Changing calibers on a Savage model 10 for a PRS training rifle. Tools required? Process? Parts? Bolt head??

dcmdon

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PLEASE PLEASE. IF YOU DON'T KNOW, DON'T POST.

Hi all, you regulars all know me and know that I have a pretty good knowledge of how guns work. So I'm looking for some Savage specific info from people who have done this.

I'm looking for actionable info. Not speculation.

I've got a Savage short action that is currently chambered in .308. It's a great gun. I used it in the Sig advanced precision rifle class I took a few years ago. I worked up some great reloads that are very accurate.

I'm looking to rechamber it initially in .223 so that I
1) reduce recoil - even with a brake and a 15# weight, the gun moves and I can't see where my bullet hits. I've spoken to PRS competitors to make sure I wasn't doing anything wrong and they have told me that it IS difficult to control recoil to the point where you can see your splash with a hot .308. My rounds ARE hot because the more powder I added the more accurate they got. My current reloads push a 175gr SMK out to about 2750 FPS.

2) make accurate ammo cheaper and faster - I've got my Dillon 550 set up to make surprisingly accurate .223 at a rate of over 100 rounds per hour. I've got a ton of prepped .223 brass.
3) have a gun that I can shoot in large volume without needing to replace the barrel every 1600 rounds.

It is my understanding that to do this I'll need
1) a new barrel. $450
2) a new bolt head. $100
3) a new barrel nut. $50
4) a receiver vise $100
5) a barrel nut wrench. $25
6) go gauge $35
7) no go gauge $35
8) .223 AICS mags (its in an element chassis) $100

I can get Proof Research barrels at a pretty deep discount. They are as good as they get. The all stainless barrels can be had up to 24" and should balance the rifle well.

Things I know that I don't know (there may be other things I don't know, but don't know that I don't know them)
1) how much of a hassle is it to fit a new bolt head to the bolt?
2) is there anything else involved besides changing the barrel, changing the bolt head??

My hope here is that I can end up with a very accurate .223 trainer utilizing a gun that I don't shoot much for in the area of $800.

Any experienced input is greatly appreciated. Especially in the area of the process and bolt head replacement/fitting.
 
Any interest in sending the action out to a barrel maker to get measured for shouldered prefits? It would eliminate the need for a barrel nut and timing every installation.

You can get wrench flats put on the end of the barrel so don’t need a barrel vice or action wrench (unless you want to be precise about the torque).

Sorry, no Savage specific knowledge of bolt head swapping.
 
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PLEASE PLEASE. IF YOU DON'T KNOW, DON'T POST.

Hi all, you regulars all know me and know that I have a pretty good knowledge of how guns work. So I'm looking for some Savage specific info from people who have done this.

I'm looking for actionable info. Not speculation.

I've got a Savage short action that is currently chambered in .308. It's a great gun. I used it in the Sig advanced precision rifle class I took a few years ago. I worked up some great reloads that are very accurate.

I'm looking to rechamber it initially in .223 so that I
1) reduce recoil - even with a brake and a 15# weight, the gun moves and I can't see where my bullet hits. I've spoken to PRS competitors to make sure I wasn't doing anything wrong and they have told me that it IS difficult to control recoil to the point where you can see your splash with a hot .308. My rounds ARE hot because the more powder I added the more accurate they got. My current reloads push a 175gr SMK out to about 2750 FPS.

2) make accurate ammo cheaper and faster - I've got my Dillon 550 set up to make surprisingly accurate .223 at a rate of over 100 rounds per hour. I've got a ton of prepped .223 brass.
3) have a gun that I can shoot in large volume without needing to replace the barrel every 1600 rounds.

It is my understanding that to do this I'll need
1) a new barrel. $450
2) a new bolt head. $100
3) a new barrel nut. $50
4) a receiver vise $100
5) a barrel nut wrench. $25
6) go gauge $35
7) no go gauge $35
8) .223 AICS mags (its in an element chassis) $100

I can get Proof Research barrels at a pretty deep discount. They are as good as they get. The all stainless barrels can be had up to 24" and should balance the rifle well.

Things I know that I don't know (there may be other things I don't know, but don't know that I don't know them)
1) how much of a hassle is it to fit a new bolt head to the bolt?
2) is there anything else involved besides changing the barrel, changing the bolt head??

My hope here is that I can end up with a very accurate .223 trainer utilizing a gun that I don't shoot much for in the area of $800.

Any experienced input is greatly appreciated. Especially in the area of the process and bolt head replacement/fitting.

I've never used or fitted one of the PTG bolts I'm assuming you're using based on the price in your list. I have lapped Savage bolt heads to a particular receiver instead. If you haven't already, you should do some reading on Savageshooters.com forum, especially the FAQs. Some of them are dated enough they no longer apply to current production, though. The bolt head swap itself is as easy as disassemble and reassemble the bolt. Once you get the firing pin out of the way, it's held by a cross pin. The easiest way to disassemble the bolt is with an L-shaped allen wrench for the bolt screw, place it on a carpeted floor using the bolt handle to oppose the wrench, and stand on it. They take some torque. Sometimes the barrel nuts do, as well.

I can't speak to how that chassis and magazine interfaces with the newer centerfeed receiver. All my 10/110 builds have been on the older stagger-feed rifles with conventional stocks, with the exception of a couple of Axis builds. I ended up using bottom metal on one of them for Magpul mags, and that needed some stock work. I'd hope the chassis eliminates that sort of issue.

Barrel nut is reusable, as it's going back on the same receiver. There are aftermarket ones out there, too. And aftermarket recoil lugs, which I'd always use. The Savage factory lugs on my rifles were all some kind of crappy stamped steel ones which I didn't like.
 
Any interest in sending the action out to a barrel maker to get measured for shouldered prefits? It would eliminate the need for a barrel nut and timing every installation.

You can get wrench flats put on the end of the barrel so don’t need a barrel vice or action wrench (unless you want to be precise about the torque, but a number of custom action manufacturers don’t think that’s necessary).

Sorry, no Savage specific knowledge of bolt head swapping.
I like the ability to set headspace with the barrel and lock nut myself. Partly because I can see the possibility of moving over to 6GT at some point.
I don't mind the appearance of the bolt nut.

With savages, you don't need a barrel vise because the barrel threads easily into the receiver, then you lock it with the nut. So there is no significant torque applied to the barrel when installing it. It's different from something like a Rem 700. (based on my reading, I have zero first hand experience with this)
 
I've never used or fitted one of the PTG bolts I'm assuming you're using based on the price in your list. I have lapped Savage bolt heads to a particular receiver instead. If you haven't already, you should do some reading on Savageshooters.com forum, especially the FAQs. Some of them are dated enough they no longer apply to current production, though. The bolt head swap itself is as easy as disassemble and reassemble the bolt. Once you get the firing pin out of the way, it's held by a cross pin. The easiest way to disassemble the bolt is with an L-shaped allen wrench for the bolt screw, place it on a carpeted floor using the bolt handle to oppose the wrench, and stand on it. They take some torque. Sometimes the barrel nuts do, as well.

I can't speak to how that chassis and magazine interfaces with the newer centerfeed receiver. All my 10/110 builds have been on the older stagger-feed rifles with conventional stocks, with the exception of a couple of Axis builds. I ended up using bottom metal on one of them for Magpul mags, and that needed some stock work. I'd hope the chassis eliminates that sort of issue.

Barrel nut is reusable, as it's going back on the same receiver. There are aftermarket ones out there, too. And aftermarket recoil lugs, which I'd always use. The Savage factory lugs on my rifles were all some kind of crappy stamped steel ones which I didn't like.

I have no specific knowledge of any bolt head makers. I just googled around to figure out that replacement heads existed. If you have a recommended brand or process, I"m totally open to suggestion.

Yes it looks like replacing the head is super simple. But then what? How much lapping is required? How do you know when you have good contact?

The stock barrel nut is smooth and is by most accounts disposable. Typically people grab it with a pipe wrench to crack it loose once the receiver is in the vise. Then you replace it with an aftermarket nut that has flutes for the nut wrench.

My Savage actually came from the custom shop and is fitted with an oversized recoil lug. Either way, thank you. I had forgotten about that. I'll compare the thickness with aftermarket lugs.

The chassis should eliminate any issues with mags and feeding since it's pretty well adjustable.

Thanks for the tip on savageshooters.com

Can you describe the lapping process??
 

With savages, you don't need a barrel vise because the barrel threads easily into the receiver, then you lock it with the nut. So there is no significant torque applied to the barrel when installing it. …

Duh. Slipped my mind, thanks.
 
PLEASE PLEASE. IF YOU DON'T KNOW, DON'T POST.

Hi all, you regulars all know me and know that I have a pretty good knowledge of how guns work. So I'm looking for some Savage specific info from people who have done this.

I'm looking for actionable info. Not speculation.

I've got a Savage short action that is currently chambered in .308. It's a great gun. I used it in the Sig advanced precision rifle class I took a few years ago. I worked up some great reloads that are very accurate.

I'm looking to rechamber it initially in .223 so that I
1) reduce recoil - even with a brake and a 15# weight, the gun moves and I can't see where my bullet hits. I've spoken to PRS competitors to make sure I wasn't doing anything wrong and they have told me that it IS difficult to control recoil to the point where you can see your splash with a hot .308. My rounds ARE hot because the more powder I added the more accurate they got. My current reloads push a 175gr SMK out to about 2750 FPS.

2) make accurate ammo cheaper and faster - I've got my Dillon 550 set up to make surprisingly accurate .223 at a rate of over 100 rounds per hour. I've got a ton of prepped .223 brass.
3) have a gun that I can shoot in large volume without needing to replace the barrel every 1600 rounds.

It is my understanding that to do this I'll need
1) a new barrel. $450
2) a new bolt head. $100
3) a new barrel nut. $50
4) a receiver vise $100
5) a barrel nut wrench. $25
6) go gauge $35
7) no go gauge $35
8) .223 AICS mags (its in an element chassis) $100

I can get Proof Research barrels at a pretty deep discount. They are as good as they get. The all stainless barrels can be had up to 24" and should balance the rifle well.

Things I know that I don't know (there may be other things I don't know, but don't know that I don't know them)
1) how much of a hassle is it to fit a new bolt head to the bolt?
2) is there anything else involved besides changing the barrel, changing the bolt head??

My hope here is that I can end up with a very accurate .223 trainer utilizing a gun that I don't shoot much for in the area of $800.

Any experienced input is greatly appreciated. Especially in the area of the process and bolt head replacement/fitting.

Multiple discussions as to how its done.
 
Smooth barrel nut? Yeah, replace that silly thing. It'll only annoy you every time you work on it.

Lapping the bolt head - take your new 308 bolt head, install on bolt body. While you have the barrel off the receiver, clamp the receiver in a vise so you can operate the bolt while pushing in on the bolt face with a dowel or rod. Put a (very) little lapping compound on the back of the bolt lugs, and then cycle the bolt back and forth from locked to unlocked while pushing the dowel against the bolt face. This push is in the same direction as recoil, and will let the new bolt lugs start to wear into the receiver. It will smooth operation a bit, but the real benefit is to ensure both bolt lugs are engaged into the receiver during recoil. You'll see the pattern form in the metal of the bolt lugs as it wears in, I look for about 50-75% engagement on each lug. Once you've got that, do a fanatic job of cleaning the lapping compound out of the receiver and bolt lugs. I've had a couple be ready in a couple of passes, don't think I've ever spent more than a half hour.

It wasn't the thickness of the standard factory lug that bothered me, but the sloppy edge on the stamped recoil lugs. I had one stamped lug bad enough that even with a layer of tape on the edges got mechanically locked into the bedding of the stock. Rational or not, I've hated them ever since. They can be cleaned up to be functional, but the nice ones aren't that expensive anyway. If yours already has nice clean edges, go with it.

Looking at the current pics of recoil lugs on Midway, it doesn't look like Savage is stamping them out anymore (or has much improved the process). Those look much better than the factory ones I was used to.
 
Kevin thank you very much for your explanation.

I do have one other thought. If I may want to also convert to 6GT in the future, might it be worth buying a 6 gt bolt head and lapping both in at the same time?

I've read of a process where you partially lap one, then change it out, then partially lap the other. Then repeat repeat. Eventually they both lap into the same dimensions and both match the receiver lugs.

For the $75ish that a bolt head costs it might be worth trying?

Or am I overthinking it? As I write this I'm guessing I'm overthinking it.
 
I originally thought I'd switch barrels more than I actually did. Turns out, I don't think I've ever taken a barrel off one that I ever used again. It's either been a caliber I didn't need but wanted the receiver, or the barrel was done. Think I might have done it once in the early 2000s, and then built a rifle off of the spare barrel. Just like the theory that you can have multiple uppers for one AR lower - that always morphed into every upper becomes it's own rifle for me.

If you were shooting both calibers in the same time frame (different competitions for each caliber? maybe) I can see working up two bolts to fit. If it's for the next barrel when this one's worn out, I'd wait to do a second one. The receiver will be just a little different then than today, right?
 

They sell Shilen pre fit barrels as well, and the wrenches/clamp. Straightforward process.

Savages are cheap enough, I would just buy another and leave your current setup alone, especially if it's a shooter.
 
A few thoughts, take them for what they are worth.

I had trouble seeing hits/ misses with 308. Had the same problem with 6.5 CM. (147 g going 2700 fps) in spite of trying to tune $200 bucks of 8 port lil basta** muzzle brake. One thing miraculously solved it, which was putting almost four lbs of weight on front of chassis to balance it four inches in front of mag well. I took weight from near 15 to 19#2 oz. Another 12 oz would balance it fully

When I say solved it, first long distance range session (2 weeks ago) after adding weights I worked 400 to 1000 yards, most 500-800. 90 rounds, I saw 88 of them ( hits and misses) and it was EASY. The two I didn’t see one I hadn’t squared to rifle, I was bladed, and the recoil moved scope horizontally to left big time. I got back on target to see movement of target. The other one I had good view of target, but saw no sign of impact hit or miss

Go for building the .223 trainer. For all the reasons you listed, plus two more

First, I won’t even uncase my match rifle unless I have 500+ yards to shoot. Conserve it and ammo for serious practice. Local range 200-300 yards all .223 trainer

Second at the long range, I am concerned about overheating barrel shooting too rapidly. So I’ll alternate shooting the trainer and match rifle. 8-10 shots, min 30 min cool down. One rifle or the other is ready every 15 min. Time between is dry fire positional moving and note taking.

Sample size of one, but I’ve used criterion barrel from northland, mine is fantastic

Last point, don’t put all the costs for tools against one rifle. You need to amortize them over several rifles 😁
 
Do the Shilled pre-fit thread and headspace on a shoulder on the barrel? Or is the head space set with a barrel nut?

When I hear pre-fit, I imagine torquing the barrel down to a set number and head space miraculously ending up where it should.
 
6gt has the same case head dimensions as .308.

Have you figured out what magazines youll use for 223?

As others said, just buy another rifle in .223 , 7-9 twist barrel and use that.
 
6gt has the same case head dimensions as .308.

Have you figured out what magazines youll use for 223?

As others said, just buy another rifle in .223 , 7-9 twist barrel and use that.
The biggest motivation for swapping barrels is that I've got a $1000 chassis that I'm not using set up on that rifle along with a $1500 scope and $200 trigger.

If I do the barrel swap, I "throw away" or sell for pennies a factory Savage 308 barrel and reuse everything else.

If I get a new rifle in .223, I've now got a factory rifle which is gong to be less accurate than something with a Proof or Criterion barrel. Sure I could go the full custom route, but now I'm into a barreled action for $2k. And I'd need to buy a new chassis since the new action will most likely be a Rem 700 footprint.

It gets complicated and expensive fast.

I have pretty much zero opportunity to ever shoot over 600 yards. And even then, 90% of the time it will be inside 300. .223 especially when loaded up with heavy bullets that the AICS mag allows should be fine with that.

Funny. I was shooting 256 yards on property in NH this past week with my B14R .22LR!!!

1717500341936.png
 
I would buy an axis 2 in .223 from brownells for $600 instead of a barrel swap. Then you can either keep or sell a .308 barreled action with its bolt. Less work and cheaper way in the end and you can use axis wooden stock for .308.
 
Do the Shilled pre-fit thread and headspace on a shoulder on the barrel? Or is the head space set with a barrel nut?

When I hear pre-fit, I imagine torquing the barrel down to a set number and head space miraculously ending up where it should.

Everybody's Savage prefits are for use with a barrel nut. I'm sure someone out there has used a custom built shouldered barrel on a Savage at some point, but I'm not sure why anyone would do that. I believe that when the industry uses the term pre-fit for Savages, they refer to the barrel having a completed chamber, ready to install without further chambering work. There are manufacturers who will sell shouldered barrels for other makes that are chambered, but chambered short of the correct dimension so they can be cut quicker once the barrel is installed rather than cutting the whole chamber.

I think you have a solid plan for your rifle. Proof has excellent barrels. I have to admit I haven't shot any of my centerfires much since I started using 22LRs on the 200yds I have regular access to. More fun at that range! The down side was my compulsion to buy anything just because it's left handed, which turned into a Savage MkII, Browning T-Bolt, CZ 452, CZ 457, Tikka T1X and finally a B-14R. I can quit any time I want...
 
When I rebarreled my 10FP, the hardest part was getting the barrel nut off. Factory torque or locktite or whatever was really, really tough.

I reused the barrel nut.

I used a No-Go gauge, but didn't bother with a "GO" gauge because I'm already sizing my ammo and I have a case gauge. i.e.: I already have the ability to properly size ammo for a "GO" gauge.


I didn't use a receiver vice, but I probably should have. Would have been easier. I made a barrel vice with some oak with a carefully bored hole to match the barrel's diameter. (split, then in a vice)
 
Everybody's Savage prefits are for use with a barrel nut. I'm sure someone out there has used a custom built shouldered barrel on a Savage at some point, but I'm not sure why anyone would do that. I believe that when the industry uses the term pre-fit for Savages, they refer to the barrel having a completed chamber, ready to install without further chambering work. There are manufacturers who will sell shouldered barrels for other makes that are chambered, but chambered short of the correct dimension so they can be cut quicker once the barrel is installed rather than cutting the whole chamber.

I think you have a solid plan for your rifle. Proof has excellent barrels. I have to admit I haven't shot any of my centerfires much since I started using 22LRs on the 200yds I have regular access to. More fun at that range! The down side was my compulsion to buy anything just because it's left handed, which turned into a Savage MkII, Browning T-Bolt, CZ 452, CZ 457, Tikka T1X and finally a B-14R. I can quit any time I want...
I thought it was the case that all Savage pre-fits used a nut. But just wanted to make sure.

I haven't shot my .308 much (my only centerfire bolt gun) mainly because I don't like not being able to see my shot. You learn more when you can see the splash.

I too am having a ball with my .22s lately. I've got a Bergara in an MDT chassis and a CZ 457 varmint, still in factory wood. They are both a ton of fun. At 50 yards they are both cheap since CCI SV will shoot a single hole group out of each. At 200 yards, I'm into the good stuff.

It really is incredible how CCI falls apart between 100 and 200, where as Eley Tenex holds together nice.
 
Everybody's Savage prefits are for use with a barrel nut. I'm sure someone out there has used a custom built shouldered barrel on a Savage at some point, but I'm not sure why anyone would do that. I believe that when the industry uses the term pre-fit for Savages, they refer to the barrel having a completed chamber, ready to install without further chambering work. There are manufacturers who will sell shouldered barrels for other makes that are chambered, but chambered short of the correct dimension so they can be cut quicker once the barrel is installed rather than cutting the whole chamber.

I think you have a solid plan for your rifle. Proof has excellent barrels. I have to admit I haven't shot any of my centerfires much since I started using 22LRs on the 200yds I have regular access to. More fun at that range! The down side was my compulsion to buy anything just because it's left handed, which turned into a Savage MkII, Browning T-Bolt, CZ 452, CZ 457, Tikka T1X and finally a B-14R. I can quit any time I want...

Slight correction. When people buy shouldered pre-fits it is so that when you get the barrel and torque it on, it’s headspaced without any work by the customer. No additional cutting of the chamber is needed. But it requires repeatable dimensions of the actions, such as on custom actions, Tikkas, or if you send off your action to get measured.

Though, I’m sure there is a subset of people who order barrels with a short chamber so they can have it fine tuned upon installation. But that is not the normal “shouldered prefit” barrel buyer.
 
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Slight correction. When people buy shouldered pre-fits it is so that when you get the barrel and torque it on, it’s headspace’s without any work by the customer. No additional cutting of the chamber is needed. But it requires repeatable dimensions of the actions, such as on custom actions, Tikkas, or if you send off your action to get measured.

Though, I’m sure there is a subset of people who order barrels with a short chamber so they can have it fine tuned upon installation. But that is not the normal “shouldered prefit” barrel buyer.

Got it - I dove down the Savage 10/110 rabbit hole years ago, when I realized that nobody made left handed rifles exactly the way I wanted without full custom work. Savages I could put together at home. I've been largely ignoring other centerfire makes since then. Although I recently was made aware of people building Remage rifles on 700s, and the Origin in left hand also using barrel nuts, so the options are getting better!
 
I haven't shot my .308 much (my only centerfire bolt gun) mainly because I don't like not being able to see my shot.
it can be resolved, and cheaper than to disassemble whole gun.

for brakes under $100 this one works pretty well.

and this one

there was also a relatively recent comparison on sniperhide:

bottom line - my ar10 in 308 does not jump to prohibit me from seeing an impact. ruger sfar jumps, as i was not setting it on a very good brake.
and bolt guns are easier to deal with than gas guns in that regard.
1717531226407.png
 
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It seems to show the MDT with a 59.8% reduction. The best shows as 62.8%. Close enough.

Am I missing something. I also did a bunch of research b before I got the MDT. At retail, it's not worth the premium over others. But I was able to get it 40% off.
 
I originally thought I'd switch barrels more than I actually did. Turns out, I don't think I've ever taken a barrel off one that I ever used again. It's either been a caliber I didn't need but wanted the receiver, or the barrel was done. Think I might have done it once in the early 2000s, and then built a rifle off of the spare barrel. Just like the theory that you can have multiple uppers for one AR lower - that always morphed into every upper becomes it's own rifle for me.

If you were shooting both calibers in the same time frame (different competitions for each caliber? maybe) I can see working up two bolts to fit. If it's for the next barrel when this one's worn out, I'd wait to do a second one. The receiver will be just a little different then than today, right?
Yup i read all that and said sounds like he's getting a new gun
 
Am I missing something
5 ports with vertical holes - should be eliminating jump well.
 
5 ports with vertical holes - should be eliminating jump well.
Here's the thing. The top brakes are all within a point or two of each other as far as their effectiveness.

For what it's worth, I also tried an SJC Lund Titan brake on it. That brake has aggressive porting on the top and shifted the group about 6 inches lower at 100 yards. It also created huge variances in accuracy and point of impact with slight variations in MV.

My suspicion is that the Lund pushes down so hard that small changes in MV change where the muzzle is when the round exits. Precision rifles should have brakes that primarily blow straight back.

Though there is no denying the effectiveness of the Lund Titan. I shot a 16" AR machine gun with one and it had zero muzzle rise.
 
Here's the thing. The top brakes are all within a point or two of each other as far as their effectiveness.

For what it's worth, I also tried an SJC Lund Titan brake on it. That brake has aggressive porting on the top and shifted the group about 6 inches lower at 100 yards. It also created huge variances in accuracy and point of impact with slight variations in MV.

My suspicion is that the Lund pushes down so hard that small changes in MV change where the muzzle is when the round exits. Precision rifles should have brakes that primarily blow straight back.

Though there is no denying the effectiveness of the Lund Titan. I shot a 16" AR machine gun with one and it had zero muzzle rise.
some brakes create more turbulence than others, it is true. all brakes shift POI as well, also fact.
still, most of those 4 and 5 ported brakes do work well, as it is only physics. but, surely, it is a trial and error thing, to find one that works best on a given platform.
 
I just thought I'd give an update.

Sometimes plans change. I found what I thought was a deal on a barreled action. So the conversion is off the table.

It's a left handed Bighorn/Zermat Arms TL2 Action with a Bartlein barrel chambered by Blue Mountain Precision, Huber 2 stage trigger, and an AI mag for $950!!

It's got 750 rounds through it but for what I paid, I'm fine with that.

1718641989498.png
 
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