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Thread: Remington 700 bolt won't close over cartridge head

  1. #1
    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Remington 700 bolt won't close over cartridge head

    Took my new Remington 700 SS 338 Winchester Mag out today to sight it in and for some reason the bolt won't close over the cartridge head. Tried a few times with no success. When I got home I took the bolt out and checked it with an empty case, case head slid right into the bolt face without any problem. Then I cycled the empty case into the chamber and with some effort the bolt finally closed and locked over the head, extraction was not a problem though. Cycled the empty through a couple of times and man it was rough. Bought this rifle about 4 or 5 yrs ago, it is the model with the j-lock. Any ideas on what could be wrong with it? Thanks

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    Have you taken it apart recently? Sometimes the front action screw binds with the bolt head if it's over tightened, or the screw is too long.

    Loosen the front action screw (slightly, one full turn should be enough) and cycle the action. If the bolt works freely, then you know the screw is interfering with the locking lug on the bolt.

    You can shorten the screw with a few strokes of a file. Tighten, and recheck the bolt operation. Continue, until you can tighten the screw as snug as you need it, without interferring with the operation of the bolt.

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Haven't taken it apart since I bought it. Just tried loosening the front action screw one turn and there is still no difference. Tried loosening it further and still no difference. I looked over the case head and there are some rough edges starting to form on the front edge of the rim. (rim edge on the extractor groove side of the case). There is also some scoring on the cartridge body 3/8" up from the rim, goes all round the case body, kinda blackened look to it. Wasn't there when I first tried the empty. Believe I cycled the empty about 5 times now.

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    Member 454casull's Avatar
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    Smile Ammo

    Is this factory ammo you are using or handloads?

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    If you are dealing with old reloads: does the case need to be trimmed or the shoulder set back?

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    When I encountered the problem I was using Remington factory loads. Afterward I was using just an empty 338 case that I had in one of my misc ammo boxes.

  7. #7

    Default bolt closing

    Just a thought, you haven't added a scope base and rings recently have you? If so check the screw length as they can cause the bolt not to work correctly if they are not in correct order.

  8. #8
    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Just checked the mount screws and they are not protruding through the action. Also removed the front mount to make doubly sure. Decided to pull a bullet from a fresh factory round and tried the cycling the empty case through. Each time I cycled it through it was getting easier. Remounted the front mount and cycle the empty through a couple of times, then I tried to cycle a loaded cartridge and it is cycling through and ejecting okay. Still feels a little rough but not like before. Earier I could not even get the factory cartridge to seat in the chamber. Upon inspection of the cartidge I noticed the rims are getting a little chewed up and the body of the cartridge is getting a little scratched up. Now I am thinking that the chamber must be rough, maybe the chamber reamer was getting worn out when they made this particular barrel, but what is causing the rims to get a little chewed up? Any ideas? Thanks

  9. #9

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    Sounds like the factory extractor is chewing up the rim as it's forced over when closing the bolt. I had the same marks on hard to chamber/extract rounds before. Had a gunsmith clean up the chamber with a reamer and intall a Sako style extractor instead. No problems since. Don't know why gun acted up in the first place. Guessing some foreign matter got imbedded in the chamber while hunting/shooting.

  10. #10
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    I suspect that your extractor is the problem (or part of the problem), especially since the cartridge rim is getting chewed. The extractors are pretty easy to bend on the 700's, so I'd start by making sure it's seated correctly and aligned with the arc of the bolt face. It could be that it was/is slightly bent out of alignment. An already fired case offers increased resistence as the bolt is closed because the case shoulder is expanded during firing and it fits tightly in the chamber. The increased resistence of an already fired case could have helped a slightly bent extractor pop into place as the bolt is closed.

    Regarding the scratches on the case body...are you feeding from the magazine or just placing the round in the open action, then chambering and closing the bolt? And are you doing the same feeding procedure with the loaded, already fired and bullet-pulled cases?

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Doc,
    Initially I tried feeding the empty case from the magazine but it would bump up against the magazine well and I noticed that the neck would get a slight distortion, so I just placed the empty case into the action, chambered it and closed the bolt. With the loaded round I would use both procedures. I will check the extractor to see if it is seat correctly and aligned with the arc of the bolt face. Thanks

  12. #12
    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default problem found and corrected

    aahaa, it was the extractor! Just checked it and it was not aligned with the arc of the bolt face. It seems to be aligned correctly now, loaded cartridges are chambering and extracting smoothly now. Thanks a lot guys, pays to ask the experts.

  13. #13
    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Been a while since I posted this thread, 338 Win has been on the gunrack just as long. Checked it out again and I am back to the same problem I had before. Must be time to send it in to a gunsmith and have it fixed, from the info below I am guessing the extractor needs to be replaced and the chamber polished up. Any ideas on cost for this type of work? Probably have a sako extractor installed. Thanks

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    A quick phone call from this forums sponser will tell you exactly what it wuld cost.

    No good having a rifle you do not want to take out, get it fixed so you can enjoy it.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    You can piddle with the puppies, or run with the wolves...

  15. #15

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    One quick question before you send it out. Could the empty case have been fired in a different rifle?
    If so, there are a lot of different sized chambers out there.

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Initially I was using a fresh factory round when I encountered the problem, then when I brought it home I tried an old spent cartridge, lastly I pulled a bullet from a factory case and used the case to cycle through. After 3 good cycles it would revert back to the same problem as before. Then I would have to realign the extractor with the arc of the bolt face all over again.

  17. #17
    Member Diesel Nut's Avatar
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    Time for a Sako-stye extractor. Won't have the same problem ever again (not that I've ever heard of it before )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel Nut View Post
    Time for a Sako-stye extractor. Won't have the same problem ever again (not that I've ever heard of it before )
    That's what I did.

    Doc

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