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  #11  
Old 10-06-2018, 11:40 AM
Duce Duce is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s11033 View Post
I had initially wanted to order a run of Garand barrels. I quickly confirmed that the Garand clips will not fit 8 rounds of 6.5x55 due to their larger case head. When loading 7 rounds in the clip, the problem seemed to be resolved, but I almost gave myself Garand thumb when I overinserted the partially-filled clip. I have a couple ideas to allow the use of standard clips with 6.5x55, but that project will remain in the works for at least a few months.
Or you could try 260 Rem. No, not a military caliber, but closer to the 6.5 Swede as opposed to the 6.5 Creedmore. And we know that eight 260 Rem will easily fit into the en bloc clip.
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  #12  
Old 10-06-2018, 04:44 PM
s11033 s11033 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Peconga View Post
To make it clear, I have never tried re-chamberiing a 6.5 Creedmoor to 6.5 Swede myself; my analysis of case dimensions is based strictly on drawings and straight-line math. However, if you've got a machinist who has been turning chips for years and doing the conversion successfully, then clearly it must be possible.
Yeah, I really just wanted to hear if people like the idea before I talk to Criterion’s engineers to verify technical feasibility and come up with a plan of action. I’ll post up after I talk to them.

Steve

EDIT: I remeasured my cases and 6.5 Creed at the shoulder is definitely much larger than the diameter of 6.5x55 at the same station. I must have made a mistake like going from metric to imperial units when measuring or something... Anyway, I've got a request out to Criterion to see if they can rough-cut a chamber to some "lowest common denominator" spec. I'll see what they say. Worst case I guess I could just order the barrels unchambered and have the chambers cut to order locally. I currently don't have a lathe.

Last edited by s11033; 10-08-2018 at 07:53 PM.
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  #13  
Old 10-06-2018, 04:51 PM
s11033 s11033 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Duce View Post
Or you could try 260 Rem. No, not a military caliber, but closer to the 6.5 Swede as opposed to the 6.5 Creedmore. And we know that eight 260 Rem will easily fit into the en bloc clip.
Yeah, I want to make sure that my Garand chambers can be finish reamed to 260 Rem and 6.5 Swede. The 260 Rem is very convenient in that the case head is the right size for the clips and also that cheap and plentiful .308 brass can just be run through a sizing die and trimmed. I care a lot less about offering 6.5 Creedmoor, but I think a 6.5 Creed roughing reamer just might be the best way to achieve that.

If you want to discuss the Garand project more please visit the thread!
http://forums.thecmp.org/showthread.php?t=226475

Steve
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  #14  
Old 10-16-2018, 11:42 PM
s11033 s11033 is offline
 
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An update guys:

I’m making good progress toward placing an order for barrels. I’m talking to a couple manufacturers that will work with quantities of 5-10 units, which would be much more favorable than Criterion’s 25 barrel minimum. I’d feel perfectly comfortable ordering those all short-chambered for 6.5x55 rather than resorting to my “half-baked chamber” idea. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some price estimates soon to see what you guys think.

I received one of the sporter 03-A3s that I bought for prototyping and have a second on the way. This first one was blued at some point. But it doesn’t have any holes through the receiver, and the rear sight is intact. I’ll be building an A3-style rifle with it. The one that’s on the way has a Redfield Jr. scope mount on it, and I plan to use it to build an A4-style rifle with an Accumounts PE replica 4x scope.

As soon as I got the rifle, I started tinkering with it and quickly ran into a problem. The 6.5x55 cartridges stack funny in the ’03 magazine because the Swede’s taper is much more extreme than the 30-06’s. It worked fine when loading 4 rounds, but the 5th would occasionally hang up against the rear of the magazine and the bolt would ride over it without catching the rim. I thought about making a magazine insert, but I decided to try something easier first.

I replaced the ‘03 follower and follower spring with the respective parts from a Swedish M96 Mauser. The M96 follower has a taller ridge, which I think keeps the cases properly aligned in the magazine. The spring is stronger than the one that was in my A3, and I think that the upward tension helps keep the rims properly seated against the feed lips so that the bolt never rides over them. With those parts installed, the feeding was 100% reliable.

The follower looks a little odd because it’s shorter in length than the magazine, but it naturally aligns itself against the rear of the magazine. The only time it will go forward is when the bolt is pushed forward on an empty magazine. When a case is inserted the follower naturally returns to its rearmost position under spring tension. The magazine cutoff still works as long as the follower is in the rear position when the cutoff is engaged. The follower can be forced forward past the cutoff, requiring the cutoff to be disengaged, but you’d have to be trying to do that. I don’t think too many of us use the cutoff anyway.

Overall, I think that using the Swedish parts is a cheap ($15) and easy fix to an otherwise complex problem. It seems to have no impact on operation unless for some reason you need to be able to engage the magazine cutoff immediately after pushing the bolt forward on an empty magazine.

The next problem that I’m working on is that for some reason the extractor claw will occasionally fail to grab the 4th case that was loaded into the magazine. I have no idea why it only happens on the 4th, but I do think it’s signaling a problem with rim thickness. I measured a Swedish M96’s extractor claw and sure enough its groove is about 0.25 mm wider than the ‘03’s. This makes sense because Swedish-spec 6.5x55 has a rim that’s 0.3mm wider than the 30-06’s. I tried installing the Swedish extractor on my ’03 bolt and interestingly it went right on. Unfortunately it’s less than 1 mm too wide top to bottom to fit into the receiver.

I have a few ideas on how to tackle this. First I’ll try replacing my ’03 extractor with a fresh one. It may just be out of spec as I can see some areas that are worn. If that doesn’t work, I can see that the 03’s extractor has some metal added to compensate for the slightly thinner 30-06 rims. I can try filing a little bit of metal out of the groove, as I think that would leave about the same amount of metal as the M96’s claw has. If for some reason I’m worried about the strength of the claw, my next idea is to mill or file a tiny amount of metal off the Swedish M96 extractor to allow it to fit the ’03 receiver. I’d like to avoid this as M96 extractors are probably heat-treated and are a bit pricier than the magazine parts I used to solve the feeding problem. Hopefully a fresh ’03 extractor will do the trick.

As an aside, I ordered a reproduction 03-A3 stock set from Sarco just to see how it compared to the CMP set. The barreled receiver dropped right into the stock. The bedding appeared to be accurate and solid, there was good clearance around the barrel, and there was strong (if not slightly excessive) upward tension on the barrel at the front band. I think the stock will require very minor fitting. The trigger guard almost dropped in, but I have to take about 1mm of material off the rearmost surface because the lower stamping of the trigger guard contacts the wood. I’m not an ’03 expert, but the profile of the stock didn’t seem fat or off in any way. I wish I had my USGI A3 and A4 here to compare.

The stock appears to be stained but not finished and leaves some orange residue on the hands. But the wood has clearly been finely sanded and will provide a good starting point for a nice finish with Fiebling’s, BLO and Tom’s 1/3. It’s a nicer surface than the CMP replacement Garand walnut stocks. Unfortunately some bonehead packed a barrel in the same box as the stock, and it was able to bounce around freely, gouging the wood pretty badly in the C-grip area. Hopefully Sarco will make it right, either by replacing it with a new stock, or by offering me a good discount to keep this one and fill in the gouges while I’m refinishing it.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to report. Let me know if you guys have any better ideas regarding the extractor issue.

Steve

Edit: Sarco replied first thing this morning to the email I sent them yesterday. They’ll be replacing the stock with a new one, and they’ll be paying for shipping too. I’ve consistently had good experiences with them.

Last edited by s11033; 10-17-2018 at 09:30 AM.
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  #15  
Old 10-17-2018, 08:34 PM
s11033 s11033 is offline
 
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I was having some ejector issues with the rifle, so I took it apart completely today and found that it had a lot more gunk in it than I would have expected based on the exterior condition. I gave all the parts a deep clean and, alas, the extractor issue disappeared! I'm going to hold off on doing anything with the extractor, and monitor that situation as I progress with the project. Here are some pictures and videos showing some of the stuff I was talking about in my last post:

https://imgur.com/a/OPb5rBc

Also, would anybody care if the conversion were not conducive to single-feeding (as opposed to mag-feeding)? If you close the bolt hard enough, the extractor will catch the rim, but it's pretty painful on the palm after a few times...

Last edited by s11033; 10-18-2018 at 08:54 PM.
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  #16  
Old 11-01-2018, 10:40 PM
s11033 s11033 is offline
 
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Hey guys,

I'm doing some further tinkering with magazine components. Numrich has some magazine inserts meant for converting Mauser actions to short-action calibers. They fit in the front of the magazine and look surplus, so that makes me think they're from one of the militaries that converted their old Mausers to 7.62x51. It looks like it's just about the right length to go from the 30-06's 3.32" COAL to the 6.5 Swede's 3.15". I ordered a couple and should have them for testing next week.

On the barrel front, I finally got a quote from Criterion. It looks like short-chambered 6.5x55 barrels will cost $325 plus shipping. I'd have to have people commit to buying at least 15 of them, because the minimum order is for 25 units and there's a 50% deposit on the order. They said lead-time is 16-20 weeks.

I sent a sample barrel off to McGowen for evaluation. They said that reproducing the profile is no problem. They're looking into making a jig that would allow the extractor groove and the front sight spline groove to be cut in the correct alignment with the threads to ensure the barrels will time correctly. If it's feasible on their end, they'll send me a quote for them, and the first order will be for just 10-20, so I don't have to get as many people to commit. I'll be sending them a Garand barrel too next week to see if it's something they can do.

No updates yet from Lothar-Walther on 03A3s. So far all they've told me is that custom Garand barrels would have to be turned in their facility in Germany.

More updates to come when I get the mag blocks in for testing. I'd definitely like to make the magazine conversion a bit more elegant and refined. Using a Swedish Mauser follower and spring is definitely the solution, but I really want to take up the slop that's left by the shorter follower.

Steve

Last edited by s11033; 11-01-2018 at 10:44 PM.
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  #17  
Old 11-03-2018, 12:37 AM
jerryjeff jerryjeff is offline
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This sounds familiar. Lots of posts.
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  #18  
Old 11-03-2018, 07:25 AM
milprileb milprileb is offline
 
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260 Remington solves 03, 03a3 and M1 problems .
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  #19  
Old 11-03-2018, 10:08 AM
S99VG S99VG is offline
 
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The 30-06 solves all problems. I love the 30-06 and also greatly admire the 6.5 x 55. So I gotta ask, instead of putting all that money into converting an 03A3 why not simply put it into a good receiver or target sight for the M96 or M38? The beauty of the latter is that it's very close to the 03 and 03A3 in appearance and handiness. That sounds like an interesting rifle to me as I think the accuracy of the cartridge also has something to do with these well built rifles. Also to me, the 03, 03A3, Garand and even the 1917 are far more interesting in their original chamberings. Just asking, nothing more.
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  #20  
Old 11-03-2018, 02:46 PM
HC-7 HC-7 is online now
 
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Hi Steve, Please keep pluggin away with your project....I have a 03A3 DR receiver and a couple of cases of x55 ammo....I am all in for a barrel.....Regards....alex
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03-a3, 6.5, 6.5x55, conversion, swede

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