Reline a Rifle Barrel to Give it New Life
Russ Chastain 09.03.19
A few decades back, my father and a friend of his went in together and purchased the necessary stuff to reline the barrels of a couple of small rifles. I was busy working for a living so I missed out on the process, but the end result was the resurrection of a couple old rifles whose rifling was long gone.
In Dad’s case, the gun was a little Stevens Favorite single-shot 22 rifle, perhaps the cutest and coolest little 22 single-banger I’ve ever known. The process is simple: You drill out the barrel to the correct diameter for the new barrel liner — he got his from Brownell’s — then you secure the liner inside the barrel using adhesive. The liner is rifled inside, so in essence you have just re-rifled a worn-out barrel!
Dad and his buddy used epoxy bedding compound as adhesive, but in the video below Larry Potterfield uses green Loctite.
Once the liner is in place, it’s cut off near the ends of the barrel and worked down to match the barrel. The muzzle end gets crowned, and the rear end gets chambered using a chamber reamer and then must be cut out for the extractor.
It’s a really cool option to breathe new life into a gun that’s otherwise in good condition. The Remington rolling block rifle in Larry’s video, like Dad’s old Stevens, is a small single-shot 22 rimfire rifle that’s in good shape except for the bore, and in both cases, black powder is a likely culprit.
Back in the day, cartridge ammo was loaded with black powder, and black powder residue is highly corrosive. 22 rimfire guns are fun to shoot but less fun to clean, so as you can imagine a lack of cleaning often led to heavy corrosion inside of the barrel. Even after the advent of smokeless powder, priming compounds were often corrosive as well. This is why so much ammunition from roughly the first half of the 1900s was advertised to be non-corrosive, smokeless, or even “semi-smokeless.” But I digress!
Neither Dad nor his pal had a lathe, so I’m sure their work was a bit less precise than what’s in this video, which is good news if you wish to reline a barrel and you’re latheless.
Enjoy the video. Here’s hoping this info inspires at least one reader to bring a fine old popper back to life. Please comment below to let us know what you think.