Kind of trying to keep everyone posted on where I'm at with my Savage.
The barrel came in a few days ago, and I already had received the barrel vise from Midway. Changing the barrel took about 30 minutes. The barrel is 27", with a straight taper to .825".
I only ran in to two problems. The Choate sniper stock was never designed for a magazine box big enough to hold a 300 RUM. I never knew that aluminum was so hard to work with till I went after it with a Dremel tool. That 1/8" was a pain. The other problem is going to be a little harder. The stock uses a V-block bedding system, and that means that as you tighten down the bedding screws, it kind of pinchs the action. It's no big thing with my other savages, but with this one, it causes the shell ejector rod (bracket?) to bind if I tighten the rear action screw much over snug. It's probabily caused by how much metal they carved out of the bottom of the action to get the cases to clear and feed. I think I'm going to have to fix that one by glass bedding it.
However, I at least got to fire it today. Factory ammo, but that will change shortly. I only fired one round because I didn't have the scope mounted yet, and I REALLY wanted to shoot it. Of course, then I got to come home and clean it. It had no copper fouling at all. I then put on the scope and stuck the bipod on it. After filling the grip with 147 grain FMJ's, my bathroom scales say it weighs 17#. That should give me a recoil of about 23#.
And now a question. I've got about $200 to spend on a cronograph. Anybody got any recomendations?
My suggestion regarding the chronograph is to save up another 200 or so and buy an Oehler model 35P and a set of their stands.
There are other chronographs out there that work and they are cheaper, but they do not guarantee the longevity and back-up that you get with Oehler, plus the excellent reliability and accuracy.
You will enjoy using the chronograph a lot so why not use the industry standard. I use 35P's a lot and they are just plain reliable. Also they are easy to rebuild when you drift a slug through all three screens. All you need is some simple tools and spare parts which are very cheap.
I just got through looking at Natchezss.com, as I was expecting the answers I've got so far. The Oehler 35 is on sale for $220, and the 35P is $344. So, what would make the 35P so much better ($120), just because it's got a printer? What's the deal?
Only difference is the printer and it is worth having. You can also order direct from Oehler, particularly for spare parts. You really should have some spare bodies and light diffuser parts, they are very cheap. Oehler has the simplest, most reasonably priced stands and also a good carrying case I believe.
I regularly use two 35P's as I set a second system downrange to get actual downrange velocities. Makes for interesting shooting - have shot through both sets of screens simultaneously out to 500 yards so far. Fact is I have shot up my screens more at 100 and at the 10" spacing, never hit them yet shooting downrange past 100.
I do a lot with in-line muzzleloaders as well as centerfire and have a simple angled steel deflector that I put in front of the screens downrange - it has been bowled over a few times but the screens and tripods survived. Also sometimes use a piece of plywood with a slit in it set up in front of the 10' setting so that sabots don't take out the plastic - angle it a bit and the sabots bounce off and away.
Sabots from in-line bullets (and shotgun slugs) are nasty on the screens and diffusers but I just keep glueing them back together if possible, then replace. As long as you don't hit the little "eye" sensor or snip a wire (did that) the system will work.
The paper printouts are very useful, save notekeeping at the range. Just jot down each load in the margin of the printout, make better notes back home.
Plan on carrying everything in a big plastic tool kit or tackle box - you should also have an extra 9 volt battery, spare printer paper, pens, tape measure (to get your distance from the muzzle), a cheap carpenter's level to level up the screens, a pair of plyers to loosen the screen wingnut bolts if necessary, and a spare screen body and diffuse parts. I cut a piece of foam to fit the bottom of my tool boxes, make a cutout in it to place the 35P body in, then pile everything on and around it.
You will find that the more parrallel your screens are to the flight of the bullet the more consistent and accurate your readings are. You can tell how close to parallel you are by examining the two readings after a shot - they should be only a few feet per second apart. By adjusting your screens up and down with the level you can frequently get readings that are only a couple of feet apart.
If they are too far off the computer will warn you as the display will flash on and off. Sometimes this also means that you did not get into the receptive area that the sensor is working.
Battery life is very good, you will know when to change batteries as the printer noticeably slows down. The little battery cover is the only pain in the butt in the entire system - at least on my systems the covers don't stay in place so I tape them shut. Printers seem to last forever, I have had my units for years and they are still printing clearly. Understand that they are serviceable - haven't had to do that.
I hope this info is of interst and that you enjoy your new toy.
Something that may help you in the future as far as using a "dremel" when "trying" to work with aluminum. Aluminum is very "gummy" as you already found out. What you need is lubrication. If you mix 1/2 kerosene with 1/2 light oil (DTE Light or even marvel oil will work) this will make a good lubricant and cooling agent and make working with aluminum a lot less of a chore. The idea is to lubricate the bit so the aluminum doesn't "stick" in between the cutting edges of the tool. It will also assist in "cooling" the bit. Only downside is the smell [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]