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Thread: That damned "Free Floating" mantra...Grrrrrrr

  1. #1

    That damned "Free Floating" mantra...Grrrrrrr

    Just picked up the BSA Majestic featherweight deluxe and found that a previous own had fallen for the "Free floated barrel" mantra so often spouted and pushed in the shooting media and press. As a result I am going to have my work cut out more than likely getting the rifle to shoot acceptably .

    Will take pictures of their bodge up in the light tomorrow. I particularly like the two card shims put into the bottom of the recoil lug inlet. The rear tang screw was done up by King Kong himself yet the front action screw was only a bit over "nipped" in tightness .

    At the moment the barrel is soaking in P-H 009. I will give a scrub again with a bronze brush followed by another soaking then after wiping it all out I'll apply Forest Bore foam to remove the copper build up which I expect is there.

    Well after two soakings and scrubbing through the patches came out black and from the feel and sound of the bronze brush I am expecting to find some sort of roughness or pitting under what fouling is there. Just looking through it at the light it looked quite clean just goes to show.

    Now I was operating on memory when I brought this over the phone as I had looked at it but that was about 8 years ago than again about 5 years ago. I have budgeted for a replacement barrel from Knibbs should it be required but let's get it clean then put back together and try it out and see how it shoots before moving on to the next phase. Removing those shims and see how it sits in the original bedding and what's left of the barrel channel will be the first move .

    Overall it's a fair condition for a rifle made in about 1959. Knibbs book says 1950-63 but the private view mark does not agree I think i'll drop him a line and see if he will look up when it was shipped.

  2. #2
    Brit, is that Knibbs of Shushstoke Warcs., if so thats my local RFD, very helpful folk, nothing seems to be too much trouble to them, every thing comes ASAP where others take weeks.

  3. #3
    Would that be CRF? I know only the early ones were, but is '59 early enough? Also, it's confusing about what people call the CRF ones, but I've gathered they may actually be the Royal?
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

  4. #4
    Brit, is that Knibbs of Shushstoke Warcs
    It is indeed John can be a bit forgetful at times. I spoke to him Wednesday about the CF2 barrel which should be on it's way to Doug. This will be fitted to the Monarch once re-chambered..

    Would that be CRF? I know only the early ones were, but is '59 early enough?
    No the Majestic was the first of the modern push feed actions for BSA. My problem in dating it is that the view mark appears to be nicely struck and reads I-B .................................................. . But there is no I-B on the list and the I or 1 is very neatly struck. I shall ask John if he could look up when it was shipped and I will also contact Birmingham and speak to them to see if they can throw any light on the subject. Oh I already have 59 dated Majestic Featherweight Deluxe so yes it's the first year production I believe.

    Also, it's confusing about what people call the CRF ones, but I've gathered they may actually be the Royal?
    The Royal range consisted of Regent (short action) Viscount (Medium) and Imperial (Long) as I understand it although I have been told of a .30-06 rifle in new Zealand which is marked "Royal" on the left side wall. I was hoping for photos but they never arrived and we lost contact due to computer problems this end.

    I have a Regent but lack the Viscount and Imperial and still lack a Hunter .


    Meanwhile I am still getting blue out of the bore and the rifling looks better and feels smoother. It seems I am removing some 50 odd years of jacket fouling One can see the edges of the lands in the throat now something which was not possibly before and which made me wonder if it was washed out. The crown will need cleaning up as it does not look crisp. Hopefully the barrel is long enough to go through the lathes headstock and the fore-sight will not stop it doing so. As it's blowing hard and wet I shall open up the work shop and have a look and see if I can re-cut the crown.

    Now I did not mention the bonus that came with the rifle. It was fitted with a set of P-H scope rings........................................ that I knew and remembered but not which ones. Turns out that they are a new looking set of RAHS4's (26mm highs). Sadly someone had filed off the front rings recoil stud, a common thing, now I already have a couple of sets of 26mm rings and was actually thinking of takign a set off and putting them on e-bay as recently these have been fetching silly, i.e lots of money, prices. I have watched them go for between 45 and 160 a set when listed at snipe rings for the Enforcer . Will have to retire to the summer house with camera and see if I can get some decent photos and get them listed

    So far this has cost me 110, the rifle and rings was 75, the packing and shipping to Doug was 25 and the transfer fee was 10 .

  5. #5
    Brithunter, I'm new on hear so this question might be daft but I'll ask it anyway. "Free floating mantra" I take your refering to some people that alter there rifle from a non to a free floating rifle. I've had this done on My CZ 550 and its shooting better now than it did. I did this because I expected that it should have been buit free floating but wasn't (the last 1/2" of the forend supported the barrel). You have me thinking if I've made a mistake in doing it.?

  6. #6
    Your rifle had the traditional "Pressure Point bedding" a system that has worked for well over one hundred years. Now I do have a couple of rifles with floated barrels. One which I did before I realised what a con was being pushed onto us. Free floating yes it works but it's best with bull barrels and cheap wood and plastic stocks and a full action bedding job to support the weight of the barrel which is not carried purely by the interface of action and stock.

    A properly cured walnut stock works very well with the traditional method.

    The modern manufacturers like free floating as it's quick cheap and easy to do unlike proper bedding which takes time and skill. Now if this BSA had been done properly it might have shot OK. However it was just mucked with and not done properly. If the person responsible had just cleaned the bore properly the accuracy which I think they were trying to restore by attempting to float the barrel would have likely returned.

    It also possible that the owner went into a gunshop seekign advice on why the rifle was not shooting as well and was fobbed off with the "Free Floating barrel mantra" I say mantra because it seems to be chanted just like one whenever a new rifle is talked about or when a used oen is acquired.. The first question an awful lot of people ask is:-

    Is the barrel free floated? or does it , horrors of horrors, touch the stock?
    However one reads in print and hears so often this "Free Float mantra" that a lot are convinced that unless a rifle has a free floated barrel it will never shoot well. I have a Parker-Hale 1200 super which hates a floated barrel as I found out accidently but with the correct fore stock pressure it shoots the Privi Partisen 196 grain ammunition into MOA or there a-bouts. Yes it's a 7.92mm (8mm Mauser).

    I did free float a sporterised Swedish Mauser and did so before shooting it as I then swallowed what the "experts" were telling us the rifle now requires a re-bed as the weight of the barrel over the years has crushed the wood under the front of the action. The stock is no doubt a piece of Kiln Dried wood and that's part of the problem. They never seem to cure properly this way something which was understood 50+ years ago and Kiln dried wood was not considered suitable to rifle stocking IF you wanted it to be stable.

    Your CZ will probably shoot Ok but in years to come it too will probably require a re-bedding job. As it's a modern rifle it will have kiln dried wood and although they are well made for a modern rifle they are made with modern methods and to a price. The time and skill to inlet a rifle in the old traditional way would be too costly and so corners have been cut to speed up production and reduce costs. IMHO modern methods are not always better .

    The rifle I am dealing with possibly has air dried walnut for it's stock and they do seem to have been inletted properly and carefully originally. OK the accuracy claims and acceptance back then were a 5 shot group of 1 1/2" at 100 yards. One thing we can say has improved are Smokeless powders and BULLETS a lot of these old rifles shoot MOA or close to it and some even under that with modern factory ammunition. The barrels on these old BSA's are cut rifled and then they were lapped, yes on their normal production rifles, something else which is too expensive to do today.


    If you want to see proper free floating and synthetic bedding then I suggest you search Redmists posts or contact him. His work seems excellent and it even looks neat something which to me a free floated barrel never does with that big gap around the barrel. I hope that helps explain my views on it .
    Last edited by Brithunter; 01-10-2010 at 13:19. Reason: error in highlighting text

  7. #7
    Man you are a dinosaur.

    Suppose the PC that you write your drivel on is modern crap also. and mobile phones. CNC machines are capable of removing a lot of the human error associated with repetitive mechanical tasks. hence the reason you are here.

    i am not saying my cock is bigger than yours just that my plastic all weather swiss rifle is better than any piece of BSA junk IMHO. And it is free floated and it shoots deer (Stalking directory web-site is kiln dried, not as good as the old ones)

    Evolution or extiction your choice.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by dieseldan View Post
    Man you are a dinosaur.

    Suppose the PC that you write your drivel on is modern crap also. and mobile phones. CNC machines are capable of removing a lot of the human error associated with repetitive mechanical tasks. hence the reason you are here.

    i am not saying my cock is bigger than yours just that my plastic all weather swiss rifle is better than any piece of BSA junk IMHO. And it is free floated and it shoots deer (Stalking directory web-site is kiln dried, not as good as the old ones)

    Evolution or extiction your choice.
    Now the computer is a fairly modern invention is it's present state and yes I was very happy with my old IBM 350 Mhgz one but it seems that a lot of stuff will not run with such a lowly processor so we had to buy a new one .

    As for the all singing and dancing CNC's well have worked with them. Set them and even done a bit of programming on the Fanuc 21T system they are not all they are cracked up to be. If the base machine which the CNC stuff is mounted to is not capable of fine accuracy then putting the best CNC control system in the world will not make it better. Also not all CNC control systems are equal either. most it seems hold repeatable sizes to 0.05mm if you want better then your going to be paying at least twice the price of the normal system and the machine it's fitted too has to be better too. You want high volume accuracy and repeatable sizes day long then you had better have deep pockets. My boss was looking to replace the old Accratools with a high volume CNC machine. Not a big one but it soon became clear that for what we wanted the machine was going to cost around 1/4 million and they say you need to spend about the same again on tooling. This was in 2001 and in the end he brought warranted reconditioned machine as new the one we got was closer to 400,000.

    As the money men have swallowed the belief that CNC is infailable then they have cut the inspection staff and procedures relying upon the CNC being right. The Micrometer has been replaced by a digital vernier for general use and inspection and sorry but they are not as accurate . Oh and CNC's even new ones got wrong despsite what the makers like Fanuc claim. We had problems with a new one it suddenly jumped sizes by 0.1mm. Turned out to be a faulty encoder on the ball screw.

    If the operator of this wonderful CNC machine does not keep a check on the stuff being turned out then the quality is often worse than that produced by a skilled manual worker. Those just operating CNC machines used to get paid more as there was more to keep an eye on. Now they use just about anyone who can use a digital caliper. There are exceptions of course but when working as a contract machinist I witnessed the downward spiral of the quality of the work force and it's skills base.

    Even cheap shoddy crap is proudly proclaimed to be cnc made........................... Gee wow. It means in all likely hood that a half trained monkey could have made it.

    A poor programmer can make a break a job and cheap tooling is awful. Now if you want repeatable sizes when changing carbide inserts you have to pay through the nose for "qualified tooling and tips" it used to be when I first started using the Sandvik inserts that if you indexed the tip to a new edge it would hold size that was set to 0.001" now unless you buy special "qualified tips" they claim it won't alter size more than 0.1mm which is 0.004" progress? The tip inserts used to be lapped but now they're just pressed into a mould and baked then coated and packaged. That's progress.......................................... ........ I call it regression as it's worse than it used to be.

    i am not saying my cock is bigger than yours just that my plastic all weather swiss rifle is better than any piece of BSA junk IMHO
    I don't really care what you think as you have made it obvious that your mind is set and is closed. You can have you plastic crap and I won't even be offended but if you were to buy a custom barrel to put on it which I might point out is common with modern rifles the best custom barrels from folks like Border are cut rifled and lapped. I wonder why they use this old slow method instead of the new sooper dooper button process? As pointed out the BSA has a cut rifled barrel .

  9. #9
    Brithunter,

    Generally i agree with you concerning the quality of materials and manufacturing processes of the older guns, but alot of your claims concerning CNC and CAM is as best very out of date and worse, bollox. I'm a degree qualified aeronautical engineer, have worked for the likes of Rolls-Royce Aerospace and have taught engineering for a number of years - i believe i have the necessary qualifications and experience to state more than just personal opinion.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    : but if you were to buy a custom barrel to put on it which I might point out is common with modern rifles the best custom barrels from folks like Border are cut rifled and lapped. I wonder why they use this old slow method instead of the new sooper dooper button process? As pointed out the BSA has a cut rifled barrel .
    hmmm one of the Barrel makers with the greatest respect and competion results is Shilen, oh yes and they are manufactured by Broaching.

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