Originally Posted by Dr. Vette
Ironically, I have a set of Leupold bases with a significant alignment error of the double dovetail slots. Even worse, the error has the slot offest to the left in front and to the right in back which results in an additive error of my scope pointing to the left compared to the barrel. It took quite a while to figure it out, and for years I just used offsets in my Burris Signature rings to straighten it out. I've now removed those bases but you are correct in that only a small misalignment can cause significant scope alignment errors.
As he's already tried 2 different sets of bases I doubt that is his problem. I just wanted to add to your comment with my own example.
In theory, the bores of the rings should be parallel to each other so if the base dovetail is cut on a diagonal to the bore and you mount the bases and rings and then use an alignment/lapping bar (like a Wheeler) or in my case a shop ground length of bar stock, the misalignment would be immediately apparent when you wiped the ring set with the bar and lapping compound.
The lapping compound would remove the oxide finish inside the rings only at one extreme end instead of across the bore face. On silver rings, I use Dykem blue or red, on black rings, the oxide coating becomes the 'bluing'....
Lapping/alignment is SOP with me before I ever set any optic in the saddles. One, I want to visually ascertain if the rings are close to alignment and two, I want maximum ring to tube contact which basically eliminates any chance of the scope moving on recoil (so long as the rings are torqued to manufacturers specification) and it eliminates any chance of ring marks on the optic or in the extreme case, crushing the aluminum scope tube, rendering the optic useless, the main reason why I stay away from sopes with ring marks of any kind.
Ring marks are caused by one thing and that is misalignment of the rings thenselves in relationship to the scope tube brought about by not carefully aligning the tube to the rings or lapping the ring bearing surface beforehand. Your alignment and final accuracy will only be as good as the preperation and execution done prior to that first shot.
Along that line, I also use the lapping bar as an alignment tool when fixing the rings to the base/rail. I clamp the rings loosely to the bar and set the rings on the base/rail and attach them loosely as well. Then I go back and progressively tighten the rings to the alignment bar and then tighten the rings to the base/rail. That aligns the rings independently and parallel to the base/rail. Of course all this is predicated on the bar being true and parallel as well.
If you shoot short distance, none of this is necessary. Long distance compounds the slightest misalignment and necessitates precision, error free mounting and of course precision, error free machining by the manufacturer as well.
No manufacturer is exempt from error, or as it's been said before, shitte happens. We just don't want to be the recipient.
I read Bruce's synopsis of how to check the alignment and while that will distill the problem, the problem remains and needs to be addressed. IMO, I don't think it's a bore or barrel issue, though it may be in as much as Savage barrels screw in and lock with a retainer nut. I still would lean toward parallel misalignment of the machined mounting holes in relationship to the centerline of the chamber, a more likely scenario, at least in my opinion from owning a machine shop and having an understanding of the different operations, how they are performed and what and when inspections take place.
Barrel fixing to receiver/chamber alignment is critical and is highly likely to be hand inspected on every firearm whereas receiver/chamber rail/base hole alignment is fixture aligned and most likely not individually inspected but rather inspected on a frequency basis.
Never having been to Savage Aems or touring their shop, I can only guess, but using common machine shop practices, I can crudely deduce their inspection regimen.
Every manufacturer has to balance the human factor against the profitability factor. Savage produces what I consider to be a quality product at a reasonable cost. To do that is a fine balance between profitability and how much each firearm is, shall we say, 'carassed' by humans.
Not to demean any manufacturer on this site like Kirby (Allen Precision) but in order for Kirby to make a profit on his offerings, he has to charge appreciably more because the human factor and that skill is put into each unit. Savage is a production facility. Mass production and one off are entirely 2 different animals.
It all distills down to what you are willing to pay and what you will tolerate as far as a less than ideal situation, and, of course, how well the manufacturer stands behind their product (in this case and mine, I expect 100%).
Thats why I said earlier that the OP should contact Savage Arms and allow Savage to decide the outcome, exactly what I'm going to do with Ruger shortly.
I could very intentionally machine a rail with the through holes offset the deviate amount and bring the rail into parallel alignment with the receiver but that isn't the solution to the issue. The solution to my issue and the OP's, lies with the OEM and how thay address it.