving to give smooth chatter free cuts until the Dykem is completely gone. This way I know the entire muzzle face has been cut.

Next, I switch the pilot to a different cutter. This one with cut an 11* recess in the face of the muzzle. I turn this cutter until I get a shallow cut about halfway to the edge of the barrel.

The job is finished after I clean up the burrs and take the sharp edge off the outside diameter of the barrel.

A good muzzle crown is important to a rifle's accuracy. You want the bullet to release from the muzzle consistently between shots. Any irregularities would allow hot gasses to leak from around the base of the bullet upon leaving the muzzle, and cause the bullet to yaw to one side or another and throw off the shot groups.

There are a few different types of barrel crowns. Some are rounded, some are recessed heavily. This is a quick solution that gives pretty good results. And it can be done by hand without a lathe. You should always protect the crown of your gun barrel. Some hunters will stick the rifle muzzle down into the floorboard of their trucks, with the remaining gun itself resting against the seat. While this can be handy to have the gun ready at hand, you may bump the crown on small gravel that comes off your boots and into the floorboard. This could potentially damage the crown when you're driving on a bumpy dirt road. You could get a small ding on the crown and ruin the accuracy of the rifle.

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