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How to accurize a Savage 840 .30-30?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by scythefwd, Oct 20, 2008.

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  1. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    Backstory:
    I have an 840 that I can do 1.5 - 1.75 inch groups with 170 gr corelokts (remington) at 100y. I want to get that down to 1 inch +/_ .1 inches. The gun is too light for my tastes, so I plan on adding some lead shot and epoxy to the forearm and the buttstock. I hope to get it to about 8.5 -9 lbs as I like heavier guns. (I really like the way my garand feels in my hands as well as how my SAW felt).

    Can I do the following,
    Float the barrel? I hear it uses a screw to support the barrel toward the end of the forearm, but I can't find anything but the sling mount.

    Glass bed the stock? Do you think this would have much of an effect?

    Lighten the trigger? It's a bit stiff, has anyone heard of this being done to a savage 840? Remember, this gun is over 40 years old (no serial so it's at least 45 years old) so I don't think I will be able to find a trigger kit out there.

    Get a better scope. The crosshairs cover my 1 inch neon green bull completely. It is only a 2x, and a 3-9 should give me a better view of the bull, especially if I get one with thinner hairs.

    I will be hand loading later as well so I think I can get .25 inches off of the group there. I will not consider a bull barrel since I would have to get that custom made.
     
  2. HB

    HB Member

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    Before you do anything test more ammo and handloads.....

    HB
     
  3. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    You will invest a lot of money and time and in the end you'll still not have a sub-MOA rifle. The action is simply not stiff enough for repeatable sub-MOA performance. The fact that you have less than 2 MOA performance from it is superb.

    The Savage 30/30 bolt also has a bit of a following, and you can likely sell it and buy a more 'accurate' platform if that's what you want.
     
  4. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    Buying an accurate rifle is not the point. Making a hand me down rifle mine and more accurate is the point. The making heavier will be done, period. I can get that done very cheaply. Bedding can be done personally, so can floating the barrel. I figure i can get that bit done for less than 100. The scope and mount I can get for about 200. 300 dollars for a hunting rifle isn't bad, just look at the marlins in .30-30 :)

    I said I would like to see moa, but I would be happy with any improvement. What makes the action so flimsy? I figured a bolt would be pretty rigid, since it doesn't unlock until well after the shot.
     
  5. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    I've done everything you can do to a Savage 30-30 bolt gun to improve accuracy, all of what you list above and a few other things. None of which did squat.


    The best thing you can do to improve the accuracy of these rifles is DOWNLOAD your ammunition. These rifles with their ramen noodle like action stiffness throw shots quite badly with max or even near max loads.
     
  6. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    Excepting that getting a factory replacement stock for when you want to sell it will not be easy or cheap.

    The receiver isn't very stiff and the rear locking bolt (with single locking lug, IIRC) doesn't help matters much.

    They're good rifles, and I'd love to have one. But they're just not meant for hot-roddin'.
     
  7. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    Rbernie,
    I won't need a factory stock. I have no intention on selling this.
     
  8. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    I had bought a nice heavy walnut thumbhole for this model from richardsmicrofit, a very nice stock however it did require a goodly bit of finish work.

    Even after bedding the recoil lug and the bbl band my 340 was still only good for 2 to 3 MOA
     
  9. Nhsport

    Nhsport Member

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    Never hurts to try!
    I have no direct experience with this savage but do have a couple of things to sugest.
    look around for a local smith who is willing to work on the trigger. You are corect that a "kit" isn't likely available but a smart guy with the right experience can do wonders with most triggers. A good (or at least better) trigger will help alot.
    Spend some time with a cleaning kit and some heavy duty copper solvent and do a extra carefull cleaning. I have fixed many a "bad" rifle that appeared to be clean but was actually not.
    The plan to reload might just be the key. I have found a high quality bullet such as Sierra will help many rifles
    Do only one change at at time . Test shot after every change because some of your ideas will help and possibly some of them might work against you .
    Your goal is admirable but might not hapen
     
  10. gvnwst

    gvnwst Member

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    after trying all this, put some hornady leverevolution ammo in your rifle. i have heard of marlin lever actions getting 1" groups with this ammo.
     
  11. brassdog

    brassdog Member

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    I have a Savage 340 and it's a light handy bush gun for me. Do you have the Stevens 840? I believe those came out first and then Savage copied the model with a few improvements. The others have mentioned good advice.
    1st, clean that puppy!
    2nd, check the muzzle crown, it may need to be recrowned.
    3rd, stick with standard pressure loads. The reciever is a split reciever and doesn't have alot of strength to hold against the Uber-loads. Remember, this design was the economy model of the 50's & 60's.
    It can be accurate, you just have to do your homework.:)
    Do you have a scope mounted on it? AFASIK there are only 2 options for offset mounts. Check with Weaver and B-Square.
    As for glass bedding, if that's what you want to do? Then do it! It sounds like you don't have a barrel band up front. Do you have a screw hole on the bottom of the stock just forward of the front triggerguard/recoil lug screw?
    I guess you could use that (if you have one) to make a damping screw.
    Oh yeah, send some photos. Would love to see what your rifle looks like.
     
  12. brassdog

    brassdog Member

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    Dang! I just reread your post. I can't imagine how you could shrink your groups down to 1". What you're doing is pretty good for this particular rifle. Only thing to add is have a gunsmith check your chamber and see what your actual length is.
     
  13. Liberty1776

    Liberty1776 Member

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    After you glass-bed it and lighten the trigger, and put on a different scope, please let us know how it helped. I've played with these for years and sometimes this stuff helps, sometimes it doesn't. The biggest benefit I've seen personally is using a good spitzer bullet in handloads - which you now don't have to do if you use the Hornady Leverolution(sp) Ammo - I'd try that first... let us know what helps. These are great little guns but their biggest drawback is that limp action, split bridge, funky scope mounting and only one receiver screw holding it all in there. (that's why glass-bedding could make a difference) Good Luck.:p
     
  14. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    Your right, its a stevens, not a savage (well, it's actually branded coast to coast 843, but from the pictures I have seen it is the stevens / springfield version). I took another look, yes, there is a barrel band after all. I am not sure how I could miss that, especially since I wasn't drunk.

    1. - It is very clean
    2. - advice on how to do this? it still looks great to me, but I am not sure what I should be looking for. Looking into the barrel from the muzzle (with bolt out) the edge seems very sharp with no rounding at the end.
    3. - I don't plan on exceeding the standard loads when I reload.
    4. - already scoped, with a weaver 3/4" body 2x scope in a weaver mount. I want to move to a 2-7 or 3-9 (which means I will have to use the Bsquare mount instead).

    I would assume having the barrel band will make a difference (by creating a spot in the barrel that isn't heating equally). What purpose does it serve? Can it be removed to float the barrel (I know, it's there for a reason and I shouldn't modify the design of the gun too much from the manufacturer)?

    Pictures are at http://www.putfile.com/album/181374?pos=top

    The pictures don't show it but except for the bolt the bluing is perfect. The stock has a few very minor scratches on it but is otherwise in very good shape.
    Liberty1776,
    I would prefer not to spend over a dollar a bullet when I don't have to. I don't need the BT leverloutions because I don't have a tube mag. I can load a very similar or superior round for about .30 cents per. The cheapest they are around here is $23 a box and I refuse to buy ammo off the internet.
     
  15. Jubjub

    Jubjub Member

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    I have the same gun in .222. It's even the one marked Coast to Coast. Mine had been worked on some before I bought it. The barrel band is removed, and the barrel is bedded full length. Oddly enough, the recoil lug isn't bedded. I'm not sure what if anything was done to the trigger, but it's perfectly crisp and maybe 3.5 pounds. Of course, since the trigger is also the bolt stop, it does have pretty much unlimited overtravel. Still, it's a very shootable trigger.

    Mine has a cheapo BSA 6-24X scope in a Weaver mount. The side mount actually puts the scope a bit to the right of the centerline, and only scopes with fairly trim eyepieces will let the bolt handle get by.

    It shoots patterns with any factory ammo that I've tried, but it does pretty well with many handloads. Under 1" groups aren't common, but they don't usually go much over. It does need to be shot at a slow pace. Heat up the barrel, and the accuracy goes away.

    The stock on mine is just butt-ugly. It's blond, with some sort of varnish apparently applied with a broom. I bought a replacement walnut stock for it from Boyd's but have yet to get to work on installing it, since it's doing so well in the wood that it came in.
     
  16. Cocked & Locked
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    Cocked & Locked Member

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    Are you using this for a deer hunting rifle? If so, it's grouping fine at 100 yds. If you're trying to make it shoot like a quality bolt action rifle...well, it just ain't gonna do that. :scrutiny:
     
  17. brassdog

    brassdog Member

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    The photos look better than mine! I have a weaver #1 mount with a Bushnell
    3-9 power. If the crown still has crisp edges all around then you're probably okay. FWIW, I've heard of folks "tuning" the barrel by adjusting the tension on the barrel band screw. I've never done this so I can't advise how it works.
    Good luck & keep us posted.
     
  18. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    Locked and Cocked,
    Yes, it is my primary hunting rifle (actually my only so far unless I ever take out the sks). I also hunt X's on paper, and I spend many more rounds doing that than I will ever spend hunting (well above 40X the amount actually).
     
  19. Ash

    Ash Member

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    Of course, when Stevens came out with the rifle, it was already a part of Savage, and had been for years. It was initially supposed to be a budget rifle and so came out under the Stevens name. When it became more popular, Savage put the the more premium name on it.

    The big problem with these rifles is the front band the retains the rifle and action to the stock. A band around the barrel to hold the front of the action on does nothing good for accuracy. Worse, there's not a whole lot that can be done about that.

    Ash
     
  20. TCB in TN

    TCB in TN Member

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    I would echo the try different ammo. I have had lots of guns that don't like Remmington CL ammo. Try winny, feds, etc. and see if it just likes a particular brand. Would also try different weight and style rounds as that can make a big difference as well.
     
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