Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#3160390 - 07/16/09 Robert Gradous's Tactical Rifle Gunsmithing Class  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,207
tlfw Offline
Campfire Regular
tlfw  Offline
Campfire Regular

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,207
Texas
I thought you guys might be interested in hearing about my experience taking a tactical rifle gunsmithing class with Robert Gradous.



Robert Gradous Rifles Gunsmithing Class


Tactical Rifle build parts list:
  • Surgeon short action repeater
  • 5C MTU contour 7.5 twist in .243
  • Detachable Bottom Metal
  • HVR Trigger
  • A-5 stock with adjustable cheek piece woodlands camo


A special thanks of appreciation to Preston Pritchett and all the people at Surgeon Rifles, Inc. for the Action, Bottom metal, Jewell HVR trigger and McMillan stock. Additionally, Tim North at Broughton Barrels who sent two barrels. Without help from these great people this project wouldnít have been possible.

[Linked Image]

Day One: Meet and greet.

I met up with Bill Zollo and followed him to Robert Gradousís workshop. After introductions and a full tour of the facilities, we all piled into Robertís truck with his sonís hunting rifle and headed to a field a half mile away that had a 4íx4í steel plate. Robert started off and shot at the plate 500 yards away using his driverís mirror as a rest. Robert wanted to give me the full comforts of a Texas deer shoot, so he let me follow his lead and shoot off his mirror too. Later, Robert and I went back to his shop and went over the next days schedule. We stayed awhile going over all the parts that we were going to be working with; barrel, action, stock, bottom metal and trigger. We made the necessary measurements that we will need, so that first thing the following day we are on the lathe making cuts.

[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]


Day Two: First day of the rifle build. Barrel work.

I meet Robert at his shop at 7:00 am to start the build. First things first, we cleaned his already spotless ďsurgeons operation roomĒ he calls his workshop. This necessary part didnít take long and after the lathe was cleaned we inserted the Broughton barrel to get it lined up. Robert explained every component, every tool, and every step we did as well as the reasons behind it. The barrel took around 15 - 20 min. to get positioned in the lathe perfect. We went over the dimensions of the cuts that we were going to make, again, to double check our measurements from the previous night. Robert explained how the lathe works with all the controls, knobs, gears and levers. He stood real close and watched me perform the tasks he was instructing me to make. Robert made me feel real comfortable over the lathe. When it was time to perform a task on the barrel that required some real skill, Robert and I switched places. Robert cut the threads on the barrel after I cut down the barrel to the dimensions we needed. After we had the barrel ready for chambering, we needed a break to get ready for the most challenging and stressful part of the barrel build. After lunch, Robert rolled up his sleeves and 3 hours later the barrel was chambered, bore scoped and measured. Robert was a happy man. The barrel was perfect. Perfect. If I gave the dimensions of what the test indicators read, Robert said nobody would believe it. Nobody. I really wished we had a movie camera to prove what those test indicators read. We double checked all the dimensions of what was needed on the chambering end of the barrel before removing the barrel and turning it around so we could put on the crown. Both Robert and I discussed the length of barrel and decided to cut it to 26Ē. Robert said, the crown was the most critical part of the barrel after a perfect chamber, and I was going to make all the cuts. Robert stood real close and talked me through the entire process. Robert made one initial cut on the inside of the bore as his only cut on the crown. I was pretty happy with the end result.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[img]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y196/tlfw/IMG_0306-1.jpg[/img]

Day Three: Cerakote and Stock bedding.

We met at 7:00 am sharp and gathered all the components for the rifle build. The stock came with small pillars already in the stock, however, after a conversation with Surgeon, we decided on replacing them with the large ones supplied by Surgeon. We went over all the parts looking for problems that would need to be addressed. After putting the rifle together several times we went to work. We cut out the old pillars, and prepped all the metal pieces that were going to be coated with cerakote. The cerakote process was applied after all the metal was cleaned, surface was pure, heated then cooled and hung on hangers to be painted. After all the pieces were coated, they were returned to the oven and baked. When the parts came out of the oven, we put the rifle back together to see any potential problems that would need to be addressed. You get the point. I donít recall the exact number of times that we put the rifle together looking for issues. Robert wasnít satisfied with the bottom metal cerakote coating and wanted to do it again. We decided to do it after we bedded the stock. At the end of the day, the stock was bedded and all metal coated. So we called it a night and closed up shop.

[img]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y196/tlfw/IMG_0322-1-1.jpg[/img]

Day Four: Clean-up bedding and final assembly.

We met again at 7:00 am sharp. Robert was already in the shop as he couldnít wait to pull the stock off the barreled action to look at our bedding work. We were met in the shop by Bill Zollo like the previous days as he just got off work from his other job. I donít know how the man does it. Bill took some photos and performed some business work for the class then left us to get some work done. We took the stock over to the milling machine and cut out all the bedding that we didnít need or want. This was a pretty neat process. After the machine work on the stock, we did the rest by hand. We fell behind schedule by the time lunch rolled around with all the distractions going on in the shop. Robert was understandably flustered by the loss of time and where we were on the schedule and where we needed to be. Robert and I went to lunch and made a game plan to get back on schedule. When we returned to the shop we went over the morning work and anything that I needed to review; at a more accelerated pace then that of the morning. Time was now our enemy and we had to get through this day back on track. Robert had me get the trigger instructions and tell him how I would adjust the trigger. With his observation, I put the trigger on the stock and adjusted it until it was exactly what I wanted. In the afternoon, we had also stripped the bottom metal of cerakote and went through the process of re-coating it. This proved problematic as I had convinced Robert to coat the metal in a green not black color. He had Olive drab in the shop and I wanted a lighter color. Robert added Battleship Gray to the Olive Drab to lighten in up. For all the metal pieces this application was successful, however, on the bottom metal with all the angles used in coating the results were less than satisfactory to Robert. He worked tirelessly to understand why, and even an initial phone call to NIC Industries didnít result in a solution. We ran a test on the Battleship Gray coating without mixing it with Olive Drab and the results were exactly what we were looking for. We decided to buy the color that NIC Industries has already and proceed with the build. Robert cleaned and prepared the barrel for the following days break-in procedure.

[img]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y196/tlfw/IMG_0326-1.jpg[/img]

Day Five: Barrel break-in.

Robert met me at our usual time and we went over the days plans of breaking in the barrel. This was where we would see if we have a broken gun or a shooter. Robert preached all week that a gun is considered broken to him until he sees it shoot. We mounted an existing scope I had and took it to the reloading room. I pre-loaded a fire-forming load before I arrived in Georgia, as I didnít want to waste time while at the class. I used a slow powder that didnít result a complete burn in the 26Ē barrel. I followed Robertís instructions to the letter for the break-in procedure. The rifle didnít take long to reveal the real beauty of this build. The gun proved to ďNot be Broken.Ē With a fire-forming load using a less than ideal powder; resulting in the shoulder of the Ackley Improved case not to be 100% formed, the rifle shot very tiny groups. I canít tell you how happy both Robert and I are.


Conclusion.


This class was more than I ever thought that it was going to be. I left the class with knowledge that I didnít have previous and gained an insight to what a highly talented gunsmith can do. I had a great time and feel the one on one instruction couldnít have been a better way to learn the art of gunsmithing. One week isnít enough training to start to do this alone, however, it does allow me to have a better understanding of all the aspects of a tactical rifle build. I donít have a specific load developed for this rifle as of this writing, but I truly believe that when I do I will have a 1000 yard tactical rifle that could run with anyones rifle. If you canít take Robert Gradousís Gunsmithing Class, I would strongly recommend you consider him for your rifle build. I couldnít be happier with the rifle we built together and look forward to the other rifles he builds for me.

[img]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y196/tlfw/IMG_0773.jpg[/img]



The land of the free because of the brave.
AIH 300 L
#3162079 - 07/17/09 Re: Robert Gradous's Tactical Rifle Gunsmithing Class [Re: tlfw]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,500
kaboku68 Offline
Campfire Ranger
kaboku68  Offline
Campfire Ranger

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,500
Alaska
You should be writing for a major magazine. This was an excellent write up. Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
Thomas

#3166958 - 07/19/09 Re: Robert Gradous's Tactical Rifle Gunsmithing Class [Re: kaboku68]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,207
tlfw Offline
Campfire Regular
tlfw  Offline
Campfire Regular

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,207
Texas
Thanks Thomas.


The land of the free because of the brave.
#4127962 - 05/30/10 The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: tlfw]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 8
Gradous Offline
New Member
Gradous  Offline
New Member

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 8
Hephzibah Georgia
After speaking to a number of people that were very interested in the class, it became obvious that many of you see the value in it, but just don't have the time.

I think I have the next best thing, and I'm offering a new way to purchase custom rifles.

Please take a look at the following page, and share your thoughts: component-supplied rifle builds Component-supplied rifle builds

As always, your opinions and feedback are greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Robert



#4128364 - 05/30/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: Gradous]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 10,443
ironeagle_84 Offline
Campfire 'Bwana
ironeagle_84  Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 10,443
grants pass, oregon
i sure wish i could afford to get in on this slice of heaven. frown


30-06 till i die, the greatest round ever!

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy!

CEO of a Turdlike People: Turds & Tats Division... (per Ingwe grin )
#4128711 - 05/31/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: ironeagle_84]  
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 7,419
FVA Offline
Campfire Tracker
FVA  Offline
Campfire Tracker

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 7,419
NY

I get ahold of all my components. Order the stock inletted for as much and usually am just looking for a good smith to do the barrel install. A good trigger is user adjustable or ordered pre adjusted and the minor bedding details I can cover.
Looks like you want $1250- on top of the cost of components.
I'm sure the finished product is worth it and the attention to details extreme.
My take is that most guys into component builds are looking for top notch machines for little and thus only farm out the machine work and to those types your price will be a deterrent.
OTOH, people are willing to pay the price and don't want to or have the capabilities to do things like bedding, trigger tweaks, etc., to them my thinking is a component build won't be much of a carrot.
Just my initials thoughts, not a slam.
Frank


#4128923 - 05/31/10 Re: Robert Gradous's Tactical Rifle Gunsmithing Class [Re: tlfw]  
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 12,883
SU35 Offline
Campfire 'Bwana
SU35  Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 12,883
That was a great write up.

Thank you.

#4128934 - 05/31/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: FVA]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 9,846
slg888 Offline
Campfire Outfitter
slg888  Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 9,846
Knoxville,TN
I own a couple Gradous rifles and the quality of work is outstanding. That's a really good offer for a complete start-finish build. Especially from one of the top rifle builder's in the US.

Nice pics tlfw.

#4129072 - 05/31/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: slg888]  
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 16,540
nsaqam Offline
Campfire Kahuna
nsaqam  Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 16,540
Hermantown MN
For me, I have to agree with FVA on this one.

But then I have a lathe and have done alot of stockwork in my time.

VERY nice writeup tlfw!


The Chosin Few November to December 1950, Korea.
I'm not one of the Chosin Few but no more remarkable group of Americans ever existed.
#4129356 - 05/31/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: nsaqam]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 10,443
ironeagle_84 Offline
Campfire 'Bwana
ironeagle_84  Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 10,443
grants pass, oregon
well, the gunsmith i use has taught me how to bed rifles, loaned me his personal tools to complete barrel channeling, taught me what i was looking at to adjust my trigger, showed me how pre-cut grind to fit pads for stocks, and showed me how to grind them. i use his services at every opportunity, and am currently having him build me another rifle. his prices are reasonable, 150 for a chambering job, and 30 for a trigger job on a factory rig, no charge for an install of an aftermarket (that i know of) oh, and he offers me parts at dealer prices if i dont have what i need. if i dont have the funds handy, he just does what i need done anyways and allows me to pay him as money allows.

he is one heck of a guy, and i hate to say that he is struggling to make it. works two jobs. from 530AM til around midnight. family is not seeing enough of him and he doesnt have enough money to work only one job, and doesnt have enough time to work on both.

me and three others have volunteered to work for him for no cost. just to help him, but he wont allow it to be done. he insists on paying. i have told him that i would work for store credit... that i would never use.


30-06 till i die, the greatest round ever!

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy!

CEO of a Turdlike People: Turds & Tats Division... (per Ingwe grin )
#4129793 - 05/31/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: ironeagle_84]  
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 7,419
FVA Offline
Campfire Tracker
FVA  Offline
Campfire Tracker

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 7,419
NY
Originally Posted by ironeagle_84
well, the gunsmith i use has taught me how to bed rifles, loaned me his personal tools to complete barrel channeling, taught me what i was looking at to adjust my trigger, showed me how pre-cut grind to fit pads for stocks, and showed me how to grind them. i use his services at every opportunity, and am currently having him build me another rifle. his prices are reasonable, 150 for a chambering job, and 30 for a trigger job on a factory rig, no charge for an install of an aftermarket (that i know of) oh, and he offers me parts at dealer prices if i dont have what i need. if i dont have the funds handy, he just does what i need done anyways and allows me to pay him as money allows.


Not hard to figure why he is having a tough time making it.


#4130212 - 05/31/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: FVA]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 10,443
ironeagle_84 Offline
Campfire 'Bwana
ironeagle_84  Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 10,443
grants pass, oregon
he doesnt do this with many customers. we were friends long before i knew of his industry.


30-06 till i die, the greatest round ever!

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy!

CEO of a Turdlike People: Turds & Tats Division... (per Ingwe grin )
#4132262 - 06/01/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: ironeagle_84]  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,334
300MAG Offline
Campfire Tracker
300MAG  Offline
Campfire Tracker

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,334
PITTSBURGH, PA
I'm waiting on all my parts to arrive & then they are heading down to Robert to build me a tack driver. I'm all over the component-supplied rifle build!!

1 hole Robert, 1 hole Cat Daddy!!

Last edited by 300MAG; 06/01/10.
#4132380 - 06/01/10 Re: Robert Gradous's Tactical Rifle Gunsmithing Class [Re: tlfw]  
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,579
wildswalker Offline
Campfire Outfitter
wildswalker  Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,579
The Boondock.......
Originally Posted by tlfw
The rifle didnít take long to reveal the real beauty of this build. The gun proved to ďNot be Broken.Ē With a fire-forming load using a less than ideal powder; resulting in the shoulder of the Ackley Improved case not to be 100% formed, the rifle shot very tiny groups. I canít tell you how happy both Robert and I are.


Exact same experience here with my 243AI...even forming of the shoulder.

RL22, 87 Vmax's, and VERY tiny groups.


[Linked Image]
#4132561 - 06/01/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: Gradous]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,207
tlfw Offline
Campfire Regular
tlfw  Offline
Campfire Regular

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,207
Texas
Nice to see you in the room Robert...


The land of the free because of the brave.
#4137975 - 06/03/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: tlfw]  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,334
300MAG Offline
Campfire Tracker
300MAG  Offline
Campfire Tracker

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,334
PITTSBURGH, PA
Robert,

You tell Stoney yet that his Broughton barrel is crooked as schit??

That thing would be better off as a tomatoe stake!! He can't shoot anyways - it may help him. LOL!!

#4138063 - 06/03/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: 300MAG]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 9,846
slg888 Offline
Campfire Outfitter
slg888  Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 9,846
Knoxville,TN
300FAG, shut the [bleep] up!

Last edited by slg888; 06/03/10.
#4138696 - 06/03/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: slg888]  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,334
300MAG Offline
Campfire Tracker
300MAG  Offline
Campfire Tracker

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,334
PITTSBURGH, PA
Stoney,

You'll be able to shoot around trees with that Broughton - LOL!!

You're wishing you had a Krieger aren't you??

#4139951 - 06/03/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: Gradous]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,207
tlfw Offline
Campfire Regular
tlfw  Offline
Campfire Regular

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,207
Texas
Robert,

Here are the latest two in action from this last weekend...

[Linked Image]


The land of the free because of the brave.
#4506486 - 10/16/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: ironeagle_84]  
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,308
andrews1958 Offline
Campfire Regular
andrews1958  Offline
Campfire Regular

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,308
Maine
Fantastic write up. Boydington and Barsness have some new compitition.

Very interesting project. My wife is asking me if I would like this class and a rifle as a present from her


Never heard of Robert Gradous and his rifles. Anyone else have and shot one of his rifles?


#4506555 - 10/16/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: andrews1958]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 9,846
slg888 Offline
Campfire Outfitter
slg888  Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 9,846
Knoxville,TN
Originally Posted by andrews1958
Fantastic write up. Boydington and Barsness have some new compitition.

Very interesting project. My wife is asking me if I would like this class and a rifle as a present from her


Never heard of Robert Gradous and his rifles. Anyone else have and shot one of his rifles?

Robert has built a few for me and I helped finish my last build at his shop. Go for it, you will have a great time with Robert. Here is a recent thread about him.....

http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ub...in=187658&Number=2097358#Post2097358

#4506641 - 10/16/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: tlfw]  
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 47,929
rost495 Offline
Campfire Oracle
rost495  Offline
Campfire Oracle

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 47,929
La Grange, TX
Originally Posted by tlfw
Robert,

Here are the latest two in action from this last weekend...

[Linked Image]


I'm TOTALLY impressed! You've come a LONG way since I met ya!! And its ALL good!
Jeff


We can keep Larry Root and all his idiotic blabber and user names on here, but we can't get Ralph back..... Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over....
#4506736 - 10/16/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: rost495]  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,334
300MAG Offline
Campfire Tracker
300MAG  Offline
Campfire Tracker

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 6,334
PITTSBURGH, PA
Call him the "Cat-Daddy" when you go to his shop!!!

#4508900 - 10/17/10 Re: The next best thing to the gunsmithing class [Re: 300MAG]  
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,378
bxroads Offline
Campfire Guide
bxroads  Offline
Campfire Guide

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,378
Robert is the real deal. I bought a rifle from him and he insisted that I recieve it, shoot it, and call him before he deposited the check. Now that is what I call satisfaction guaranteed taken to the next level. The rifle was perfect in every way and I'm one to nitpick.


Moderated by  RickBin, SYSOP 

AIH 160 1
Who's Online Now
188 registered members (257_X_50, 2ndwind, 280shooter, 257Bobs, 3dtestify, 204guy, 35 invisible), 827 guests, and 566 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod









Copyright © 2000-2017 24hourcampfire.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.071s Queries: 15 (0.004s) Memory: 1.0786 MB (Peak: 1.4216 MB) Zlib enabled. Server Time: 2017-09-20 05:49:23 UTC