View Full Version : "Custom Project Rifle" Savage 110 338-06 A-Square by a total amateur

09-09-2009, 11:29 PM
About two years ago I bought an old model Savage 110 chambered to 270 WCF. The former owner had slicked up the trigger which was fantastic, negating the need for an aftermarket, and it had a factory laminate stock that was unbedded, with regular weaver bases. Somehow, by the grace of God alone, I was able to avoid shooting the donor (first rule of rifle building!), leaving it as a "safe queen" until the appropriate parts/tools could be assembled for a new build.

I ended up purchasing the kit offered through Brownell's with barrel nut wrench, 24" factory magnum taper barrel chambered to 338-06 A-Square, go/no-go gauges, and a few other things. The barrel had a high-polish bluing that didn't match the matte factory action, so I decided upon brushed stainless steel gun kote bake-on finish. The barrel was rather heavy too, so I had my 'smith cut it to 22" and put a target crown on it.

To complete the rig I purchased a clearanced Bushnell Elite 3200 2-7x32mm w/ firefly reticle, and Warne Maxima low-mount perm-attach rings. I had in mind to build this as a black bear/elk rifle, so that brighter reticle made sense, and at that clearance price I simply couldn't refuse.

Last winter came and I had all the necessary parts/tools. Keep in mind that I've never done anything like this at all... I mean I'm terribly "un-handy". I say this to emphasize the fact that if I can do this, ANYBODY can.

The most difficult step in the whole process was getting that Gun Kote to work out right in my little oven. I had to rig it up kinda funky in there, and even with my messin' around it took two coats. I don't have the sandblaster necessary to correctly prepare the metal for application so I'll eventually have to have it stripped and reapplied correctly, but as you can see from the pics it turned out looking nice. I refinished the stock with Tru-Oil after raising the dents, and bedded the action, recoil lug, and front half of the barrel nut w/ marine tex.



Once coated, installing the barrel was as easy as... well... it was REALLY easy for ME, put it that way. I set the chamber tight so that the bolt would not close at all on the "no go" but would barely on the "go". Brass was 270 WCF stuff I had laying around, necked up using a Hornady New Dimesion Full Length Sizer and annealed using a camp stove. After building some loads I realized that the sizer hadn't opened the mouths up as much as was needed, causing EXTREMELY tight necks and VERY excessive run-out. I wanted good brass to be a result of my first outting since I was fireforming, so I pulled everything apart and ran through a Redding Neck Sizer which seemed to do the trick. I'm going to send that full length sizer back to Hornady but have since heard of the same problem from others using their FLS dies in other calibers so I don't know what to expect from them. That die does make it VERY easy to neck-up cases, though. At any rate, I loaded up a bunch of different loads using the least expensive bullets I could find, the 200 gr Interlock using the top velocity-producing powders in my manuals, and working up cautiously from start to max and headed to the range.

The first range session was far less than stellar and way below what I knew the rifle was capable of. A single one-inch group was best I could get. The copper foulding was INCREDIBLE, so I decided to give the Tubb Final Finish a whirl. The Tubb system consists of 50 bullets impregnated with 5 different grades of lapping compound that you run through the barrel starting with the 10 most coarse and working your way finer, cleaning in between, using the start load of the fastest powder for your cartridge/bullet combination. My kit came w/ 250 gr SMKs so I used 47 gr H-4895. It worked out well, as I not only fire lapped the barrel but was able to fireform 50 more cases.

Now I had 100 cases fireformed, neck-sized, and trimmed. I put together more loads using a wider variety of bullets and powders than I had the first outting, this time utilizing the 200 gr Speer Hot Cor, 200 gr Ballistic Silver Tip, and the 215 gr Sierra Game King for bullets and RL-15, BLC-(2), RL-19, and H-380 for powders.

The most impressive group was from the Speer Hot Cor bullet and 53 gr of RL-15, and MUCH better than the best I'd gotten before the bore treatment, .49" edge-to-edge:


I didn't have enough of those loaded to chrono, but I'm sure they're rather anemic in the speed department. With accuracy like that, who cares!?!?!

Using the 215 gr Sierra Game Kings (the ones I'd hoped to have as an "all around" bullet for this rifle) produced results nearly as good, particularly with a max load of BLC-(2), the top-velocity producing powder according to the manuals and IMR-4320, with groups of .90" and 1.17", respectively, and yielding 2683 and 2632, respectively:



Needless to say that BLC-(2) load was impressive and will spell D-E-A-T-H to any creature on this continent, and the Hot Cor will be my go-to deer load. The Ballistic Silver Tip did alright, about an inch or so with decent velocity readings when combined w/ the BLC-(2), but I'm not so sure I'll do much w/ that one. More experimentation is in order with that bullet, IMR-4320, H-380, IMR-4350, H-414, and heavier bullets including 225 gr SSTs, 225 gr North Forks, and 250 gr NPs and RN Interlocks as soon as I have the chance.

At any rate I had to share. Anybody who has a desire to build their own rifle as a "winter time sanity project" should DO IT ON A SAVAGE cuz it is EXTREMELY satisfying.

Also, if you have a barrel that isn't shooting the way you'd like it to try the Final Finish System. I was DEFINATELY most impressed.

Good shooting all,