Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Savage Tactical Rifle Project
I retained the barrel nut for headspacing as this ensures a quick and easy barrel swap. There is no accuracy loss in using this style of headspacing and there is a solid argument that it can actually be better then applying heavy torque to tighten a shouldered headspaced barrel to an untouched action.

To prove to myself the value of this barrel install, I took one barrel and installed it on 3 actions (1 Savage and 2 Stevens) produced over a number of years. What I got was identical performance with the same ammo. Essentially, you can buy a tested barrel, install it on your action and use the same loads/ammo to get the same results. How's that for modular?

Finishing touches included installing a Farrell 1pc steel MOA base and a Bushnell 6500 2.5X16 - 42mm scope held in Burris Sig rings with inserts. Using the included shims, the scope was canted to maximize the available 80mins of travel to shoot out to 1500+ yds from a 100yd zero.

The heart of this projectís mods involved the changes to the stock. The stock is definitely functional but does have a pretty floppy forend (now resolved with the new accustock). With some simple material and a little bit of woodworking, the stock is easily transformed into something unique and very custom. I figured pictures would illustrate the mods better and more easily than text.

The material used for these stocks readily accepts epoxy and sticks very well. SPF 2x4 lumber and plywood were used for the build up. This provides a solid surface that takes a finish easily and stands up to usage well. You can also use foam, but you must cover the surface with fiberglass and a suitable resin (some foams will melt with polyester resin) to create a durable surface. Although easier to shape, the finishing process is far more complicated when resin and glass is involved. For the most durable surface, you can also glass over the wood and plywood.

The cutting was done using a small bandsaw, the shaping on a tabletop belt sander and sanding blocks. An electric palm sander really worked great to shape the Bondo. Hand tools can easily be used but being the lazy type, power tools rule. 5 min epoxy was used throughout to adhere the parts to the stock. Polyurethane glue can likely be used, but the much longer cure time didn't interest me.

The filling and contouring was greatly simplified by using good ole Bondo. Other fillers will also work but I really like how easy this material is to work with, leaving a nonporous finish that takes paint well. Being catalyzed also ensured a very solid product that wouldn't shrink over time. Be very careful in using water based air dry fillers. This stuff can continue to shrink leaving all manner of surface defects a few weeks after your perfect paint job.

Once the shaping of the stock was completed, the action was properly bedded. ALL modern drop in stocks whether from the factory or aftermarket have inletting that can best be described as generous. The action is really unsupported leaving the potential for flyers and overall lousy accuracy. Unique stocks like the upcoming Savage Accustock may just resolve this all too common problem.

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