Savage Model 110 Headspacing

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by Stryker41, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. Stryker41

    Stryker41 New Member

    I own a Savage Model 110 7mm Mag. My Father and brother each own identical guns to mine. My brother years ago had some empties from his reloaded. Unfortuneately, after one reload the shells either cracked or just plain broke off just above the belt during the second shot.

    I have purchased a reloader and am just getting started. (Having some fun with my 220 Swift!) I have compared my brothers 7mm empties with mine, before I spent the money on the dies because it was determined he has a headspacing problem with his rifle and I figured if they are similar to mine that I too may have a headspacing problem. Using a caliper, it seems that mine may be worse than his by a couple thousanths, as far as stretching goes. And we both have a similar "bulge" just above the belt on the shells where I think his were cracking.

    I am very "handy" with tools, but I will not fool myself into believing that I am an actual "gunsmith". So does anyone know if the headspacing on a Savage 110 can be changed by loosening the barrel nut and carefully tightening the barrel into the receiver? Or is this strictly a "professional" project? If so, about how much does it cost to have the headspacing corrected?
  2. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    Due to the VERY high energies involved, and the VERY close proximity of a mistake to important parts of your body, I REALLY would not attempt to modify the headspace of a rifle. This does require guages, and the expertise of a gunsmith. The costs involved should be modest, and not require your firstborn child. Hourly rates of a smith vary wildly, depending on the smith and the area of the country, so I would hesitate to name a number (and I am not a smith) but some of the smiths that hang out here can probably give you a range of costs. You might also contact Savage.

  3. rifleman55

    rifleman55 New Member

    Sound like somebody tried to HS them and failed.
    if no one is close, go to SavageGunsmithing
    The smith, Scott is a master smith and charges a reasonable price. Give him a call, some days he's hard to get ahold of, others not, try calling in the AM, he's really busy, but can set it up from tight HS to regular, however you want it. I'd go for not too tight, but tighter than factory standard, it will help the accuracy just slightly and if you size the cases correctly will help a little with case life.

    John K
  4. truc

    truc New Member


    i'm wandering if the guns were rebarreled or there factory installed barrels? i find it hard to beleive unless both guns had many many rounds thru them that you would have a headspace issue ,,it sounds to me more like an issue with your loads ..if your not haveing issues with factory ammo then i'd look at the powder or the charge your useing ..remember most loading manuals recommend you start with a 10% reduced load and work up from there ,,both rounds are hot fast rounds and it could be easy to overload and have case issues ,,just a suggestion before ya invest in headspace guages when you don't need them..
  5. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    Get the proper headspace gauges and slowly turn the barrel back until it just touches the gauge then tighten the barrel nut with the gauge in place.
  6. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

    Setting headspace on Savage rifles with a barrel nut is about as easy as it gets. Get a go and a no go guage (about $20 each from Maidway), a barrel nut wrench and either blocks to secure the barrel in a vice or an action wrench.

    Some recommend removing the ejector and some don't, to avoid a "false" feeling of contact with the bolt face and guage. I removed mine, it only takes a few extra minutes. Barrel is screwed into receiver to set headspace according to guage, barrel nut secures both together. I am not good at explaining things...:eek:

    GunTech : Re-barreling Your Savage Rifle - World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools - BROWNELLS
  7. Stryker41

    Stryker41 New Member


    Thanks to everyone who has replied. I haven't decided yet whether or not I will undertake the project myself. I have done ALOT of reading on it since I had originally posted, and I do feel confident about safely undertaking the project it if I were to buy the proper tools. However, as simple as it with this particular gun and since there is no actual machining required, I will probly just price it with the local gunsmiths before I buy the tools I will probly only use once. (I am not in a real hurry.)

    My gun, and the other gun were both purchased brand new from the same store, their serial numbers are 1 digit apart. Their barrels and headspacing were both factory set and no one has ever worked on either of them.

    I have only shot factory loads through mine, and I am confident that the man who put together the few reloads my brother had kept them within recommended tolerances and they were NOT "hot" loads. (The gentleman is not one to take risks with reloads himself let alone reloads for a young kid -- my brother was 16 at the time)

    Ill let you know when I get around to correcting the problem, and thanks again for the input!
  8. TomS308

    TomS308 New Member

    What your describing is common with belted magnum cartridges.. The problem isn't the rifle.. It's how you set up your resizing die.. Adjust your die to headspace off the case shoulder and not the belt.. and your problems will go away.. To do this.. Take a lighted match and smoke black carbon on the case shoulder.. Turn the resizing die down till the carbon is lightly rubbed off.. and your die is set.. If your reloading for more than one rifle.. You will need to keep the brass separate if the die adjustment is much different between rifles.. If it's close, adjust the die to the shortest chamber.. I will also add.. tighten the die lock ring while the case is in the die at the top of the stroke.. and lube the inside of the case mouth.. pulling the expander ball over a dry case mouth will stretch the case a little..
  9. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

    That's a great first post Tom. I can't believe I didn't think of that. I don't reload for belted cases but I've heard they require a bit more care. Again, nice catch!
  10. rifleman55

    rifleman55 New Member

    The is one thing nobody is including is an action wrench.
    Many Savage rifles have barrel nuts that are tightened by the two ton gorilla and you have to tighten these same barrel nuts properly when done.

    It's not that hard to tweek an action that is not properly supported.
    Action wrenches are sold by Midwayusa for a reasonable price. Get one and don't ruin your rifle.

    I used to make my living building custom Savage CF rifles and accurizing them.

    Tweek your action and it's junk. I think it's great to see people changing their own barrels or setting headspace, just do it right.

    Also, no need to buy one of the bolt face facing tools. The bolt heads on the new Savage rifles are so close, they rarely need to be squared up.

    There is lots more that can be done to blueprint a Savage action and increase the accuracy, but it requires a good lathe, one that is in perfect alignment and some specialized tools. Unless you are a very experienced machinest, this is one job best left to a professional gunsmith who specializes in working on Savage rifles.

    If you have a Savage rifle, you have one of the most accurate production rifles made, better than the $5000. custom one's.

    A tip if looking to buy a used rifle. About the time Savage came out with the Accu-Stock, they replaced all their CNC equipment with new state of the art machines. If you see a number stamped under the tang, the rifle was made on the new equipment and the tollerances are much tighter.
    The numbers are used to keep track of how many pieces of every part of the rifle were cut, when the number of cuts with a cutter have been reached, a computer tells them when to replace the cutting tools in the CNC machines.
    No more guessing if it's time to change a cutting tool. By doing this, every cutting tool is replaced before getting dull so each piece is cut with a sharp cutter, keeping the tollerances as tight as possible.

    While other gun company's are going down hill, Savage is upgrading.

    The CEO and the top production people in the company spent better than an hour talking with Scott Null, owner of Savage Gunsmithing, they all picked his brain and asked for his suggestions to make their CF and RF rifles better.
    They showed a great deal of interest in what he had to say. He's in my opinion the top Savage Riflesmith in the country. They had heard many good things about the rifles he turns out and wanted his views on every aspect of their rifles. They are going to have another phone confrence with him shortly.
    The CEO is even sending his 6MM BR rifle to him to have it accurizied.

    I think this shows just how interested Savage is in improving their rifles and building the best rifles possible.
    I have never heard of another company taking the time to find out what a professional outside of their company thinks. I'm very impressed with Savage.

    I started Savagegunsmithing and gave the web business to Scott when I retired from gunsmithing because he was the best gunsmith I have ever seen and I knew he would take good care of my customers and turn out fantastic rifles. He has exceeded my expectations.
    I'm glad I gave it to him.

    Anyway, If I can help with your Savage rifle projects, let me know. I've been retired for about 6 years and am not up on everything with the new Savage rifles, but I'm sure I can be of some help.
    I'm building a .308 Savage right now and my accurized BRJ .22 has shot a best of .1", 5 shots @ 50 Yds. The Savage rifles, both centerfire and rimfire have fantastic potential.

    My Best, John K
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011