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Old 01-13-2012, 10:54 PM
TEDDY BEAR RAT
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Remington 37 Sporter Range Report and Pics



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Remington 37 Sporter Project: Progress and Range Report!

With the magazine box and button release cutouts complete and just a small amount of final shaping work remaining on the 37 sporter stock, I decided it was finally time to see how the rifle shoots. Another reason for the timing of the range report is the acquisition an EGW 52 scope mount from a fellow RFC member here (thanks Shooter65) which I knew would also work on the 37. This provided a temporary means of mounting a target scope for a range session, but, more important, it is allowing me to visualize the proper height and positioning of the yet-to-be-made permanent scope bases, as a huge issue with this 37 sporter project is mounting a scope without drilling additional holes in the unusual receiver.

As some may recall, I bought a nice 37 with a refinished stock and used its barreled action as the basis of this rifle. Unfortunately, I never got around to shooting it before I began the barrel octagoning and restocking process, so I didn’t really have a clue how well it would shoot. While the rifle retains its original chamber and bore, there’s always a bit of doubt when removing this much material from a barrel, so I was anxious to see whether or not this 37 would live up to its reputation. I did, however, have faith in the many knowledgeable opinions here!

Results:
I sighted in using some cheap bulk ammo, and everything went well enough, shooting a couple of .75” groups at 50 yards, but then the trouble began. The bulk ammo fed and ejected smoothly, but when I fired a number of rounds of Wolf MT to get the barrel seasoned, the bolt was extremely difficult to close on every single round, and then even harder to lift the bolt after firing. As I continued shooting the next few groups, the bolt was a little easier to manipulate on maybe one out of 8 or 9 rounds, but the bolt was so hard to open and close on the others, I could feel the stock flexing slightly. And the groups were, at first, all over the place in the 2” to 3” range. I checked the action screws and found them to be in a “nine-line bind,” so I eased them back slightly and, as I was more consistent and careful in lowering the bolt down, I managed to shoot a couple of sub ” groups. I believe a combination of flexing of the stock and the way-too-hard-to-close bolt is causing the erratic accuracy. I’ll also need to inspect the bedding after I take the rifle down again. So, though I’m a little disappointed, I’m still confident the rifle will shoot well.
Problems:
Just like all of these full-blown custom projects, there are always unexpected problems. As you can see in the pics, the protruding single-shot adapter graphically demonstrates how much slimmer, or shallower, the height of this stock is compared to the original target stock. You can also see the difference in the angle of the stock line, as well. The problem here is, milling the bottom of the SS adapter to fit completely flush with the bottom metal will result in a very thin, almost knife edge, as the large hole in the adapter will be almost tangent to the bottom edge of the adapter. I’ll probably have to leave it a bit proud:


Additionally, the mortise in the bottom metal for the magazine/SS adapter is very closely machined, and the sheet metal magazine box requires a near perfect fit to function properly; the slightest misalignment causes the SS adapter to bind and/or not lock in place. Getting that right took at least 4 hours of shop time, something I thought I could knock out in 30 minutes, or so. I’m rather impressed that Remington could pull that off in mass production, as it is a design poorly suited to efficient manufacturing. I much prefer the Winchester 52 approach. Finally, this lower profile leaves much less room for that squirrely 37 magazine release button and claw to do their jobs, so I had to modify those parts considerably (modifying very hard-to-find parts can be rather nerve racking). In the end, however, I feel it is a small price to pay for elegance. BTW, I would never attempt to cut down one of the original 5-round magazines, so this rifle will be a single shot for the most part. I can always use a magazine, of course, but it will protrude like the SS adapter does now.

Getting back to the scope base issue, the front scope base is easily addressed utilizing the original scope block holes in the barrel and a small, tasteful cantilever front base, but the holes for mounting the rear sight in the side of the 37 receiver are drilled at an odd angle, and the tall 37 bolt handle dissects the rear receiver bridge, like the old Mannlicher Schoenauer. Even with all my best laid plans and careful measurements, there’s no substitute for actually mounting a scope to see what you’re facing on a totally custom metalsmithing project like this one. Sure enough, mounting the scope as pictured revealed that my original plan of making a rear base that reaches straight up and over from the original rear holes will not work without the mount being excessively high:

I guess I can use the same approach but extend the base forward of where the bolt handle rises, ala later Mannlicher Schoenauer scope bases, so the base cantilevers over the more forward, undissected portion of the receiver. This approach will likely necessitate a more forward-mounted scope, unfortunately.

Impressions:
So, here it is posing after its first range session as a lean and mean sporter. First, I think the Remington Miracle Trigger rightly gave the Winchester engineers plenty to worry about. This trigger is supremely fine, breaking like the proverbial glass rod at about 2 lbs, according to my uncalibrated finger. I think I like it more than even the highly prized 52 Micro Motion trigger. When using the bulk ammo, the bolt lift is a bit heavy and abrupt but smooth, and the whole bolt moves fore and aft in the receiver effortlessly, though installing the safety did add resistance. The Wolf ammo, however, is totally impractical in this rifle.

















I must admit I have some mixed feelings about the stock shape. From some angles, the stock lines look fantastic and severely elegant to me, but from others, the difficulty the unusual geometry the 37 action presents when building a sleek sporter stock is obvious. While I love long, open wrists, the longer the wrist, the more abbreviated the buttstock will appear (you can see this proportion issue in some of the fine Dakota rifles, as well). In this case, I think the wrist is just a bit too long and the buttstock just a bit too short, which is the result, I believe, of the relative positions of the trigger and bolt. Also, I really prefer very slim wrists, but a thin wrist makes the transition from the wrist to the large diameter receiver and wide rear tang a bit extreme looking. Finally, although the drop in the heel perfectly fits my face for scope use, the stock shape gives the impression of considerably more drop, similar to an old, iron-sighted Mauser sporter. I guess it is an optical illusion, possibly due to the high comb nose, but it tempts me to add open sights to the barrel. These are all things I am just unable to visualize until I’ve committed to and begun a stock shape. Such is the nature of one-time prototypes. (The protruding stainless screw heads are soft, sacrificial take-down screws that will be replaced with nice slotted screws).

I have to say that taking this rifle to the range has started to give me shivers up and down my spine, as hand oil from handling the stock so much has started to reveal very beautiful grain in this blank, figure and depth that is not completely evident in these pics. All critiques aside, though, the overall look and feel of the rifle is very satisfying. Now it’s on to final shaping -- rough sanding, actually -- largely around the comb, comb flutes, and wrist areas and the fore-end tip. Hopefully, my next post will show the stock with finish applied and the scope bases fabricated and installed.

Last edited by TEDDY BEAR RAT; 06-12-2019 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:48 PM
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So, I guess I forgot to ask, but has anyone else with a Remington 37 experienced the kind of difficult bolt operation with Wolf MT ammunition that I did? It's hard to imagine headspace being that tight on all these rifles.

TBR
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:25 PM
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Wolf ammo I have measured varies as much as 4.5 thou in rim thickness, quite a bit. I wonder if it's a chamber problem, maybe the chamber is too tight for the Wolf bullet ? Just something to check. Wierd. Have you tried just pushing a round into the chamber ? Maybe rim width? is your bolt head tight as to width?

It's a beautiful looking rifle, I love the wood and metal work.

I have an H&R 5200 that has a scope mount much like what you have, I made a piece that went from the Peep sight adapter to the front of the scope mount which I D&Ted.
It is a good temp fix to give some support. I don't know If you want to do through that kind of trouble. Yours would require a longer piece to get to the front of the scope mount rail.
Some 6061 should do the trick. I can see where the height of the scope combined with the low comb could be a problem. Bolt levers cause more problems sometimes than anything else when it comes to scope mounting.

I think the only other thing I might do is to send the barreled action to 300 Below to get it stress relieved.
Cutting that much metal from the barrel has put a lot of stress into the barrel metal. It has helped barrels I have had that have been modified. Does your barrel walk shots as it warms up ? If not, it may not be an issue.

I very much want to see the rifle when it's done, it's a beautiful work of art.
The wood is going to look beautiful, I love great grain patterns.

Thank you for posting, I enjoyed looking at every picture. The rifle is a work of art, you should be very proud of it.

My Best, John K

Last edited by DKSAC2; 01-16-2012 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:21 PM
TEDDY BEAR RAT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKSAC2 View Post
Wolf ammo I have measured varies as much as 4.5 thou in rim thickness, quite a bit. I wonder if it's a chamber problem, maybe the chamber is too tight for the Wolf bullet ? Just something to check. Wierd. Have you tried just pushing a round into the chamber ?

It's a beautiful looking rifle, I love the wood and metal work.

I have an H&R 5200 that has a scope mount much like what you have, I made a piece that went from the Peep sight adapter to the front of the scope mount which I D&Ted.
It is a good temp fix to give some support. I don't know If you want to do through that kind of trouble. Yours would require a longer piece to get to the front of the scope mount rail.
Some 6061 should do the trick. I can see where the height of the scope combined with the low comb could be a problem. Bolt levers cause more problems sometimes than anything else when it comes to scope mounting.

I think the only other thing I might do is to send the barreled action to 300 Below to get it stress relieved.
Cutting that much metal from the barrel has put a lot of stress into the barrel metal. It has helped barrels I have had that have been modified. Does your barrel walk shots as it warms up ? If not, it may not be an issue.

I very much want to see the rifle when it's done, it's a beautiful work of art.
The wood is going to look beautiful, I love great grain patterns.

Thank you for posting, I enjoyed looking at every picture. The rifle is a work of art, you should be very proud of it.

My Best, John K
Thanks for the comments. Closing and opening the bolt was equally difficult whether I inserted the round in the chamber or not, and inserting by hand met with no resistance as the round bottomed in the chamber. It is clearly the thickness of the rim that is the issue. There were maybe 4 out of 50+ rounds that closed with little resistance, so your observation about wide variance in rim thickness with the Wolf MT makes sense and is what I assumed. I guess the real question is whether or not this is typical of Rem 37s and Wolf MT.

TBR
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:06 PM
randymac

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Is the head space still correct after the barrel work? just wondering, as i have several model 37's and shoot sk and wolf in them all the time with no funtion problems.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:19 PM
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It's strange for sure as I shoot Wolf MT in every 22 I have.
I'd check the head space, it may be a little on the tight side. I'm sure the OP knows, but .042 to .044" is ideal H.S for a 22 LR.
I think I'd find out why just because the ammo shoots so well for the price. .037 to .038 is the average rim thickness of hundreds I've measured.
I've measured as high as .042" and as low as .036". Some ammo like the RWS is about .036 on average, but with proper HS, it should chamber most every round in the box without a problem.
Oh, the fun of a new gun build !

My best, John K

Last edited by DKSAC2; 01-15-2012 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:10 AM
TEDDY BEAR RAT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randymac View Post
Is the head space still correct after the barrel work? just wondering, as i have several model 37's and shoot sk and wolf in them all the time with no funtion problems.
This is the first thing I thought about, but, while the barrel was removed from the receiver for machining, it was placed right back on and indexed right back to the original witness mark. I did have a very difficult time breaking the barrel free initially...about as hard as any I've done, but I don't see how that could impact headspace. I'm sure, however, the issue is tight headspace, its just a matter of whether or not it's too tight, and, like I said, the bolt closed easily on a few rounds from the same lot and on every round of bulk ammo. I guess it's time to break out the gauges.

Just a quick update on the accuracy issue. I checked the bedding and found the ebony foreend tip was touching the barrel just enough to possibly cause it to apply inconsistent pressure from the front rest. I've relieved that area (so much for all the time getting that perfect wood-to-metal fit in that octagon barrel channel ) and bedded the areas under the front ring and rear tang with epoxy. I can live with tight headspace, if I can find a good load that does not induce excessive stress to the camming areas, but the rifle has to be accurate, or it will be disappointment. Hopefully these measures will remedy the flyer problems.

TBR
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:20 AM
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Getting it fully free floated should help, I hope it gets rid of the fliers, I'm betting it will because different pressure put on the rifle would explain the fliers.

I think I would still make sure the HS was good, too tight of HS can hurt accuracy as it can slightly smash the rim of the cartridge which can also affect the way it shoots. Something to think about.

Fantastic rifle, always a few bugs to get out on a build like this one.

Think about the stress relief also, about $90.00, does not hurt anything. 300 below treats on Fridays, so if you can arrange to get it there Thursday, it will ship Monday, youll have it back in less than a week. It made a huge difference on my Mini 14 and I have seen it help quite a few others, anytime metal is removed from the barrel as you did, it really does induce a lot of stress into the metal. Having it treated before bluing would insure no marks, though they are very careful, send the barreled action, no need to split the two.

I can't wait to see it finished, I love beautiful, hand crafted rifles.

My Best, John K
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:17 AM
whichfinger
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They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to my eyes that is one gorgeous piece, TBR.
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:47 PM
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They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to my eyes that is one gorgeous piece, TBR.
I don't think any one who loves firearms, I don't care what kind, could not look at that rifle and not long to have it sitting in front of them at the range

My Best, John
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:13 PM
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I really do appreciate all the kind words. I tend to focus only on the latest problem or miscalculation and lose sight of the fact that the overall package is looking mighty sexy.

Thanks again,

TBR
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