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Old July 23, 2011, 01:46 AM   #1
lwakefie
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hard bolt closing and opening

At the range today my Savage 300WSM fired a shotgun pattern. The bolt closed hard and opened harder. 150 grain spitzer bullets about 3100 fps, not hot just warm loads. OAL was 2.80. I noticed the hard bolt closing and opening the last time I shot it too. At home I cleaned the chamber with a brush and it did not seem dirty. Ran the spent cases through my Lee full length sizer and test chambered the empty sized ctg cases...same thing - hard bolt closer and opening. I checked the depth setting on the sizer die and it was spot on. Checked the ctg case length and shoulder length and they were right. This brass (WW cases) has been reloaded maybe 4-5 times but is in good shape visually. Any ideas? I have a similar problem with my Savage in 2506 caliber however with those I use a collet die that does not full length resize and they have been reloaded a few more times.
Larry
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Old July 23, 2011, 06:04 AM   #2
GURU1911
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BOLT ISSUES

Put a few drop of your favorite lube on the cocking cam & locking lugs on the bolt. Also, check the tightness of the action screws on the stock. Your rifle should not be dispersing holes on the paper as you have described in the opening lines of your question.

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Old July 23, 2011, 07:01 AM   #3
dahermit
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Hard bolt lift after firing is usually an indication of high pressure. Examine the fired cases for other signs of high pressure as per your loading manual. Amount of case head expansion, relative primer flattening. If the problem is not evident there, then entertain other possible causes.
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:21 AM   #4
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If the bolt is closing hard on resized cases I think you need to bump the Shoulder back a tad. How can your die be properly adjusted when the brass isn't fitting your Chamber well enough to close the bolt easily ? As far as the hard opening goes , I would see how it acts after you adjust the die so that cases chamber easily . If it's still sticky Id look for pressure signs , and back the load off a tad and see how it acts . The WSMs headspace on the shoulder , your Rifle will tell you when you get it right , not some measuring device !
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:56 AM   #5
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While everyone is correct about high pressure being one culprit in the bolt being hard to open, there is one other thing to look for on the Savage. The front action screw. The front action screw can bind against the locking lugs on the bolt, making "hard opening" a problem.

Recently, my Savage .30-06 started exhibiting the same problem, and I went though all the drills trying to figure out what the problem might be. The ammo I was using was standard pressure ammo, the rifle has never caused me any problems. the bolt was extremely stiff on opening and closing. I cleaned everything and couldn't isolate the problem. I finally took the rifle to my gunsmith, who looked at it for several hours, then noticed that the front action screw seemed to bind when the bolt is operated. He took two threads off, and voila! Problem solved.

Loosen your front action screw and see if the binding goes away. If so, you need to grind a couple of threads off that screw.
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Old July 23, 2011, 08:33 AM   #6
SurplusShooter
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Pawpaws advice is good and if the problem still presits take it to a smith and have them look it over.
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Old July 23, 2011, 08:57 AM   #7
reloader28
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Make sure you are FL sizing.
Look and see if there is daylight between the shell holder and the die while there is a case in the die.
If there is, turn the die down some more and try the fit in your gun again.
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Old July 23, 2011, 09:34 AM   #8
mehavey
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Question #1: Is this an old problem? (If the answer is yes, then we run down a different line of questions)

Question #2: Is the bolt hard to open/close without a case in the action ? (If yes, then we look at a new line of questions)

Question #3: is the bolt hard to open/close on new commercial ammunition? (If the answer is yes, we have a new line of questions)

Now if we are at this point... [w/ a No, No, No], ...now we have a case-condition problem.

Quote:
I have a similar problem with my Savage in 2506 caliber however with those I use a collet die that does not full length resize and they have been reloaded a few more times.
This is a clue to both problems. Neck-only sizing works for 4-6 reloads before brass flow finally adds up to cause case growth beyond chamber dimensions -- and a FL/bump-back is required to start the cycle over again.

This is also one of those times when I advocate trying the cam-over setting on the sizing die to absolutely Full Length resize down to SAAMI new-ammo specs. If the problem goes away, ...then you have isolated the problem. [at least it does if the Lee die is in spec]

For that reason, I also suggest you get a Precision Mic and/or the Hornady headspace gauge set; zero/baseline it on a new (unfired) case; and measure case growth/dimensions as you reload from now on.

Last edited by mehavey; July 23, 2011 at 11:28 AM.
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Old July 23, 2011, 10:00 AM   #9
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I keep a box of commercial reloads for all the guns I have. I use them as test cases for situations like this.

I like the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principal when I work on things. Sometimes we jump to the most difficult solution first. (OK, Sometimes I jump to the most difficult solution first, then have to work backwards.)

If the commercial ammo works fine, there is a problem somewhere on your loading bench. If you have the same problem with commercial ammo, there is a problem somewhere with the rifle.
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Old July 23, 2011, 02:08 PM   #10
lwakefie
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hard bolt closing and opening

After reading all your suggestions I decided to reset the sizing die deeper. That DID cure the problem with the hard bolt closure and opening on empty resized cases. Happy. Happy. Help me with the terminology of action screws please. Is the screw closest to the muzzle called the recoil lug screw and the one closest to the trigger called the front action screw? I ask because PawPaw suggested I check the front action screw. After cleaning the rifle yesterday I checked both screws. I tightened first the forward screw then the rear one about a full turn each. I must admit I tightened them fairly snug using an allen wrench and no torque wrench. I do not know what the proper torque value is anway. This morning when I tried to open the bolt it would not open at all. Hmm, that is puzzling as there is no ctg case in the chamber. But the light in my head went on when I remembered tightening the action screws. So I loosened the front screw a half turn and the bolt opened normally. More Happy Happy. (Can you see me smiling?) So now I wonder about Paw Paw's problem with the front action screw binding on the bolt. If that is my problem would there be a registration mark on the bolt and if so where would it be? I suspect I just hogged both screws too tight and bound the action against the stock. Back to the range tomorrow for more testing. I will have to buy a FL sizer for my 2506.
thanks again all
Larry
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Old July 23, 2011, 02:22 PM   #11
riverwalker76
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Are you using a picatinny rail mount for your scope?

Check the front screw to make sure it isn't interfering with the bolt position.

Remingtons and Savages are notorious for this, as they tend to place the front scope rail mounting hole right in front of the barrel and chamber. If you use too long of a screw to tighten down the rail it will obstruct your bolts operation.

A lot of people think that it's an ammo issue, when actually their front scope rail mounting screw is blocking the bolts path.


If everything is in order ... check this off of your list. I always look for mechanical problems before moving on to ammo related issues.

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Old July 23, 2011, 02:49 PM   #12
dahermit
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Quote:
While everyone is correct about high pressure being one culprit in the bolt being hard to open, there is one other thing to look for on the Savage. The front action screw. The front action screw can bind against the locking lugs on the bolt, making "hard opening" a problem.

Recently, my Savage .30-06 started exhibiting the same problem, and I went though all the drills trying to figure out what the problem might be. The ammo I was using was standard pressure ammo, the rifle has never caused me any problems. the bolt was extremely stiff on opening and closing. I cleaned everything and couldn't isolate the problem. I finally took the rifle to my gunsmith, who looked at it for several hours, then noticed that the front action screw seemed to bind when the bolt is operated. He took two threads off, and voila! Problem solved.

Loosen your front action screw and see if the binding goes away. If so, you need to grind a couple of threads off that screw.
Excellent information. Sometimes there is a wild card in play that would be over looked.
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Old July 23, 2011, 03:31 PM   #13
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Yup. Love it when gun-specific experience applies like that.

lwakefie,

You want to be able to put action screws snug enough that the gun can't change position in the action under recoil. I would follow Paw-paw's advice to grind a turn or two off the end of that screw. I don't know what kind of stock you have, but it may be soft. If so, you're rifle is a good candidate for pillar bedding.

Action screw torque numbers vary. You might contact Savage Customer service for a specific recommendation. Around 15-20 in-lbs isn't uncommon. 50 in-lbs, like the Choate stocks use, requires hardened screws and a very strong stock. I hope those numbers give you some sense of the range.
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