In gunsmithing and gundom in general “Tuning” can mean several different things. The next few paragraphs are some of the things it could mean.
Double actions: to set your springs to complimentary weights for light target trigger pulls in both single and double action for double action revolvers. This can be for combat or defensive guns as well. These combat trigger tuning is not as precise and a bit heavier but the triggers always come out smooth and with far less “stacking”
Single action: tuning involves polishing, spring polishing, or spring replacing with springs that work together to make a good, precise trigger weight. This is for cowboy action or other styles of competition.
Tuning Semi Auto pistols:
Semi Auto/Pistol tuning involves feed lips on your magazines, polishing the chamber, the ramp, and the breach face, recutting the extractor hook to make it work better, balancing your recoil spring for the load’s powder factor, and setting the springs for the best trigger pull with the most amount of safety it can have.
Tuning triggers on rifles: this includes setting engagement (how far your secondary and primary sear overlap each other. your over travel and your return spring weight (trigger pull weight)
Tuning in regards to reloading:
Tuning loads for your guns. No matter the platform, tuning a load to your gun does these things.
reduces the recoil, maximizes the accuracy, maximizes life span of firearm, brass, and your reloading resources.
will make the best accuracy for your rifle with the greatest speed, lowest arc of flight, and with the right selection of slugs, will make ammunition that can not be beat by anything bought off the shelf.
For other styles of shooting:
there are certain ammunition that is not readily available like 7.62X61 NATO, 7.62X51 NATO, and other old military cartridges. The 7.62X61 and the 7.62X51 have modern brothers that have higher operating pressures and will blow up your old military rifles. I am speaking of the M-1 Garand and the M-14/M-1A. These are still used for PALMA style competitions. These two guns need a specific pressure limit that is far below their commercial brothers the 30-06 Springfield and the 308 Winchester. For these two guns you must tailor/tune loads for your gun to perform properly.
Tuning loads involves customizing length for your chamber (headspace), lead, and jump. (These terms will be discussed next)
Definitions-chambering and chambers:
Headspace as defined is the distance between the breach face and what ever stops forward movement of the cartridge. This could be the shoulder, the belt, the rim, or the case mouth depending on case design.
Lead: consists of two parts; the free bore for the slug before it engages the lands and grooves of the barrel. The throat or forcing cone; this is the tapered part of the chamber that transitions the slug from the free bore to the lands and grooves so that the slug will stabilize outside the barrel.
Jump: is the length from the slugs Primary diameter to the forcing cone/lead of the chamber. This can be set if you know how to measure it. Optimally 0.005″ to 0.030″. What ever your rifle likes best.
The lands and grooves: consist of two parts, primary bore: this is the original polished hole down the barrel and is the nominal bore size (caliber) for example 30 caliber or 0.300″. The second part is the groove diameter, the grooves are cut into the barrel larger than the bore diameter so that we have a spiral down the barrel so the projectile has spine/rotation so rotational energy will keep the slug from tumbling down range after it leaves the confines of the barrel. We rate these spirals in “twist rate” these usually come in revolutions per a designated length in inches. For example 1:8″ (translated one revolution per 8″ of barrel length). A 30 caliber has a nominal bore diameter of 0.300″, and a groove diameter of 0.308″ the grooves are cut 0.004″ larger than the bore diameter to have enough surface area to hold on to the copper jacketed slug and impart rotation to it.
Lands: the small part of the bore, the original/primary diameter of the bore
Grooves: the larger part of the bore. Consisting of either cut rifling or rotary hammer forged.
You have 6 case designs:
rimmed, semi-rimmed, rimless, rebated rim, rimless magnum and belted. Each has its advantaged and limitations.
Examples of rimmed cartridges are lever gun cartridges where the extraction rim has a bigger diameter than the body of the case. Most all revolver cartridges. 38 SPL, 41 Colt, 44 SPL, 22 LR, 7X61, 30-30, 32-40, 25-20, 32-20, 30-40, Nitro Express rounds,
example of rimless: most all pistol cases (9X19, 9X21, 9X23, Super 38 Comp, 45 ACP, 10MM, 40 S&W and the alike) most bottle neck rifle cases. 30-06, 308, 270 win, 7X57 Mauser and other modern Mauser cases.
Belted cases: these are your magnum cases. 300 H&H, 375 H&H, 416 Remington, All the Weatherby cases, These cases are identified by the thick belt just above the extraction cut that is larger in diameter than the rest of the body of the case.
Rimless magnum cases are a more recent design for magnum cases. These are thick walled, headspacing on the shoulder, cases that are easier to headspace and have less of a chance to have a case head separation. Examples of these cases are: Winchester Short Mags, Winchester Super Short Mags, Remington Ultra Magnums, Remington Short Action Ultra Magnums, 404 Jefferies, 338 Lapua, and Sherman Short Mags. One big advantage of this case is superior accuracy over the belted magnums.
There are very few rebated cases, most notably the 284 Winchester, the new 375 and 475 Bishop Short Magnums for the AR-10 platform. These are identified by their case body larger than the diameter of their case head below the extraction cut.
The semi rimed are very old turn of the 1900’s cases. These cases have a semi deep extraction cut with a slightly larger than case body diameter extraction rim. The cartridges you will find semi rimmed are 25 ACP, 32 ACP, 38 ACP, Super 38. No others come to mind right now. These are all colt cartridges and John M. Browning designed guns and cases.
Cleaning your gun:
First; check if the gun is unloaded… I know; it goes without saying but there are stupid people everywhere and I need to cover this important step.
Second; take the bolt out of the gun.. On the left hand side you have the bolt release on the rear of the receiver (Sako, Mauser, Winchester, and clones) (Remington the release is just in front of the trigger inside the trigger guard) (savage you must open the bolt, hold the trigger rearward, press the sear indicator down and pull the bolt out) for any other rifle please see me for bolt extraction or hold open instructions.
Take the tooth brush out and the Hoppe’s #9 the nitro solvent. This is the general cleaning product for all parts except the bore (inside of the barrel) and the stock. dip the brush in the Hoppe’s and scrub all the surfaces of the bolt; not forgetting the bolt face and underneath of the extractor. Saturate a patch with Hoppe’s #9 and wipe down the receiver, barrel and outside of the bolt. Set this aside till you get done with the barrel.
The barrel has many steps and a progression of cleaning products. These go from Hoppe’s copper solvent to Sweet’s 7.62.
I suggest for after a day of shooting (20 to 40 rounds) using the Hoppe’s copper solvent. For any more rounds in a day the Butch’s bore shine is recommended.
how to use these two wonderful products.. you need to scrub and saturate the bore.. So be prepared to dip the brush 2 to 3 times while scrubbing the bore. Use the 30 cal brush, load it up with either solvent by dipping the brush in the solvent and inserting the brush into the action and running the brush from breech (chamber) to muzzle 5 to 10 times and leaving it to dissolve the contaminants in the bore. (Copper, lead, carbon- AKA fouling) 10 to 15 minutes will be enough. Then run a clean patch through the bore on the appropriate Jag (brass rod tip- little brown box and they are labeled for your convenience). Repeat this until the patch comes out original color of the solvent.
Once a month I would run a brush loaded up with Sweet’s 7.62. Read the instructions on the side of the bottle… that is load up the 30 cal brush, running it once through the bore. (Breach to muzzle) after it comes out the muzzle load the brush up again and bring it back through the bore. Cap up the Sweet’s or it will evaporate. This is a bad thing. Now scrub for a minute or so the bore, or till the brush becomes filled with a white foam at the breech. Then run the brush through the bore one last time and let the brush sit on the outside the bore for 10 minutes, then run the brush through the bore for another minute unless it turned back into a white foam. Then leave it for another 10 minutes. After you have done this once; run a patch through the bore breech to muzzle and see what kind of color it is.. Light grey good, blue means you have copper in there, dark grey means its got lead or lots of carbon built up. (Carbon build up, please bring it to me for carbon removal.
Blue, another brush load of Sweet’s 7.62 is needed and follow the instructions either on the bottle or the ones above.
After the bore is done, with a clean rag or dry rag, wipe down the outside of the barrel, receiver, and bolt to get off all the cleaner and dirt.
Saturate a clean patch with Break Free LP and wipe the barrel, receiver, and bolt to protect them from rust. And ready the gun for storage or to be put away for any length of time.
for storage or finishing up the bore to be put away for more than a week;
the last step of cleaning your gun is you want to do is preserve your barrel’s lands and grooves. This is done by sealing them up from the humidity. This can be done by running a clean patch saturated with Break-Free LP and then putting them up. For storage for a long term.. Over the winter.. Every 4 to 6 weeks, take the guns out and put one patch of break free LP through the bores then put them away again.
To ready them for shooting or hunting season; thoroughly clean the bores with butch’s bore shine on a brush and then dry with a clean dry patch or two.