View Full Version : Debugging a .243 Savage 110...ammo problems

August 9, 2002, 06:28 PM
I've been fluffing and buffing a Savage model 110 .243 recently. (This is the gun for deer season next year. :)) This involved bedding the recoil lug, setting the trigger to 3 pounds and removing a place where the side of the forend was touching the barrel.

But a problem appears to be ammo. I started with Remington 100 gr Express. In the two boxes I've shot the usual case expansion appears to be to .4695-.4705 but there have been acouple of shots where it looks seriously overpressured with expansion to .4725, flat primers and more than the usual amount of extrusion into the firing pin hole.

Then in starting handloading I'm finding that with both 85 and 105 gr bullets this gun likes loads of IMR 4381 at much reduced loadings, less than 90% of maximum. No bulging cases nor excessive primer flow but at higher loads the patterns spread out from its 1.5 MOA at lighter loads. Haven't experimented with other powders yet.

Now, this may be all due to the southern heat wave and all problems will disappear by November but I've not had it before in other calibers.

To make a long question shorter is there any pet factory or hand load the .243 shooters here like? Or is there anything strange about Savage 110's I should know about, like short chambers or undersized barrels??

Art Eatman
August 9, 2002, 09:14 PM
My barrel twist on my pet .243 apparently doesn't like 100-grain bullets, so I quit bothering.

But: It just loves the 70-grain Hornady for varmints, or the 85-grain Sierra HPBT for deer or varmints. I've killed some 20 whitetails to 120-lbs field-dressed weight; all were heart or neck shots.

For the 70, I use 40.0 grains of 3031. For the 85, I use 37.5 grains of 3031. Either Remington or Winchester large rifle, non-magnum primer. I suggest starting out at two grains less. (Your obviously inferior rifle will probably blow up if you use my loads. :D Safety warning duly given.)

I once shot through what I thought was one prickly pear leaf, right next to Bambi in line with his heart. I fired; he dropped. On the way to him I found that the bullet had gently curved in its path through five pear leaves, with the remaining piece hitting just below his ear. Nice little ten-pointer, forever after known as "The Prickly Pear Buck". :)


August 10, 2002, 09:43 AM
My barrel twist on my pet .243 apparently doesn't like 100-grain bullets, so I quit bothering.

Which brings to mind the subject of rifling twist rates. AKAIK Winchester has kept the original 1/10 rate for their .243 which was supposed to stabalize the 100 adequately. OTOH Savage lists their .243 barrels as 1/9.25 which is "supposed to" stabalize the bigger bullets. I don't know if this makes a big difference or not but it is a difference.

Having no hunting experiance with the .243 if I might bother you to ask, why the Sierra HP rather than SP? Also do you have any experiance with Speer? Their 85 is a SPBT.

Art Eatman
August 10, 2002, 12:04 PM
Some 30+ years back I got a hangup on boat-tailed bullets. Dunno why; maybe just because they look neat. Some of it is the "way out there" advantage, whether I take a long shot or not. Anyway, that particular bullet was the only 85-grain boat-tail available at that time. It worked quite well, so there never has been any reason to change.

I tend to be of the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." school of thought. :)

Interjection: One of the longest one-shot kills I ever made with my '06 was a buck out at least 350 yards. (My father guesstimated 400.) Wuz loaded up with Remington 150-grain Bronze Points. Flat-based bullet. :D

If your groups are tight with the 100-grain bullets, your twist rate is okay. I had sorry groups with the few 100-grain Noslers I tried. Still have the bullets. Maybeso I'll tweak around and see if I can do better. Dangfino. Check my twist rate; and, might be me, not the gun. However, I can get 3/8 to 5/8 MOA with the other bullets.

:), Art

August 10, 2002, 03:42 PM
If your groups are tight with the 100-grain bullets

For this new gun 1.5 MOA IS tight. I can shoot 3/4 inch groups with the Ruger 270 I've been fiddling with since the mid 70's but that is a whole nother gun.

Thanks! :)