I’ve always wanted to learn gunsmithing and since my rifle needed sling swivels installed, I figured this would be a good beginner project.
I started by purchasing an Allen swivel set (#14420) from Amazon. The set includes a 1/2” forend screw, a 3/4” rear buttstock screw, and fine thread screw if your stock is hollow. All the hardware is metal (except for the plastic spacers) and seems to be well constructed.
Step one: Disassemble the rife
Actually this step isn’t really necessary but I didn’t want to take the chance of over-drilling the front hole and accidentally hitting the barrel.
Step two: Tape off 1/2” on a 3/16” drill bit
This step is really important. You don’t want to over-drill this hole. The tape won’t stop you from going too deep, but it will show you when you should stop.
Step 3: Lubricate the drill bit
The instructions recommended lubricating the bit by pressing it into a bar of soap to limit the creation of small splinters when drilling. This worked pretty well and I highly recommend it. Some people recommend dish soap but the bar soap seems less messy and works just fine.
Step 4: Measure for the forward hole
The next step is to precisely measure where you want the forward hole to be located. The instructions are clear on where it should be located. In this case, I decided to drill the hole 1.5” from the barrel clamp. I marked the location with tape.
Step 5: Drill pilot hole
The instructions didn’t mention this step but I thought it was a good idea.
Step 6: Clean up finished hole
The instructions also didn’t mention this step. I decided to take a small file and clean out any splinters still hanging on. You don’t want to remove any wood from the actual hole though as the screw won’t fit tight.
Step 7: Install the screw
The instructions recommended using a screw (or in this case, a screwdriver) to install the screw. Apparently, the swivel may break if you use it to install the screw. The instructions also mentioned lubricating the screw tip with a bar of soap. This seemed to work fine.
This is the installed forward swivel screw. I’m pretty happy with it.
Installing the rear screw is essentially the same process with a couple of exceptions. First, you’ll need to re-tape your drill bit for 3/4” instead of 1/2” because the rear screw is longer. Second, the drill has to go in perpendicular to the stock, otherwise the screw won’t sit flush.
The installed rear screw.
One other thing I had to figure out was how to get the hole centered. I knew having the sling off-center would be a Bad Thing, so this was a critical measurement. The way I determined this was to measure the circumference from the top of one side, along the bottom, to the top of the other side. For the rear hole, the measurement was almost 9” at the point I wanted to drill. So I marked 4.5” from either side and went with that. It seemed to work out fine.
And this is the rifle with both swivel screws installed. I have to say, I’m pretty happy with how this project turned out.
Finally, the rifle all dress up and nowhere to go. The sling is a Levy’s Leathers 2.25” vegetable tanned leather Cobra design (SN26C-BLK) that I bought on Amazon. Looks like it should work really well. The next step is to get it out on the range!
Well, that’s it for my first foray into gunsmithing. Take it easy.