Ok, I'll admit it. I want some attention. I can tell that everyone reads the blog and thinks, “Wow, Chelsea does so many crafts that are amazing!” Well, I've had enough. The time has come for me to get some attention for my “Chelsea-esque” accomplishments. So…I, uh…decided to do something.
Today's “craft” is going to be MANLY in nature. I thought about it for quite some time and knew in order to accomplish this feat, it would need to have some essential components to give it that “manly edge.” So I decided to use power tools, metal, raw man power and a touch of sweat. The task at hand is to modify my Remington 700's bolt knob.
First off, it is imperative for you to pay attention to a few little facts. You may be wondering, “What is a Remington 700?” and “What is a bolt knob?” To answer the first question, a Remington 700 is a rifle. Not just any rifle. It's a very nice one. It's soooooo pretty (at least I think so). This is what mine looks like.
This is a bolt and the little “L” part at the bottom is the handle. The other thing is the new knob.
What I want to do is increase the size of my knob. Since this is a “manly” project and is also meant to enhance my handle, I'm going to give it the code name “Operation Male Enhancement.”
I decided to go with Badger Ordnance's bolt knob. I chose this because they have an excellent reputation and seem to be widely used. Since the original knob and handle is a solid piece of steel, I could do one of two things. I could either cut it off and find someone to weld on the new handle or I could grind it down, thread it and screw on the new handle. Mind you, the instructions that came with the knob say to use a proficient gunsmith to get this job done. I decided to grind it down myself. I…AM…MAN!!! Actually, I believe my title is now going to include gunsmith.
BEFORE DOING ANYTHING:
1. Treat all firearms as though they are loaded. Make sure you inspect the firearm and ensure that it is not loaded.
2. Keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.
3. Keep the safety ON.
4. Keep this project away from small children.
5. Refer to these simple rules for extra guidance
I knew I would need some new and inexpensive tools. When it comes to tools, I prefer going to SEARS. This is for a few very simple reasons. Reason number one…my dad went to SEARS. Reason number two…SEARS has a lifetime warranty on all of their Craftsman hand tools. If for some strange or amazing reason I snap a screwdriver that I bought when I was 18 years old in half, I can return it for a new one and so on and so forth until I'm 218 years old. SEARS stands by their stuff and I buy it because I don’t have to worry. So, I went down to my local SEARS and picked up the tools I knew I would need.
Tools of the trade:
- Dremel drill
- Grinding bit (capable of grinding steel)
- Caliper (one that can measure less that 1/10 of an inch)
- Tap and Die set (for threading metal, make sure it has a 5/16 24 NF)
- Locktight (blue)
- Also, you should have safety goggles. Preferably a throwback to the ones you had to wear in 6th grade science class right when you really wanted to look super cool.
Now, I learned the hard way that you will want to have a vice grip to hold the bolt while you grind the handle down. I removed the bolt from the rifle and locked it into place (I actually held it in my hand. Not a good idea). Also, you should remove the firing pin from the bolt before work begins.
Then, I used my corded power drill (again, bad idea as it was vastly underpowered and had far too few RPM to get the job done) and began to grind the bolt knob down to .313″ diameter. This was slightly nerve-wracking as I needed to make sure not to over-grind, or I would lose the ability to thread the knob. I eventually went to a friend's house and borrowed his power grinder. This reduced my projected grinding times from 3 days to 30 minutes. Thank God.
While grinding down the bolt knob, I continuously measured it with my caliper. When I finally reached .313″ in diameter all the way around, I began the next step. I began to thread my knob handle with a Craftsman Tap and Die set to 5/16 24 NF (not really sure what the last part means). This is a handheld threader so again, it is a good idea to do it while the bolt is locked in a vice. Also, make every effort to ensure that you thread the knob end parallel to the bolt handle arm and not off center, as it would not only make it difficult, but reduce the size of your threaded area.
Finally, after threading the knob end, I took it to another friend (an actual gunsmith) to have the exposed metal re-blued. This process ensures that the steel will not rust, returns to its original black color (as opposed to ground steel) and finishes off the appearance of the knob. After the bluing dried, I applied Locktight to the threads and screwed on the new bolt handle. Let this dry for a few hours before using. Now my 700 is even prettier!