Book Review of: “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Precision Rifle Barrel Fitting -Third Edition” by John L. Hinnant

  Review by Paul Rodgers

Not long ago I received a copy of the book “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Precision Rifle Barrel Fitting -Third Edition” by John L. Hinnant to read and review. My opinion is; if you want to install a barrel on a rifle you need this book!

The book is clearly written, profusely illustrated and very readable. The author makes use of AutoCAD drawings for nearly a third of the printed pages, the drawings are to scale, labeled and correctly referenced in the text without a single error that I could find. The typeface is a large font, well spaced and easy to read, this is a great benefit if you are in the middle of an operation and need to glance quickly for information or if your eyes just aren’t as young as they used to be.

Mr. Hinnant wrote the book as an instruction manual that will be equally understood by, and useful to, the first time barrel installer and veteran gunsmith. He assumes a working knowledge of a lathe and its components, metal working measuring instruments and basic understanding of rifle actions and how they go together, a logical and safe level of knowledge that is prerequisite for undertaking this task. The book starts with the most basic of tools, the reamer holder and works steadily forward through the process of preparing, chambering, headspacing and installing a barrel onto a receiver. The author explains each step in detail but without getting off topic, he tells what to do, how to do it, why it is done that way, what tool to use, how to use the tool and even how to make the tool, with drawings!

The process as described uses a Remington 700 action as an example but at each step he makes note of differences to account for when working with other common actions like the Winchester M70 and Mausers.
He covers feeds and speeds for turning, tool shapes and set up and offers words of caution at various points in the process. He left nothing out of the process of completing the barrel installation up to the point of finishing and bluing, everything is covered up to making the extractor cuts, crowning and special accounting for coned breeches and square threads. Several pages are dedicated to recoil lugs and how to ream or bore them to size and install them

A second section of the book covers accurizing the receiver, again using the Rem700 as example and including how to modify the described procedure for other actions. I have never seen instruction on how to do this anywhere else so just for that knowledge the book is an extremely valuable resource. This section of the book is just as comprehensive in what, how, why and the tools required as the barreling section. I includes how to square the receiver, chase the receiver threads, true the bolt face, square the bolt lugs and lap them to the receiver. This is fairly advanced work but I would not hesitate to attempt it with this book on my bench.

The third section of the book is dedicated to rimfires, the Ruger 10/22 and 77/22 in particular and includes drawings of the barrel breech details. He covers the differences and history of different .22lr chamber designs such as the Bentz Match, Freeland Match and Winchester 52D Match, also barrel twist and bore/groove dimensions.
The author demonstrates a tremendous preference for Dave Manson tooling and reamers. I personally have used tooling from Manson Precision Reamers and have been happy with the quality of the reamer and chambers it cut, I also was very pleased with the friendly service and personal attention from Dave Manson himself.

What the book does NOT cover is; contouring barrels, finishing barrels, muzzle breaks, sight installation, information about cartridges, rifling or twist rates, chamber pressures, triggers or stock work; just action truing, barrel fitting, chambering and crowning .
I have read many articles about how to chamber and install barrels that are found in numerous books on my shelf. These typically are general in nature and are geared toward barreling Mauser 98’s, this was all the instruction I had when I did my first rebarrel jobs and while it was adequate for a safe installation they omitted many details and left a lot for me to figure out. This book is the most comprehensive instruction on the subject I have yet to read and the ONLY place I have read how to blueprint an action. It is 304 pages long and is fabric bound soft cover so it lays open flat so you can read both pages on the bench while you work. If you are an amateur gunsmith and want to barrel an action but don’t know how, this is the book you need. If you are an experienced gunsmith looking to pick up some tips, this is the book you need.

Here is the information to include for ordering the books.

John Hinnant
P.O. Box 690174
San Antonio, TX 78269

$35.00 plus $3.00 shipping and handling.