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View Full Version : Anyone assemble barrels to actions without any lube?



Boyd Allen
03-01-2011, 12:40 PM
Recently, there has been some discussion, on another forum, about how different shooters and gunsmiths assemble and tighten barrels to actions. A couple of posters, gunsmiths, have written that they assemble and tighten without any lube whatsoever, including stainless. Do any of you do this? They state that they have done this repeatedly, without problems. My position has been, and continues to be, that there is no advantage to this that is worth the risk. Opinions? Experiences?

Dennis Sorensen
03-01-2011, 01:00 PM
I don't think there is any advantage in lubricating barrel threads unless you are switching barrels often. If the thread is not a tight fit, and it should not be, I don't think galling is a problem. I have never had a galling problem with any re barreling. I have had one factory rifle that the barrel galled on removal and wiped the action threads... this was on a Browning A Bolt. There is also no advantage to not lubricating barrel threads... so to err on the side of caution, use lube.

4Mesh
03-01-2011, 01:23 PM
I'd guess the people who are not using lube don't do many customs. If you have a stainless barrel and a stainless action, and the threads are any where close to tight tolerance, you better be using a good lube. Brownells assembly paste is amazing stuff, but you don't need to go to that expense. Regular SS Never-Seize is just fine. I do like the Brownells stuff though.

Without lube on a SS to SS joint, I seriously doubt you can get enough torque on it, even if it didn't gall. Most of your torque would be used up in friction.

I would not even think of putting a SS action on a barrel without lube. Even test fitting in a lathe. If it seizes, yer in deep ___. And, the pressure is incredible when one part is chucked up. I have had them seize but gotten them back apart without issue. But, it is a scary prospect. You get that sinking feeling of "oh boy, and I in for a project now..."

My guess is, these folks who are not lubing, will only have one stick, and they'll switch to the other side of the fence.

I should add that, for SS, oil is not an assembly lube... Nor is lithium grease...

Greg Walley
03-01-2011, 01:52 PM
I'd guess the people who are not using lube don't do many customs. If you have a stainless barrel and a stainless action, and the threads are any where close to tight tolerance, you better be using a good lube. .......[snip]

...


Very well said 4Mesh!

In our opinion, even the metallic based anti-sieze compounds aren't good enough.

Always use an extreme pressure bearing grease when stainless steel actions and/or barrels are assembled.

We've tested many different greases for anti galling properties. Along with the grease that we sell, Mobil1 Synthetic Universal Grease was one of the best that we've tested:

http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_Synthetic-Grease-Mobil1_7070090-P_N3245_T%7CGRP2035____

One tube will last a lifetime.

Clean the action and barrel threads really well. Use a liberal amount of grease on the threads and barrel/action face. Tighten the barrel with a minimum of 100 ft/lbs.

Greg Walley
Kelbly's Inc.

Butch Lambert
03-01-2011, 05:28 PM
Greg and 4mesh are so correct. Several years ago I was doing an unlimited barrel and had the receiver in hand. I had screwed it off and on several times when fitting it. When I was satisfied with the job I cleaned the barrel threads and receiver with brake clean and blew everything off. I screwed the receiver about 1/2 of the threads and it locked down. After a lot of work and different lubes and penetrating oil it still wouldn't come apart. I cut the tenon off in the lathe and then bored the tenon out of the receiver. Fortunately I was able to borrow a tap and cleaned the threads.
The guys that say they have not a problem either had some cutting oil on the threads or they have done very few barrels. Maybe they galled the barrel in the receiver of a hunting rifle putting it together and didn't have to remove it.
I use synthetic bicycle racing wheel bearing grease.
Butch

Vern
03-01-2011, 05:37 PM
Does the white lithium grease work?

4Mesh
03-01-2011, 05:55 PM
Does the white lithium grease work?

Imo... No.

I've got a slinky over by the lathe to this day to remind me of what happens when these stick. Just like Butch, I had to cut off the tenon, and bore it out. Not very funny. I think that one was done using "Lubriplate", and if you would have told me that would seize, I'd have said you were crazy. Well, ok, yer not...

When this happens to you for the first time, you will be scratching your head saying, wth happened? I wasn't even hardly touching these together and there was clearance in the threads? How is this possible? Well, it is. You'll be there with a barrel in the lathe, receiver in your hand, and threads that really do fit. Screw it on with your fingertips, and all of the sudden, it just stops. .001 ft/lbs, 1/2 way to the receiver face. Ok... it's all over but the cryin...

For those who would get in a predicament like this, I would add this. My only time I ever saved one was by letting it all in the lathe and taking a brass tapper and pounding on the receiver as if to pound the threads flat. With super careful application of torque to remove the receiver, I got it apart. Then had to lap both parts to eliminate the high spots I'd made. Had to make the 2 laps for that. But, was happier than cutting the barrel off.

In my search for a good lube, I tried a Dow synthetic grease and had one sorta start to get that 'feel' that something bad was coming. That was it, off it came. Get different lube. Eventually I came to use 2 products. One is of course Brownell's assembly paste. Very nice stuff but must be acid based cause if it gets under your fingernails, it'll hurt for a week. The other I called Dow about and they recommended P37 Ultrapure Antisieze paste. Like the Brownell's stuff, it's worth it's weight in gold. Seems I remember them talking about boiler work with steam and SS to SS joints that this is used on (as in, water too). Works great.

IMO, and only IMO, if the lube isn't black, it's not going on my barrels.

RWO
03-01-2011, 05:59 PM
I use Dow Corning G-N Metal Assembly Paste. It is loaded with solid lubricant particles and in my limited experience is gall proof. http://www.dowcorning.com/applications/search/products/details.aspx?prod=01889877&type=PROD It is available in small tubes on the net. It works super as a lathe chuck lube as it will stay on the scroll and jaw teeth at high RPM .

RWO

JerrySharrett
03-01-2011, 06:04 PM
Recently, there has been some discussion, on another forum, about how different shooters and gunsmiths assemble and tighten barrels to actions. A couple of posters, gunsmiths, have written that they assemble and tighten without any lube whatsoever, including stainless. Do any of you do this? They state that they have done this repeatedly, without problems. My position has been, and continues to be, that there is no advantage to this that is worth the risk. Opinions? Experiences?

Why would anyone want to try something so stupid?? It takes a certain amount of grease to run a wheelbarrow. I'm with Greg Walley, use HI EP grease.

Greg Walley
03-01-2011, 07:36 PM
If one ever sticks an action and barrel together (donít ask me how I know!), try injecting a little 50/50 mixture of transmission fluid and acetone into the threaded area. Let it sit upright (vertical) for a while to allow the solvent to flow into the joint. Keep the barrel supported upright and gently turn the action. I read that this mixture seems to work better than Kroil. I got the idea from the machinist usenet forum several years ago. It has worked very well for me on several occasions.

Actually, I modified the formula by using n-pentane instead of acetone, since it is one of the lowest viscosity organic solvents with very low surface tension. It also wonít attack painted finishes on stocks. I used Quaker State ATF Dexron III.

Boyd Allen
03-01-2011, 09:45 PM
"interesting" stuff http://actrav.itcilo.org/actrav-english/telearn/osh/ic/109660.htm

steve b.
03-01-2011, 10:45 PM
Thanks to all who took the time to comment. Learned quite a bit reading this thread. s.

jackie schmidt
03-01-2011, 11:00 PM
It is not just the "galling thing". A threaded joint is a mechanical connection, it requires that the two pieces be placed in proper tension in order for the joint to function as it should. That "should" in the case of an action and barrels is to secure the two pices so that there is absolutly no movement of the two pieces in relation to each other during normal use.

If there is too much friction, the two pieces will not advance the proper distance in relation to each other, and even though "bozo the clown" who assembles his barrels dry thinks he has a tight barrel, he is just guessing............jackie

alinwa
03-02-2011, 03:02 AM
I'm in agreement with everyone here who advocateds using lube and would like to expand on Jackie's post.

There are two big items here, #1 is GALLING and #2 is ACCURACY.

Jackie's post touches on the accuracy part of the issue. And for those reading this who wonder "how" please take the time to read Harold Vaughn "Rifle Accuracy Facts." In this book Harold explains clearly how without proper tension on the joint the pressure of the expanding gases will open this threaded joint and cause it to rotate and RESET the junction of the action face and barrel shoulder abutment.

An improperly tightened barrel will point to a different place shot to shot. The barrel MUST be tightened down hard enough to stretch the tenon enough to resist the force of the firing impulse, often called the "bolt thrust." The tenon is a spring and it must be tensioned up to higher than the pressure it's resisting.

IMO this cannot be done without lubrication in the threads and on the abutting surfaces.

al

mike cockcroft
03-02-2011, 01:01 PM
Screw a supressor on lightly and fire the rifle a few times then check to see how loose the suppressor is. Same principal I suppose that al and jackie are talking about

tech-shooter
03-03-2011, 09:48 PM
I had the lugs lightly gall in a new BAT action when using auto wheel bearing grease. No serious damage, but it still bugs me that it happened. I now use JetLube 550 for all critical areas (barrel tenon, action screws, and lugs), and have never had another issue. It is a very good product, carried by MSC, for one source of supply.

Cheers,

Chris
www.the-long-family.com

turbineman
03-05-2011, 11:06 PM
high guys, new member. and not a gunsmith! would like to add my two cents worth on anti-seize. copper based for most applications, nickle for stainless, titanium. nickel is used in nuke plants (gen. rule) where I work we use copper based antiseize for our turbine studs , heat exchangers, and boilerfeed pumps etc. these are all high temp., high psi. applications ( turbine studs are heated and stretched to acheive proper compression of upper and lower horz. halves of the rotor casing.)and all this equipment must be disasembled for maint. etc. anti-seize has proven to be effective for years in threaded components for industrial and power generation settings.

Leeroy
03-06-2011, 01:53 AM
With all this talk of barrel threads and bolt lugs galling one realy has to wonder why manufactures persist in making receivers from stainless in the first place.
Yes they do look nice and shiny and do offer some (limited) corosion protection but given the extra cost and difficulties in machining ,it is realy any better than plain chrome molly steel?

Cheers
Leeroy