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Old February 2, 2013, 11:56 AM   #1
Join Date: January 19, 2006
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Savage Long-Range Rifle Build

Howdy folks. I'm looking to rebarrel by Savage Model 10 from 300 WSM to something milder. I'm thinking about going to to varmint contoured Shilen barrel. I already know I'll need to order a large shank barrel, a new bolt face, and tweak the magazine lips. The use of the finished gun will primarily something fun to take to the range and maybe try F-class (if available locally). We also go on a deer hunt every 1-2 years, so I would like something with enough punch to take medium game cleanly. However, I think I'll have access to a loaner deer rifle so this would be a just-in-case capability and most of our hunting is from a stand anyway.

I was originally leaning toward .308 Winchester, but a recent visit to Cabela's and through the internet let me know everything 'tactical' is out of stock and will be for many, many months, maybe years. So would it be be a good idea to switch to the something smaller and lighter? I think a 7mm-08 or .260 Remington will work pretty good at range, and have less recoil than the .308 Win. The biggest problem is this would move the gun from F-TR class to F open class. I would also like to keep the reloading supplies realitivly easy to find/inexpensive

So backstory aside, my questions are:

Would a Savage with a Shilen barrel, amateur glass bedding job, a Bell and Carson stock, a decent $300-$400 scope and Timney trigger be decently competitive in either F-TR or F-open class competition?

How would you expect a gun setup as such to shoot? Accuracy, recoil, heat walking, etc.

Does anyone know of long range competitions in the North TX area? A fellow shooter mentioned something about long range rifle at TacPro in Stephenville. Does anyone have experiences or other locations?

Is their any harm with using a faster than normal twist barrel? I'm thinking 1-10” for 308, 1-9” for 7mm-08 and .260. I will be using long Seirra Matchkings for targets, and medium weight SSTs or Ballistic Tips for deer/pigs.
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:22 PM   #2
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Primers and powder are in short supply everywhere, so reloading is going to be difficult regardless of what you choose. Popular bullets seem to be in short supply as well. So I can't really say anything except good luck.

I've rebarreled a few Savage actions and while yours can be done I'd sell it off and buy a different rifle. First off you'll have to change out the bolt head, and if you're going to run it as a repeater the magazine as well neither of which is hard to do. WSM rifles are usually large shank barrels which are a little tougher to find sometimes if you're looking for an instock barrel. Small shank Savages are more plentiful so there are a lot more readily available barrels out there.

The next thing is that Savage already makes an F-class rifle for around $1200 and you're going to spend a good portion that on the parts to rebarrel. Figure $350 for the barrel, $100 for the trigger, $60 for a bolt head, $30 for a new recoil lug, $30 for a new bolt handle, $250 for the B&C stock. So you're around $400 shy of a new F-class rifle and I'm betting you can get that for your WSM. I didn't include the prices of a barrel nut wrench or any other tools like barrel vise, action wrench, and heaespace gauges that make your build go easier as well. If you want to rebarrel your rifle go for it but don't think you'll be getting by a lot cheaper in the long run. I did a LR .243 Win build and broke $1600 total on it quite rapidly.
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Last edited by taylorce1; February 2, 2013 at 10:14 PM.
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:28 PM   #3
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Sure, why not???
You should get suitable accuracy with the Shilen and the components you mentioned.

You do handload, right?

I shoot a Savage "built" 7-08 long range (565 and 1000 yards) in a self-made stock, epoxy and pillar bedded. Barrel is a Shaw 9.5 twist, I prefer the 162 Amax (over H4350 for me).

The 7-08 and .260/6.5 Creed are pretty similar, I think the .260 might have a slight ballistic edge, but the 7-08 will give you more energy for a hunting application so that's worth evaluating.

The 7mm, 162 Amax has an incredible BC and cheats the wind like nobody's business...
But I've found, that in my rifle, it actually shoots the 150 SMK a bit tighter up to the 565 range. But since I shoot both distances at the range, I go with the AMax because the higher BC (.625 vs. .429) leaves the SMK in the dirt at 1000.

Good choices, good luck.

Edit to add:
What is mentioned above is also true. Savage 12's helped Team USA win the F-T/R World Championship a few years ago. Depends on whether you want the "fun" of a build and whatever satisfaction you get from having done it yourself, or buying the stock rifle. Either will get you where you want to be.
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Old February 2, 2013, 07:55 PM   #4
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Look Into The .25-06 Rem.

Not sure if your action can take the length of the .25-06 Rem, but look into it. The .25-06 is light, fast, and hard hitting with little recoil. It has the accuracy to take varmint shots but retains the energy to take deer sized game, even as big as elk sometimes. It is my favorite full powered rifle cartridge.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:47 PM   #5
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.260 Remington is the cartridge you want. It's ballistic advantage is great over the .308. It's got less recoil, less drop, less wind drift and keeps its velocity longer. It's got more then enough energy to take medium sized game like deer. You have to get to the 180grain .284 bullets to have a higher BC than the 140 grain .264 bullets, according to Berger's website. That's a good bit of extra recoil to get the same results, IMO.

For the twist, you need 1-8 to shoot the 142 SMKs, 140 Bergers or 139 Scenars which are the most popular long range bullets. The smaller 120s and 130s will generally shoot out of 1-9 barrels.

The Shilens are great barrels, and I would expect the gun to not be the limiting factor. You, the guy pulling the trigger, is going to be a bigger variable. As long as you are good enough to be competitive, your rifle will get you there. Personally, the absolute minimum I consider to be a long range scope is the Nikon Monarch. I like the 14x power, which will run you about $475. Others will disagree that is can be done with lower quality.. others will say you have to have higher quality... YMMV.
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Old February 2, 2013, 09:59 PM   #6
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You have to get to the 180grain .284 bullets to have a higher BC than the 140 grain .264 bullets
You are right about the better BC but you'll never be able to shoot those long bullets out of a short action receiver unless you seat the bullets so deeply that you start loosing powder capacity.
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Old February 2, 2013, 11:09 PM   #7
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You are right about the better BC but you'll never be able to shoot those long bullets out of a short action receiver unless you seat the bullets so deeply that you start loosing powder capacity.
That is why you go with a 6.5 Creedmoor, its shortened case was designed so that the long 140+ grain could be seated without case intrusion and still fit in a short action magazine.
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Old February 3, 2013, 09:26 PM   #8
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Thanks all for the replies. As whether or not to sell and go factory, I have already put the trigger, bipod, stock and two bedding jobs in this rifle, so I don't think I'll sell it. The large shank barrel is an annoyance, and after I'm worn the new barrel out I'll return it to the .300 WSM setup and start over with a small shank Savage action. By then I should have better idea of what I really want out of long range rifle.

As good the 6.5 Creemoor is, it would be nice to have a common caliber. That way, local stores will have brass after the rush dies down, and I can pick up a box of factory hunting ammo if the need arises.

The .25-06 cartridge looks perfect for our hunting setup, but it's only for long actions and the Savage 10 cannot handle anything much longer than the .308. I'll probably pick up a second rifle in this little hotrod when I get tired of lugging a 12 pound rifle to the stand or borrowing a loaner.

I'm really leading toward the 7mm-08. It seems to have identical ballistics as a mid-weight .308 Win with the BC of a the heavy weight 30 BTHPs. I also like the idea of a mid-priced Nikon as the starter scope. The only other real contender is a Bushnell Elite or fixed power Weaver.
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Old February 4, 2013, 09:22 AM   #9
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I shoot the 162 AMAX from my 7-08, BC is .625..
The .308, 175 grain SMK is you said, you have to step up to the magnum "class" bullets- 210 grain with .645- to top the 7mm.

Good choice. Be sure you get a fast-twist barrel...
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Old February 4, 2013, 12:55 PM   #10
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I shoot the 260 Rem,6.5 Creedmoor,7mm-08,and 308. All are great calibers,but if your wanting to shoot long range,go with the 6.5 Creedmoor. You won't regret it.
I shoot 130 & 140gr Berger VLD's out of the 260 and 6.5 CM. With the 6.5 CM,I have all kinds of space left in the magazine with these bullets,and the 260 is out past mag length at 2.810". I load them at 2.877" for the Creedmoor-.010" off the lands.

Brass hasn't ever been hard to get,and I also found a place that sells once fired brass for it.
I've never tried factory ammo,but there has always been some on the shelves when I go to the store for it.

I also agree with others,sell your short mag rifle,and either buy a new Savage,or build one off a standard action. I built mine off a Savage Varmint action with the Target Accu-trigger,with an E.R.Shaw 26" 1-8 twist varmint contour barrel that I got on a group buy for $160.

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Old February 4, 2013, 04:51 PM   #11
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Txhillbilly, that is one fine looking Savage!!! bet it shoots as well as it looks..
Thanks for coming!
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Old February 5, 2013, 11:16 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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I think you could do ok in FTR with a rig like that in .308; it is pretty much what I use, a BVSSS with Pacnor barrel and glass bed.

You would be at a disadvantage in F open unless everything went together just right.

I know one top F man who shoots a 7mm WSM.

I don't know what $400 scope would do the job, though..
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