Savage barrel switch

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by sav12lrpv, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. sav12lrpv

    sav12lrpv New Member

    Aug 31, 2011
    I want to switch barrels on a Sav. mod 12. Ideally, I'd like to be able to do this in the field on a PD shoot. If anybody out there is doing this I'd like to talk about "how to" details
  2. orch

    orch Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2011
    hey there,

    i have been swapping barrels out on my savages for the last couple years, its pretty easy and straight forward... i am not sure if it would be something you would want to do in the field, but i am sure its doable...

    what you need:
    -savage barrel nut wrench
    -some sort of hardwood block, similar material with a hole drilled in it with a diameter similar to the barrel diameter and cut in half to clamp the barrel in the vice to prevent marking it
    -go and no-go guages (i actually use fired cases - regular fired case = go guage and fired case with a peice of tape 0.002" thick on the headstamp = no-go guage... they may not be perfect but they work...)
    -torque wrench and appropriate driver bits for the action screws, scope mounts and scope rail

    remove scope, remove the scope rail if it protrudes over the barrel nut, drop the barreled action out of the stock.
    place the barrel nut wrench on the barrel nut, then put the barrel in your blocks and clamp them down in the vice to hold the barrel with enough force to stop it from spinning.
    turn the barrel nut counter-clockwise (when looking from the muzzle end) to loosen.... you may need to use a couple blows with a hammer to the wrench or a cheater bar when loosening the barrel nut for the first time from the factory...
    once loose i spin the action off the barrel, and remove the barrel nut from the barrel
    place the new barrel in the blocks and tighten the vice, spin the barrel nut onto the new barrel as far onto the threads as possible, place the wrench on the nut
    now place the go-gauge (fired case) in the chamber of the new barrel, with the bolt closed in the action.
    spin the action onto the new barrel until you feel the bolt face of the action engage the head of the fired case and you feel resistance as turn the action onto the barrel.
    spin the barrel nut down onto the action finger tight and test to see how easily your bolt moves as you cycle the action with the go-gauge in the chamber
    there should be a slight "crush" feeling, meaning the bolt should move with a little bit of resistance when you open/close the bolt.
    if your bolt just falls shut with no resistance its too loose -tighten the action on the barrel a little more
    if you feel you have to strong arm the bolt to open and close it on the go-gauge you have it too tight - loosen the action on the barrel

    when you think you are at the right headspacing tighten the barrel nut down on the action with the barrel wrench (i tighten it as tight as i can get with one hand on the wrench pulling towards me with out bracing my self against anything... not Savage tight... word is Savage arms employs a 500lb Gorilla on steroids to tighten the barrel nuts in the factory)
    test to make sure you still have that slight "crush" feeling on the go-gauge... if you don't you may need to loosen the nut and fiddle with it untill it feels right when the nut is tightened down...
    then put the No-go gauge in the action and try to close it... if it won't close you are golden... if it does close you need to fiddle with it a bit more untill it closes on the go-gauge and not on the no-go gauge....

    now put the action back in the stock, torque the action screws back down (i torque mine to 35 inchlbs) and re-mount the scope....
    fire a group at a target and take note of how far out of zero your new barrel/round is shooting from your old barrel and write that down so when you change the barrel back you know how much to adjust your scope back to...
    now zero your scope and you should be good to go

    once you get good at it you should be able to swap a barrel out in about 10 minutes

    this will work for switching between any rounds that use the same size bolt face... eg: 308 win, 243, 22-250... etc... if you wanna go from 308 to say a 223 you will need to do a boltface swap as well before you set the headspace...

    sorry this was a little long winded... if you have anymore questions let me know... has lots of info on their forum about barrel swaps/boltface swaps too...

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011

  3. sav12lrpv

    sav12lrpv New Member

    Aug 31, 2011
    Thanks to Orch and KRP for your response to my question. I especially enjoyed the "diesel mechanic's" advice. (There actually was some good information mixed in with the humorous responses to the "hammer and screwdriver" method. I think I'll talk to a good gunsmith about pros and cons of getting rid of the barrel nut and using a shouldered barrel.

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    You gotta love redneck ingenuity :rolleyes::D:)!

    Head space control by design is one of the pros in Savage actions ...

    Savage Arms > Headspace Control
  5. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    I have four barrels for my model 12 and I swap twice a week quite often, it seems a little crude but the hammer and screw driver method works very well. Here's how it goes, I take nothing apart and the rifle is on a bipod, tap the nut loose with a small hammer and screw driver, spin of and install nut on next barrel, recoil lug stays in place, spin down close and put in go-gauge and finish seating barrel, spin down nut and tap a couple times to tighten. Fire one shot and measure with reticule make adjustment and fire a second to confirm. Done! I know it sounds crude but everything is trued and we are talking a light tape, not enough to mar the nut.
    I also have a shouldered barrel that I use but I mount it with a vice and action wrench and it will stay on all hunting season, unless I get bored with it :D
  6. KRP

    KRP Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2007

    I'm not a fan of castrating Savages but on a true switch barrel rifle I think it would simplify things. I'd consider some flats on the barrel also, look at Larry Racine's switch barrel rigs.