Originally Posted by Jim Matson
How much do you think the parts would cost to build a similiar model? How much expertise and tools would be needed?
You'll need to find a donor action, or purchase a savage hunting action (unless of course you would want a target action, but they are only single feed). There are a couple Savages out there that have the target trigger and a repeater, but that is kind of defeating the purpose. Here is a parts list:
Donor action (suggest an older model Savage or Stevens) $200-400 depending on rifle and where you buy. I suggest finding a local gun shop and not a box chain store like Cabela's or Bass Pro, etc. Usually find the the best deals at mom and pop shops.
Barrel: Depending on who you choose, your looking at $375-500 for a pre-chambered and threaded tennon for your action. Pac-nor, Shilen, E.R. Shaw are some of the less expensive and still give you quality. For a little better quality, I suggest Benchmark, Obermyer, Douglas, or Lothar Walther. I have owned the LW barrel and it shoots great. It is a German Steel made barrel. They do offer Savage varmint contour barrels for a reasonable price. I have also shot a Douglas in .338 Lapua and 2 Benchmark barrels. As of right now the Benchmark will be my next barrel purchase. If you buy a standard caliber rifle (223, 243,308, 7mm-08) these are a small shank action unless it is a target action rifle or a short magnum caliber from factory.
These are known as a large shank. A lot of the long action standard calibers are also small shank and even some of the magnums, such as the 7mm Rem Mag, and 300 Win Mag. However there are some models in magnums that are large shank. The easiest way to tell is the width of the barrel nut. Large shank I believe are 5/8" wide, and the small shank are 3/4" wide (front to back of the nut) You will need to know this when placing an order for your barrel. They will ream a SAMMI spec chamber unless otherwise specified.
Stock: Its up to you really how much you want to spend. Stockade stocks should be your first option if you are patient. He has about an 8-10 month wait time. But you can order a money saver stock which allows you to skim coat with body putty, prime, and paint to what ever you desire. Prices for the money saver without any other add ons are going to be between $200-265. If you want Kevin Rayhill to finish and paint, you are looking at $300-390 for a finished stock. For quick turn around and a competent inexpensive stock, then look at Bell and Carlson stocks on Stockysstocks.com. There you will find a plethora of quality stocks from McCree $1000 to some finished laminated stocks of about $179. H-S stocks are very nice $350-550, and then you get into Manners (MMMMMMM Manners
) $400-650 and McMillian is around the same in price. You want to look for something that is pillar bedded or comes with an integral aluminum bedding block. This is where the H-S and Bell & Carlson shine. Both are relatively inexpensive to purchase and offer the aluminum bedding block. If you are good with wood, then look at a Richards micro fit stocks. Very nice laminates, but require finishing if you want to save money. Understand that if you buy a laminate, you should purchase the pillars and some Devcon bedding compound to give your action a good sturdy foundation. There are some video instructions for free online that can teach you how to do it. There is also a very good article on Accurateshooter.com on how to do an epoxy bedding job. On the higher end aluminum chassis stocks such as the XLR Industries or the McCree, they provide a mag well with use of aftermarket magazines to fit the action you have chosen. If you decide to go with a Manners or McMillian, I highly suggest contacting them and order from the factory so you get exactly what you want and need.
Triggers:Rifle Basix trigger is the way to go for the Savage. $300 These aren't really necessary should you score a rifle with the Accu-Trigger. Should you buy an older 111C or such model, they can be tuned pretty good to give you a nice crisp break, in this case a trigger costs you nothing. If the Savage is old enough, it will have a 3 screw trigger. They can be adjusted nicely. If if has the 2 screw, your limited to what you can adjust the trigger too. If you opt to get the Stevens, I highly suggest the Rifle Basix trigger, even for the 2 screw. From my understanding the Rifle Basix trigger comes with very good video instructions on how to install and adjust the trigger properly.
Bottom Metal (trigger gaurd, drop plate, etc.): Depending on the model, it will either be a blind magazine, drop plate, or detachable magazine. This will have to be known when ordering your stock. If you want to convert a blind magazine to a detachable box magazine (DBM), then you will need to find an aftermarket bottom metal such as Stockades, or CDI. I believe there are more out there, just haven't looked. Remember as stated above, the aluminum chassis stocks will more than likely have its own DBM system integrated to the stock. Ask questions of however you are buying your bottom metal from. If they don't have time for you and your questions, then they don't have time to accept your money!
Recoil lug: This is the little, BUT important piece of metal between your action and your barrel nut. You can use the one that comes with the rifle or action you purchase, but I suggest buying an aftermarket .25" lug. If you buy a target action, it won't be necessary, but most of the normal hunting rifles use a thinner stamped steel lug. It will work, but for $30 bucks you will have a sound piece of mind in your build.
As far as stainless verses a blued action... that's up to you. We have mixed and match blued parts with stainless. I think it looks cool sometimes. You can always prime and put a layer Krylon on. Works good and last for a good while. Other options are Cera-Kote, and Dura Coat. Both are excellent options. The Cera-Kote you should have professional do. It requires and oven for curing. Dura Coat you can do at home from what I understand. I'm a Krylon man myself. So a rattle can will run ya $6.00, and Dura Coat is the in the $50ish range and Cera-Kote I can't quote because I have know idea. I always do stainless and paint my own stocks.
As far as cheek pieces, use a Karsten. $68 delivered to your door. Go with the model A version.
Tools: Wheeler engineering barrel nut wrench, and action wrench. I think they two will cost you a total of $70. Nice thing, is if you own them, you can change barrels and calibers at will. The bolts are easy to take apart and tune. Pacific tool and Gauge now provide machined bolt heads, and offer bolt bodies as well. You'll also want to buy a headspace gauge which you can also buy from Pac tool and gauge. Get the go-gauge only. A piece of masking tape on the back turns it into a no-go-guage. Here's how simple the barrel instillation is,
1. Put the bolt in and move it to the closed position.
2. Screw the barrel nut on the barrel first (caution, you can not slide the barrel nut to the thread from the muzzle end, it must be turned on from the breach end)
3. Then put the recoil lug on. You really don't even need the action wrench at this point other than to hold the action if you really want to use it. I only use the action wrench for taking the old barrel off.
4. Place the go-gauge in the barrel into the chamber.
5. Holding the barrel muzzle down, screw the action on until it stops ensuring the recoil lug is in the correct position between the action and barrel nut. Most of the actions have a notch, and the recoil lug you order should a pin that lines up in the notch.
6. Tighten the barrel nut making sure the barrel doesn't rotate while tightening the nut.
7. Work the bolt to ensure proper function. There should be little to no resistance when lifting the bolt.
8. Take a single piece of masking take just big enough to cover the back of the go-gauge. Make sure there is no tape hanging of the edges.
9. Close the bolt, but do not force the bolt shut. The bolt handle should not go down. It should remain up. If if drops, repeat steps 4-6 to ensure proper head spacing. Remember to remove the tape before repeating steps 4-6. If it should not close as described, go ahead and use a piece of new unprimed brass and place it in the chamber. Work the bolt to ensure that it will feed and eject new brass with out any problems.
I strongly suggest using new brass or factory ammo after putting a new barrel. I have found that no two barrels even in the same exact caliber will keep a consistent dimension from one barrel to another. This may give you problems when reloading or functioning the bolt with a new barrel on brass fired in a previous factory or custom barrel. Even if you do a full length sizing, it can cause headaches. That is why I suggest new brass for a new barrels. After the first firing on the new barrel, then you are good to go with the brass you fired from that barrel.
As far as a base and rings, that is entirely up to you. I like the new EGW HD Base. It is made from 7071 aluminum. Very light, and very strong. Again, these components are up to you and what you are willing to pay.
Hope this helps. Haven't written a post this long in a long time!