Fourth Custom Rifle
Zastava Action
Green Mountain Barrel
Caliber 17 Fireball

Start Date: 5/15/2015

Completed: 10/11/2020

I have to laugh when I look at the start date for this project but it keeps me from crying. The project never started on purpose but instead was a result of my mistake or lack of education on running a lathe.
The 1st barrel that I bought was in 2015 for the 1st rifle project. Long story short, I turned the tenon too small in diameter to work well with the Marlin action that was to become a 17 Fireball. The barrel was set aside for later use on a smaller action.

A Century Arms International M85 223 by Zastava was purchased from one of my customers at the shop with the intention of using that action for the messed up barrel. I just never intended for it to take this long to achieve the goal.

Of course there were hurdles to cross and challenges along the way but I consider it all a learning experience. The first and most intimidating hurdle was to get the barrel threaded metric to work with the Zastava action. Sure I could have taken it to another shop, checked into that and planned to go that route but then Iíve never been big on doing things the easy way. Option B was to buy a metric die and attempt that process myself. Option C was to purchase a new lathe that I would never be able to justify and spend the rest of my life learning how to run it. Option D kind of fell into my lap while talking to a fellow lathe person about the notion of buying a new lathe. He contacted me shortly afterwards and told me where I might find a set of gears for my Atlas lathe that would allow me to cut metric threads.

Once home with the box of gears, I could not wait to try it out. So with grease up to my elbows I finished the gearing arrangement to cut a 1.50 MM thread on an Atlas lathe with a quick change gear box and nifty chart for the conversion. Fired that mother up and started practicing the procedure to accomplish a perfect job of threading metric. Note I said practicing to accomplish. Not sure I accomplished perfect, no pretty sure I didnít but on October 11th I fired the rifle and lived to tell about it.


After a few rounds at the range to prove to myself that there was potential in them there lands and grooves, I took the rifle apart again and used Devcon to bed the action.

10/31/2020 Tried H335 and H322. Think I found one I like for the 25gr HP.

Next I tried Berger 25 HP Varmint. Pretty pleased with it too. Going to try to whack a coyote with it and see how it performs.

 As always check your manuals and follow guidelines ! The decisions you make are yours.

The C.A.I. action is not smooth, not refined or polished but it does function and the trigger is fully adjustable. Got this one at a crisp 3 lbs which is my comfort level for hunting. Usually cold, probably gloves.