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Old August 10, 2017, 05:56 AM   #1
fourbore
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Barrel swapping questions on savage rifles

I plan to change caliber on a short action savage. i have a take off barrel. I have on order a pair of go & nogo gauges and a wheeler wench for the barrel nut. I was planning to try and drill a hole into a pair of hardwood blocks to use as a barrel vise in my bench vise. I have the scope base removed as well.

Question 1. Can I simply put the receiver in the vise with padded jaws and hold onto the recoil lug. That lug is keyed into the receiver. Is it strong enough?

Question 2. Both barrels have the caliber and model name and it would be nice to mount the barrel with the barrel markings in the right location. Can I do that, or is it just random luck using the go gauge? How is it the factory barrels all line up? Are they stamped after mounting?
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Old August 10, 2017, 03:50 PM   #2
std7mag
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I would/did spend the $50 on a barrel vise.
You may need to put a punch in the blowout hole to get that first turn on the receiver. Especially if the front base screws were a little long.
The caliber/ wording on the barrel should, theoretically, line up fairly close.
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Old August 10, 2017, 05:06 PM   #3
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You can drill out a wood block and cut in half. I suggest oak as the wood. Drill it out just about the barrel diameter size. When placing the barrel in your block and vise I suggest a piece of lead shim stock dipped in a good rosin.
PURE LEAD BARREL VISE SHIMS
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You mentioned the wrench was on order and with a Savage I don't believe you need an action wrench. Make sure you index the recoil lug and it should go fine and make sure your bolt face is correct for the old and new caliber (head diameter).

Ron
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Old August 10, 2017, 08:55 PM   #4
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Smooth barrel nut, or notched?
If it's the smooth nut, forget about using the nut wrench for removal. I can almost guarantee slipping no matter what you do, I gave up on trying to re-use those long ago and instead put the action in the action wrench head (held in a bench vise) and a pipe wrench to remove the nut. In fact, even with the slotted nut you should consider replacing it with a trued nut (and precision ground lug while you're at it). Northland Shooters (Jim) has everything you need including a quality, reasonably priced action wrench (they fit 700's also, fyi...). Factory nuts are torqued on with apes...

Keeping the action from rotating (and changing your headspace) can be tricky without a barrel vise, action wrench, and nut wrench. Usually tightening the nut with the barrel only in a vise will result in even slight rotation of the action as well- which you can't allow.

Also, you may have problems with a straight bored hole in wood blocks holding onto your barrel if it's a light contour with a lot of taper. Not enough surface area contact. Use rosin (or even powdered sugar) to help.

Q2: You answered your own question correctly. I engrave barrels after headspacing/witness marks punched. No way to know exactly where it's going to end up. Legally, they can't sell you a chambered barrel without it. It SHOULD be "close" as mentioned if the case head protrusion is within spec. as it should be.
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Last edited by tobnpr; August 10, 2017 at 09:12 PM.
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Old August 10, 2017, 09:30 PM   #5
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I've re-barreled a couple of Savages using home made blocks for a homemade barrel clamp device(mine is actually made to fit the drawbar of a 18,000# farm tractor so is substantially anchored). When it comes time to "break" the barrel nut loose and re-tighten it after setting up the new barrel, I found I needed an action wrench to hold the action while the barrel vise supported the barrel and provided stability for the torquing of the barrel nut.
FWIW, I didn't use any gauges and set the headspace using a box of Remington factory loaded ammo. Both jobs work perfectly even w/o the expense of buying gauges.
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Old August 11, 2017, 10:30 AM   #6
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I have done 6 or 8 swaps now.

First if its a smooth nut you will have to use a pipe wrench, if tis a buggger then you will need to cut it (carefully, you can sell the old barrel if its not messed up)

I prefer the NSS (Northland Shooter Supply) action wrench that is setup for Savage and it has good instruction for toque on the action wrench fasteners as well as torques for the Savage nut (they also have very nice nuts if yours is a smooth one)

The original nuts can be tough, NSS has the wrench to break the segmented ones loose, get the long one, it had more leverage and square holed (1/2 inch for the bar) you can put a breaker bar into to extend that more.

With the NSS action you don't need the barrel vice.

With the barrel vice you need the action wrench to break off the first one but not after as they are not put back on.

note: Savage does not locktite the stuff on, they do polish things and they don't remove the polish (little beads). Those get in the threads and dependent on how much has fallen off or the installer blows off, is what makes it a bugger or comes off easy.

Foot lbs is only about 50 to 80, the beads can make it far more.

I can supply more if needed.
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Old August 11, 2017, 08:19 PM   #7
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I did not realize the nut could be so hard to remove. Mine is the notched type.

I am curious, how do you 'carefully' cut the barrel nut without damage to the barrel?
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Old August 11, 2017, 09:35 PM   #8
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Patience, and lots of it.
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Old August 11, 2017, 10:09 PM   #9
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My rough guess is the hard ones are one in three to one in 8.

First go is to use the wrench on your nutted one. It may break loose pretty easy.

I don't know if the wheeler has the handle, NSS does, put in vice, handle bearing against the bench, solid.

Go with the long wrench (14 inch not the 4 inc). Worst case you will need a 1/2 inch breaker bar. It can be a cheap one.

No you will never get the stuff lined up again. Not a clue how Savage does it. Easiest is to post stamp.

I have an XC barrel, if I get it right one way its too tight, right the other way and the headspace is way long.

Of course you can fire form the brass but you will need to know to bump it back only .003 at most, all the way and your brass will go.

Fun stuff, lots to learn.
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Old August 15, 2017, 07:08 PM   #10
fourbore
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I got the barrel off today. I used a block of maple with two iron straps for a barrel vise. That vise in the jaws of a bench vise. The nut wrench is a wheeler (made in china) and a 1/2 inch breaker bar. I guess I did not have one of the badly over torqued guns. Even if not a tough one, I was right at the gripping limit of the maple. The barrel spun a bit and it just barely held enough.

I did not see any bead blasting residue. My gun is brush stainless, not matt. Maybe the older guns were cleaner.

Thank you all for the help. it going to be all down hill from here
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Old August 16, 2017, 12:56 PM   #11
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Good news then.

As for hard, the worst one was a 111 that was 15 years old.

Its a matter of chance on how much media gets into the threads.

The smooth nuted one was easy with an 12 inch pipe wrench.

I am having a hard time with the picture.

If you have an action wrench that is clamped in a vice there is not need for a barrel vice.

http://northlandshooterssupply.com/n...t-gunsmithing/
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Old August 16, 2017, 03:50 PM   #12
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An action wrench might be a handy tool to keep keep the head space correct while torquing the nut. I saw that on you tube. I ordered one from Brownell before I got the barrel off. I may end up with a belt and suspenders. Or I may return the suspenders.
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Old August 16, 2017, 05:23 PM   #13
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^^
This is what I said in #4. Barrel in the vise, one hand on the action wrench to keep it from spinning when the nut is torqued. Just 1/8" of movement will decrease headspace by roughly .002; assuming it's correctly set at .001-.0015 over initially any movement can result in not being able to chamber ammo.
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Old August 16, 2017, 06:25 PM   #14
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Oh yea, I am getting a little slow on the recall. I went back and re-read post #4. You said "tricky". Indeed. I been just playing around with the parts and it is just a little movement will change the head space.
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Old August 17, 2017, 11:46 AM   #15
RC20
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I simply use the action wrench and hold the barrel by hand.

Some of them move a shade, if so, I check head space and if its still acceptable , no reason to change it. I suppose you could use a clamped block of wood and a pipe wrench to hold in place,

If I am truly determined on an exact head space, then a bit of Kentucky windage (not McConnell) is done and I start a bit further out and let it move in.

Head space is a pretty serious mis understood time. It can be highly varieable.

My 1917 30-06 guns have it so far out that the bolt almost fully closes on a field reject gauge. SAMMI shortened up the chamber a bit when they made the round official civilian.

As long as the round fired, all it does in that case is fire form to the longer head space (bad things do not happen) and if you then accept that as the norm and set back the shoulder .003 maxim when you re-size, full length, you are good.

You can go the opposite as well, you can make the head space shorter than a go gauge. As long as a new piece of brass fits, you are fine. You do need to be sure the die will bump back the shoulder at least .0015 - .002.

And while the agues are very useful, they are not factory brass with its variations (nor a gun chamber with its variations)
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Old August 17, 2017, 11:56 AM   #16
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For an example in head space working.

I build a 7.5 x 55 (Swiss) on a Savage actin (which is a hell of a cartrdie by the way)

I also have a K-31. I wanted to match the chambers so I could use the brass in either gun once resized.

I had a singnain battle to get there. I fought head space gauges back and forth.

I finally set it, shot it and found the 7.5 Savae was shorter than I wanted.

I just undid the nut, moved the barrel out a tad, set it again and checked that a K-31 load fit fine.

I then fired it. Its so close that I can do the same bump back on both guns (and the K-31 is way out there, almost field reject)

Sompelace between the Eurpeoain SAMMI converiosn and the K-31, the chamber is ot quite what the head space gauges say it is.

I was to able to get it head spaced with a fired cartridge from the K-31 either (closer but not where it needed to be)

However, once I establish where I was at I was able to do a bit of Kentucky wind age and get it to where I wanted it.

The driving factor is the original case has to have enough resistance on the shoulder for the firing pin to activate the primer. If its too far out it won't fire. Sort of does in excessive head space.

Unlcneick might be able to tell us the limit, but if you did a series of fire forming moving the chamber out a bit each time, you could get more case capacity.

Somewhere out there is a limit in the shoulder moving, the neck reducing and its likely not worth it, but for all reality that is what an AI is.
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Old August 18, 2017, 07:29 AM   #17
fourbore
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RC20,

That all makes sense to me. I was (probably remain) under the 'assumption' that keeping the headspace to the min side of the spec would be optimum for factory ammo. I admit, I dont have the experience to really know. I will continue down this path, at least it wont hurt.

Last edited by fourbore; August 18, 2017 at 07:46 AM.
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Old August 18, 2017, 08:02 AM   #18
tobnpr
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Quote:
I was (probably remain) under the 'assumption' that keeping the headspace to the min side of the spec would be optimum for factory ammo
Actually, it's the opposite.
When I set headspace on a customer's barrel (doesn't matter if it's Savage, or shouldered barrel) I always ask whether they shoot factory, or handload.

Handloaders benefit from "tighter headspace" because the brass will expand less and increase case life. Typically, it's the "go" gauge + .001-.0015.

Because of variations in factory ammo, you don't want to set headspace tighter than SAAMI because you may have problems chambering.

There is also the option of setting headspace off of sized brass, or the ammo itself if match grade is used because of the consistency of the datum dimension. However, a variety of factory ammo may be difficult, or not chamber at all if this is done- especially if I set it so that there's slight resistance on closing the bolt (indicating zero clearance from the base of the case to the boltface).

If you're shooting a variety of factory, and the receiver spins when you tighten compensate for it best you can as mentioned above and re-check with your gauges.
Quick and dirty test to be sure it didn't move too far, is to cut a piece of cellophane packaging tape to fit the back of the "go" gauge and check bolt close again- it shouldn't close. Thickness of the tape is roughly three thou, which would be too much.

Be sure to strip the bolt down (no firing pin or ejector) before using the gauges. Impossible to gauge resistance without doing this.
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Old August 18, 2017, 09:24 PM   #19
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I agree on SAMMI and factory ammo.

However, non factory, once a cartridge is fired, it forms to the chamber.

The one time working is not going to affect brass life.

You can work it out as long as you want, most don't, they go with a tight fit from the start as no benefit, but there is no real downside either.


You simply bump the shoulder back the minimum.

Long term you still need to anneal to keep case necks form splitting.

That also would deal with a once or twice fired to extend cases.

I am not recommending it, but there is a huge lack of understanding of what head space is and a lot of severe warnings.

reality is if the head space is excessive to the case in the gun, it won't fire..'

The case just move on down the chamber as the firing pin pushes it and it does not have a place to stop and allow the firing pin to do its job.

The only gun I strip is the Model of 1917, and that is because the cam action is severe and can damage a gauge.

The rest no. Lot of effort for no gain.

Understandably a gun shop may feel lawsuit wise its safer to go the full monty .

I have seen no issues (note that is for Savages, maybe other guns act differently but I have done a few other mfgs with no problems.
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