View Full Version : Savage Barrel Changing

Guy B. Meredith
May 21, 2007, 12:03 AM
Do other vendors have this feature? What is involved time wise, tool wise? Cost of barrels, bolt faces?

May 21, 2007, 12:47 AM
I just did one not long ago Guy... I'll start with basics but if you want you can PM or email with questions.

They key to the easy barrel change with a savage is the barrel locking nut. That allows the chamber to be reamed genericly, even mass produced, without reaming the chamber specifically for that rifle action. I think the only way for the easy barrel change is having a way to "lock" the barrel in any position on the threads. It's not necassary to screw the barrel all the way into the action as you can "lock" it in place with the barrel nut. This allows you to adjust headspace by simply screwing the barrel in or out of the action. Any other rifle the barrel MUST be screwed all the way into the action to a certain tourqe, so it must be headspaced by reaming the chamber to fit that particular action. Savage is the only one that I know of off the top of my head that has the barrel nut from the factory. It's not the prettiest but it's functional and allows people like you and me to do a barrel change without needing any machining tools.

I picked up a barrel from ER Shaw for 168 shipped. Look at their website, they are pretty informative and Chris is awesome to deal with. My Shaw barrel holds under 1/2 moa with factory ammo and off bipods in the prone (no bench). You may want to spend the extra $$$ to have it blued, it's only 40 extra. I tried to cold blue mine myself. I have finally figured out that cold blue is for touch up repair only, so I'm gonna duracoat it eventually. Midway is a good sight to look up, if you need a bolt face then they have the best price around. They also have the barrel nut wrench from Wheeler engineering for a good price. I've pounded the crap out of mine and, though a little bit marred, it is still in perfect working order.

Time wise it can be done in 15 minutes. Tool wise??? I'll list everything you need. Are you doing a caliber change? You may need to get a new bolt face if you're going from .223 to .308 or anything crazy.

There is a Savage forum just for stuff like this, they have an excellent barrel change tutorial that walks you through the whole process. I'll post a link at the bottom.

Anywho, this is an approximate cost list, not in stone.

1. You need a bench vise if you don't have one, not gonna price as it's not a specialty tool.

2. For the barrel vise I used hardwood blocks predrilled to fit the barrel and lined them with rubber. You can make this from stuff laying around so shouldn't cost much of anything.

3. You need barrel nut wrench. Picked mine up for about 22 bucks at midway.

4. You need the barrel. Obviously. 170 from ER Shaw, about 210 blued.

5. If you're changing case deminsions (larger or smaller diameter at the base of the case) you will need a bolt face. Total around 28 dollars or so at midway.

6. Headspace gauges. I used a piece of SAMI spec brass to do this. I know someone out there is gonna call me a retard but again, my rifle holds 1/2 moa with factory ammo. I would recommend if you can afford it get at least get the no go gauge and use the brass as the go gauge. Can be found for around 30 a piece I think. If you buy a set of gauges for the caliber (not a bad idea if you plan on switching barrels often) make sure they are the same name brand.

I did mine with around 220 in tools and everything. I didn't buy the headspace gauges, and didn't get the barrel blued. I did need a bolt face, so if you don't need one then rock on.

Link to Savage forum


Jim Watson
May 21, 2007, 07:16 AM
Savage is the only popularly priced rifle that allows DIY barrel changes as above. I have heard of Remingtons being set up with Savage-type barrel nuts.

There are some Expensive European rifles with interchangeable barrels on various proprietary systems.

Benchrest shooters have switch-barrel rifles made up to shoot in different classes with one action and stock. Their barrels screw in normally but are not torqued as tight as factory and can be changed out with light duty action and barrel wrenches. They have to be fitted and headspaced as usual for the action to be used.