Trying sliping a screw driver blade behind the ferrule perpindicular to the stock center line and tapping it foreward with a hammer, light taps. A little on the left, a little on the right, a little on the bottom, until it comes off.
Never tried to remove one of the half-moon crimped types but the pin punched ones are not too difficult. Just used a small screwdriver and a LOT of patience. If you are going NM should be glued in place with epoxy or similar once everything else is fitted and bedded. Otherwise no real reason to change the ferrule anyway. The only difference as far as I know is the NM is relieved for barrel clearance. I'm sure others who know more than I will correct me if I am mistaken.
The NM ferrules I have are different from the standard ferrule only in that they're opened up around the channel the gas cylinder goes through. That's to ensure that the barrel/GC combination only touches the stock at the ferrule/front band lip contact point. That means that both the ferrule and the stock it's attached to have to provide the same clearance for the GC. Once you install the NM ferrule, you'll probably find there's plenty of wood showing on the front of the stock, and that'll have to be removed back as far as the GC extends into the barrel. If you're doing that, you might as well open up the existing ferrule as part of the process. Of course, if the existing ferrule is easy to get off (mine was on a USGI walnut stock), you might as well put the NM ferrule on and use it as a template to sand out the wood.
In earlier years, we took ferrules and other parts off crappy stocks at the RTE shop. I used to buy the dozen count "ugly stock" specials from Fred's just to harvest the stock parts. Because I didn't care about the stocks other than for scrap wood pieces, I would cut the ferrule and tennon off the stock and then dig out the wood from the crimped style ferrule using chisels. Then I bend or pein the crimped edges flat, and reparkerize them for later use.
Getting the crimped style ferrules off a stock without dinging or gouging the stock is pretty difficult to impossible unless you use a block of some kind to ensure you don't mar the wood behind the ferrule. I bought a pair of both the red vice pads (for wood and soft stuff) and the green ones (for metal and tougher items) from brownell's and use them for this work.
The hobbyist can do the same thing with plywood "plates" and glue leather on them.
You ONLY do one side at a time to get the bent edge pried up a bit. You carefully align the hard edge of the vice pad on one side so it is at least even with or slightly forward of the wood shoulder. That will be the point you pry against when you bend the bent edge of the bend upwards, so you don't ding the wood shoulder of the stock. Use a small screwdriver and jam it down behind the center of the bend in the ferrule and then bend it up a little. Move the small screwdriver left and right to bend more of the bend upwards. Do this until the bend is up high enough to clear the wood tennon. Then do the other side. Then drive the ferrule off by tapping lightly on the ferrule ONLY on the inside of the stock. Use a hard wood dowel or a nylon as a punch that you tap with a hammer. That will keep from dinging up the rear of the stock ferrule. After you get the ferrule off, you have to smooth the bent areas with flat pliers or making an anvil where you can flatten the metal by peening. Then it is usually best to refinish the ferrule or at least use cold blue to cover any exposed metal on the outside of the ferrule.
Folks, does this sound like a complete PITA ??!! Well, you are correct it is. Honestly, if I'm confronted with a ferrule with bent in sides, I either modify it to NM inside shape on the stock or cut into the ferrule on both sides with a carbide ball cutter around the crimp/bend so I can pry up the bends from the front and when I get the ferrule off, I just throw it away and use another ferrule.
Normally, I just modify the ferrule on the stock to the NM inside dimensions using round files and cylindrical carbide cutters. That always loosens up the non crimped ferrules enough I can drive them off the stock without damaging them. Then I roughen the wood all around the stock tennon that will be covered by the ferrule and clean off the finish and roughen the area inside the ferrule that will cover the ferrule. Then I glue the ferrule on with a good two part epoxy glue and clean off any glue that squooshes out with Q Tips dipped in acetone. Let it dry overnight and you are done.
thanks for the info. at the range polygunner noticed my gas cylinder was probably touching the stock. when i got home i checked it out, and sure enough it was. so i decided to go with nm ferrule as long as i was going to be removing wood. i did finally get the ferrule off, with no damage to the stock. i am now going to use a rat tail to remove enough wood to get a good clearance between stock and gc.
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