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Making contender barrels the easy way: open or expand the Contender market for your gunshop.

Gunsmiths and serious shooters now have a way to make excellent barrels for the Thompson/Center Contender frame quickly and accurately. There is a strong market for custom Contender and Encore barrels. Stubbing is a good way of turning those takeoff barrels stacked in the back corner into sellable items. Barrels with the throats shot out can often be repurposed into very nice long range Contender pistol-length barrels. I recently took a brand new .17 Remington barrel of a CZ 527 to make a .243 wildcat with the action. The chances of a customer with a CZ 527 wanting to rebarrel to a .17 Remington was about nil so I took that barrel, cut off most of the chamber converted it into a .17 Hornady Hornet Contender barrel that would smoke out of here if I wasn't fascinated with that new cartridge too.

If you can thread and chamber a bolt action barrel, you can tap into this lucrative single shot barrel market to build or expand your gun shops business line. The EVA Stub system makes it very easy. You will produce a superior product from what else is on the market as well. Borrowing the idea of cutting off old Contender barrels to make new ones, Eagle View Arms developed custom machined stubs supplied to our customers on barrels and to other gunsmiths as parts. As the demand grew the stubs have become our major product and will be expanded to the Encore barrels this summer.

The EVA Model C-Tb Stub Kit features a monolithic 4140 CNC machined Stub, a simple turn thread and mount with no welds Contender barrel, EVA Forever Tight locking bolts, EVA Constant Pressure two piece extractor with constant spring action, and a photo-intensive manual on a mini-CD or downloadable from the web site.

We now machine the stubs from monolithic blocks of 4140 prehardened steel using 4-Axis CNC milling machines. Once we mount the block the stubs are never removed from the jig until all the machining is done. This assures that every hole and slot stays in alignment and true to each other. Since there is no welding done on the EVA stubs there is no heat distortion. Later this year we will also offer the stubs in stainless steel.

The EVA Evertight locking bolts will fit T/C and other barrel maker's hinge bar but the EVA Constant Pressure extractor works only with the EVA Barrel Stub. We will occasionally make runs of T/C-style extractors to supply gunsmiths with these hard-to-find parts. The Stub is in the white with all holes drilled, tapped, and reamed to proper size. The sight mounting holes are drilled and tapped to a 6x48 thread. The Constant Pressure extractor is unique to EVA's Stub. This is the part that finally allowed us to actually machine a monolithic stub. It has been carefully engineered to provide a strong extraction force as well as being its own spring to catch the rim or groove on rimless cartridges. With the two locking bolts and locking bolt spring, two 0.938 roll pins retain the locking bolts and extractor. These are much easier to install and remove than the 1/6" roll pin that T/C uses. Two dovetail barrel threading lugs screw the forend to the barrel with a 10x32 thread.

To start making a new T/C barrel, review the instructions. Most people print it out for reference. Cut the barrel blank to rough length and face both ends. Using a 4-jaw chuck and centering the barrel, lathe small 60 degree bevels at the edge of the bore for the lathe centers or use a bore center reamer as available from Pacific Tool and Gauge to provide a suitable fit for the lathe centers. Make sure that these bevels are smaller than the diameter of your chamber.

Set the barrel up between centers with the faceplate and lathe dog and turn the barrel down to largest diameter plus 0.020". Measure 2.3" from the breech end of the barrel. I usually set the barrel in a steady rest, keeping the bore centered. Turn this 2.3" section down to 0.6875" diameter, making a threaded tenon, then thread the whole tenon for 24 threads per inch. Make sure the barrel shoulder is square and sharp and that there is no radius where the threaded tenon meets the full barrel.

Turn down the last 0.300" of the barrel to 0.6406". I leave this a little proud and the fit it tightly in the smooth breech end of the stub because it makes for a better looking barrel. Screw on the Stub, fitting the smooth breech section to it. Measure the distance from the muzzle side of the 3/8" pivot pin to the face of the Contender action. Place the pin in the barreled stub and measure from the pin to the breech face of the barrel. Trim the barrel and stub length to length. This fits the stubbed barrel to the action.

Chamber the barrel using what ever method you usually use. Fit the extractor, which can be done on a milling machine, using an EVA Barrel Lathe Vise, or with hand tools if you are very careful. Dovetail the barrel for the 10-32 barrel bolts according the pattern for your forend.

Threaded stubs have many advantages. They are quick to do, have a barrel-to-receiver face that stiffens the chamber and tunes the barrel very much like a bolt action rifle. We started developing these stubs for our 5MM RRM/Craig barrels but they work well for all cartridges that Thompson/Center recommends.

Minimum Tools Needed

The minimum tools needed for this project start with a thread cutting metal lathe with an adjustable and true tailstock, a 4-jaw lathe chuck, three jaw chuck, steady rest and quick change tool post. Also, an inside and outside digital or dial calipers, two test indicators and magnetic toolbases with adjustable stands, 0-1" micrometer, either a rotating head knee milling machine or the EVA quick change extractor cutting vise. Finally, you'll need thread and turning lathe tooling and a 3/16", 1/4", and 3/8" 60 degree dovetail end mill or a 60 degree 1/4" triangle file and some careful measuring and filling along with your standard chamber reaming tooling.

Other gunsmiths asked for these stubs and I saw the need. When S&W bought T/C and the small parts became hard to obtain, I expanded our manufacturing capabilities to become a new source for Contender parts. I also wanted to open the custom Contender barrel market to more gunsmiths. We will have Encore Stub Kits available as soon as we can and will bring them out in stainless steel as well.

Minimum Tooling Needed: (custom tools from EagleViewArms.com, 360/432-2339)

* Thread cutting metal lathe with an adjustable and true tailstock.

* 4 jaw lathe chuck, three jaw chuck, steady rest, quick change tool post.

* Inside and outside digital or dial calipers, test indicators (2) and magnetic toolbases with adjustable stands.

* 0-1" micrometer.

* Either a rotating head knee milling machine or the EVA quick change extractor cutting vise

* Thread and turning lathe tooling and a 3/16", 1/4", and 3/8" 60 degree dovetail end mill or a 60 degree 1/4" triangle file and some careful measuring and filling.

* Standard Chamber reaming tooling.
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Title Annotation:TECH TOPICS
Author:Kenney, Lowell
Publication:American Gunsmith
Date:Sep 1, 2015
Words:1230
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