Need some advice


Active Member
Mar 10, 2008
Sidney, Tx
I have spent a considerable amount of time reading these forums and I have to admit, I’m hooked. I have hunted whitetail all my life, and I am ready to step it up a notch. I live in a pretty flat area, and have the opportunity to take some long range shots. I see there is a lot of talent/information here, so I am asking for help.

I have a Savage Model 11 chambered in .308. I am planning to have some smithing done and I am looking for some advice. I want to upgrade the stock and barrel. I want to have the smith do a bedding job, and possibly truing and timing the action. I’m still learning about glass bed vs pillar bed, and I’m not exactly sure what truing and timing the action actually means.

I plan to hunt whitetail out to 500 yards, and possibly do some target shooting out past that. Probably going to use 165-168 grain hand loaded ammo.

Here are my questions:

1.[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Can anyone give me advice on the bedding?
2.[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Can someone explain what, if anything, needs to be done to the action?
3.[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]I need some advice on the barrel. If I plan on using 165-168 grain ammo, what rifling am I looking for?
4. I have been looking at sharp shooter supply and they seem like they know whats up with Savage. If anyone has anything positive or negative to say about them, I would appreciate the input.

We can discuss optics later. I want to get the gun right before I go too far. I will also be asking for advice on load data after I get the rifle setup. Thanks guys.
Are you looking at staying with the .308? For the game that you are talking about hunting, and the distances, I think you may want to consider some other calibers. I may have missed it in your post. Do you hand load?

These discussions about caliber choice can have a tendency to make a guys head swim. There will be many opinions as to what you should do. I think that for what you described that you may be better served by going to the .260 or the 7-08. Better bc's and flatter shooting. I am a big fan of the 6.5 calibers. If you stay with the .308 parent case. If you are hand loading, then you could go with an Ackley Improved version of the .260 that I mentioned and have what I think would be an ideal deer cartridge out to 700 yrds.

Let's see what others here have to say.

308 to 500yrds will be fine. You want a 1:12 minimum twist and the number of grooves is preferential. If you shoot a 168 grain bullet you are good to knock a deer down to about 550 yards. If you use a 175 you can add 100 yards. Your speed should be at 2650fps or better.

Not knowing how old your mod 11 is, you may just need to glass bed it. Devcon I think is the name of the bedding material. Your smith should know, and he may have something he prefers. If it is a newer rifle then it is already pillar bedded. If you don't have the Accu-trigger, have your smith lighten it up, and if you want to spend the coin, then look at replacing with an after market trigger. Make sure your barrel is completely free floated and not touching the forearm anywhere.

Practice, Practice, Practice. I have a load capable of 1200yards, but I have not practiced to that distance, so I am not willing to go that far. Practice the distance that you wish to shoot.

Thanks for the input. I prefer to stay with the 308. I don't see myself trying another outside of 500 yds. If I ever get to that point, I will know a lot more by then, and I will put together another rifle. The mod 11 was bought last January new. It does have the Accutrigger.

One more question. What barrel length should I be considering? I will be carrying the gun some, but pretty short distances. Less than a mile, in flat terrain.

Thanks again.
IMHO the KISS formula works with a Savage=Keep It Super Simple and in my case CHEAP! The biggest thing Savage has going for it is the ease of doing the improvements yourself.
1.Can anyone give me advice on the bedding?
Beding usualy doesnt hurt and isnt always nessisary. If the stock fails any of these three things I'll make a point to bed it.
#1 Some people use a dallar to make sure the barrel is free-floated, with a plastic Savage stock fold the dallar a few times= 1/8th" is not too much! Sandpaper around a deep well socket works good to get more room. Moveing the bipod stud back a couple of inches will help a lot.
#2 Make sure the rear tang is free-floated too!! Work a piece of paper around the edges to tell, there doesnt need to be a big gap but it should not be touching either.
#3 Loosen the 2 screws holding the stock to the action and retighten. Now with one hand holding the barrel and stock loosen the front action screw and feel for movement....If it moves much your gonna want to bed it...Even if it already has pillars!!
Beding your first rifle can be a little intimidateing but the Savage is an easy one to start with. If you have a smith do it make sure he knows the difference between a Savage and a Remington= Dont bed the rear tang on a Savage!!

2.Can someone explain what, if anything, needs to be done to the action?
The short answer is nuthin. The Savage action by design is very forgiving. Timeing and trueing usually benifit you more than the action, the action will be smoother but very seldom shoots any better. If you reload it may help brass life to reset the headspace with a piece of brass that has been resized in your equipment. Just make sure it passes a no-go safty check when your done!
3.I need some advice on the barrel. If I plan on using 165-168 grain ammo, what rifling am I looking for?
The factory barrel should get you to 500 yards with a little load work. How does it shoot now? An aftermarket 11 or 12 twist will probably be easier to clean and need cleaned less often but may not shoot any better?

4. I have been looking at sharp shooter supply and they seem like they know whats up with Savage. If anyone has anything positive or negative to say about them, I would appreciate the input.
Fred knows his way around a Savage so does Kevin Rayhill and many other reputable gunsmiths.

If it aint broke dont fix it. Load developement and practice will make a lot bigger difference on a target than throwing $$$ at it!!
Again length is preferential. If it is flat easy walking you may want to look at a 24 to 26 inch barrel. Obviously the less material present the lighter the gun. If you go longer you want to make sure it is a heavier contour so the barrel isn't to whippy when shooting. For in woods hunting the 22" that is on the rifle will work just fine. If you have flat open area to shoot, then get a nice medium to heavy contour and set up on a bench or a bi-pod.

The name of the game is "The more rigid the better." Just out of curiosity... do you have the Accu-stock model? If you have that model all suggestions for bedding go out the window!:D

Just some suggestions for the .308 in barrels. A lot of guys are very happy with the Broughten, Lilja, Douglas, Hart, and Krieger. I have decided to go with a 3 groove 1:11 for my Savage in 300WSM.

If you want to stay with the savage action, then couple things to consider.

The savage actions are a little different in bedding and other tweaks. Fred Moreo and Kevin Rayhill are two of the best and most often used.

I would strongly recommend truing and timing the action. In fact, you might find you are ahead to ask Fred at SSS if he has one already in stock already done. He normally keeps a couple for immediate sale.

I have seen warped Savage actions, so have it checked.

SSS sells some very good laminate stocks. Get one, well worth the money.

Stay with one bullet, the 175 gr (either SMK or Berger). The 168 will go subsonic at 900 or so and start keyholing, so why work up a load with it when you will go the 175 eventually anyway. The 175 will go much further.

Start shooting F class to learn wind doping and basic LR shooting. ergo another reason to go with the 175 over the 168 as you shoot out to 1000.

1-11 twist is the standard for most.

Now having said that, you might want to look at the savage FTR or palma rifles in 308. Good to go out of the box and sell for under $1000

Go to and Northlander there normally has them for sale. Good place to find a savage already set up or barrel and stock for sale also.

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Again, thanks for all the great info. Looks like I have some thinking to do. I'll make sure and repost when I get things put together.

If any of you guys have any favorite 308 loads you would like to throw at me, please do. Remember, this gun will be for whitetail, but obviously I will be shooting a lot of paper for practice.

Thanks again for your help, and for being part of a great resource for us beginners.

Sorry I have so many questions. Geez, this is addicting.

I was checking out the Sharp Shooter Supply website and noticed they offer the .30 cal barrels in 1:10 or 1:16, which sparked another question (no surprise there). Is there a disadvantage to having too much twist? I did a little research and found a formula for calculating it, but its an old formula. It came to 1:11 for a nosler 165 gr. Given my limited physics background, I seem to think that at some point too much spin would be a disadvantage.
Bed it in Devcon and make sure you run some in the barrel channel so the stock will stiffen up and not touch the barrel.
I would not do anything to the action or the barrel until you find that it actually needs it.
I purchased a model 16 and put a new stock and barrel on it, it shrunk the group a little but unless you want to do it yourself it wasn't worth the money.
Kevin Rayhill at Stockade gunstocks is a great guy and will answer any questions you have.
Do a ladder and work up a good load you may be surprised.
I think thats going to be my plan. You guys have me curious about what the gun will do as is. Obviously the less money I throw at it the better off I will be. Time will tell.
I rarely post on forums due to too many arguments. However, I do shoot a large number of round per year through a .308. It is my opinion that this is a very fine and capable caliber. Someone who obviously knows something about this caliber gave you some gold info with the 175 grain matchkings. I would also like to add the Hornady 178 grain Amax and the 180 grain interbonds. The loading will be pretty much rifle dependent, but you should be able to find your sweet spot somewhere beteen 43 and 45 grains of Hodgdon Varget. You really, as already mentioned, want to stay supersonic out to a 1000. 44+ grain should get you there depending on your barrel length.

Someone else also mentioned a good laminate stock which is very exceptional advice. Do a quality bedding job and shoot it before fiddling with the action or new barrel. 500 yards should not be a problem to stay on target time and again once you learn to set/change elevation correctly and learn to hold for wind which, by the way should not be difficult at 500 yards. After shooting a bit, then evaluate the need for a new barrel and action work. One the other hand, if you are hankering for a new barrel and tuned up action, do it to it. You cannot beat a Lilja barrel between a 10'ish and 12'ish twist.

good shooting and enjoy the 30 caliber.
First things first. I am not looking for an argument. I am curious.

I know the .308 crowd is very loyal. The original post was looking for suggestions on re-barreling his .308. I suggested something in the .264 cal. That got dropped like a hot potato. I thought that maybe I was way wrong in my thinking, so I ran some #'s.

Here is what I got:

260 Rem
140 Berger
MV= 2700fps
1000yrd stats:
28.3 moa drop
1519fps retained velocity
6.2 moa wind drift

308 Win
175 Matchking
MV= 2700fps
1000yrd stats:
32.5 moa drop
1277fps retained velocity
8.5 moa wind drift

If the original poster is not going to re-barrel, then great. If he does re-barrel, I do not see a good reason to stay with the 308 for the intended purpose of the rifle, as the original poster stated. We can run lots of different bullets, but I don't think it is going to get any better for the 308. Start running dedicated hunting bullets and it gets worse. The 175 smk is not considered a great hunting bullet. Other smk's have good reputations for hunting, but I am not so sure this is one of them. What have I missed here?

BTW I ran the ballistics at 3000ft elevation, and 200yrd zero.


First things first. I am not looking for an argument. I am curious.

I know the .308 crowd is very loyal. The original post was looking for suggestions on re-barreling his .308. I suggested something in the .264 cal. That got dropped like a hot potato.

Hey Steve,

Sorry buddy, didn't mean to out you. I was going by his info and just assumed he wanted to stay with the .308. with that said I completely agree with you on going to a .260 Remmy. In that instance I would consider these as well; 6.5 Swede and the 6.5x47 Lapua. All three are acceptional for the intended purpose to which we are talking. Again I apologize if you felt like the black sheep in the conversation. If he is looking for a different caliber in the same cartridge then the 6.5's are the way to go.

As far as bullets are concerned, the 168 Hornady A-Max would be an excellent option. Due to its design, it will perform to 1000yrds and through the transonic period. I used them for ground hog one time and they stayed consistent through 1100yrds. I didn't notice any major loss of accuracy.

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