|FALPhil - Can barrels be changed on the Savage Model 12, by the owner? How is it done, and what is the cost of the parts vs an new gun?|
You need a couple of tools to be able to do this. I use the Wheeler action wrench (also works on Remington 700s), a barrel nut wrench from Sharp Shooters Supply, and headspace gages for your chosen cartridge.
Now, you can perform the operation without a bench vise, but a bench vise makes it a little easier.
You remove the stock and bolt and clamp the action wrench on the forward part of the receiver.
Then you clamp the action wrench into the bench vise.
Next, you slide barrel nut wrench over the barrel and onto the barrel nut and loosen the barrel nut.
When it is at the top of the barrel threads, you grab the barrel with both hands and unscrew it.
Then you unscrew and remove the barrel nut. You have to be sure I catch the recoil lug between the barrel nut and the receiver.
You screw the barrel nut on to the new barrel.
Next, you put the recoil lug on the barrel shank and screw the new barrel about half way into the receiver.
You take the bolt (assuming you have change the bolt head out (I will cover that below), put it in the action, insert the GO gage like it was ammo, and run it up into the barrel.
Then, you screw the barrel down tight on the GO gage, lining up the recoil lug (there is a dimple to make it easy).
Now you have the basic barrel position, so you back out the bolt and retrieve the GO gage. I like to give the barrel another 1/4 turn, because on my rifle, it translates into about 0.2 moa tighter groups. Run the barrel nut all the way down to the receiver, and tighten it with the barrel nut wrench.
Put the stock back on and check with the NO GO gage.
It took me 3x longer to type this up than it does to perform the operation. If you can change a tire, you can do this. It is actually easier to do this than to change a tire.
To swap out the bolt head:
1. Remove the striker assembly (allen wrench or screwdriver, depending on model)
2. Drift out the bolt head retaining pin
3. Swap out bolt heads (I recommend a complete bolt head with extractor and ejector, otherwise, you must swap out those parts too.)
4. Insert the bolt head retaining pin.
5. Install the striker assembly.
You can do both operations in well under 10 minutes. I have been getting my barrels from ER Shaw for $168 delivered. They are button rifled, and when I fire lap them, they seem to be as accurate as the Shilen barrels that cost $75 more. Bolt heads can be obtained from Sharp Shooters Supply
or Midway. SSS charges $55, but if you order the parts individually from Midway, its a little cheaper. So, for less than $225 plus tools, you can turn your Savage into a switch barrel rifle. The more barrels you have, the better you amortize your tool costs.
In my 110 action, I can shoot 25-06, 270 Win, 30-06, 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Win Mag, and 338 Win Mag. I could do others, but I see no point. Next, I am going to find a Model 10 short action and get barrels for 308 Win, 260 Rem, 22-250 and 7mm-08. I use Weaver rings so I can swap out scopes, too.