Savage Project: Part 1 The Rebuild

The time has arrived for an overhaul of an old work horse. This Savage 10 had a good long run in its factory configuration. But as the years have passed technology has advanced, and its time for this rifle to catch up.

The base for the build was an 18″ heavy barrel, chambered in .308 Winchester. It had the standard “Golf Ball” bolt handle and an internal 5 round magazine. I picked it up in a trade years ago. I learned how to shoot long range, predict and understand extended range external ballistics, and reload using this rifle. I’ve used it in several competitions including various Target, F-Class, and Benchrest competitions.

Now as the rifling wears down and the groups are opening up, it is time for a new barrel. But if your going to change the barrel is it also time to change the caliber? For me the answer was yes. The role this rifle fulfills for me is to be as accurate as possible for as far as possible. So which caliber would be next? The decision was an easy one for me, 6.5 Creedmoor. With it’s superior ballistics, I’d be able to push my skills further than before. I jumped onto Northland Shooter’s Supply’s website and ordered new barrel, barrel nut, recoil lug, and action wrench. Within a week everything arrived and the real work began.

The new barrel is stainless, 28″, 1:8 twist, and 1″ at the muzzle. This thing is a beast. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you get one quite this big. But with access to machine shops and skill machinist, changing the length or profile is not difficult for me. If you don’t have access to a machine shop, gunsmiths are not cheap. Make sure to get the right barrel for your build and the job you are tasking it with. The reason I decided to go with the 28″ is I wanted this to be a short action ELR (Extreme Long Range) rifle. My goal is to use this to ring the 1 mile gong, wish me luck!

The major components have all been taken down. While removing the action from the stock I found a little surprise. There was a crack from the trigger well, through the hole for an action screw, all the way to the magazine well. Fortunately for me, McMillan has the best customer service in the business. I sent the stock to them, they evaluated it. After their evaluation of the stock, one of the guys in their shop called me to say that it was going to be scrapped and asked what color I wanted my new stock to be. He even offered to install flush cups and upgrade the cheek riser for free. Top notch people. They cut the new stock to match my CDI Bottom Metal and NSS recoil lug. When the new stock arrived, it fit like a glove!

Chucked up and ready to rock. Changing the action was a quick and easy task. Once the new barrel and recoil lug were screwed into the receiver, I dropped in the headspace gauge and set the lock nut. After a triple check of the headspace to be sure it’s good to go I laid it out and snapped a pic. The bench is messy, but the barreled action looked so nice. You can see the difference in barrel length clearly in this pic.

Barrel and action have been assembled. Now ready for the trigger group, bottom metal, and the stock.

Fresh out of the box, awaiting the barreled action. After waiting a couple weeks past the completion of the barreled action, the new stock arrived. I couldn’t be happier with it. The new upgraded cheek riser is so much better than it’s predecessor. The fit and finish was perfect. Their cutting of the appropriate spots made the action fit so snug it would sit without screws in it.

After setting the action and the CDI bottom metal into the stock, a 20 MOA Badger Ordinance rail was installed. Topped it with a Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24x. Ready for the range.

First rounds fired were Hornady Black. Shot 5 rounds to foul the barrel some and get on paper. Fire 5 more to make adjustments to get onto a “shoot and see” target. Target pic is posted below, each square is 1″x1″. Distance was 100 yards. It was clear and sunny, almost no wind, upper 70’s, just about the perfect day to be at the range.

Call your flyers, own your mistakes. These are shots 11-15. I got sloppy on my 5th shot and pulled it. The flyer to the left was the result. The one low is because of not shooting on a respiratory pause. That ragged role has the other 3 in it. That just means I need more practice. Perfection is hard to reach, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Fired, zero’d, and cleaned. Ready for the next trip. This time we can start to stretch her legs some. Keep an eye out for the next write up of the Savage project.

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