I liked the idea of the DJ/Lilja CZ Shims so much, I am modding my other barrels - RimfireCentral.com Forums

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Old 07-20-2017, 05:18 PM
flangster

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I liked the idea of the DJ/Lilja CZ Shims so much, I am modding my other barrels



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In the recent hoopla over the LIlja group buy barrels, I think there is an amazing innovation that is getting less attention than it deserves. I am talking about the shims (DJ's idea, I understand) that Carson Lilja has produced for the RFC group buy barrels. Now I know everyone got all hot and bothered about the cone breaches on those barrels, and I won't lie, I thought that was a pretty cool feature for those who want to have a go at experimenting with barrel indexing. But the really new idea for those barrels, IMHO, was not the breach design. Rather, it was the idea of setting back the barrels' shoulders to 1.200 and then headspacing the barrels with shims of .001, .002, .003, .004 etc. (or a combination thereof) when fitting them to the 455 receiver. One knock on CZ's 455 series has always been less than precise tolerances for headspace (or the distance between the cocked bolt face and the end of the receiver, where the barrel's shoulder sits). This is, once again IMHO, the thing that makes fitting a random CZ 455 barrel to a random 455 receiver a bit of a gamble. But: No more!

I liked the idea so much, I sent two other Lilja drop-in barrels I had back to the factory to have both shoulders set back to 1.200. The barrels have flat breaches with extractor cuts, just like the rest of the drop-ins that Lilja sells. I am then purchasing two sets of shims from Carson and when the barrels return, I will be able to set the headspace exactly where I want it, and have it be consistent from rifle to rifle. I would even consider doing this for CZ barrels, if I could find a smith to do the work.

I just got my first shipment notice for a stainless sporter barrel that will be coming back to me next week. I don't feel comfortable discussing price (that's Carson's business), but I can say that the charges for this are remarkably reasonable. They have been great to work with, and I know from experience that they stand behind their products. Also I have always felt, dealing with them, that I am dealing with people rather than a "company."

Full range report when the barrel returns of course. With pix, natch.

happy summer,

Flangster
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:38 PM
cznut

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That is a good idea and should keep you busy for a few days Ben Let us know how it all turns out.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:36 PM
ArmedTramper

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I was just going to email Carson and ask about purchasing some shims sets (to use on existing barrels I'm down in NZ so getting Lilja to actually do the work to set barrels to 1.2 isn't practical).

Then I figured if everyone who reads this thread does the poor guy will be swamped with emails - so how about we organize a group buy - would that work ??
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:58 PM
flangster

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I don't know whether just the shims will be useful. I chose 1.200 set back for the barrel shoulder from Lilja on my older drop-in barrels because that was what the group buy on the Lilja cone-breech barrels used. That dimension was chosen for the group buy, and was a special case I believe, because it was the largest headspace/shoulder set back that DJ had measured (and he has measured a lot of these CZ barrels and actions). Remember, the depth of the cocked bolt measured from the edge of the action is fixed. This means that if you set the shoulder at the largest observed (1.200 inches), you can add shims to get you to your preferred headspace (.043, or whatever). But if you just have a CZ barrel, the shoulder could be anywhere. It could actually be shorter than optimal and shims would take you in the wrong direction. So before heading down that route, I think some time with a good depth micrometer would be useful to calculate your current headspace before ordering a shim. I'm sure Carson would be happy to sell them, but you have to first be certain that they are going to solve your problem, right?
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Last edited by flangster; 07-21-2017 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 10:03 PM
R4B1DM4U53
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Originally Posted by flangster View Post
I'm sure Carson would be happy to sell them, but you have to first be certain that they are going to solve your problem, right?
Right. Why have a smith (or Lilja) set back your barrel shoulder extra long, to then have to buy shims to bring it back to headspace spec, when you could have the shoulder cut to the proper length the first time and not have to deal with shims?

Flangster talks about swapping barrels between a couple of actions, and in this case what he is doing makes sense.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:51 PM
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I'm with R2D2.
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Old 07-21-2017, 06:29 AM
JohnWhite
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Thumbs down SHIM is a 4 letter word.

If a shim will work. And there is NO other way. Then one must do what one must do. But shiming anything is never the 1st solution. (In my experience and opinion.)
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:06 AM
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If a shim will work. And there is NO other way. Then one must do what one must do. But shiming anything is never the 1st solution. (In my experience and opinion.)
Unless, of course, you're dealing with something that is inherently imprecise, like the CZ455 receiver may be, and you need to eliminate or mitigate the variables. Then it may be the easiest and least expensive solution.

Doug
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Old 07-21-2017, 12:44 PM
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I think Doug's said it the most efficient way possible. Let me be less efficient:

It probably would have been better to pose my problem statement as there is no way to evaluate the fix if you don't know what problem you are trying to solve.

For me, the inherent appeal of the 455 platform is as a switch-barrel system. I like trying different tweaks on different rifles to see what can be coaxed out of them. I have four or five 455 receivers that are in rotation. Some are in stocks that have been pillared and bedded to an inch in front of the action. Some are pillared and are full-length bedded. One, my 455 UltraLux, is in its original stock with no mods other than a Timney trigger. I have four Lilja .22LR barrels: 3 bulls and one sporter. One .900 bull barrel is in a full length bedded CZ Varmint stock and is one of the most accurate rifles that I own. I am not touching a thing on that rifle until it "tells" me to. The other barrels have been tried here, tried there on different actions and have not performed as well as the "perfect" Varmint. So I have been switching things up to see what works.

The CZ 455 actions all have slightly different headspace dimensions. A couple of thousandths one way or the other. The Lilja shim system allows me to choose a headspace dimension for a particular brand of ammo -- say 43 thousandths for Eley Match -- and take that variable out of the equation as I try to get the "other" three barrels to perform like my favorite sitting in the full-length bedded Varmint. Will it be the end-all be all? No, of course. The search for each rifle's preferred ammo goes on. And of course there are my own skills, which could always use improvement.

I completely agree that the need to shim the barrels is not ideal -- but that isn't the barrels' (or Lilja's) fault. That is just a given of this series of 455 receivers. If it were a screw-barrel system like the Sako's or Savage centerfire rifles we wouldn't be having this conversation. (Actually, I have a set of aftermarket Savage barrels - Shilen, McMillan in .222/.223 and .260/6.5 Swedish that I am also playing with . . . now that's a switch barrel system. Too much fun.). But the CZ 455 is what it is and for me the DJ/Lilja shims are a great, practical solution to a 455 design . . uh . .. "feature" . . . that can be implemented even by a knuckle-dragger of a home-smith like your one and only Flangster.

So: a smart solution to an annoying problem.

Flangster
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Old 07-21-2017, 01:03 PM
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So: a smart solution to an annoying problem.

Flangster
That right there nailed it on the head. A smart solution to an annoying problem.
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Old 07-21-2017, 01:11 PM
JohnWhite
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Well! If your happy. I'm happy. I never argue with a guy that loves his rifle.
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Old 07-21-2017, 01:12 PM
djdilliodon

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The entire shim idea was to satisfy those who wanted to install the barrels themselves who don't have a lathe or want to get a a setback done. You don't just have the headspace issue but also the OD which can vary from action to action upto around .004" (in some cases I bet it could be more).

While no drop in barrel is perfect, the shim setup dramatically increases the success rate. Drop ins that are just made all the same will have a lot of disappointments on many actions but of course some will get lucky.
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Old 07-21-2017, 02:40 PM
JohnWhite
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Originally Posted by djdilliodon View Post
The entire shim idea was to satisfy those who wanted to install the barrels themselves who don't have a lathe or want to get a a setback done. You don't just have the headspace issue but also the OD which can vary from action to action upto around .004" (in some cases I bet it could be more).

While no drop in barrel is perfect, the shim setup dramatically increases the success rate. Drop ins that are just made all the same will have a lot of disappointments on many actions but of course some will get lucky.
I understand the shim idea. I went through it when my Lilja barrel tang was .001 dia. smaller than the factory barrel. But problems can be traced back to CZ. If they are going to manufacture a switch barrel product. They should hold closer tolerances. Personally. I was taught to hate shims. And I do. I used to take stamping dies apart and some of them would rain down shims. I know ya have to do what ya have to. But CZ has a quality name. Do any of these shimmed barrel/actions shoot one hole groups at 50 yards. Mine sure doesn't. I was going to say also. And I quote. " Any tool that does everything. Never does anything well." And I think that may be true to the 455.

Last edited by JohnWhite; 07-21-2017 at 02:42 PM.
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