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Author Topic: Polishing a bolt face  (Read 393 times)

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Polishing a bolt face
« on: June 19, 2021, 12:02:49 PM »
I thought a small tutorial on polishing a bolt face may be helpful for some people. This can be done at home with some items that are readily available to most. This may solve the problem of brass picking up on the face of the bolt as well as those little shavings of brass that seem to appear. Once brass starts smearing on the bolt face it will only get worse eventually requiring a strong arm to open and close the bolt.

In this tutorial I will be working on a Rem 700 short action bolt that has only been factory fired. The first two pictures are the bolt that will get polished. The close up shows brass pick up just from the factory firing.

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2021, 12:08:18 PM »
Why we are at it Iíll also polish and soften some edges on the lugs.

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2021, 12:15:36 PM »
Iím not going to go into detail on taking the bolt apart. YouTube has some great tutorials. You are going to need punches to get the roll pins out. If you donít have the right size punches you can cut the shank of of a 1/16 and 3/32 drill bit. I managed to get it done with only the 1/16 drill bit. For polishing the ends of the ejector pins I made a file using a scale, double sided stick tape, and 600 grit silicone carbide paper.

A word of caution; donít shoot your ejector pins across the room when you remove the roll pin.

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2021, 12:19:27 PM »
Chuck up the ejector pins in a drill and use the file to polish. Only the face and part of the radius need polishing.

If you donít have a scale/ruler anything flat that the tape will stick yo will work.

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2021, 12:22:21 PM »
Polishing shouldnít take much longer then five minutes.

In this picture you can see the reflection of the paper on the face.

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2021, 12:30:30 PM »
For the face of the bolt Iíll use a dremel (the drill will work but take longer), a polishing brush, a deburring bit, and metal polish. In the picture with the arrow, the edge of these holes will need to be rounded. These sharpe edges are what produce the brass the shavings. If you are not comfortable breaking that edge with the deburring bit the brush and polish will do it eventually.

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2021, 12:43:16 PM »
The idea behind polishing is to remove the black oxide and smooth the surface. You definitely donít want to remove material. In the process, rings will show up that will remain black. They are just the cutter marks from manufacturing and donít matter. When the polishing compound starts to dry just squirt a small amount of WD40 on it to keep it wet. Polish until satisfied. Throughout the process occasionally wipe the polishing compound off with a cotton ball or Qtip. This will give you a visual on the amount of polish.

Sorry about the resolution of this picture but it does show the rings and the broken/softened edges on the ejector pin holes. In the picture the rings look large but itís mostly the reflection. A note, the rings were there before we started. They are not as noticeable when the surface has the black oxide on it.

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2021, 12:56:38 PM »
In a previous picture I pointed out areas on the lugs that need to be polish. Using the sandpaper file, polish them until they shine. Once again there will be cutter rings from manufacturing, donít worry about polishing them off. Roll the file over the edges creating a radius. The objective is to make the edges smooth. This will really help opening and closing the bolt by reducing friction. wd40 will be your friend here. It will keep the paper clean so it cuts better. 

Run your finger over those surfaces before you start to gauge smoothness.  When the bolt is clean after polishing run your finger over it again. There should be a noticeable difference on how smooth it is.

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2021, 01:03:43 PM »
Before reassembly clean the heck out of the bolt. Liberally spray with WD40 to cut the polishing compound. If you have compressed air blow it off. Simple Green rinsed with hot water will take the WD40 off. Blow it off again. Be sure to give it a light oil before putting it back together.

From start to finish it was less than an hour. Iíve found that doing this really improves the performance of the bolt.


Offline Special T

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2021, 01:34:53 PM »
Cool post! Ive done a bunch of sanding and polishing on my guns but have never done my bolt. Ill have to give it a try.

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Offline Alchase

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2021, 07:24:41 PM »
Very cool post.
Like Special T said, I also have never polished up the bolt on my rifles. I have done intense cleaning.
Question, what were you results after polishing the bolt?
Is it just smoother action?
Only 2 defining forces sacrificed themselves for you:
The American Soldier and Jesus Christ. One died for your freedom, the other for your soul.

My rock,
He trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.
Psalm 144.1

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Re: Polishing a bolt face
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2021, 08:46:56 PM »
Good question, why go to the trouble of this? It definitely smooths the action, especially when opening. If your bolt ever feels sticky or is getting harder to open it may be a result of the face galling with brass. When working up rounds this can be mistaken for bolt blowback from excessive pressure. The polished face requires less maintenance too. Frequency and time cleaning. A wire brush and copper remover makes quick work of removing smeared brass.

 


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