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Old September 22, 2012, 08:22 PM   #1
Brian Pfleuger
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Savage 11 Conversion

I've run into a couple of curiosities on a Savage 11 conversion project, so I thought I'd expose my ignorance by posing the questions to the experts...

The gun is a 2011/12 production Savage 11 chambered in 270WSM. I am converting it to .243AI with a McGowen "Pre-fit" barrel.

I've run into the difference between "push-feed" and "center-feed" systems as well as the need to convert the bolt head.

Issue #1
I obviously need a 243 appropriate bolt head. Same bolt head as .308Win, I presume and am told.
The problem: Savage .308 bolt heads measure (according to Brownell's) either 1.625" or 1.435" long... the current bolt head is 1.545" long. What to do? Get the 1.625 and use a spacer/washer?

Issue #2
I assume also that I will need to replace the magazine follower.
Problem: I can't seem to find a 308/243 follower that indicates that it's made for the "current" spring type in the magazine and...
Problem 2: I don't know, does the conversion of the follower convert the gun from "center-feed" to "push feed", as I assume?

Also, if any of you gents would like to make my life easier by loaning me a Savage barrel nut wrench and especially a 243AI Go Gauge, I'd be much abliged. Send a PM if anyone is willing.
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Old September 23, 2012, 08:24 AM   #2
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If that Savage uses a detachable (like mine)magazine the get a new mag, for the .243 win. The tech from Savage might have insight on which bolt head you'll need for that application. I bet that sucker will be nice... I shoot alot of .243 win but no AI. good luck peetz!
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Old September 23, 2012, 10:09 AM   #3
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I don't think the length of the bolthead will matter, since the "difference" will be taken up when you screw in the barrel and headspace it- but I'm not sure.

My thinking is you're just going from a magnum bolthead to a .308 one...

Suggest you call PTG- they've got some really great precision products.

http://www.pacifictoolandgauge.com/s...erformance.htm

Got my Savage factory barrel off last night (wow- what a biatch) and screwing on the new one today, I also am replacing the factory recoil lug with a precision lug that's machined, not stamped like the factory lugs. Worth the extra $30 while you're at it..
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Old September 23, 2012, 11:42 AM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobnpr View Post
I don't think the length of the bolthead will matter, since the "difference" will be taken up when you screw in the barrel and headspace it- but I'm not sure.

My thinking is you're just going from a magnum bolthead to a .308 one...

Suggest you call PTG- they've got some really great precision products.

http://www.pacifictoolandgauge.com/s...erformance.htm

Got my Savage factory barrel off last night (wow- what a biatch) and screwing on the new one today, I also am replacing the factory recoil lug with a precision lug that's machined, not stamped like the factory lugs. Worth the extra $30 while you're at it..
That's an interesting point about the length. The only issue would be if the difference is in the shaft or the head. If it's in the head it shouldn't matter. If its in the shaft there would be the issue of the washer that provides tension to hold it centered.

I will be getting a new recoil lug.

I hear that getting the barrel off is a lot easier if you apply heat.
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Old September 23, 2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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Yeah, I did apply some heat with a small butane torch. Didn't want to push it and risk affecting the temper of the receiver. I didn't see any threadlocker- I can't imagine how much torque they put on that barrel at the factory...

Sharp whacks with a dead-blow hammer busted it loose eventually. That's after I came across a tip to use powder (no rosin at the house!) in my homemade barrel blocks to keep the barrel from slipping.

Screwed the new one on just now (with anti-seize!), after grinding out and re-doing the bedding for the recoil lug.

Let us know about the bolthead...
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Old September 23, 2012, 04:40 PM   #6
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What kind of powder did you use?

I'm figuring on ripping a V-channel in a couple pieces of 2x6 and putting it in a vise.
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Old September 23, 2012, 05:58 PM   #7
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Just baby powder...worked great.
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Old September 25, 2012, 10:13 AM   #8
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Well, it turns out that the dimensions are different on both the shaft length and the head itself. I'm not sure it matters though. The PTG heads are sold with no indication of differences except appropriate cartridges. I think I'll order one of theirs.
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Old September 25, 2012, 03:21 PM   #9
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The newer Savage actions are center-feed, older (like mine) are staggered-feed.
My mag is attached to the receiver- yours would remain in the stock when you remove the receiver.

Just "ASSuming" here- but it looks like you need to replace the magazine, not just the follower (?) due to the fact that you have a center feed. Were it a staggered-feed, I think just the spring follower would need to be replaced.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/305...tainless-steel
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Old September 29, 2012, 09:26 AM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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Well, I remove and examined the magazine and follower. The follower appears very generic and I see no reason why it would need to be changed.

The only thing that seemed wrong was the feed lips.

Being that the magazine is basically worthless as-is anyway, I decided to see if I could just make it work.

I used some 243 cases and slowly bent the feed lips until they appeared to fit the 243 case the same as they had fit the 270WSM case.

The magazine now works fine with the 243 cases. I probably won't know for sure until I get the proper bolt head installed but I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work.
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Old September 29, 2012, 10:08 AM   #11
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Sweet, I hope it works fine.
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Old October 5, 2012, 02:23 PM   #12
griff383
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Im guessing that the barrel has been removed by this point but Ill add a method that has worked for me in case someone else runs into this.

A large crescent wrench that fits the recoil lug can help to hold the action, I use tape on the inside of the wrench as well as the action itself. I line my vise (regular bench type) with a piece of cardboard and some strips of thick leather. I get everything lined up so that the wrench is resting on the edge of the bench and tight against the recoil lug. Then I crank the barrel down as hard as I can (dont use a cheater bar) as long as it doesnt slip you wont mark it up. I put a 18" breaker bar on the savage barrel wrench and lean into it slightly to make sure all holds well. Then its a matter of applying enough force to break the nut loose. They are very tight from the factory but once you get it off it will never get that tight again unless you ate spinach for dinner.

I have heard of a method where you simply align the crescent wrench and barrel wrench so that when set on the floor they hold the action up 3-5" (think like a little a-frame) then step or hop on it slightly.
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Old October 6, 2012, 04:20 PM   #13
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Yeah...so how'd the barrel removal go?
No doubt they have gorillas at the factory torquing the barrel nuts...
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Old October 6, 2012, 04:36 PM   #14
Brian Pfleuger
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Haven't gotten to it yet, unfortunately. I don't have a barrel wrench yet. I'm wondering if there's a normal wrench that will fit it. My measurements show it as 1.229 inches. That's almost exactly 1 3/16.
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Old October 7, 2012, 11:35 AM   #15
tobnpr
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You could try a pipe wrench on it, I'm guessing it would work but would likely trash the nut...but, you could always buy a new nut for ten bucks.

I'd be happy to loan you mine as you requested, but I think that by the time you just pay postage both ways you may as well buy it. I too looked at renting one here:
http://www.4-dproducts.com/displayit...=41&tname=tool

But heck, when you can buy it for $25 ( a few bucks less if you have dealer pricing)- and it comes with two wrenches; one for the smooth barrel nut as well- it just made more sense to buy it IMO. I'm sure I'll use it again someday.

The Wheeler wrench also has the hole for a torque wrench for installing the new barrel.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/288...-savage-10-110
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Old October 10, 2012, 12:20 AM   #16
Scorch
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Quote:
My measurements show it as 1.229 inches. That's almost exactly 1 3/16.
1-3/16" would be 1.187", that is an oddball, it's like 1-15/64"
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Old October 10, 2012, 01:23 PM   #17
Brian Pfleuger
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That's true, I guess "almost exactly" is open to interpretation. It's only about 1/32 off of 1 3/16th so I was hoping it might be close enough. I suspect, even if I had the theoretical exact size traditional wrench, the spacing of the nubs would be the problem rather than an exact size match.
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Old October 20, 2012, 07:44 PM   #18
Brian Pfleuger
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Well, I rented a wrench and gauge set from 4-D Reamers. They arrived today.

I used blue painters tape to protect the receiver and barrel, put the recoil lug in a large crescent wrench, put the thing on the floor with the barrel nut wrench on and stepped on it. It came off much easier than I expected.

Unfortunately, no one has had bolt heads in stock until today, MidWayUSA finally has OEM heads. I was hoping for a PTG but they apparently only do runs when they have enough back-orders, as they are currently showing 40 back-ordered and it's climbing every day with a 6-10 week estimate.

I ordered the OEM head from MidWay as I need this gun done before deer season starts in about 3 weeks.

I loose fit the barrel in the receiver to see how it fit the stock and it's actually quite good. There is a tiny contact area right at the tip of the stock but I'll be able to sand that off easily.

Next year, I'll get a much better stock and the PTG head. I just need to have it "huntable" right now.

In case any one is interested, I have the stock barrel and bolt head listed for sale in the Rifle Gun Show forum.
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Old October 28, 2012, 05:54 PM   #19
Brian Pfleuger
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In case anyone is interested in how this project is coming together...

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=505012
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