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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was at a gun show and saw one of these sitting on one of Sarco's tables. They gave me a price too good to turn down (120) and added an original Remington Barrel for another 120.

I fell into a bit of luck and was able to send my barrel off to be nitrided (we were sending out a bunch of other things to be nitrided and this didn't cost me any extra).

After some searching, I found a receiver with a bolt from J&G sales for $125. The receiver is a Remington, but it came off of a drill rifle. The receiver face was not symmetrical all around. The bottom left of the receiver face was ground down where the weld had been cut off, leaving me with about 65% contact between the receiver face and barrel shoulder.

So... I hurriedly made a spider chuck and then I chucked the receiver up in my lathe and prepared to face it off.

I turned the receiver face down about 10 to 15 thousandths. By rough estimate, this gave me about 75 to 80 % contact between the receiver face and the barrel shoulder.

The picture above is after I faced off about 10 thousandths.

Next, I had to line the wittness/ indexing marks up between the receiver and the barrel (since my barrel was already fitted with a front sight, and milling a new alignment slot for the front sight would be a bigger PITA than turning the receiver face down so the indexing marks can line up and headspacing a bolt to fit.

When torquing a barrel down, a rough estimate is the have the wittness marks come to about 5 to 7 degrees within dead center. This allows you to torque the barrel/ receiver using about 120 lb-ft of torque to line the wittness marks up (depending upon materials and hardness of the receiver/ barrel of course- this is just a rough estimate)

The picture above is almost there... I had to remove a few more thousandths off of the receiver face. I then put the assembly in my barrel vise and torqued that sucked down.

Next was to determine which bolt to use. I had 2 of them. One bolt almost closed on the go-gaugge and the other bolt closed on the no-go gauge but not on the field gauge (which was strange considering how much material I took off of the receiver face). While this would be completely safe to shoot (you can safely shoot a rifle with a lot more headspace than people realize- even if the field gauge closes your still usually ok- but there is a limit), I decided to use the other bolt. I chucked the bolt up in a spider chuck and removed a few thousandths off of the rear of the locking lugs (maybe .007- I cant remember exactly how much).

Now I had a working gun. Next task was to refinish the parts into something passable.

I found a stock for cheap (also from Sarco- man I love that place... a bunch of kooks, but they have SO MUCH STUFF I WANT TO BUY). The stock had a cosmetic crack/ chip in the very rear portion of it. I slightly separated the chipped section from the stock, poured in a helping of gorilla glue and broke out the clamps.

Then I decided to cerakote the metal parts of the gun. I painted the barrel and receiver sniper gray and the bolt and other metal parts I did in a green mix. Well, the green mix didn't come out as I planned, nut I would do the sniper gray over again. I was hoping the green would have a slight green tint and be more of a darker/ blacker color (sometimes you see this on firearms that have a bluing with a slightly greenish tint- think Grease Gun).

And here is the crack on the butt stock

The longest part of it all was cleaning up the stock. It was full of oil and grease that had penetrated the wood. I know everyone has their own secret method of cleaning up a stock, but I use oven cleaner followed by sweating the stock. I had to do that rotation about 5 times to get it to where I looked passable (it was a cheap stock).

After erything is said and done, I have about $450 into the gun. It was definitely worth it for a 1903a3 beater.

**** I know there are many people out there who consider the drill rifle receivers unsafe to use. While some receivers might be (probably not though), this one was perfectly fine (besides the cosmetic issue). The weld was no where near the locking lugs nor had it changed the heat treatment anywhere that was not directly next to the welded portion. I don't remember off hand exactly what alloy was used on these rifles, but I do remember they were high in nickle and chrome (they were a completely different steel from the Springfield Armory guns). These steels don't react the same way to heat as do regular carbon steels as they are more tolerant of it (not by a whole lot, but by a reasonable percentage).
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