What caused my barrel to break loose?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by CRNA, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. CRNA

    CRNA Well-Known Member

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    Well, if it wasn't for bad luck.......


    I took my 9 year old son to the woods for a little peace and quiet, and hopefully his first deer. I had with me my Savage 7RM with Accustock and McGowan barrel. (Had this put together by a gunsmith last year.) I had my gun on a sling and was carrying my son's Rem 700 in .243 for him to get to our hunting position.

    As I was getting my rifle ready I thought I noticed that the forearm of the stock seemed a little weaker. I didn't really think much about it at the time. Just thought I was over analyzing.

    We get to where we were going and we had sat there for a couple of hours. Just happened to grab my barrel and move the gun a little bit as I shifted my position. When I did the whole darn barrel turned!!!!!!

    I have no doubt that I could spin the whole barrel off of the action. When I mentioned that I moved my gun by the barrel, I'm not talking about grabbing it in a death grip with both hands and exerting any undue force. I mean I just used the barrel to cant the rifle in my lap!!!!! The only thing that kept me from letting some really choice words fly was the pair of innocent nine year old ears at my side.

    I spun the barrel a couple of revolutions just out of shear amazement and noticed that the stock got progressively loose. I would have thought that the barrel could have been completely unscrewed and the stock would have not loosened in this scenario.


    Ok. I have a couple of questions:

    1) How/why did that happen? I haven't been torquing the barrel in any way. The only time I grab the rifle by the barrel is to store it in the safe and to remove it from the safe.

    2) Why did the stock get "loose" from unscrewing the barrel?

    3) I know that the stock will have to be removed to torque down the barrel nut. Question is, am I going to have to remove the Nightforce as well?

    It sounds like I am about to have to start from scratch here. I can't imagine that the headspace could possibly be set back to exactly the same, so I anticipate all of my measurements for my fired cartridges are now down the crapper.

    4) When rebarreling a rifle, doesn't a gunsmith usually put some sort of thread locker on it to prevent this?


    Any insight whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.
    I guess I'm going to have to break out the old 30-06 out of the safe that I haven't even shot in nearly two years, cause it looks like my favorite rifle is out of commission for the rest of the hunting season.
     
  2. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Your choice of gun smiths caused the barrel to come loose. I only own one savage but the barrel has never come loose.
     

  3. CRNA

    CRNA Well-Known Member

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    What did he do wrong?
     
  4. Loner

    Loner Well-Known Member

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    If the barrel has any markings you should be able to headspace it back near exact if
    you can remember them. (still use gauges) Time for a new gunsmith maybe.
     
  5. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    I dont mean to sound like an ass here but he didnt tighten it. I would take it back to him and tell him to fix it. Seriously you or your son could have been hurt or at the extream end killed.

    I have the utmost confidence in Kevin Cram at montour county rifles he has done quite a bit of work for me. He works on Savage if your not interested in returning the rifle to the smith that did the work I would suggest Kevin.
     
  6. CRNA

    CRNA Well-Known Member

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    Exactly my thoughts. I don't take what you said offensively at all. I just have never rebarreled a gun myself and didn't know what might have been involved that could have been less obvious. I don't know if I want this guy touching my stuff again, so I will have to sleep on the idea of taking it back to him.

    It seems like a very simple issue that should have never happened in the first place.

    Makes me wonder if that's why my groups have been opening up lately!!!!!!!
    It was a tack driver when I first started shooting with it. Now I do good to keep it to MOA.

    I'm just glad I found out now before the barrel was turned to the point of making an extreme excessive headspace situation and I got a Savage bolt put through my brain!!
     
  7. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    But hay I could be wrong maybe some other guys have had this same thing happen. I have just never heard of it before.
     
  8. RH300UM

    RH300UM Well-Known Member

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    Could be but I do not think so.
    I had the same thing happen to me on my rig.
    It's not a savage. Remy action and BRUX barrel. The gun was put together by a very reputable 'smith. He builds hundreds of guns and this was the first time it had happened to him. Needless to say he was quite upset. Returned the rifle and fixed at no charge to me as it should be. He had no explination as to why it came loose. He called another reputable smith to ask what he thought. he said it had happened to one of his customers once also. No cause was found. Set the barrel back one thread. rebored the chamber and torqued to 150lbs.
    I don't think you will find an answer as to why this happened. Contact the 'smith who installed the barrel for you. He should take care of the problem for you at no cost..
     
  9. CRNA

    CRNA Well-Known Member

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    Well, at least I'm not the only one with bad luck.

    Keep the suggestions coming guys. I'm going to bed and sleep on it. Thanks
     
  10. jrw1976

    jrw1976 Well-Known Member

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    Do you know if the smith replaced the stock recoil lug with a good machined one? I have had this happen also and what I came up with was since I cheaped out and didnt upgrade the recoil lug the barrel nut and action wasnt making consistent contact with the lug because stock savage recoil lugs are nowhere near truely flat. I believe the inconsistent recoil lug is why savage has to torque the barrel nuts so darn tight from the factory. It is just a theory but I havent had it happen again since I remedied the problem as I saw it.

    Jason
     
  11. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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    My guess would be he under tourqed the nut, or forgot to tourqe the nut at all.

    But look at the nut, is it cracked or damaged this could cause it to loosen.

    A barrel with threads that are well under spec could cause it to loosen over time, if the threads distorted and stretched.

    I have only had one rifle come into my shop with a loose barrel, owner didn't know it just brought it in for a tune up. When I inspected it I turned the barrel off by hand and never stopped conversing with him.

    He gave me a puzzled look and asked if it was supposed to do that. (keeping a straight face) I said sure thats why there are threads in there.

    That barrel suffered from being under-tourqed, it was fluted and apperantly the smith that put it on was trying to time a flute to top dead center and just didn't apply enough torque to keep it there.
     
  12. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    I think something is going on with the recoil lug, that allowed a tightened barrel nut to loosen(a shift). This would also have relieved tension on the stock as you described changes there.

    But, make sure your gunsmith actually has a barrel nut wrench, just in case!
     
  13. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    This happened on my first Savage, a Model 12BVSS in .22-250, after 100 rounds. It was probably under torqued at the factory. Its an easy fix to headspace it with proper guages or a fired case.
     
  14. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    Unless you have a unique circumstance, I would think twice before having the same gunsmith do the rework on your rifle. With potentially dangerous failures, gunsmiths and Harley mechanics only get one screw up unless it is obvious that failure was independent of the work performed. Changing the barrel, and properly mounting the stock on a Savage is not rocket science. Who knows what would have happened if your son shot the rifle before you discovered the problem.