Deer season is over, hard water fishing is sporadic at best, and Turkey season seems so far off, now is a great time to go through the gun cabinet or safe and see what needs thinned out, tuned up or updated. Maybe that shotgun stock just needs a new finish? Maybe that rifle needs to have a trigger job or the barrel free floated? Maybe you’re due to spend some time at the shooting bench developing a closer relationship with your deer gun to see what ammo it likes?
Over the next month we’ll look at some home gun projects, shooting tips and reviews of what’s going on in the firearm world. This will help keep your mind occupied until 3 D archery tournaments start up and Turkey season is near. We’ll look at a few easy do it yourself projects this winter that will breathe some new life in to your old firearms and how to make them your go to gun once again.
I’ve had a Savage bolt action .308 Win. That has the AccuTrigger; it was one of the very first ones out. While Savage uses really good barrels, good actions and what I feel is the best trigger on the market, there is still room for improvement.
The rifle shoots fine. I’m sure it would serve the average shooter well and last a lifetime, sometimes I just want better. Honestly I bought it because at that time the .308 was very cheap to shoot, it’s still not bad but not like it once was. I Have hopes of someday sitting in a blind in South Texas shooting long distance down a scrub brush and cactus choked sendero or maybe in the mixed spruce and hardwoods of Saskatchewan on a Canadian whitetail hunt. Regardless of what I do or don’t do with the rifle it could be improved.
In past years Savage has not been known for their stocks, the money goes in to the barrel and trigger, so the fit and finish on the action is okay and the stock is downright ratty. I can’t complain as they keep their guns very affordable. To remedy this I took some 2000 grit sandpaper and touched up the surfaces of the bolt lug edges and rails it slides on, basically polishing them, if you don’t know what you’re looking at here, take it to a gun shop, it won’t cost much.
Now that I had the action slicker than snot on a frozen pond, it was time to fix the ugly el cheap-o stock. I was going to just order a stock and upgrade for about $250 but decided to see what the real problem was, maybe learn something. The barrel touched one side of the stock and not the other, this was an easy fix. In the molding process some excess plastic was not cut away giving enough clearance so I sanded it down with 180 grain sand paper. Once the edge was gone I wrapped a sandpaper covered wood dowel just slightly bigger than the barrel and ran it through time and time again until I has about 1/16” spacing so the barrel was truly free floated.
I also saw excess plastic where the bedding was (where the barrel lug/receiver mesh up with the stock. I wrapped some steel bar stock in 180 grain sand paper and gently pushed it through smoothing this area of contact. Once done I polished it up with some ultra-fine sandpaper to make sure it was nice and clean and smooth.
I took the gun out and initially it seemed to shoot the same point of aim but once I pumped some rounds through it they stayed truer to zero where before they wandered just a bit once the barrel got hot so I saw that as time well spent and cost less than $3 in sand paper and a little time.
Now the cosmetics of the stock still needed some work. The exterior surfaces had ridges and seams from the mold and tooling so I sanded all that off and scuffed the rest of the stock with a Scotch-Brite pad so paint would adhere. I was skeptical about painting plastic with a spray can but spray paint has come a long way. Gently rub the synthetic stock down with alcohol and degrease it well. You have to be very careful if a fiberglass stock as the alcohol could spark on the fibers and catch fire……..not good. So work with caution and if not sure what to wipe it down with take it to an auto-body supply store to get the correct solution. Rubbing alcohol worked fine for me and the paint seems to be adhering very well.
I made my own camo pattern using the mesh of and old decoy back, a discarded “for sale sign” cutting out a pine branch template and a touch up paint brush. All the paint work was done with spray paint and finished with a Matte spray can finish to protect the camo and give the topcoat an even feel.
Be careful in painting the scope, tape off all moving parts, lenses and know exactly where it mounts for proper eye relief, then mask that off. This will insure a true fit and very custom looking camo paint job, you can paint it anything imaginable, military digital camo, urban black and white camo, tiger stripe jungle or even corn stalk or maple leaf. The sky is the limit and the more time and attention you spend to preparation on it the better the end result. Breathe some life in to that ugly old long gun and make it like new again.
Once done go out to the range and have some fun with your “New” used firearm, until next time, God bless…..
Matt Cheever ~ Flatlander