Anyway, I did step one tonight, and free-floated the barrel, and MAY have found something...
I BELIEVE I have a warped ATI stock! First, I noticed bluing (the Permablue cold blue I used) WORN OFF in a few spots on the LEFT side of the barrel, but not on the right...
I then fabricated two shims from a small piece of 1/16th" scrap sheet aluminum I had in my junk box, and put them under the receiver lug in the stock to raise the action in the stock. I then put another two shims under the rear of the tang to keep it at the same level in the stock. (one shim didn't raise it enough, the barrel was still touching the forearm channel.)
But it looked hokey..while the front of the action didn't look bad, the rear tang was raised about 1/8" ABOVE the stock. So I pulled out first one, then both of the REAR shims, so the action is kind of rocked BACK a little on the receiver lug, with the barrel up out of the channel a little. IT still tightened down nice and tight. But the barrel was STILL touching a little.
Then I started sanding the forearm channel, which is where I started finding the warping. I could slide paper down the entire barrel IF I held a little pressure on the stock to the LEFT, but not at rest.
I noticed the RIGHT wall of the forearm channel was away from the barrel a lttle bit, but the LEFT was still touching.
But then a funny thing happened...I started filing and sanding the inside of the LEFT forearm channel ONLY, but every time I put it back together, the LEFT side still TOUCHED, but the gap in the RIGHT side got BIGGER! A HA! The stock is WARPED. I THOUGHT I felt more pressure on this one when I first put it together than the Russian!
I worked on it more, and got it so a strip of paper WILL slide down all the way, with just a LITTLE resistance near the front Left.
I will shoot it Saturday and see if there is any improvement. If there is, I will go down even more on the left side until NOTHING is touching, but I was afraid it might just keep bending and I'll end up with an inch of play on the RIGHT!
I'm EVEN thinking of maybe taking the rifle out of the stock and hanging WEIGHTS on it to warp it back the other way! Do you think that might work?
And would the pressure on the LEFT side of the barrel cause the group to shoot to the LEFT?
I don't really have enough (Any?
) experience with accurizing rifles to know how it would affect the shots, would the groups move TOWARDS or AWAY from the pressure on the barrel?