Accurizing my Remington 597 – or any other 22lr rifle

Discussion in 'Gunsmith shop' started by Atomic_Ed, Aug 23, 2015.

  1. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Member

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    A while ago, I picked up my Remington 597 on one of those impulse buys at my LGS. I liked how it came up to my shoulder and was easy to put on target. But after I got it home, I noticed two things that made me pause and relegate it to the gun safe. (More on this below) Fast forward, and a bargain on a laminate stock for the rifle on Ebay, I decided it was time to get to work on this rifle. First, a Volquartsen hammer and Tandemkross trigger spring kit give this little rifle a crisp 1.5 to 2 lb. trigger pull with just a little work. If you do nothing else on the 597, add these two trigger parts. Here’s where the Rifle stands now:

    [​IMG]

    What I’m looking for out of this 597 is fairly accurate 22lr can work well punching holes in paper as well as punching holes in small varmints. I’m looking for something less than a MOA precision, hopefully something around .75 MOA. I could turn this into an extremely precise 22lr. (.2 to .3 MOA), but that would involve an expensive barrel ($400), match trigger ($175) and a new stock ($300) and a new scope ($400+). Lots of money for something that would be basically relegated to just targets.


    My Thinking:

    The usual disclaimers, I’m an amateur fiddler. Take what I express below with a grain of salt. It’s my thinking and probably could use some input from others.

    My mentor on barrel accuracy is the guy who works on my Thompson Contender barrels. The guy is a fanatic on precision barrel work. His approach is best summed up in that a bullet needs to enter the bore straight and leave the bore straight. While indeed the condition of the rifling and the bore itself is important, a perfect bore doesn’t matter if the bullet gets tipped leaving the muzzle due to a poor crown. So he’s taught me to put the bore light away as the only judge of a barrel’s condition and focus on headspace, the throat and the muzzle crown. Here are some articles of his:

    http://www.lasc.us/BellmThroats101.htm

    http://www.lasc.us/BellmChamberThroatWhatIs.htm

    http://www.bellmtcs.com/store/index.php?cid=559&

    Here’s an example. I sent in a brand new Thompson Contender 22lr barrel, straight out of the package, to have a scope mount added. Mike checked out the barrel and found that the crown was coned and pinched and the throat was so misaligned that there little hope of any real precision out of this barrel. The solution was to whack a full inch off of the muzzle and re-chamber it to a 22 WMR. Don’t think you can see the pinch, but here’s what was cut off:

    [​IMG]

    So the above philosophy is how I approached my 597, or any other rifle accuracy for that matter. First thing that I noticed on my 597 was this:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the bolt face isn’t making contact squarely with the breach. This would probably result in an uneven headspace and most likely stringers. My amateur measurement also found that the headspace needs tightened up. So some machine work on the bolt is needed here.

    Second thing I noticed was this:

    [​IMG]

    Definitely a poorly cut crown. So now I’m faced with a choice. Have the barrel reworked or buy a new barrel. A new barrel is about $250 for a basic 20”, Bentz chamber barrel. However, I can get the Rem barrel re-crowned, the chamber swaged, and the breach re-faced for $60. I like my short 16.5” barrel. The Rem heavy barrel also has 5R rifling, which is also a plus. On to some more checking on the barrel before I make a final decision.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  2. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Member

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    Slugging the Barrel

    Slugging the 597 barrel let me look at several things I was curious about. In particular, what does the chamber/throat measure look like? And how does the muzzle and rifling measure up?

    I’ll let you in on my best tip for checking out a barrel:

    http://www.rotometals.com/product-p/chambercastalloy.htm

    [​IMG]

    This stuff is almost a must for an amateur like me. Melts at such a low temp that you can use just a cleaning patch to plug the barrel; really easy to use. It has another advantage in that after an hour, the shrinkage is 0.000. I use my bullet casting ladle and just melt the casting alloy in the ladle with a propane torch. Just be sure to oil the chamber/bore and push the casts out with a wooden dowel. Takes a few practice tries, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it.

    I did three casts, one of the chamber and two of the muzzle. One of the muzzle casts was pushed out the breach and the other muzzle cast was pushed out the crown, like this:

    [​IMG]

    I whipped out my micrometer and started taking measurements. I first checked the bore measurements between the two muzzle casts at the crown. If the measurement for the muzzle cast pushed out the crown was smaller diameter than the cast pushed out the breach, then I’d have a coned muzzle and would either get rid of this barrel or cut the muzzle off and re-crown. Luckily, they both measured out .221 inches.

    I next measured multiple places on the bore cast diameter to see if the bore was consistent, and this bore was very consistent at .221 inches, slightly tighter than the SAAMI specs of .222 inches, which is just fine for me with the 5R rifling.

    Next was the chamber and throat cast:

    [​IMG]

    Again I checked the bore diameter several different locations on this cast and it was again at .221 inches for a consistent bore. The chamber base measurement was .2995, just a hair under the SAAMI specs. of .2307 for a sporting chamber. Other measurements also matched the SAAMI sporting chamber specs on the tight side, but still in specs.

    The last check was the consistency of the lands around the circumference of the bore at the throat. Like I said in the last post, a proper throat is important to precision. If they are consistent and aligned around the circumference, there’s a good chance that the chamber and throat are straight with the bore.

    OK, you can probably argue the 22lr is a “dead” bullet in that it’s soft lead and once deformed, it stays deformed, so the throat to bore transition isn’t as important, but that’s an argument above my pay grade. Mine looks in good shape here anyway. BTW, you’re going to have to look close at the picture to see the throat area, but it’s there.

    The 22lr. chamber is better off a little tighter than not, but not too tight. What I’ve seen in the past is individuals would spend big bucks on a tight, target grade chamber on a barrel for a semi-auto and not keep it clean. After a few hundred rounds, they would get an out-of-chamber ignition and couldn’t understand why. No room for burnt powder in a tight chamber guys.

    So, it looks like I’ll sending the bolt and barrel off for some work. The bolt will get a face truing, headspace adjustment and the firing pin shimmed to keep it off the breach face. The barrel with get a new 11 degree crown, swaged and polished chamber and a slight cleanup of the breach face, all for less than $100. Should be interesting to see how this little rifle turns out.

    If any of you guy or gals have any additions or additional suggestions, throw them in here. I’m not too old to learn something new.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015

  3. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    Completely Subscribed to this Thread! :D
     
  4. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    Did you see my post on another thread, Ed?
    I noticed that your Remlin 597 was related to my Marlington 795 ;)

    Think mine has an 18" barrel, micro-groove rifling, and was (to me, easy to impress)
    Very Accurate out of the box, nickel sized groups without even trying hard.
    All with Iron Sights, and I'm no "eagle-eye" :eek: Oh, just 15 yards.
    So Far ;)
     
  5. Grant

    Grant Member

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    When it comes to 22lr accuracy, one of the biggest variables is inconsistency in factory ammo. If you want what you are looking for, you will have to stick to pricey match grade ammo. No other ammo can get you close to that and even that may be a stretch.
     
  6. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    My gunny neighbor said CCI Mini-Mags are plenty good.
    But he shoots lots of close range competitions with those,
    not sure where he would cap that range for using those.
     
  7. Grant

    Grant Member

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    Probably the best quality non-match 22 out there.
     
  8. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

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    Sometimes, I think we overthink things.
    For me, I will never EVER spend $500 to fix up a $150-$200 gun.
    Though I do appreciate the CZ 451 and 452, which run around $400-$500.

    $125 Mossberg 142A. Dirty old gun, here's the bolt face.

    [​IMG]

    But when I shot it at 25 yards before cleaning, I shot once, adjusted the scope,shot 6 more, and saw this. Notice...the ammo was cheap Blazer lead.

    [​IMG]

    This is my $250 BRNO 451 ZOM, over irons, at 25, first 6 bullets I put on target. Federal bulk ammo in the blue 525 round box, BTW.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  9. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

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    BTW, Atomic_Ed...I agree on the 597, I LOVED the way it fit and pointed, but the trigger...truly awful. Still almost accurate (think 4 MOA) despite that, but if I hadn't got the gun for under $150, I'd be unhappy.

    Hope this project pays off!:)
     
  10. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Member

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    For some reason I didn't see that till now. I would say that the Marlin 795 probably has the most accurate 22 barrel overall out of the box thanks to the micro-grove rifling. The Marlin would definitely be my second choice over the Savage or Ruger.

    I went in to the LGS to look at a Savage lefty 22lr semi-auto they had in stock, but didn't like it near as well as the short, heavy barrel Remy. The Remy just handled well and was quick to target when I put it to my shoulder.
     
  11. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Member

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    Agreed, finding the right range of ammo for plinking, target and varmints will be the next step.
     
  12. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Member

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    Those guys that drop a grand into their 10/22s really don't have a 10/22 anymore. It's just a pre-paid serial number. I can't see me heading down that direction. If I did, I'd want to pick an old biathlon rifle and start with that platform, just to be different.:D

    That Mossberg bolt face looks pretty good! I think part of the trick with most of the 22lr rifles is to use ammo with a standard 40 grain, soft lead, bullet, like what the chamber was designed for. Your targets and ammo choice seems to add to the theory.

    I do tend to over do things, but that's what a hobby is all about.:) My mistake was not doing a before and after set of targets.

    Even if these clean-up efforts don't pay off, I'll still have learned something.

    Get the trigger and extractor upgraded and the 597 may become your favorite 22lr.:)
     
  13. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    I may be inspired to soup up the Marlin due to this thread :D
    I think a scope is in order, just to see how good it already is.
    Plus a proper sandbag session. I'm guessing it's pretty fine [​IMG]
     
  14. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Member

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    That would be interesting Underground. Some trigger work maybe?
     
  15. rippinryno

    rippinryno Well-Known Member

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    the best things I did to my 597 were to polish both guide rods, install volquartsen hammer, extractor, and pin, now it's amazing!
     
  16. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    Yeah, but I'd like a good baseline first.
    Trigger was decent, but I hardly know what a "good trigger" is :D
    I mean I have felt a light trigger, but unless it's really rough, it's the
    last thing I am noticing at this point. But the 22 is a great learning
    platform, very low recoil and noise. One can learn shooting easier!
     
  17. talon

    talon the banned wagon

    I can appreciate this concept, as I've done similar, not with a 22lr but with an off the shelf Wasr-10 AK. Wanting to turn it into something much more than it was. Out came all the rivets, out came the barrel, everything was inspected, rails retacked a few hundreds of an inch closer to straight, rivet holes heated and made concentric followed by having the reciever professionally heat treated after the changes. New barrel installed, all furniture shimmed for zero slop.......
    When all said and done i could have just bought 2 additional wasr's, but now I've got the satisfaction of knowing i have one of the best fitting, highest quality AKs even if the reciever is factory stamped its not comparable to any factory unit.
    Was it money and time well spent? To anyone else it was stupid, to me it was priceless.
     
  18. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    I say YES.
    Someday you will be at a range shooting it, making awesomely tight groups...
    someone will notice, and make a remark. You offer to let them try it out, and they
    also shoot great groups. You explain what all is done to the rifle, and they offer to
    buy it for MORE than you have in it. But you politely decline the offer ;)