SLR15 Bolt Action Sniper Rifle Armorer Course, OTOA Conference, Sandusky OH


When: June 4, 2018

Where: Ohio Tactical Officers Association Conference, Sandusky OH

We conducted a 1-day (8-hour) Bolt Action Sniper Rifle Armorer Course at the Ohio Tactical Officers Association Conference in Sandusky OH. I'm testing my memory on this, but I think this is our 12th year teaching at this conference, and we look forward to more in the future. The training room offered plenty of table space, okay lighting for a conference room (but we prefer brighter so people can see small parts). The room had a large screen that allowed us to project some animated graphics of the weapons system, powerpoint detailed pics of gun parts, and especially when looking at finer detail things like machining, stress cracks & wear.

The rifles we cover in this course are the Remington 700, Savage 10/110 type rifles, and the Winchester / FN 70 series, as this is what we have parts with us for. The weapons Officers brought to class were mostly Remington 700's, a few Savage 10's, Blaser, and a couple of Officers brought their new precision Rugers. Officers are welcome to bring whatever brands and models of rifles they wish to class, but we only have parts for the Remington, Savage, and Winchster/FN type rifles with us.

The Student base were all Law Enforcement Officers from Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina.

We started with going through the course manual that all students are given. Students were supplied with their own set of basic tools that are necessary to do the work on their rifles. We also provided lots of gunsmithing/armorer tools, torque wrenches, gauges, borescopes, cleaning equipment, bore guides, vises, etc. All students were supplied with samples of Slip2000 "EWL" Extreme Weapons Lubricant and #725 Cleaner Degreaser, which allowed them to clean and lubricate anything that needed it. A short session of nomenclature was covered, at which time covered every feature and exterior piece of the rifles. We also went through the eight cycles of fire, function checks, and basic inspections.

Students field stripped their rifles. Once field stripped, proper maintenance was shown of where and what to clean, how to clean it, and why some areas need specific cleaning. Everyone was supplied with denatured alcohol, and swabbed out their barrels, which allowed them to borescope the inside. Everyone was allowed to up close inspect their barrels before cleaning them, which gave everyone a view of the rifling, fouling, what different types of fouling look like, areas of fouling, corrosion, erosion, etc. We discussed fouling of different types, and how it effects accuracy in sometimes a good way and sometimes in a bad way. With discussions on fouling, it is our recommendation that Snipers keep a log of their maintenance in addition to shooting log book notes, as over time they will start to see a pattern of how each individual rifle performs with what levels of fouling and maintenance, which may give them an idea of when and how to clean and to what level.

Note: A couple of Officers had rifles that had been passed through several Officers before they landed in the current Snipers hands. Using the borescope and bore camera, have a detailed look inside these barrels, you would see where people hadn't used bore guides, and you could also see where there was cleaning solvent damage to the internal parts showing pitting where ammonia based solvents were not removed.

Everyone was allowed to clean their barrels if they wished, and were allowed to use different cleaning products and solvents. We showed different types of bore foam, and showed our favorite being Outers Foaming Bore Cleaner. We also supplied Barrett Heavy Bore Cleaner, and showed how well it works. We showed several types of copper solvents, and showed the proper procedures for using these for fouling removal, and how to keep these from damaging things.

There were several rifles present that had been passed down from previous Snipers. Upon looking close inside a couple of these, it was found that a couple of the rifles showed damage from not using a bore guide when cleaning, pulling brushes & jags backwards from muzzle to chamber, and several also had cleaning solvent damage. This damage was viewed by all, and drove the point home of why we recommend using bore guides, and only pushing brushes and jags from chamber towards muzzle. We also gauged for throat/lead erosion, and muzzle erosion.

When done with the barrels, we moved into the bolt assemblies. Each type of bolt was covered for cleaning procedures. We then disassembled each type of bolt present. Firing pin assemblies were removed, cleaned, inspected, and we discussed replacement. Several different types of disassembly tools were supplied, and then we also simple field methods of disassembly. It is our belief that Snipers should know how to disassemble bolts in both the workshop and field, as if a rifle were to be dropped or something where it picked up debris like sand, that they can deal with it onsite when necessary. Firing pin assemblies were reassembled and checked for function.

We covered extractors, from issues to replacement. Everyone with Remington 700's had rivetless extractors, so we supplied them with replacements, which allowed them to remove the ones they have and install new ones. We also covered the riveted extractors and their replacement. We covered the Savage extractor assembly as well. We went through inspection of bolt lugs and proper lubrication, with our recommended preference to a moly based lubricant on lugs and why.

Note: Many Officers in this class had never heard of using the moly lube on the bolt lugs, so everyone took advantage of applying moly to their bolt lugs.

Next we covered the ejection systems. Everyone with the Remington & Savage models were supplied with the proper tools for whichever type of system they had. Everyone removed their ejection systems, gave them a thorough cleaning and inspection to make sure everything was good to go, then all ejection systems were reinstalled and checked for proper function. The first time through the ejection system, everyone was shown how to do it with minimal tools of a bench block, punches and a hammer.

Note: The second time through the ejection system, we supplied people with the Sully Ejector Tool, which works on the Rem 700, Savage type rifles in long action and short action, and AR10/AR308 variants as well. We also supplied them with the Sully Delrin Punches in 30-cal, similar to the 5.56 version that we use in the AR15 / M16 Armorer course. Everyone put these to good use, making ejection replacement much easier when not using an ejector tool.

Everyone was shown how to remove their barreled actions from the stock. We discussed torque of the actions and inspected them before removal, a couple were found to be out-of-spec for torque, with several of them under-torqued, and a couple of them where the torque didn't have any pattern -- we discussed how this may effect accuracy and consistency, along with stress. Everyone removed their actions from the stocks. We cleaned and inspected the stocks, pillars, bedding, lugs, hardware, bottom metal, magazine assemblies, etc. We showed different examples of pillars, bedding, recoil lugs, stocks, etc. Nobody had issues with stress on the pillars or recoil lugs. With the actions removed, we showed how the different trigger groups were mounted, their cleaning & replacement. We also showed the different adjustments of the triggers, and cautioned everyone to leave these within factory spec, and that if they are out of spec to contact the Manufacturer for service procedures. This warning is viewed from the Law Enforcement Sniper point of view of possible civil issues when something is out of factory spec.

Barrels were inspected for crowns, muzzle erosion, and headspace. We showed how to do minor crown repair, and discussed when crown damage needs to be remachined. We also showed several rifles with threaded barrels, and discussed using some type of brake, comp, flash hider, or suppressor mount, and how these do help protect crowns. We covered barrel materials, finishes, treatments like cryogenics, and barrel twist rates and how they pertain to accuracy of different bullets, loads and projectiles.

Note: Several Remington 700's in this class had stocks that were rubbing on the barrel, where things should be free floating but weren't. We showed where and how to sand these high spots. Officers were supplied with sand paper, and those who wished to fix the problem did so.

Lastly we moved into the scopes, mounts, and scope rings. We showed different types of scope bases, how these should be lapped, trued, and properly mounted. We showed how to properly mount scope bases & rings. This included a session on gauging for proper alignment. A couple of students took advantage of having access to alignment gauges, and found theirs needed adjustment. The misalignment of the scope rings causes stress on the scope, which can effect its performance and repeatability when dialing things around. We then showed how to lap rings, and why. A couple of students lapped their rings, and found that lapping was needed. Scopes were then remounted, gauged for proper alignment, and properly torqued. Lastly rifles were inspected to make sure they were in proper working order, and everyone understood that they needed to go to the range and recheck zero and function on the weapons.

Here is a brief course description:
The course covers the Precision Sniper Rifle systems of the Remington 700 series, Savage 10/110 series, and Winchester/FN 70 series type rifles. All students will have the opportunity to inspect their rifles and make any corrections in class to insure their rifle is in top working order. This is a hands-on class that will cover action disassembly & repair, proper torque of the action, extraction and ejection, maintenance, truing/lapping scope rings to maximize the performance of the rifle and optic, inspection of the pillars and bedding, and more.

This course covers:
* History of the Weapon System
* Cycles of Function
* Armorer Disassembly & Assembly
* Identification of Common Problems and Parts
* Nomenclature
* Identification of Group Components
* Stocks, Pillars, Recoil Lugs, and Bedding Inspections (Traditional, Synthetic, and SOPMOD)
* Cleaning and Maintenance
* Barrel Inspection
* Ballistic Issues
* Crown Repair
* Parts Interchangeability & custom fitting
* Headspace
* Firing Pin Protrusion
* Trigger Removal, Cleaning, and Replacement
* Chamber Inspection
* Accessories and Customizing
* Tool Options and Selection
* Scope Base Mounting
* Scope Ring Truing & Lapping

Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
(763) 712-0123