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Old February 4, 2021, 10:18 PM   #1
hal9000
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Savage switch barrel tips and tricks?

Hi all,
I realize I'm in the minority in terms of liking switch barrel setups for hunting, but they solve a handful of problems for me, not the least of which is my desire to tinker!

I have an old savage 110 30-06 that I picked up at a yard sale and have been using for big game for the last handful of years. Its pretty beat and I'm considering overhauling it as a multi caliber rifle. I've done some reading and have a handle on what's needed, but I'd love some specific tips/tricks from anyone that's fixed their barrel nut to maintain headspace when removing/replacing barrels, or who has accurized a 110 hunting rifle (this one is about a 1.5 moa rifle at best and has a ~15moa scope misalignment built in from the factory). Also I still haven't found a well documented savage switch barrel hunting rifle build. If anyone knows of one and wanted to toss a link out there I'd really appreciate it.

I already have a Dimension with a couple barrels, but I like the savage better.

Last edited by hal9000; February 4, 2021 at 10:25 PM.
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Old February 7, 2021, 12:04 PM   #2
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I've never used one as a field-changeable switch-barrel rifle. But I think you would probably benefit from reading this thread at Accurateshooter. With the fine threads on the Savage, it looks like a barrel lubed with anti-seize can be torqued adequately by hand and not come loose. Anti-seize is a little messy, but there are permanent lubes available, like Sprinco's Plate+ Silver, that can get you around that, especially if you do a little light garnet lapping as one of the posts in that thread describes. Indeed, if you have a thousandth of clearance, the receiver and barrel nut and barrel threads could be treated with the Shooter's Solutions product called Moly-Fusion. It makes steel glide on steel like it was waxed, but the coating can be about 0.0004" thick, IIRC, so you want to be sure you have room for that.

Once you have the thread lube of your choice worked out, you may want to look at chamber draw. This is how much the chamber is stretched out by tightening the nut with a headspace GO gauge chambered, as it standard operating procedure with the Savage barrels. Hand tightened, it could still be about +0.002" or so of draw. That may well be acceptable to you, in which case, other than keeping a GO gauge for each barrel caliber, you are done. However, if you are trying to maximize case life and decide you want the chamber at or near the minimum headspace, you can disassemble the bolt and cut out and place shim stock under the GO gauges until you find out just how much shim it takes to get the gauge shoulder to the chamber shoulder. You can then get a short GO gauge made or the one you have reground that much shorter than normal for barrel installation purposes and get a tight chamber every time with them.
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Old February 7, 2021, 01:11 PM   #3
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I am not an advocate for switching barrels around, but I have done exactly what you want to do except its been over a range of Savage Receivers for bull barrel target rifles (30-06, 308, 7.5 Swiss and a 6.5 Lapua on Order)

One of which is a mid 90s era 110 receiver that was 30-06 (and still is). My best gun. The older Savage actions are smoother.

A true switch barrel rifle does not require head space checks and a screw in Savage, Remage or any other barrel does.

Where it matters is not a bad setup but if you size cases and then a bit off on the barrel set, your cases may have too much shoulder (dicier if you do minimum shoulder bump).

Actually I am in that position, when I built the Savage 06 Target I got the chamber a bit long. No issue as the ammo fire formed fine and its good now. But I have eaten the throat out with all the rounds and I need to move it back (as well as extend the COAL out). I have to see how many rounds I have to resize of shoot up if I do that.

The good part of this is you can do all the work yourself and the tool costs are one time so it spreads over each gun and I am down to $35 or so.

You should get a head space gauge (GO Gauge) for each caliber. Yes you can do it with a shell case but its harder and not worth it.

You do not need to get a No GO. You put a piece of tape on the back of the GO and it moved it out .004 or so and that is a NO GO length (close enough). The only reason I have a couple of the sets of those GO/NO go was I was given them.

For me that was handy in 06 as I shoot Mil Surplus 06 in two models and it gives me data on what the chamber is like (A Model of 1917 is quite long, almost Field Reject and the cases for it are always kept separate)

Norther Shooters Supply has the best Barrel NUT Wrench and best setup ACTION VICE you will fine and you should get both. You should have a bench vice for this, 6 inch plus.

The Barrel nuts come off easy or are extremly diffuclut. The issue is the facory does not clean the threads and they have left over cleaning media in there. When they put on it gets crushed and its a luck of the draw as to how hard it comes off About 30% come off really hard.

New ones have no segment. those need a pipe wrench or to be cut (very very carefully) off. NSS offers a set of nut and the recoil lug. If you are going for accuracy its worth it.

You can get a breaker bad (the NSS tool has a 1/2 inch squire cutout for that) or you can brace it well and pop it with a wood piece (2 x 4)

Yes I use NICKLE Anti Seize on the threads. Some shout no. I am a former mechanic and I know a hell of a lot about joints and they do not.

I did use a torque wrench to set it to 50 lb the first few times. I have the torque wrench though. Not every one has one let alone a mechanic quality (not the pointer type). Now I have the feel I do it by feel. Coin flip there. Good torque wrench is not cheap. Low cost pointer one is an ok guide and it would be good enough but would get you laughed out of a mechanics shop!

If you do use a torque wrench, set it at 90 deg to the NSS nut tool. If you set it up so it adds length you are messing up the leverage values and there is a formula you need to use as you wind up with a lot more torque. 90 deg avoids all that.

Some claim 100 lbs, pwah. NSS has it right and the Action Vice lists all of that. I am guessing that the 100 lb type took a Savage nut off that came hard and figured it needed to be that. You need to look at all the factors not blind obedience to a single nut job (pun intended)

When I took them off I saw the remnants of cuts in the threads, crud equal bad torque. I thought at the time they used loc tite (someone toured the factory and saw that they wre not cleaning off the polishing crud, hmmm).

Barrels: If you hare hunting EA Brown has adequate barrel. I target shoot so I get good barrels. I like Shilen. Criterion is also very good quality large make for the non cut rifled type (they use buttons) I am waiting 4 months for my new 30-06 barrel. That is a custom bull for target shooting but my 6.5 Lapua I am building is the same time off.

Barrels now come in contours: Sporter is the modern thin one, they you have a heavy hunter (more like the old solid barrels) then a varmint which is about 3/4 at the end and then a bull barrel that is 1 inch front to rear.

I don't like the thin ones, anything normal is accurate as the bull. The bull sits solid on bench rest and does not move around easily so its biggest plus for stability . It also heats up slowly. Equally it takes a long time to cool down.



Cut rifled barrel like Lilja will be 8 months off maybe longer.

You have two thread sizes you will be asked about. Yours will be small shank or standard (two terms the same)

Savage came out with a slightly large diameter thread for short magnums and it has worked its way into the magnum line. They were having problems with the standard thread. Should not be an issue with an old gun or even an old magnum.

Action Lengths: There is Magnum, standard (30-06 case), medium (308) and short (223).

Each has its own bolt head size. You need the right length actin for the round you plan on (you can shoot 308 in a 30-=06 if you single feed) but not visa versa as it jams in extraction .

If you go exotic like I did with the 7.5 Swiss, you grind out a 30-06 bolt head as 7.5 Swiss falls between a 30-06 base and a magnum base. No issue. Most cases parent off 30-06 or 223 or the larger magnums.

Stocks: My best stock is a Savage Thumb Hole Featherweight. Boyd's is the supplier, its the stock I got for the 6.5 Lapua Target build. The original is on the 06 it came on still (Savage factory offering) and its a great target stock oddly.

Boyd's has a very good fit though they are not aluminum block bedded.

In my case I put on bull barrel and I had to sand out the space for free float. It can be done and it still leaves plenty of meat up front.

You do have to take the scope off to change a barrel, so you have that to get back on target.
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Old February 8, 2021, 11:17 PM   #4
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Also, if you order a barrel do it from NSS.

That will save you $60 or so (assuming you go with a Shilen or Criterion which is reputed to be on par with Shilen).

Criterion is even long wait time.
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Old February 9, 2021, 12:37 AM   #5
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Hal, what round are you looking to switch to? Northland Shooters Supply often has new unfired takeoff Savage barrels, so if you visit their website look at the clearance page. Also, be sure whether your rifle has a small shank or large shank before you buy anything.
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Old February 9, 2021, 06:24 AM   #6
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So, Savage is a switch barrel, but the headspace issue. You could index mark the receiver and barrels. Headspace would be very close when reassembling. Just make sure your loaded rounds fit when you pre-tighten the action. To hold the alignment, you will need an action wrench and a nut wrench. The wheeler set is ok. An internal one would be best...LINK

Torque the nut. Find an offset torque calculator. The putting the wrench at a 90 is not good advice. I think you will find actual barrel torque around 40 ft lbs will be fine.
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Old February 9, 2021, 12:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Torque the nut. Find an offset torque calculator. The putting the wrench at a 90 is not good advice. I think you will find actual barrel torque around 40 ft lbs will be fine.
I gather you never worked on machinery. It is standard approach to eliminate the calculation. But you have to be a mechanic to know and understand that.

Equally you would know that there are two different torque values between lubed and no lubed threads.
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Old February 9, 2021, 01:23 PM   #8
RC20
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Quote:
So, Savage is a switch barrel, but the headspace issue. You could index mark the receiver and barrels. Headspace would be very close when reassembling. Just make sure your loaded rounds fit when you pre-tighten the action. To hold the alignment, you will need an action wrench and a nut wrench. The wheeler set is ok. An internal one would be best.
I disagree with that, NSS is by far the best Tool for the Action and its wrench is by far the best over the Wheeler stuff.

Getting a GO GAUGE ensures quality control over the use of a case that you do not know what gun it came out of and setting up head space for a new gun.

Certainly not for someone knew at this and I have done 4 and still have the GO GAUGES.
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Old February 9, 2021, 03:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
I've never used one as a field-changeable switch-barrel rifle. But I think you would probably benefit from reading this thread at Accurateshooter. With the fine threads on the Savage, it looks like a barrel lubed with anti-seize can be torqued adequately by hand and not come loose.
Is what the OP asking for literally a quick spin-on/off change of a savage barrel in the field to some other barrel? Good luck with that, especially with the toys R us tape head spacing method.
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Old February 10, 2021, 01:16 PM   #10
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I don't get what you are trying to convey?

Tape can be useful for head space checks on range. But the GO Gauge is what you use to set it on a Savage barrel build.

I in fact was shown how to fix a BMW rear drive issue when the gasket was no longer made.

I supposed you think that miking the gasket and then removing a shim is Toys R Us?

You just have to know your materials and how to use a micrometer.

Having been in the third world and seeing them get by with field expedients I have nothing but respect for the ability to figure it out and make it work.
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Old February 10, 2021, 09:20 PM   #11
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Big difference between using tape to check headspace and set headspace IMO. Big difference between using wrenches to hold the receiver and barrel steady and simply spinning the barrel and barrel nut on and off on a savage like a 110 IMO. Call me crazy, but no way I'd do that. Have at it.
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Old February 11, 2021, 02:09 PM   #12
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I don’t get why there seems to be so much interest skipping go/no go gauges lately. They aren’t that expensive. Swapping barrels is really easy to do right.


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Old February 11, 2021, 10:59 PM   #13
RC20
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Quote:
Big difference between using tape to check headspace and set headspace IMO.
BMW used it to set the shimage aka headspace on the Final Drive. The clearances involved were under .005.

It was not uncommon to use gasket packs for end play on machinery and those to were under .005.


Quote:
I don’t get why there seems to be so much interest skipping go/no go gauges lately. They aren’t that expensive. Swapping barrels is really easy to do right.
I tried it on a 7.5 Swiss build. I was chasing things and a guy lent me his gauge.

I picked up my own head space gauge (GO) a while back.

My take is minimum is GO gauge. I like both. Tape is extremely accurate made, as the head space is set off a Go gauge the NO GO is a cross check.

As noted, its not that costly for the gauge and if you are starting out, the investment in the good basic tool set is damned good idea.

I was never sorry when I have done it the safe way, I have been very sorry more than once when I did not.
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