Midway Gunsmithing: How to Jewel A Bolt Carrier

Larry Potterfield and his gang at Midway just get to have all the fun. In this video, he showcases how to jewel a bolt for a bolt-action (or really anything) rifle. While the video showcases everything in super-speed and does not showcase the sweat and time, it has a solid break-down of the technique.

The beauty of this technique is that you can mess up a few times, re-polish, and start over. I just would hate to mess up over halfway into the 576 jewels shown in the video.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • simon

    besides looking good does it have any practical purpose?

    • Warren

      Possibly. It’s mostly cosmetic.

      It decreases (and randomizes) the contact area between any two surfaces, and therefore their coefficient of friction, .. but .. most of the effected surfaces aren’t really where contact is occuring in this type of application anyway. Could be better on, say, a custom trigger job, as long as material surface hardness isn’t compromised.

  • Full Name

    One little nitpick: He is jewelling a bolt, not a bolt carrier.

    • Phillip Cooper

      More miniscule nitpick:
      He’s actually “engine turning” the bolt.

  • nova3930

    That’s a much easier if more time consuming process than I imagined…

    • J-

      Assuming that you can average 3 jewels per min on a single row, that is 32 jewels per row or 10 min per row. 18 rows is 180 min or 3 hours. Include indexing time and the fact that nothing goes as fast as you think it will, I figure maybe 5 hours total time to jewel the bolt. Add the in the polishing and you could get it done in a single Saturday.

      • nova3930

        I just always assumed there was some specialized tool that took some expertise but didn’t take a lot of time, the opposite of reality.

  • knightofbob

    This is the most practical for me so far, given one of my many projects is a sporterized Enfield my dad started and forgot about a long time ago. I’ve been planning on jeweling the bolt, just ’cause, and it’s nice to see the work being done and explained at the same time.

  • Tenacious221

    Reshare ALL the old posts! 🙂

    Glad you found them and are enjoying them though.

  • sam

    Interesting, but I’m not a fan of the technique or the finish. I find it insincere and saccharine.

    • DIR911911 .

      you nowhave a bolt covered in millions of tiny,pretty scratches . . . ah , congratulations? still like to see how it’s done , but not for me either. never understood the whole engraving guns thing. take something useful and fun then turn it into something too pretty to use.

  • john huscio

    I like his concealed carry pistol rankings videos better

  • DIR911911 .

    the one you have got to see is where they bejazzle the bolt carrier