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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Marlin 1895 ported Guide Gun in 45-70. A front sight screw snapped off flush with the barrel. I took it to a local gunsmith to have the screw extracted. When I picked it up, I looked down the bore and saw something toward the muzzle! I asked if he drilled all the way to the bore and he said I don't think so! Upon examination, he discovered that his helper had penetrated into the rifling. He immediately offered to replace the barrel but I told him to hold off until I checked the guns accuracy. What are the risks here? The gun is ported so I know that holes aren't all ways a bad thing but those ports aren't drilled through. I was going to lap the barrel to remove any possible burs and then check the accuracy. Does that screw hole run the risk of a blow out from pressure? Thoughts?
 

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As long as there are no burrs it will shoot just fine. You don't give a delicate job to a 'helper'. I was checking the barrel of a 1963 336 in 35 Rem. (my PA deer rifle) I could see where the factory holes were from inside the muzzle, I checked another 2 I have,1963 & 1964,
both also had indication of the factory drill and tap at the muzzle. Again, giving a delicate job to a 'helper' is not good business or craftsmanship.
 

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I see it this way.... the gunsmith recognized his mistake and offered to make it right. You also did the right thing by wanting to test it out first. This allowed you to keep a good relationship with your gunsmith. Like you and others note, holes in the barrel at the muzzle are not necessarily bad. I’ve got a shotgun with the front bead threaded into the bore. My concern is that the screw or threaded part does not extend into the bore.
 

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Although he offered to replace the barrel I would question his credentials as a “ gunsmith “. Mistakes do happen, but that seems like something that should not be done by a professional. As far as the ramifications of the hole, I don’t think it would cause a catastrophic failure, but may affect accuracy to some degree. I would not be happy and would find another ‘smith.
 

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First, the gunsmith should have let the customer know that those sorts of things don't always go as planned and there was a possibility of breaking through the very thin material at the bottom of the hole. Removing broken screws can sometimes be tricky, especially if the broken off part is seized or corroded and, even worse, if the screw material is substantially harder than the surrounding material. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, and investment managers all warn customers of potential risk. Gunsmiths should do the same but it seems the only time they do is if they are altering an old military action or re-boring a barrel.

Second, the gunsmith offered to make it right in the best way and at considerable expense to the business. We live in a less than perfect world. Stuff happens. The gunsmith cares enough about the customer, the job, and his reputation to do the right thing. What more can one ask?

Third, it's not really that big a deal. The hole can be dealt with in multiple ways. If it were my rifle I would probably just ask it to be filled in with a screw and either use that screw for the front sight or cover it over with the front sight.

Fourth, no matter what is decided, the cost to repair or replace should be free as should the cost of the original work. The gunsmith should ask for nothing, neither for work he performed nor for work to make it right.

Fifth, I would not hesitate to take future work to that gunsmith. He's proven he values your business and he "owes" you. He will always give you the best possible work and he will go to extra lengths to make sure you are satisfied with the job.

Remember, there are some "gunsmiths" out there who would have put liquid steel in the bottom of the hole, topped it with a new screw, and never told you about the problem. You might never know what was done until ten or twenty years down the road when you decided to change the front sight.
 

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We can all agree to disagree. I think the fact he offered a new barrel is a stand up act. That said, the OP said when he asked if he drilled through the barrel he responded...” I don’t think so !” He should have known and should have called and told you without you having to look in the barrel. Sorry, but I would find a new gunsmith.
I also reread the initial post and saw that a helper did the work. It does make a difference to some degree, but I still would hold the ‘smith responsible for all work that comes out of his shop.
 

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My M1 Garand has a hole in the barrel near the muzzle.....

My M1 Carbines each have a hole drilled into the barrel too, come to think of it.

But yeah, I'd have been chapped about that.
 

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Been down that road. It will not affect accuracy or anything else. Just a bit of an eye sore . Nice the gunsmith offered to replace the barrel.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the comments and replies! This was the first time I used this smith and decided to give him a try. He apprenticed with my normal smith for several years and has been out on his own for about 5 years now. I also went to school with him back in the day and my brother used to run with his brother also. There is a connection there so I didn't come unhinged over the issue. My 1895 has been converted to a takedown so a barrel replacement wouldn't be the normal replacement. I spent the afternoon shooting the ole girl and the drill through didn't affect the accuracy at all! Just as accurate as she ever was. My other concerns will only be told over time, those are; will the hole collect powder residue, lead and copper and create a potential rust pocket and will the screw be constantly loosened from use! It didn' loosen today after putting 50 rounds through it so that may not be an issue. Thanks again!
 

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I have a .300 H&H Bolt gun that "I" accidentally drilled a hole into the "chamber" while removing a stripped scope mount. Now, this is a bit different than your situation with the hole near the crown of the barrel, but still a concern, especially since the chamber is where "maximum" pressures are contained. I didn't know I did then when I took it in for work and my gunsmith let me know. He said he didn't think it would be a problem because the .300 H&H operates at relatively mild pressures given it's age and "magnum" status. We decided to put a "fill" screw in the hole, leaving enough room to also put the mount screw back in. Aside form a tiny shiny circle on this case, indicating the location of the screw, it's not a problem. In fact, I kind of like this because it now serves to "mark" the number of times I've fired a reloaded cartridge. :)

Having said this, gunsmiths are people, they make mistakes, but they should owe up to them. In this case it's unclear if he knew (since, or "if", a "helper" did this work). Either way, his offer is in good faith, and so is yours. I would simply put this in your back pocket and the next time you need work, and this guy's bidding, a reminder could net a "discount."

Cheers.
 

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I'm glad it worked out for you. I had to move the front sight on my 44 SBR project and drilled and tapped the barrel earlier today. All I could think of was this thread and said to myself "Don't do that!"
 

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That's the reason I check and recheck before a machine is turned on. I don't know how many shotgun barrels guys drilled through
mounting back sights. Almost all shot gun beads are drilled into the bore. So as long as screws are flush it doesn't hurt anything in
Muzzel location. Back sights not so. I have seen them blown off. Usually one screw. When it goes it will strip the hole and oblong it.
I learned early to check everything several times and don't do this stuff under distraction. You can't have the loafers chewing the fat
when you are trying to consentrated. I was making a slug gun out of a beater A5 Brn. I wanted back sight as close to reciever as
possible. Using a caliper to leave required measurement for recoil stroke. Some how I fouled up and got it on wrong side of mark
when I Siver soldered it. First shot sight hit me between the lookers and put a gouge in front of action. Lucky it was low temp solder
and sight came off or it would have done more damage.
 
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