Savage Mark II BTVLSS .22LR

Home Up Range Testing

SAVAGE MARK II BTVLSS .22 CAL. RIFLE REVIEW

This rimfire rifle is one of the WORST NEW GUNS that I have ever owned as far as accuracy right out of the box!  For those that have purchased this rifle and it shoots like a dream, you probably have one that should be sold as "One of a Thousand" like the ole Winchester 73 movie starring Jimmy Stewart!

As I have posted many, many times on this website, "Most of the time, you get what you pay for." 

MODIFICATION WARNING DISCLAIMER

The below information in its entirety is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY from a personal liability standpoint and do not try this at home.  Modifications to firearms and ammunition can cause serious bodily injury and ultimate death.  The below modifications to the Accu-Trigger will certainly void your Savage product warranty and relieve Savage of all liabilities in the event of an accidental discharge brought about by such modification and/or trigger replacement. 

Please read the Legal Stuff  page for additional information concerning liability issues before going any further.  I have owned my share of .22 caliber rimfire rifles since 1957 when I was eleven (11) years old and still have an ole Winchester model 67 single shot rifle that looks like it has been through a hay bailing machine but it still shoots true.

My first bolt action repeating .22 caliber rimfire rifle was a Sears and Roebuck J.C. Higgins model that I paid 20 dollars for in the 1960s if memory is correct and had a cheap Revelation 3 power scope on it which I believe cost $4.00 dollars....grin if you must.  I truly believe that was the most accurate repeating rifle that I have owned to date.  That rifle was manufactured for Sears and Roebuck by Springfield Armory and the manufacturing process was on the money that day for sure.  That rifle would consistently shoot a hole in a hole at 30 yards and it was no trouble to shoot squirrels through the eyes with that rifle and you certainly didn't waste any meat in the process with head shots like that.  As a young lad, I traded squirrels, rabbits and live opossums at a local grocery store and gas station for ammunition and always kept plenty of ammo on hand to hunt with and most importantly at that time, shoot, shoot and do some more shooting.........it was awesome fun to target shoot and just "plink:" with the rimfire rifles.  My Mom and Grandma had a difficult time keeping clothes pins on the clothes line because we used them for target practice.............grin if you must!

After returning home from a two year tour of duty over seas Morocco, Africa in 1967 while in the US Navy, the little Sears and Roebuck repeating rifle had accumulated a lot of rust and pits and later traded it off for another firearm of which I can't remember what type.  I replaced it with a couple high dollar Browning semi-autos which were horrible as far as getting a good group.  I traded for a couple of the infamous Marlin 39A gold trigger level action rifles and those that I shot would not allow you to shoot a squirrel in the head; the accuracy was that bad even though they are reported to be super accurate lever action .22 cal. rimfire rifles.  I finally purchased a Remington 541-S and it shot like a dream; a hole in a hole at 30 yards after I found what ammo it liked;  CCI 40 grain Mini Group LR.  However, the Sears bolt action wasn't that finicky about different types of .22 caliber ammunition and I shot mostly .22 cal. shorts,  Winchester and Remington since most shots at small game were less than 20 yards.  I have also owned a couple Remington model Nylon 66 semi-autos which shot very accurate at less than 20 yards and used one to perform aerial trick shots with great success.  Back in the 1980s,  I purchased .22 cal.  rimfire ammunition by the 5000 round case and could duplicate aerial shots the pros were doing with the Remington Nylon 66 rimfire rifle except draw pictures of which I never did attempt to do any of it.  Most of those shooting target drawing like the Indian Chief profile with the rimfire rifle was done at less than 15 feet which just didn't appeal to me.

As with most things from the past, our hindsight is 20/20 for sure.  The only rimfire rifle remaining from the past is the Winchester model 67 of which doesn't have any holes drilled for a scope mount and/or grooves milled into the receiver section for the same.  A good little gun for open iron sight shooting but with the product of maturity and the date on my birth certificate, my rifle shooting days with iron sights are long gone and definitely have to rely on the usage of optics.

The last few years, I got a hankering again to do some .22 caliber rimfire shooting (going back to my youth days) since the ammunition is fairly cheap but after checking around this year,  I found that the .22 cal. rimfire ammunition was extremely scarce to purchase due to the consumer political panic buying brought about by the current political administrations continued attempt to rid America of all firearms.

I surmise when you live in a gated community with armed security guards 24/7, you are not concerned about getting mugged or the threat of experiencing a home invasion.......

All types of handgun and rifle ammunition is not available like it once was and the gun shops, etc. are price gouging the consumer very badly due to the shortage of rimfire ammunition and all types of handgun and rifle ammunition although ammunition in .45 ACP and .40 cal. are beginning to appear on the retailers shelves once again.   I ordered a CZ USA left hand 452 model .22 caliber rimfire rifle but no one could deliver it in a timely manner and after doing some internet searches, it was found that the Savage Mark II  BTV was a fairly accurate .22 caliber rifle for the price.

SAVAGE MARK II BTVLSS .22 CAL. RIMFIRE RIFLE

I ordered the Savage Mark II BTVLSS in left hand with a stainless bull barrel and a laminated thumbhole wood stock and was impressed with the rifle right out of the box as far as looks goes.  Their signature accu-trigger was not that bad either but a little heavier than I remember from shooting the Remington 541-S and had some creep and grind to it.  This Mark II BTVLSS will shoot decent groups at 20 yards using CCI .22 cal short CB bullets but it was very hard to get a consistent group out to 50 yards due to the inconsistency in the loading of the shorts and these bullets are designed for the gallery and indoor shooting.  My ultimate goal for this rifle or any other rimfire rifle is to be able to make clean head shot kills on squirrels out to 50 yards; one shot, one kill!

It should be noted that I am certainly no gunsmith or have had any gunsmith training, however I was an armorer for the NC Department of Correction the last 15 years of my employment but that basically was changing worn out parts replacing with factory ones and some adjustments would have to be made with various tools, fixtures and equipment to bring the weapon back to the factory specifications.  I was a Factory Certified Armorer for Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Remington and an armorer is NO gunsmith!

Upon further checking, the magazine retaining plate aka (floor plate) that holds the action to the stock with the larger 5/32 inch hex bolt was very thin; .032 inches thick and would bend easily when you tightened the 5/32 Allen bolt (stock assembly screw) down on it. The factory recommends approximately 18 inch pounds but I don't have a torque wrench and even snug will bend the thin metal plate.  That magazine retaining aka floor plate is a piece of junk.  I ordered an aftermarket stainless steel magazine retaining aka floor plate from DIProducts, Inc.  that is a full 1/8 inch thick and it definitely doesn't move at all when you tighten down on the forward stock assembly screw.  Pix below of the rifle before surgery:



Below are a few pictures and didn't do a sequence shoot since this was impromptu and I get that way many times...another grin is in order:

As you can see from the pixs above, the floor plate is super thin and it will bend with very little pressure exerted.  Eighteen inch pounds will definitely distort it badly!

After removing the barrel/action from the stock, I secured the stock in my Tipton Gun Vise while using a small air die grinder with a flat base and .032 inch diameter solid carbide two fluted router bit which made quick work of cutting away the extra material to have the .125 inch thick DI Products, Inc. magazine retaining aka floor plate to seat flush.  The stock at the edge of the floor plate has a slight radius on the outer most edge but didn't want to go any deeper for a full flush at those edges.  Pixs below:

From the above pix, you can see that they left a tab at each mounting screw/bolt about 1/32 inch above the rest of the stock that was routed for the floor plate and they could have just as easily routed it full flush....makes one wonder why they did it that way.

In the pix above, I removed the extra wood on the left side of the floor plate cavity and later went back and routed the entire cavity to a depth of .125 inches to match the thickness of the after market stainless magazine retaining aka floor plate.

The after market magazine retaining aka floor plate routed fairly flush with the stock and does not give when applying pressure on the forward stock assembly screw on the left.  The wood screw installed on the right doesn't effect the action but merely holds the magazine retaining plate in place when the bolt on the left is removed along with the stock assembly screw on the trigger guard.  Savage recommends tightening the left stock assembly screw to approximately 18 inch pounds of pressure along with the forward screw on the trigger guard.  As soon as I purchase a torque screwdriver set, (Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench), I  will adjust the stock assembly screws to find the sweet spot for accuracy! 

Below pixs of the air die grinder used to remove the excess wood.  You can see the excess router bit protruding beyond the base which does the stock removal.  I could not locate my MagEyes 2x magnifier and this route/inlet job was freehand all the way just with my State eye plan glasses which leaves much to be desired for close work:

Since installing the after market DI Products, Inc.  magazine retainer aka floor plate, the rifle is shooting much more consistent and will post some actual groups fired when time permits.

I checked the trigger pull with a Lyman Digital gauge and the average trigger pull was 2 lbs. 5.8 oz and one went all the way up to 2 pounds 15.9 oz. and to get a consistent reading you have to pull parallel with the bore.  Before dry firing the rifle, I inserted a fired shell casing into the chamber to absorb the firing pin impact onto the brass instead of allowing the shoulder of the firing pin to strike against the barrel, although with the recessed rim headspace, it might not make contact with the barrel but it is better to be safe than sorry.  It is imperative that you place the trigger gage on the trigger for a straight back pull and parallel to the stock, otherwise you will get inconsistent readings and most will register on the high side and this carries over into the actual shooting as well.  Finger placement is critical with the accu-trigger since it is very easy to place the accu-trigger safety blade into a binding position against the slot in the trigger due to the "slop" in the design.  Click on below thumbnails pixs for a larger screen view:

I decided to torque the stock assembly screws to the recommended 18 inch pounds per manufacturers recommendation, however when I applied more than 10 inch pounds of torque, I noticed that the receiver bolt had a little bind in it directly behind the bolt handle.  For such a large diameter barrel, the receiver appears to be made from a piece of stainless steel pipe or tubing and doubt it was made from a solid billet of steel.  The more I look closely at this rifle, the cheaper made it looks!  The thumbhole laminated stock has a ton of excess material removed where the entire receiver beds to the stock and the action bolt lugs that are screwed into the barrel which accept the action bolts do not contact the stock, only the lower radius portion of the receiver contacts the inside radius portion of the stock and at the forward portion of the receiver where the barrel attaches to the receiver and at the rear of the safety which is probably the reason for the bolt to bind with higher inch pounds of torque applied on the two action screws that are forward of the trigger guard.  It would make more sense to me to have the stock assembly screws at the forward and rear portion of the receiver like most of the high powered rifles to evenly balance out the pressure over the entire length of the receiver itself.

I noticed that the factory had applied just enough torque to the stock assembly screws to where the thin magazine retaining aka floor plate that held the forward stock assembly screw did not bend although they recommend 18 inch pounds and if much torque is applied to their factory magazine retaining plate (forward stock assembly screw), it will certainly bend as I stated earlier.  There just isn't enough material left in the thumbhole laminated stock to install a forward full bedding pillar but I am sure it can be done and will research it and have a qualified gunsmith look into it for me.  Both the forward and rear action lug isn't making contact with the stock at all.  When you are tightening the forward and rear action assembly bolt/screw, you are only pulling the receiver down into stock.

THIS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND VERY POOR ENGINEERING AND WORKMANSHIP EVEN FOR A RIMFIRE

UPDATE:  On 09-20-13, I checked the distance between the forward receiver action stud that the stock assembly bolt/screw screws into and it was about .040 inches from making contact with the lower portion of the stock with the receiver flush against the stock.  I found a piece of metal bracket that was a little over .040 inches in thickness which had an elongated slot at one end and a regular hole punched in the other end and reground one end to match the radius of the stock and cut both ends of the bracket off and it worked nearly perfect in the wood stock taking up the slack or gap between the receiver action stud and was able to torque it at 10 inch pounds and the bolt did not bind hardly at all.   I had to add about .118 inches of spacers between the rear receiver action stud to take up the gap between the stud and the stock.  My "rube snorkel" shooting rest I am using is not the steadiest and fired a few 5 shot round groups to see what the before and after was and I was impressed even with my poor shooting at 20 yards.  Below is a scan of the target:

A couple of the groups had all the bullet holes touching and still shooting the CCI .22 cal. short CB ammunition which isn't that accurate due to some of the rounds apparently loaded very weakly and they are not consistent in velocity just by the sound of the report and also the lag in bullet travel time to the target which is 370 feet per second or more slower than the speed of sound.  With the sun shinning at the proper angle, I can actually see the bullet come into my line of sight through the scope and then see the drop of the bullet into the target at 50 yards.......710 feet per second is pretty slow for a bullet!

I continued to ascertain why the bolt wanted to bind slightly and the distance between the rear action stud and the stock cutout was more than the front distance and added a lock washer over the thin metal bracket I used to take up the slack and it worked out great.  I applied about 18 inch pounds of torque to both stock assembly screws and the bolt moved like silk through the receiver and that solved the problem.  A first class bedding job would be more professional but you can't see the washers between the action studs and the stock so will leave it as is for the time being.  I test fired it again at 50 yards and three of the 5 rounds fired were touching making one hole and not bad for the inconsistent ammunition.

Below is initial grouping at 20 yards using CCI .22 cal. short CB ammunition rated at 710 fps and not too bad since I have not shot many target rounds in the past few decades.  The rifle has promise for sure but my ole Winchester model 67 single shot will group better than this with open sights:

So far, I am not satisfied with the performance (shooting wise) of the Savage Mark II BTVLSS .22 caliber rifle chambered for .22 Long Rifle but it is feeding the .22 cal. short ammo without much difficulty.  Upon slow extraction, I tilt the rifle to the left to keep the short shell casing from getting lodged behind the area of the detachable box magazine.  However, you can cycle the action rapidly and it ejects the spent short shell casing without a problem and a long rifle or long shell casing will eject fine either slow or fast cycled.

I might install a short bi-pod on the stock in the very near future to add to the coolness of the rifle.

I did order and receive a bore guide # 175 machined from a solid delrin rod from Possum Hollow Products, Inc. which fit the receiver perfectly..........an awesome first class all American precision manufactured product.  Pixs below:

I have since updated my Kleen-Bore one piece stainless steel coated cleaning rod to a Pro-Shot highly polished one piece stainless steel rod.

When I get a chance to really dial the rifle in, I will post additional target groups fired.  I am sure the rifle will fire the long rifle ammunition with much greater accuracy but enjoying the low signature report of the shorts.

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 09-09-13 with updated pixs added on 09-20-13.

INGREDIENTS FOR A SQUIRREL STEW

Since our annual squirrel season came in, I have ten (10) or eleven squirrels ready for a Squirrel Stew.  There were several squirrels consuming my shelled deer corn this afternoon and had a chance to "nail" a couple of them at about 50 yards.  

Web published updated pix by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 11-25-13.

SAVAGE MARK II UPDATE 12-29-13

I ordered Capt. Robert Webster, retired NCDPS a 1/8 inch thick replacement Bottom metal plate for his Mark II blue bull barrel rifle and we installed it this afternoon.  We also fired a couple 20 yard distance 5-shot groups using CCI .22 cal. Short CB rounds and both our groups were pretty good.  Robert did an internet search while here and reviewed several ways to drop the poundage on the Accu-trigger since his trigger pull was registering 3 lbs. 14 oz. although the gun is advertised to go down to 2.5 lbs. of which his was adjusted at the lowest setting. 

 

Robert shot the smallest 5-shot group on the right which was about 1/4 x 1/2 inch....awesome for shooting off a poor rest.  Robert had his rifle dialed in for the .22 cal. long rifle sub-sonic loads which are inherently more accurate but I am opting for the much quieter muzzle report at the moment but will later test fire the different brands of long rifle ammunition to ascertain which brand will yield the most accurate and consistent grouping.  My rifle is dialed in for the CCI .22 cal. Short CB rounds with the POA (point of aim) pretty close to centered whereas Robert's POA is one inch lower with the Long Rifle sub-sonic rounds.  I certainly don't plan to purchase any of the high dollar Eley Tenex, Aquila, Lapua or other extremely costly target rounds since I am convinced this rifle will group accurate enough for my small game plinking and informal target shooting with the CCI .22 cal. Short CB rounds but I do plan to take it to the next level when my silencer application gets ATF approval.

Robert and I finally decided not to remove any coils from the main spring on the trigger since it has a right angle bend on the larger coil spring end that rests into a hole in the trigger group housing to keep the spring in place and it would be difficult to cut the spring and then try and bend the tempered spring back at a 90 degree angle without heating the spring which could ruin the temper of the spring.  We viewed one video clip that ground off part of the trigger base than contained the terminal end of the spring which would accomplish the same thing.  While Robert was getting his trigger housing removed and taken down, I stated, "If it don't work, you ain't messing with mine".......Robert looked at me and we both grinned like a possum eating persimmons and he said "I was thinking out loud."  The spring's terminal has a much smaller diameter and is housed in a hole that has screw treads which allows you to move the compound wound spring up and down to increase or decease the trigger tension and the removal of additional metal from the top of the trigger support area should not effect anything else and still give you the capability to increase the spring tension if necessary.   

The only tools needed was a flat base abrasive wheel, a small router (Dremel), small flat screwdriver, flat Bastard file and Allen wrench set of which I had the items.  Once the trigger assembly was removed from the receiver, the trigger was removed from the trigger group housing by removing an E clip and pushing the retaining pin out.  The trigger was secured in a flat drill press vise and clamped to my table saw metal table for additional support.  Click on below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

The height of the trigger area that supported the lower portion of the spring before grinding on Roberts trigger was .303 inches and reduced to .228 after grinding (about two coils strength reduction) yielding a 2 lb. 3 oz. trigger pull and very smooth.  Robert ground my trigger down and he sounded like a Dentist on Steroids and had sparks flying everywhere since he bolstered his confidence level after grinding the first one down.  We both got a good grin off that for sure.  Each of us fired a 5-shot group afterwards but the wind was blowing pretty fast and we didn't shoot as tight a group due to the wind.

We are very pleased with the reduction in the trigger poundage on both our rifles and with the right combination of ammunition and a much steadier professional type bench rest both front and rear, I am expecting some decent groups at 50 yards.

A RIFLE THAT COULD BE MUCH BETTER

With the price of the Savage rifles, Savage could do a much better fit between the action and the stock since programmable CNC routers do all the work capable of hitting their programmable mark within a few thousands of an inch and also replace the Elcheapo bottom plate which is a piece of junk.  I would be shooting the CZ USA Model 452 .22 cal. rifle but no one could supply one in a left hand model in a timely manner although they are advertised for sale but on back order.  However, accuracy reports place both rifles about the same but the CZ USA doesn't have the stock and trigger issues above or not reported anyway.  Those that have "tricked out" their Mark II have very positive things to say about them as far as accuracy goes.  I have looked at the possibility of putting pillar blocks in the stock but the main problem is with the forward action lug,  the stock is hogged out to where there is barely enough wood and the only real contact was between the outside of the receiver and the forward portion that is away from the hogged out area which has already compressed several thousands of an inch.  Placing a pillar block at the trigger guard would not be that much of a problem since there is enough wood but you would not want to use a standard 1/2 inch diameter pillar block either and more or less around 3/8 inch diameter which would still allow you to make metal to metal contact from the receiver.  I am researching what others have done to the BTV stock as far as bedding and pillar blocks with mixed opinions at the moment.  

I am somewhat pleased with the Savage Mark II BTVLSS and believe it is going to make a serious squirrel gun once I get myself dialed in to the rifle with the right amount of "perfect practice makes perfect."   I know what you are thinking, Practice makes Perfect but if you practice something wrong, you will be proficient at doing something wrong, therefore "Perfect Practice Makes Perfect."

Web published update on 12-29-13 by Bill aka Mickey Porter.

STILL TINKERING WITH THE ACCU-TRIGGER 12-30-13

Being retired, I do have the opportunity to do fun things more often and decided to take the trigger pull down a little further on the Savage Mark II.  Pretty much the same thing as described above but used the flat Bastard file instead of the Dremel tool and stone.  Below a few pixs to document the event:

I was pleased with the results getting the trigger pull to average 1 lb. 11.8 oz. and it really felt light but still had a little grind and creep and will test fire it this afternoon.  I checked the safety mechanism and also tried to disengage the sear by hitting/jarring the rifle stock pretty good with the safety in the off position and the sear would not release and that is definitely what I wanted to know.

As evidenced by the above picture, I filed the rear trigger portion down that houses the trigger main tension spring to a little over .2035 inches from the .228 that it was ground down to yesterday.  The original factory height of the rear trigger portion was .303 inches with around .100 inches removed.  I plan to leave the trigger as is and concentrate on improving my shooting technique.  Below the best 5-shot group fired at 20 yards with the action bolts aka stock assembly screws at 18 inch lbs. of torque.  I was throwing rounds all over the place this afternoon and passing some blame on the ammunition....grin if you must!   Below group .435 outside to outside (.213 center to center) and will harvest small game but I plan to do much better with a more stable front and rear rest/bag.  The below group is what I desire at 50 yards but it is going to be tough to do with this rifle for sure:

Many years of not doing any target shooting and plinking, other than firing a few rounds each year to harvest venison for the freezer and an occasional squirrel or rabbit harvested with the little Winchester model 67 open sights, time and age appears to have taken  it's toll which might not be a valid excuse.  I am certainly having fun trying to get where I can shoot much better without spending a ton of money on a special race gun just for plinking with a rimfire rifle again.

As good as the Savage Mark II BTVLSS is, my ole Remington 541-S and the 1960s Sears & Roebuck made by Springfield (which I no longer own either) would definitely out group this rimfire rifle.  However, it just might be the shooter in this case having consumed too many barrels of leaded coffee aka Ole Joe, Java, etc. over the decades and on the NC State Eye Plan Glasses and not the rifle........grin if you must! 

Web published update on 12-30-13 by Bill aka Mickey Porter.

I shot a few of the CCI .22 cal. Short CB rounds 01-04-14 at 20 yards and no steady rest yet, however I moved the scope power down to 9X and that took some of my perceivable movement and shake out...............way too much leaded coffee today. 

I have a Sinclair Heavy Varmint AP Windage Rest Left-Hand # 749-013-852WS and a Protektor B. B. Leather 55AC Rabbit Ear Loaf Rear Bag on order and this should improve my shooting since the rifle is moving and not steady with the Rube Goldberg homemade stuff I am currently using.  I have viewed several permanent and portable shooting bench rest tables and plan to construct a heavy duty one and hopefully remove as many of the variables, whereby concentrating on improving my shooting.  Both items are on back order and hope they will be delivered before too much longer.  Check my portable shooting bench out that I built and waiting on the weather to dry out and apply a coat of oil stain on it. 

My goal is to be able to make consistently clean head shots on squirrels out to 50 yards (if necessary) and don't think it will be a problem since I have nailed quite a few of them already at that distance but not with every shot and blame the ammo and mostly the shooter's current skill level but I guarantee you, it will get much, much better. 

If the rifle will not do that, it will make someone a good boat anchor for sure and will have to spend some serious upgrade bucks but I have not given up yet on this project and "The Jury Is Still Out."  I have vented verbally and physically before with products that did not meet my expectations that the factory didn't correct after phone calls and emails.  Below is pix of an 800 dollar PSE Mach6 bow that was their "flagship" bow in the mid 1990s and I solved the problem, even though unorthodox and to the extreme:

 

Read my short story titled Murphy's Law.  I believe the above action voided the warranty on that bow!

Web published update on 01-11-14 by Bill aka Mickey Porter.

REAR PILLAR BLOCK INSTALLATION 01-23-14

After surfing the web and looking at what others have done to their Savage Mark II BTVLSS and other Savage similar model .22 caliber rimfire rifles, I decided to go with just pillar block bedding the rear action lug to start with.  The problems I noted on others that have pillar bedded their Savage Mark II rifles, the front pillar block installation has not held and there just isn't enough room in the stock to surround the pillar 360 degrees, only about 270 degrees at the most which is not good.  The Savage stock that I have is probably one of the worst that I have seen as far as having receiver to wood stock contact.......the stock is just hogged out far too much.  It looks like their CNC router got a mutant virus or hired a starved beaver who went crazy chewing up the wood stock blank not knowing when to stop gulping down and slinging wood chips.

As noted in this short story, I had already placed .118 thousands of inch spacers between the rear receiver barrel stud that terminates the action screw aka stock assembly screw so there would be contact between the receiver stud and the stock which worked ok but wanted to fix something permanent that would not allow the wood to do any serious compression.  The front receiver action lug required around .040 thousands of an inch to make contact with what wood there was between the stock and the magazine aka floor plate.  I found an old Waverly routing guide for a Dremel tool that had not been used since the year 2000 and decided to recycle it since it had two posts that were .375 inches in diameter and drilled and tapped for a 1/4 x 20 bolt and the head was plenty long enough to grind down to the exact length required to fill the above space between the rear receiver action stud and stock.  The action screws are .212 in diameter and 1.25 inches in length and will fit through the 1/4 x 20 tpi inside diameter of the brass bushing with some clearance.  Pix below of the router jig cannibalized.

NOTE:  This is not the actual Dremel router jig I cannibalized but one from Stew Mac's website since I didn't take a pix of mine before the cannibalization. 

Pix below of the Stewart MacDonald router jig for the standard Dremel tool from their on-line catalog:

Below pix of my Stew Mac router jig after cannibalization.  The base portion was in my Dremel accessory case:

Robert Webster and I bedded his rear action screw and the space between his stock and receiver rear stud was .215 thousands of an inch and used an additional flat stainless steel spacer which we probably didn't need, although it would help disperse the tension created.  Pix below of his spacer and brass bushing aka pillar block.  Since there will be metal to metal contact between the receiver rear action stud, the brass bushing aka pillar block and the metal trigger guard, the brass will hold up fine.  Don't believe any exotic metals needed here!  Pix below of Robert Webster's Mark II BTV stock with the spacer and brass pillar block installed:

Robert and his Savage Mark II BTV were the guinea pigs on the pillow block bedding and didn't take any sequence pixs.  That afternoon, I decided to go ahead and pillar block my rifle and took the time to take some sequence pixs.  The first order of business was removing the barrel/action and trigger guard.  I used a .250 diameter drill bit to align the stock with the chuck and then drilled out the rear action screw hole to .375 inches in diameter.  The head of the brass bushing was ground down to .120 thousands of an inch plus or minus and then placed into the stock and scribed around the back side of the bushing flush with the stock that was recessed for the trigger guard.  I cut the bushing to length and then ground score lines around the outside perimeter of the bushing to help the epoxy adhere a little better.  The receiver and barrel was placed back onto the stock for a trial fit and everything looked good.  I waxed the rear action screw and the trigger guard that will make contact with the bottom of the brass bushing aka "pillar block" to prevent a lock-up.  Epoxy aka JB Weld was placed on the bushing and placed back into the stock and cleaned any excess epoxy from the trigger guard area and reinstalled the trigger guard and both action screws applying 18 inch pounds of torque to them.  It probably would have been better to secure the barrel/receiver to the stock after tightening the action screws just enough to have everything aligned and use only rubber bands to hold in place until the JB Weld cured out.  This procedure would prevent any torque to the receiver to the pillar blocks.  Click on sequence thumbnail pixs below for a larger screen view:

After the J B Weld epoxy sets up overnight, will check and see how it groups but the weather has been very windy, cold, blusterous and not conducive to do any serious shooting but will fire a few rounds anyway in the afternoon.  Nope, changed my mind!

Robert Webster and I plan to epoxy aka glass bed the forward portion of the receiver and about an inch or so of the barrel since that basically is the only part of the receiver action that is making any serious contact with the wood stock and the stock portion that is making contact with the receiver is minimal.  The forward receiver action stud with the wood hogged out underneath and around the stock assembly action screw hole is the weak link and the bedding should reinforce and stabilize this weak area. There is a few thousands of an inch depression in the wood stock from the front portion of the receiver when we received those rifles since there was a gap between the forward action lug and rear receiver action lug and the receiver was pulled down hard into the stock and  bending the thin magazine aka floor plate which we corrected that.  Only a small amount at the rear tang side wall of the receiver makes contact with the stock any I think it might be free floating a few thousands of an inch or two since we added the spacers, whereas the side of the receiver makes minimum contact with the wood stock.  As the ole saying goes, "The proof is in the taste of the pudding" and in this case, the shot group will be the taste test!  

NOTE:  It would have been much easier and more precision if I had a metal turning lathe of which I haven't owned one in years and also a milling machine, therefore had to use what basic machinery and tools at hand.  Standard adjustable pillar blocks available at Brownells and other suppliers are .500 inches in diameter and a little large in my opinion for this project since there isn't much wood on the Mark II BTV stocks, especially for the forward stock assembly screw.   I ordered Devcon Plastic Steel Putty # 10110 to do the receiver bedding and it should be here within a few business days.

PREP WORK PRIOR TO BEDDING THE RECEIVER 01-24-14

In the meantime, I went ahead and prepped the rifle for the receiver bedding job.  I roughed up the areas of the stock that makes contact with the receiver with the Dremel tool and checked that I have adequate clearance between the barrel and the stock.  Below a few pixs taken:

As evidenced by the above pix, the receiver makes very little contact with the wood stock, only the perimeter of the receiver; nothing like the receiver of a Remington 700, etc.

You can see the depression/indentation in the wood stock in the above pix of the most forward part of the receiver that makes contact on the lower portion of the receiver.  The wood stock even though laminated is very soft and easily compressed.

I removed a small amount of wood from the sides of the stock that makes contact with the receiver to help the Devcon "mud" adhere better.  I smoothed up the upper edge with a round wooden dowel and 100 grit sandpaper.  In the close-up pix below,  you can also see the forward action screw (stock assembly screw) area below the washer that is totally void of wood to give 100 percent support for the receiver action stud.  This is about as bad as it gets.  There is simply not enough room to properly install a forward pillar block surrounded with 100 percent wood contact, maybe 50 percent contact only!  There might be 3/16 inch forward ledge that supports the lug with the area to the right nothing but space!  I will install a hollow spacer to fit between the fabricated metal washer that sits on what wood there is to support the receiver action lug prior to bedding the receiver.

The video clips and threads that I have viewed showing adding a pillar block to this rifle for the forward action screw has failed because there is not enough wood to totally contain and surround the standard 1/2 inch diameter pillar block.

WHERE'S THE WOOD?

I get extremely irritated every time I see how much excess wood was removed from this stock.  The only reason I can think of Savage using such a stock design is because of the magazine wells forward slant design needing the extra room but that is no excuse.  It would have been better to have a straight magazine well with complete wood contacting the forward receiver lug allowing for a standard pillar block installation.  For this reason only, I definitely would not purchase such a piece of junk if I had to do it over again!  Looks pretty on the outside but a different animal when you open the paper bag.  I realize this is a 400 dollar plus rifle, but I certainly did expect more bang for the buck than this poorly and ill fitted stock.

 

The little Dremel tool is on its last leg of usage with the ball bearings beginning to cry out...Help Me, Help Me........only been used off an on since the late 1960s and have repaired it a couple times.  I think the new ones have sleeve bronze bushings instead of sealed ball bearings.

Below pixs of getting a hollow filler spacer put in place below the front receiver action lug.........as I have stated many times already, there just isn't enough room to put a regular size pillar block for the forward action screw and this should work filling the gap between the wood and the magazine aka floor plate.  I continued to cannibalize parts from the router base and drilled out a thumbscrew that was within a few thousands of being the perfect thickness.  I drilled a hole larger than the action screw for clearance and it is smaller than the hole in the magazine plate.  I cut the brass spacer in half using the Dremel tool with a friction cut-off wheel.  I used a drill bit and wrapped with a couple turns of Teflon tape for a tight fit and inserted it through the hole in the magazine plate through the existing hole the factory drilled through the wood stock and the steel custom washer I had installed earlier to make contact between the receiver front action lug to the wood stock.  I then mixed up some JB weld epoxy and filled the gap and inserted the half brass bushing since that was all that would fit in the hogged out factory cut wood stock.  After the epoxy cures overnight, I will hopefully be able to remove the drill bit inserted.....grin if you must!

Click on the below thumbnail sequence pixs for a larger screen view:

Below are pixs of the barrel and action both top and bottom view and you can see there isn't much of the lower portion of the receiver that actually makes contact with the wood stock, only the lower outside portion only and a small amount of forward section where the barrel joins the receiver.

After the JB Weld cured overnight, I placed the barrel/action back onto the stock and tightened the stock assembly screws to 18 inch pounds and I had clearance between the entire receiver and barrel, of which I have adequate room for the Devcon Plastic Steel Putty to fill in the area between the receiver/stock and also about an inch or more of the barrel at the receiver end for additional support and stabilization.

Like I have said many, many times on this website, "Most of the time, you get what you pay for."  Should have spent a few thousand bucks and got a real .22 caliber rimfire tack driving rifle, but then again, I would not have had so much fun messing with this rifle...............grin if you must!

Web published updates on 01-23-14 and 01-24-14 by Bill aka Mickey Porter. 

RECEIVER BEDDING 01-28-14

I received the Devcon Plastic Steel Putty # 10110 yesterday and decided to bed the receiver this morning since the weather prophets are calling for ice and snow this afternoon with a winter advisory warning until 9AM tomorrow and a good day to stay inside where it is warm and dry.  I started by cleaning the wood stock again with Naphtha and a Q-Tip and let it dry; very minimal amount of Naphtha.  The metal parts that make contact with the stock was waxed with a coat of Kiwi Neutral Shoe Polish and then buffed it down some with a paper towel.  Plumber's Putty was applied around the areas that could possibly cause a lock up and it took several times of trimming excess putty off so the action would make contact with the wood stock and not have any Plumber's Putty contacting the wood stock that will have the bedding compound applied.  I then cleaned the wood stock again and let it dry a few minutes and applied another light coat of Kiwi shoe polish to the barrel/ receiver.  The Naphtha dries very fast and in the meantime, mixed up a small amount of the Devcon Plastic Steel Putty using a 2.5/1 ratio of the putty to hardener.  I mixed the steel putty thoroughly and applied it sparingly to the stock areas making contact with the barrel/receiver and most of the bedding material was underneath the front portion of the receiver lug area and a good one inch of the barrel.  As evidenced by the pixs taken below, there is very little metal to wood contact with this stock.

I placed the barrel/action carefully back onto the stock and everything aligned very well and pressed the action in place of which the Devcon bedding material oozed out and then torque the action screws to 18 inch pounds pressure and excess bedding material was observed all around the action which is desired.  There was good free floating barrel clearance and cleaned the excess bedding material that had oozed out between the receiver and stock.  There should be stress free bedding between the action and stock.  Some will allow the bedding material to get partially hardened depending on the cure time before they start removing the excess bedding material.  I used many Q-Tips and a light application of Hoppe's # 9 solvent to the tip of the Q-Tips which worked exceptionally well.  Having worked with epoxy for many years with musical instruments, you have to clean the excess up quickly depending on the specific application.

The acid test will be tomorrow when I "remove" the barrel/receiver from the stock and hopefully there will be no mechanical lock-up.  My friend Robert Webster who is the next candidate to bed his Savage Mark II rifle, said that we could always use a hammer and chisel if necessary to remove the barrel/receiver from the wood stock and we both got a good grin off that statement for sure.   We also laughed out loud since I was the guinea pig this time on the receiver bedding.  Click on below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

I drilled a one inch diameter hole in a scrap piece of 2 x 4; clamped in a vise and inserted the rifle barrel to allow the Devcon Plastic Steel Putty to cure out with the rifle inverted in case the putty decided to gravitate of which I don't think so due to the consistency of it.  The pot life is about 45 minutes at 75 degrees F. and fully cures in 24 hours.

As soon as the weather is agreeable, I plan to test fire some subsonic LR ammunition and see how the rifle groups at 50 yards and will post the results in the near future.  I don't have any of the "good stuff" ammunition yet, but will test what brands of ammo I do have.

Web published update on 01-28-14 by Bill aka Mickey Porter

RECEIVER BEDDING CONTINUED 01-29-14

I was a little antsy with anticipation waiting for the Devcon Plastic Steel Putty to fully cure and sometime mid-morning I loosened the stock assembly screws aka action screws and had a little difficulty in getting the barrel/receiver from the stock.  There was a small mechanical lock-up where the barrel adjoins the receiver but persuaded it to break free.  Everything looked good and the Devcon putty set up solid as steel..........no pun intended..........grin if you must! 

It took a good amount of time to fully remove the Plumber's Putty from the receiver and dressed up a few rough edges on the lower part of the inside of the stock with a rasp.  I plan to reseal the inside of the stock with sealer to help prevent any moisture absorption.  There is a glove fit between the stock and action and the Devon liquid steel putty didn't show any evidence of shrinkage that I could visually see.  Click on the below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

When the weather breaks, I plan to do some test firing and will post the results here.  I am well pleased with the outcome of this bedding job which was my first but have done much musical instrument inlaying of mother of pearl, etc. many decades ago so did have a little similar experience although this was a whole new ball game for sure.  I certainly wouldn't feel bad paying a top notch gunsmith to bed an action for me considering what could easily turn into a very bad experience if not done properly. 

NOTE:  On 01-30-14, I removed the Plumber's Putty from the hole drilled in the stock that is located about 1 inch forward of the receiver that had the Devcon "mud" applied..........don't have any clue why the hole is drilled there other than stock weight reduction.  I cleaned and roughed up the area inside the hole with a small router bit in the Dremel tool and filled the cavity with J B Weld epoxy and let it cure out.

NOTE:  03-25-14 I got the ole Dremel tool out and ground the portion of the Devcon Steel bedding that is about 1.25 inches ahead of the receiver bedding area to full float the barrel.  Below is a pix of the barrel full floated.  I test fired it on 04-01-14 and it did group better, however I had a problem with loose base mounts to the receiver but full floating is the way to go.  Prior shooting data with the scope base mounts compromised earlier will be more reliable in future test firing.  

In the above pix, you can see the Devcon Plastic Steel Putty between the barrel/action and stock which is what I was after.

Next on the list will be to watch my friend Robert Webster bed his Savage and see him "sweat" and "squirm" a little.

Robert came over this afternoon around 4ish and we started bedding his Savage Mark II.  It was fun to rib him about taking a good shooting rifle and the possibility of messing it up turning it into a boat anchor..........we both grinned out loud.  Click on below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view::

It didn't take too long to have the rifle ready for the Devcon "mud" and after a clean-up, the rifle was placed in the holder in the vise to cure out until tomorrow afternoon.  I told Robert that was when the fun begins and hopefully want have to beat the receiver loose from the stock with his proverbial "hammer and chisel", payback is sweet!  Also mentioned the usage of a oxy/acetylene torch to add to his own personal anxiety..............I know that was bad!

Robert was not able to come over today and I went ahead and removed the barrel/receiver from the bedding which did take a little effort and cleaned everything up and it is ready to test fire.

Robert saved a few informal targets that he fired last week at 50 yards in very windy conditions and will run this one through the pace and see if it shoots any better after the bedding.  Pixs below of target fired at 50 yards before the receiver bedding in very windy conditions with a east to west wind with the 50 yard groups also to the left of point of aim.  The bullseye diameter below is 1.375 inches:

CZ 452 TRAINER SHOOTING RINGS AROUND THE SAVAGE MARK II

One of our friends Don Edwards aka Big Daddy Don purchased a CZ USA model 452 Trainer today and they both fired it off a Lead Sled rest at 48 yards and the CZ 452 out grouped Robert's Savage Mark II BTV right out of the box with nothing done to it.  We both agreed that Big Daddy Don is one lucky dude and still has his former boss Rick Jackson in his back pocket.  Don's nickname at work was Teflon Don because nothing would stick to him!  Pix below of Big Daddy Don and his target:

The above bullseye target is 15/16 inch outside diameter and the next ring is 1/2 inch.........this group is around .432 inches OD and around ..211 inches center to center.  You probably want find another CZ that will do that with cheap ammo in a 100 or more rifles.  Big Daddy Don has both Robert and I are looking like Tom Dooley aka Dula with his head hanging down going to the White Oak hanging tree.  Don kidded both of us stating, "I thought I was going to have to get suicide blankets for you boys after seeing the way ya'll acted."

I firmly believe that Robert Webster will have a CZ 452 Trainer very, very soon; that's just my two cents worth.  

I plan to test fire my Savage BTVLSS on 02-01-14 if the conditions are right and hopefully will shoot a decent group at 50 yards or at least one good enough to make consistent head shots on squirrels at that distance.

GROUPS FIRED AFTER PILLAR BLOCKED & BEDDING

NOTE:  On 01-31-14, Robert Webster sent me a pix from his cell phone of a couple 5-shot groups he fired at 48 yards from his Savage Mark II BTV using CCI Standard Velocity 40 grain ammunition.  Looks like the receiver bedding worked out very well in this rifle.  I do believe he will be able to make head shots on squirrels at 50 yards without a problem with plenty of room to spare.  He said there was a little wind but not too much.  There is a big different between the before and after pillar blocks and receiver bedding and the group tightened up tremendously.  You can cover those groups up with a dime and I asked Robert why he used a penny instead and he said the penny photographed better than the dime.  Pix below:

PS  I have noticed that on Robert's target backers, he is using empty  Bud Natural Light Beer cardboard cases which seems like a lot of beer being consumed there.  Robert said he got the empty boxes from the VFW and places a brick in the bottom of them to keep the target backer in place and put the bullseye stickers on them.  I expect I had the same look on my face when I told the Lady at the ABC store I was purchasing using some good Bourbon to make home made Vanilla Extract.  That's my story and I am sticking to it.  Grin if you must!.  Recycling is the word of the day!

Well, it looks like the pressure is on yours truly now to see if my Savage Mark II BTVLSS will hang in there with them after the pillar block and receiver bedding job.  I got the missing parts in this afternoon for my Sinclair rest and will shoot a few 5 shot groups tomorrow and see if the pillar block and receiver bedding did the rifle any good.  The jury is still out on this one.

Web published updates on 01-31-14 by Bill aka Mickey Porter 

ROBERT WEBSTER UPDATE ON 05-17-15

Robert sent me a pix of the groups he fired this morning using Wolf Match Target ammo at 50 yards.  There is a big difference in his gun after the modifications we made to his rifle.  His Savage will definitely outshoot mine all day long.  He is going to make me saw my rifle in pieces yet.

Robert hadn't fired his Mark II BTV in several months and used some Winchester subsonic and Remington to get his point of aim.  I advised him not to "mess"  with his rifle anymore.  Another thing, Robert doesn't have a high dollar rest or super stable benchrest either!  Also, I noticed Robert doesn't have any of these beer box backers as before and that might have helped his shooting form too.....grin if you must!

Both Robert and myself haven't been able to figure out why the rifles will shoot sub minute of angle groups at 50 yards every once in a while and then it looks like buck shot down range....it baffles both of us for sure!

PORTER'S MARK II BTVLSS FIRED AT 50 YARDS  02-01-14

Got a chance to shoot a few rounds through the rifle this morning and not the best of conditions.........had a little wind and it was below freezing.  Well, the jury finally came in with the verdict for this rifle and I believe it is a keeper.  Below target fired using CCI Standard Velocity ammunition with a 40 grain solid lead nose bullet:

The bottom group is around .600 inches outside diameter and had some wiggle on the bench rest but not bad.  I later found that I had not tightened down on the fine vertical adjustment knob enough.  This rifle is definitely capable of making a head shot on a squirrel at 50 yards if I do my part of which was my main goal and plan for this rifle.  When the weather conditions are more agreeable, I plan to test fire half a dozen or more different brands of ammo to ascertain which one the rifle prefers and hopefully my shooting skills will improve also. 

MODIFICATION TO THE ACCU-TRIGGER

One last modification after doing the above test firing was removing the accu-trigger blade and spring from the trigger group assembly which made the trigger much more crisp.  I checked that the safety was still working fine and put the safety in the fire position and hit the side of the stock hard to see if it would jar loose the sear/trigger engagement and it did not.  The best mechanical safety device when a live round is loaded is to have the bolt out-of-battery, meaning lift the bolt upwards and the weapon will not fire even with the safety in the off position, of course I do utilize the mechanical safety at all times until ready to fire and keep the weapon's muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times!

The accu-trigger blade protrudes about 3/16 inch forward of the trigger and when I touch the "blade" to engage the trigger, I start the trigger squeezing process which makes for a long trigger pull.  If you don't engage the trigger properly with trigger finger pad centered between the first joint to the tip of your finger and pull the trigger back in a straight line motion, there is a good amount of resistance felt by the side to side friction of the "safety blade" against the slotted trigger that has a slot cut into it for the blade to travel.  Some shooters employ the usage of the tip of the finger only but it takes more effort and will result in a straight line rear trigger movement; it works for some and some it doesn't  I have never owned a rifle with this type of trigger and personally don't favor it although it is an extra safety feature allowing you to adjust the trigger poundage safely down far below what most manufacturers recommended trigger pull which is pretty heavy for liability reasons which is understandable.

My early 1980s Remington Model 700 chambered for .270 Winchester came with a stock Timney adjustable trigger and will safely  go down to about 38 ozs.   Anything less than that, the sear will release from the trigger upon closing the bolt very hard which is a very dangerous situation.  When I first began testing out different hand loads to find the best grouping, I took the trigger adjustment down below 38 ozs. and it was a shocker when I closed the bolt on a live round and it went Boom! 

I checked the trigger pull poundage on the BTVLSS and it averaged out to 1 lb. 7.7 ozs. which is about where I want it for hunting.  I am looking at a Basix Sav-Rat trigger replacement at the moment but will keep test firing this rifle before doing anything else to it.  With some practice, I am certain I can make one ragged hole grouping at 50 yards with this rifle which is now a KEEPER!

TRIGGER ASSEMBLY HOUSING EXCESSIVE CLEARANCE

Robert Webster was the brain storm on removing the "blade" from the accu-trigger and I had not noticed as much side to side play but there was a good .030 to .040 clearance between the trigger assembly housing and the width of the trigger.  Removing the accu-trigger blade portion did not create this problem but it was more evident with the blade removed from the trigger.  After surveying the scene it was obvious that the trigger housing was fabricated from flat steel and bent into shape.  The base of the trigger housing is secured to the receiver with two 1/4 x 20 tpi bolt/lugs and the sides of the trigger assembly housing are held in position with three pins that have E clips.  As already stated, there was at least .030 inches of "gap" between the width of the trigger and the trigger assembly housing and you could pinch or squeeze in on the trigger housing and see how much slack or gap was present. 

I used a feeler gauge to ascertain what thickness washer was needed and placed a .030 thickness washer underneath the E clip that held the trigger in place within the housing.  Click on below thumbnail pixs of the trigger assembly with the washer in place that removed the trigger side to side movement:

The flat washer worked like a charm and no need to place it inside the trigger housing which might create additional friction increasing the trigger pull.  There is still a few thousands of an inch clearance between the trigger and the trigger housing assembly which is necessary to prevent any increased friction.  A couple .015 inch thickness Teflon spaces could be used inside the trigger assembly housing to reduce any possible trigger/housing friction but don't think it is necessary.  I checked the trigger pull poundage and it dropped down to 1 lb. 4.8 ozs., a reduction of 2.9 ozs. with the accu-trigger "blade" removed and the slack out of the trigger housing.  The trigger is very crisp with no perceivable felt creep or grinding at all.

PUTTING THE PROVERBIAL CART BEFORE THE HORSE

As mentioned earlier on this page, I have an ATF form 4 pending approval since August, 2013 to own a suppressor for this rifle and decided to ship the barrel to Accurate Ordnance, LLC in Winder, GA  on 02-07-14 to machine 1/2 x 28 threads on the barrel and also purchase a custom stainless steel barrel thread protector.  This is not the first or probably the last time that I have put the proverbial cart before the horse and guess that is just part of my DNA makeup.  Below pix of an overkill on the shipping box I made from scrap lumber:

If the USPS damages the barrel/receiver that is also bubble wrapped in this shipping box, there has to be some humongous rough handling going on.  To be on the safe side, I purchased 300 bucks worth of extra insurance which should cover the cost of a new barrel/receiver if bent in case you do not want to shoot around and from behind a tree or something..........grin if you must!  I have observed how personnel load luggage onto a plane and it is down right scary to watch them actually throw the luggage and packages and a miracle anything arrives without damage and I am sure there is no finesse either with other carriers with such tight production schedules!   Updated on 02-08-14

THREADED BARREL AND BARREL THREAD PROTECTOR RECEIVED 02-26-14

I received my receiver/barrel back today from Accurate Ordnance, LLC and Jason Nixon did a First Class All American job threading the barrel to 1/2 x 28 tpi and the custom stainless steel knurled thread protector.  I put the trigger group assembly back onto the receiver and the receiver/barrel slipped right into the bedded stock like a glove with no problem.  I got a chance to fire a quick 5 shot group of CCI .22 cal short CB rounds at 20 yards before dark without a solid rear rest and four of the five shots made one ragged hole and the other one was a little high, whereas the muzzle report was much louder indicating a hot round.   A few pixs taken:

The barrel outside diameter was large enough (.801) that  the original crown remained intact with plenty of room to spare.  I like the way Jason angled/flared (chamfer) the forward portion of the thread protector and extended it out further from the muzzle crown for additional protection.  Now to continue the long wait for the suppressor which I hope is within a couple months away.

I highly recommend the services of Accurate Ordnance, LLC in Wintre, Georgia.

When the weather breaks, I plan to spend several days on the range test firing different brands of .22 cal. long rifle ammunition to ascertain what this rifle likes to digest the best.  In the lower priced ammo, CCI Standard Velocity does very well.  As I stated earlier, my goal for this rifle was to have an excellent squirrel gun capable of making clean head shots out to 50 yards and this rifle will easily do that.  I don't expect it to perform like a well tuned multi-thousand dollar competitive benchrest rifle in the 10.5 pound class with 1/4 minute of angle or less accuracy with the fore end resting on a grand plus front rest, but I do plan to squeeze all the accuracy from this rifle that I can...............grin if you must!

RANGE TIME 03-01-14

The weather finally gave way from the cold, rain, sleet and snow for a while and got a chance to load my gear and head down to my friend Randy Steele's farm and fired some practice rounds.  It was still windy with a cross wind of about 5 to 15 miles per hour and gusting at times but managed to get some trigger time in nevertheless.  Below a few pixs of my set-up:

Fifty (50) yards does look a far piece but the Weaver T36 scope brings the 7/8 inch outside diameter bullseye right up into your face for a much better view!

The home made portable shooting bench is very stable in combination with the Sinclair front rest and the Protector rear bag.  The wind was just too much to get reliable test results for the different brands of ammunition but the higher velocity ammunition did a little better than the standard velocity which might not be the normal.  I fired several groups last month using the CCI Standard Velocity ammo and got decent groups but not so today..........all brands of ammo except Eley Match grade did horrible and the Eley was not that great either and hopefully will get out there very soon when the wind calms down.  The month of March is usually one of our windiest months in this neck of North Carolina with the ole saying, "March comes in like a roaring Lion and goes out like a Lamb."  

Using a Weaver T36 scope and target distance of 50 yards with the smaller bulls eye outside diameter 15/16 inch.  I also switched to a Bushnell Banner 6-18X and shot some of the targets as I was getting a good amount of heat mirage during the mid day.  Click on below target thumbnail scans for a larger screen view:

There is no question the Eley Match ammunition is superior to anything I fired today.  "Most of the time, you get what you pay for."  I plan to test fire Standard Plus, Norma USA TAC-22 and Eley Tenex in the near future.

I got an excellent 5 shot group on 02-01-14 using CCI Standard Velocity ammo, however the wind was very calm.  The Eley Match grade ammunition definitely did better today and the wind didn't affect it as bad as the other brands of ammo.  I did notice that some of the ammo that I applied the home made lube consisting of beeswax, Crisco and Ballistol, the groups were a little tighter.  I plan to shoot in the near future when the wind is very calm and try several other brands of subsonic ammunition for comparison.

Any of the cheaper ammunition tested above would take a squirrel's head out at 50 yards when zeroed for that brand of ammo and that is my goal.  Many shooters on a budget will sort the cheaper bulk ammunition by rim thickness and also by weight in hopes of getting rid of the occasional flyer.  Web published update on 03-01-14.

RANGE TIME 03-11-14

The weather was beautiful this morning with highs in the mid 70s and headed out around 0830 to the impromptu firing range at Randy's Steele's farm in Cason's Oldfield, southern part of Anson County, NC.  The wind wasn't too bad the first 30 minutes and then started gusting pretty heavy.  I noticed some vertical stringing and it could have been from my shooting form and had the forward part of the stock forend bench rest adapter near the tip of the stock on the benchrest and moved it out further and it seemed to get rid of some of the vertical stringing and double checked my shooting form.  Following are scans of targets fired testing different brands of ammunition:

Eley ammunition still groups the best although the windy conditions is not a true test of the accuracy potential of each brand of ammunition fired in this rifle.  Hopefully, I will get a good windless day and get more reliable consistent results.  The Norma USA TAC-22 ammunition grouped fairly well as did the Standard Plus considering the gusting wind.  I fired a couple good groups of Federal Auto Match Grade ammo when the wind was calm and plan to check the rim thickness of different bulk brands of ammunition I have on hand as soon as my dial indicator comes in.  I already had a rim thickness tool to help make it a little easier.  Also, the home made beeswax/tallow lube shows some promise already and plan to add additional beeswax to the home made lube since the beeswax/tallow mixture softened up when the temperature got up around 70 degrees.  I used about a 1/3 ratio of the beeswax to tallow and will increase the beeswax to 50 percent and see how it works out.

I was hoping for better accuracy results with the cheaper ammunition but so far this gun doesn't shoot the bulk ammunition that well.  A tack driver this rifle certainly is not, but a good squirrel gun out to fifty (50) yards which was my original goal.  

HOME MADE BULLET LUBE

It appears that the better grades of target ammunition has a generous amount of lube (greasy to the touch) and Eley is reported to use a combination of pure beeswax and tallow of which their formula and application process is naturally a trade secret!  I have already tried beeswax and Crisco shortening and there is some improvement on bullet accuracy but as most have said, "You can't take a bad bullet and make a good bullet, but you can take a good bullet and make it better" with lubrication.  I purchased five plus pounds of beef scraps/trimmings to render the tallow which is nothing but the fat.  Lard is the same thing but it is from Mr. PIG.  I didn't do any sequence pixs since the only thing you do is cut the meat up into small chunks and place in a large pot on low/medium head and stir it around every 15 minutes or so until all the grease (tallow) is rendered which takes about two hours.  I strained the cooked meat trimmings and grease through several layers of cheese cloth over a colander into another pot after it had cooled a few minutes.  The tallow came out amber color while still liquefied and when it cooled down it was an ivory color.  The tallow will keep refrigerated for at least a year.  Five plus pounds of beef fat trimmings rendered about a pint of pure tallow which will lube a sizeable amount of rimfire ammunition.  I plan to start out with a 50/50 mixture of beeswax and tallow and melt it to the smoking point before dipping the bullet tip into the hot home made bullet lube allowing the excess to run off.  Both products have a fairly low flash point, therefore extreme caution must be used and not allow the mixture to get too hot.  Pix of the rendered tallow and brick of beeswax:

Web published update on 03-04-14

REDNECK STOCK FOREND BENCHREST ADAPTER

With some time on my hands, I decided to make a three (3) inch wide x 7.5 inch length flat stock forend benchrest adapter mimicking a standard flat benchrest rifle stock, whereas the  Savage thumbhole stock is about 2 inches in width at the sling stud with a radius on the bottom and the width increases a good 3/16 inch as well.  The Savage stock already had two forward stock studs for a sling swivel and bi-pod and used the two 3/16 inch diameter holes without having to drill any extra holes into the stock.  My antique worn out rasps and surform tools got a good workout on this little project, however I removed the bulk of the material with a 3/4 inch diameter two fluted flat bottom carbide tipped router bit installed in a 3 1/4 HP Porter-Cable router mounted to a Bulldog router table.  For the most part, this project was old school with no special jigs or duplicating devices which would have been great!   I varied the depth of the router cut and staggered each successive cut and got the convex curvature in the ball park before using the rough toothed rasp and Stanley Surform to blend the concave curvature/radius.  The adapter added about .875 inches overall thickness increase to the existing stock.  I didn't take any sequence pixs and below a few thumbnails of the project getting its first coat of Formby's Tung Oil finish and pixs installed on the rifle stock:

 

I need to find a piece of cushion rubber type gasket material to place between the stock and this stock forend adapter since I didn't get a perfect one to one fit between the two parts but it doesn't look too Reneckish.........grin if you must!  I didn't take any serious amount of extra time with the forend adapter as far as sanding it down to a super fine finish but left the 100 grit belt sander grit marks on the forward and rear portion of the adapter.  I did smooth out the flat and side portion a little but again, still didn't take any serious time with this project.  If it works out, I will find an appropriate cushion material to install between the adapter and the stock and replace the impromptu cut pieces of felt which is all I could locate in my shop on quick notice.  I removed the sandbag from the Sinclair benchrest AP windage top and this stock forend benchrest adapter slides like silk back and forth with no wobble or cant which should increase my shooting accuracy.  However, I placed the sandbag back onto the windage top and there was enough room for the three (3) inch wide adapter and flattened the sand out and squeezed the ears of the sandbag in which made good firm contact with the lower side portion of the forend adapter keeping it snug and flat.  Next on my list will be more range testing to ascertain how this impromptu Redneck Stock Forend Benchrest Adapter performs. Web published updates on 03-06-14.

NOTE:  I did a Goggle search and found that Sinclair makes a similar forend adapter for Sporter rifles being more high tech than my wooden version and there's is adjustable for different stock widths.  Oh, Well; I wouldn't have had all the fun with the sawdust and wood chips flying around either......grin if you must! 

I removed the redneck home made benchrest forend adapter since I plan to squirrel hunt without it and the curvature was cut free hand and had trouble getting a perfect vertical alignment with it since it was skewed to one side making my scope crosshairs canted as well even though the scope was square with the rifle.  When I have the time and think about a better way to carve the radius more accurate, I might give it another try.

ROOKIE MISTAKE FOUND ON 03-12-14

After firing the Savage on 03-11-14, I was not too impressed with the grouping and the next day while removing the scope, I noticed that the rear scope dovetail base mount was "loose as a goose."  It was so loose that when you moved it back and forth it would actually make a rattling sound.  I checked the front mount and it was only finger tight.  This was probably the first new rifle that I have ever purchased that had the scope base mounts already installed on them from the factory and you guessed it, assumed they were tight.  I removed the mounts, cleaned the threads on the rifle receiver, screw threads and applied blue Locktite Threadlock Blue 242 to them and applied 15 inch pounds of torque. I would have liked to gone higher in torque but was afraid that I would strip the threads or break the heads off the little 4-40 tpi screws.

THE ART OF RIMFIRE ACCURACY BOOK BY BILL CALFEE  

While doing much internet research on rimfire rifles and accuracy, I ran into some old threads that Bill Calfee had responded to a couple years back and ordered his book, The Art of Rimfire Accuracy and have really enjoyed reading about his personal experiences from his youth and also his writing about what it takes to make an accurate rimfire rifle.  I was totally amazed at what detail goes into creating a winning benchrest rimfire rifle.  Bill Calfee has created many top winning rimfire benchrest rifles and he definitely thinks outside of the box.  The book does go into some technical treatise on benchrest rifle construction, whereas you definitely can learn much about what he has done and how he arrived at the conclusions that he makes which many are controversial to say the least, especially about factory, custom actions and barrels, etc.  He tells it like it is and doesn't try to sugar coat things!  Bill does hold back sharing some proprietary techniques such as creating match chambers and barrel lapping which is certainly understandable from a business standard......don't give up your hole card!  03-31-14.

RANGE TIME 04-01-14

I planned on getting an early start this morning to head to one of my friends farm Randy Steele of Casons Oldfield but my bride had to wake me out of a sound sleep sometime around 7ish or so.  It was after 0830 before I got down there and stopped and chatted with Randy awhile admiring the recent addition of an open carport adjacent his home.

I was hoping for a mild windless day but there was a fairly good breeze coming out of the South but not as much as the last two times that I have fired the rimfire rifle.  Since I found that the receiver scope rings were very loose, I basically started over test firing the rifle again and cleaned the bore and chamber pretty good which many don't recommend you doing but I ran a IOSSO blue nylon brush through it with some Hoppe's Nr. 9 and unscrewed the brush at the end of the muzzle and didn't draw it back into the barrel.  Anyway, below the targets fired and the last couple were fired using a Bushnell Banner 6 x 18 x 50mm scope and the other targets were fired using the Weaver 36T scope which is fixed at 35 power.  I believe you definitely have the edge with the larger magnification for target shooting but my shooting is not the best but slowly improving.  I shot a little better by addressing the trigger more aggressively instead of trying a super slow squeeze because I would run out of breath before getting that monster to release even though it is less than 1.5 lbs., a far cry from a real target trigger of 3 ozs. or so......grin if you must.  The best group I got was with the Eley ammunition which is to be expected even though this rifle is not a  true target rifle by any stretch of the imagination, however I sure would like for it to shoot like one but that is just not the case.  Part of the trouble is my own shooting inability because I haven't target shot any since the 1980s and that was with a Remington 541-S and didn't shoot out to 50 yards either, more or less around 30 yards and about any clunker of a rifle with decent ammunition will group pretty good at that distance!  I also removed the home made Redneck benchrest forend adapter since I am basically starting over again with ammunition testing and I now have a good idea what shoots the best so far in this rifle.  I will add the benchrest forend adapter back on prior to my next range testing and see if there is any difference. Below the targets starting with a sighter target on the left.  I am using the new Windows 8 operating system and all my audio and photo editing software has been a dawg to try and get to work and most will not work and is not supported by Windows 8....a bummer for sure.

I had to scan the below targets using my older XP Pro system that I just took off-line and transfer the scans to a flash drive, upload to this Windows 8 PC desktop and do the image editing using Adobe PhotoShop CS2.  Click on below thumbnails pixs for a larger screen view:

 

The bulk Federal ammunition shoots the worst out of this gun and the Norma ammunition and Eley will be my squirrel hunting rounds at the current time for sure and leaning more towards the Norma USA TAC-22 because it is much cheaper than the Eley.  The CCI Standard Velocity is accurate enough also to harvest squirrels (head shots) at 50 yards as the Standard Plus ammunition but it is hard to find in this neck of the woods.  Our ammunition price gougers, e.g., most retail gun shops and pawn shops that sell firearms are really taking the shortage of ammunition and milking it for all it is worth.  It reminds me of the businesses selling supplies; e.g., plywood, ice, generators, bottled water. etc.  before the onset, during and after a hurricane, ice storm, etc., but NC has enacted laws to deal with the price gougers.  Most gun shops and pawn shops are marking their ammunition up 250 to 300 percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) in additional to the wholesale price they are paying for it.  I would like to tell them where they need to store their ammunition and an occasional round  accidentally discharging might get their attention........grin again if you must!  Wal-Mart and a few of the Internet places like Midway USA and Brownells are still keeping their prices near the MSRP level but they are experiencing the same supply shortage as everyone else.  However, the high dollar stuff like Eley Tenex is still very plentiful and available but at 19 bucks for a 50 round box for non benchrest shooting is very expensive or at least for my shallow pockets and short coat tail.

I plan to continue to shoot when conditions are conducive and hopefully my shooting skills will continue to improve.  I am also looking forward to test firing this rifle with the suppressor and see what change that amount of weight on the end of the barrel does for accuracy in addition to the reduction of the muzzle report.  The State of North Carolina General Assembly passed a law in October of last year, whereby we can now hunt with silences aka sound suppressors which is great.

I ordered a Harrell Style Muzzle Tuner in silver color for this barrel a few minutes ago and hopefully it will help with some of my vertical/horizontal bullet stringing and definitely cannot hurt anything.  Only trouble, it will have to take a back seat to my suppressor when it arrives unless the suppressor shoots just as good.  04-02-14.

HARRELL STYLE MUZZLE TUNER RECEIVED 04-07-14

I received the Harrell style muzzle tuner this afternoon from Killough Shooting Sports and it fit very snug and tightened the two screws just tight enough to keep it from rotating on the barrel.  Below a few pixs of the tuner:

Most of what I have read so far, a muzzle tuner does help and/or stop the muzzle vibrations which is a good thing according to the many experts out there shooting them and also the custom gunsmiths.  I realize the barrel tuner is no substitute for a very accurate barrel but I am going to see if it will help tighten up the groups on this factory Savage Mark II BTVLSS north of the USA border barrel.  If not, I will save it for another barrel down the road but I believe it will help this barrel since I am beginning to get some improvements.  The weather here in NC for the next few days is rain and more rain and will try and get to the range and do some shooting and see if I can dial the tuner in to my barrel.  I am hoping the standard tuner which weights around 8 oz. will not need any extra weights for this .800 diameter barrel which is 21 inches in length because I didn't order any extra weights not knowing what I would need.  This whole project has been a trail and error thing but being retired I have the time to mess with it.  It would have been much easier to just purchase a high dollar gun to begin with hoping that the the accuracy I desire would be there and it definitely is not the same criteria as benchrest shooters requirements by a long shot.  I haven't seen a gun shop close by that will let you test fire a weapon before purchasing it and basically you are "buying a pig in a poke" as the ole country boys say out loud!  I am looking for a constant cluster/round hole at 50 yards that measures less than .5 inch (outside diameter) and somewhere around .375 inch (outside diameter) which will be a killer squirrel rifle at that distance.  With good ammunition, the Savage is knocking on the door right now.  There aren't too many factory non-benchrest rifles that will constantly group .375 inch outside diameter at 50 yards so it might be an impossible goal to attain without re-inventing the wheel so to speak but I believe this rifle just might do it.  Hey, I just might turn pig iron into the luster of goal yet.........grin if you must!

RANGE TIME 04-10-14

This morning was one of the better mornings weather condition wise with a slight breeze coming from the East and probably gusting from 5 to 10 mph and it would get calm just for a little while.  I had a chance to play with the Harrell style tuner and didn't have any extra weights to add to it but looks like I might get a set and run it through the gamete since it appeared to do better at the maximum setting of 500 increments of which I believe the tuner weights around 8 ozs.  I cleaned the rifle barrel out with only a patch and some Hoppe's Nr. 9 powder and lead solvent and then ran some patches through the barrel until it was clean and dry.  Click on below thumbnails for a larger screen view:

It took about 10 fowling shots to get the barrel to settle down after the cleaning.  I have been trying a little different technique for shooting since I plan to squirrel hunt with this rifle and used a much tighter shoulder hold and thumbhole grip instead of lightly holding the weapon for more free recoil type shooting.  I really need the range firing practice time to keep the rifle steady on the sand bags and practice breath control, sight alignment, sight picture and trigger squeeze and of course follow through to get it all to come together. 

For all practical purposes, this Savage Mark II BTVLSS has met my goal of being accurate enough to constantly make a clean head shot on squirrels out to 50 yards.  Without the pillar and receiver bedding, etc., this rifle definitely would not do it straight out of the box.  With a one piece high tech shooting rest, this rifle would no doubt shoot much better and remove some of the "human shooting error" that I currently possess.

Come fall of the year, there will probably be some bushy tail pixs on here ready for fried squirrel and gravy and/or squirrel stew.

THINKING OUT LOUD

I am thinking about procuring the parts necessary to have a good custom benchrest rimfire rifle made and have some ideas about the action, trigger, barrel and stock components to purchase.  I am leaning toward the Turbo action, Jewell trigger, Benchmark 2 groove barrel or Lilja and McMillan stock but the options are open and not chiseled in stone.  Since I shoot left handed even though I am right handed, I don't think it will be a problem using the right hand bolt with a right port opening with the stock suitable for left hand usage.  I have shot most of my life using right hand weapons off the left shoulder due to a dominant left eye and only have two left-handed weapons other than archery equipment.  Then again, that is a lot of money to spend on a "squirrel gun".......grin if you must!  After tweaking this gun a little more, I believe I will not need a benchrest gun to accurately kill squirrels at 50 yards!

ANAL OPENINGS DO HAVE OTHER VOICES

I have to tell of a humorous and humiliating experience a month or so ago.  My friend Robert Webster and I were interested in attending one of the close by RBA benchrest competition matches as a bystander/spectator and see what equipment was being used, etc., just for personal knowledge.  I am not going to call the name of the verbally arrogant and uncouth individual or the shooting range which are both well known in the rimfire benchrest shooting circles, but he let me know right quick that the best shooters in the world attended those matches and had multi-thousand dollar guns implying rather bluntly we didn't need to be there.  I guess big large two legged anal openings do have other vocal capability other than to expel stinking gases and dung..............grin if you must! 

SILENCER AKA SUPPRESSOR ARRIVED

It took ten (10) months to get my Advanced Armament Corporation Pilot 2 .22 cal. LR silencer aka suppressor delivered to my doorstep and a special thank you to Eric and Hank of NC Silencer who handled all the paperwork getting my application to the ATF and ordering the suppressor for me and highly recommend their outstanding services.  

Below is pix of the Pilot 2 which is a good entry level suppressor with 36 DB suppression and it reduces the sound of standard velocity and subsonic ammunition fired to the sound level of a low velocity .22 cal. short round to my ears.  The length of the suppressor is 5.22" with a weight of 3.75 oz. and about 1 inch in diameter.  As with most things, you get what you pay for and there are many higher priced suppressors out there for the .22 cal. rimfire featuring more exotic metals but this one works just fine for my needs.

I removed the Harrell type tuner from the Savage Mark II BTVLSS and it grouped about the same with the suppressor on there and acceptable enough for my squirrel hunting needs out to 50 yards.  I had to lower the point of aim on two different scopes I used with the Harrell tuner and got them pretty close to point of aim but the wind was kicking in and out at around 10 miles per hour (guesstimate) and my shooting form was a little rusty since I had not fired a round since 04-10-14.  I plan to shoot some early each morning and maybe catch the wind still for a change.  I'm stoked with the performance of the little suppressor and it certainly was worth the long wait time of which it is currently taking around 12 to 14 months to get an application processed through AFT due to the increased suppressor demand and not enough ATF examiners to process all the applications in a timely manner.

Below is target fired at 52 yards with the wind from the West to East and variable.  I used a Weaver T36 scope and had to readjust the elevation since it was shooting four or five inches high with the Harrell type tuner removed and below target shot with the AAC Pilot 2 suppressor attached:

The red circle on the PSL target is approximately .565 inches in diameter and don't think I will have any trouble making clean quick kill head shots on squirrels out to 52 yards.  I later removed the Weaver T36 target scope and put on my Bushnell Banner 6 x 18 x 50mm and shot it at 18x and the rifle grouped pretty good even with the lower power.  The first ten shots fired above, I didn't have the rifle butt stock snug against my shoulder and that accounted for the vertical shots.  The last five shots fired on the above target is what to normally expect with this rifle since I was settling down and my shooting form was getting much better with each successive shot fired.  Mr. Bushy Tail Squirrel, look out this coming fall hunting season because I see the makings of a squirrel stew and/or fried squirrel with gravy and rice!

My friend Robert Webster came over and fired a few rounds and he said it sounded like a quiet air rifle with such a low signature muzzle report.  Robert shot the rifle left handed and posted a 1/2 inch O.D. +- group even though he is right handed.  Robert is one excellent shot!

My goal for this rifle has been met even though it was an uphill battle of which I enjoyed every step of the way and that is what counts; getting pleasure and enjoyment out of something you invest your time and money in.  Now to practice, practice and some more practice; lets make that perfect practice instead of just trigger time...........grin if you must!

Web published update on 06-10-14 by Bill aka Mickey Porter. 

52 YARD TARGET WITH SUPPRESSOR 06-11-14

Below target fired at 52 yards using the Bushnell Banner scope set between 12 and 18 power.  Robert Webster fired several groups yesterday on the target before we left the range and the balance fired today by myself.  Note:  Robert shot my left hand rifle wrong handed for him and not bad at all!

The perimeter shots on the target were fired with the scope set at 18x and you definitely have the edge with more magnification.  The Bushnell Banner Heavy Duplex cross hairs are a little wide for any serious target shooting, whereas the 1/2 inch diameter red dot is a little small at 50 yards for it.  However, the Bushnell Banner with the 50mm objective lens is much brighter than the Weaver T36 scope.  The Bushnell Banner is a great variable power hunting scope for a rimfire and so far it is holding its point of aim without any problem throughout the magnification range but shooting it mostly at 18X at 50 yards.  I have used Leopold 50mm VariXIII on my deer hunting rifles for decades and pleased with them, however I don't see a need for the extra bucks on a squirrel rifle.....I am a little too frugal in some areas but it doesn't hurt to purchase the best if you can afford it.

Web published update on 06-11-14 by Bill aka Mickey Porter.

52 YARD TARGET WITH SUPPRESSOR 06-12-14

Early this morning, I fired 50 rounds of the Norma USA TAC-22 ammo and experimented with different ways of holding the thumbhole pistol grip.  Prior to this morning, I shot a little better with my thumb out of the thumbhole more or less straight up lightly touching the side of the stock.  However, since I plan to hunt with this rifle, I need to learn how to use the thumbhole stock more effectively and tried different amounts of pressure with the thumb into the thumbhole and it was found that very light to any pressure worked the best for me.  Also, I fully relaxed my grip and watched the cross hairs on the target to see if they moved.  I found that it was imperative that you have the rifle firmly seated into the rear and forward sand bags without and movement when you address the trigger and not try and torque the rifle with your trigger hand to have the cross hairs dead center on the bullseye.  Since the front of the forend is curved and not flat, it is easy to get the rifle canted even with a good rear bag in use.  There are many variables to get rid of for my shooting skills to increase to its maximum.

Since I have no experience benchrest shooting other than zeroing the point of aim for my hunting rifles and checking out various loads to ascertain the most accurate load for that particular weapon, there certainly is a lot of finesse and technique to get an accurate rifle to shoot as close as possible to the point of aim removing as much human error as possible.  My primary goal for this rifle is hunting,  therefore I want to adapt techniques that will work while in the field and not just on a benchrest and it might be hard to have the best of both worlds but it is fun experimenting!

I noticed this morning there were several rounds that sounded much weaker than the others and printed low on the target and a couple sounded louder as well and went much higher.  I realize that the Norma TAC-22 ammo is not the most accurate ammo but for the money it is doing fairly well. 

Web published update on 06-12-14 by Bill aka Mickey Porter.

52 YARD TARGET WITH SUPPRESSOR AND TENEX AMMO 06-13-14

I got a chance to get to the range this morning and the wind was calm but the humidity was very high.  I put the Weaver T36 scope back on the Savage Mark II BTVLSS and had a box of Tenex on hand that was marked as 1049 feet per second.  My first sighter shots were high and having trouble getting the cross hairs positioned on the bullseye.......the front sand bag was gripping the forend a little tighter than needed but didn't take the time to do any adjustments....my bad on this one.

Below is target fired and the ammunition certainly is the key with this rifle.  I still haven't located any Wolf Match Target ammo but the Eley Tenex will probably be hard to beat.

While not a tack driver at 52 yards, this Savage Mark II BTVLSS is going to be one awesome squirrel gun!

AAC PILOT 2 SILENCER AKA SUPPRESSOR CLEANING

Advanced Armament Corporation recommends that you clean the suppressor at 500 round intervals of which I plan to do.  This suppressor is designed with a removable end cap that allows you to remove the internal baffles for cleaning and comes with a small tool to engage holes drilled into the end cap for that purpose.  I ordered a baffle removal tool manufactured by AAC from MIDWAYUSA to make the baffle removal much easier and precise which doubles the recommended rounds fired before cleaning.  From what I have experienced so far cleaning the suppressor, I am going to stick to the 500 rounds fired schedule!

I decided to go ahead and clean the suppressor without the baffle removal tool since I have less than 500 rounds fired through it and it should not be difficult to get the baffles from the suppressor tube or main housing at this early stage of usage.  Below thumbnail pixs along the way:

The first pix shows the baffles removed from the suppressor housing of which the baffles are not in the correct sequence since I moved them from my table saw where I disassembled the baffles.  Using the small tool supplied with the suppressor, you simply insert two small protruding rods which will align with the holes that are drilled into the end cap for that purpose.  I had to use a pair of channel lock pliers to get additional leverage on the end cap tool to loosen the threads.  There is an rubber O ring in the end cap which keeps the baffle assembly tight inside the suppressor housing or tube and also prevents any gas from escaping between the threads of the end cap and housing. 

I was surprised at how much lead and carbon fouling had already accumulated on the baffles and tried a quick fix to help loosen the gunk and used some Dawn dishwashing liquid and very hot water, placed all the parts inside a plastic container and shook them around in hopes it would help free the gunk buildup from the baffles of which it didn't do too good a job at all......should have let it soak an hour or two but too impatient I guess. 

I poured the parts into a strainer in our basement sink and rinsed them off with hot water.  Hoppe's # 9 was used with a nylon bristle toothbrush along with Q Tips and did some serious scrubbing to get the gunk lead fowling buildup removed.  There was a lead slurry formed on one end of the baffles after scrubbing them and it took about an hour to clean and dry all the components with the baffles taking up most of the time. 

After removing all the lead particles, carbon buildup aka gunk from the baffles and suppressor housing, I applied a light coat of Miltec-1 oil to all components to help prevent a carbon build up in the future.

The first baffle in the suppressor that is next to the muzzle is made from Stainless Steel and has a trademarked coating called SCARmor, whereas the balance of the baffles are aluminum with a couple tabs that align with slots in the adjacent baffles to keep them properly aligned and T3 Hard Coat applied.  I placed a center punch 17/64 inch in diameter inside the baffles to help keep them aligned while I slid the suppressor housing over the top of them.  I then removed the center punch and placed the end cap back onto the suppressor housing which I had earlier coated the exterior threads with Lithium grease to keep the threads from seizing up and/or to let gas escape by them.

It took the better part of an hour to get the suppressor clean and that is the price you have to pay for having so much fun shooting with the suppressor.  I talked with a rep. from AAC and he recommended the product Kroil to clean the suppressor of which I plan to try it on the next cleaning.  The application of Miltec-1 should make the next cleaning much easier or I hope so anyway.....grin if you must!

Web published update on 06-16-14 by Bill aka Mickey Porter.  

ROBERT'S SAVAGE MARK II TARGET 06-26-14 AT 50 YARDS

Robert Webster fired the below target on 06-26-14 and about as good as the Mark II is going to do with the shooting accessories we currently have.  His first shot was a fouling shot and it was high:

Robert keeps on, he will be about ready for an ARA match!

52 YARD TARGET WITH SUPPRESSOR, CCI STANDARD VELOCITY, NORMA AMMO AND 4 OZ. WEIGHT 07-15-14

The Savage shoots decent groups with Eley Tenex ammunition at around 1049 feet per second with the suppressor installed and tried some of the cheaper ammo which did not group as well.  I recently  added a temporary 4 oz. Harrell style tuner weight near the end of the suppressor to see if that would help any with the cheaper ammunition and stoked that it did work.  I plan to add a barrel bushing behind the suppressor and it will be large enough outside diameter to allow an extension tube screwed on the outside bushing diameter and have clearance between the suppressor to allow additional weights to be added to the barrel without putting any stress directly on the suppressor itself.  Below is pix of the temporary jury rig until I get the bushing bored and threaded to fit the extension tube and threaded to fit standard Harrell tuner weights:

Target fired below with variable winds at times and using Norma TAC-22 and CCI Standard Velocity ammunition:

I ordered a piece of T6 aluminum tubing for the home made tuner adaptation and I already know that 4 ounces of weight will have me in the ball park and will have to experiment with the length of the tube to find the sweet spot since it will not possess the micro tune capability of the Harrell type tuner but a bloop tube configuration would be more precise........there is no way to use a Harrell type tuner with the suppressor due to the inside diameter of the tuner too small and will experiment with different options.

PORTER CUSTOM BARREL TUNER INSTALLED 10-21-14

I had Helms Machine Company of Monroe, NC do the lathe work on the barrel bushing and the sleeve for usage as a barrel tuner.  I had them turn matching threads for the Harrell style tuner weights and they did a great job.  Steve did a first class All American job and was to my specifications.  Pix below:

With this novel and unique barrel tuner, it allows you to tune your barrel while using the removable  AAC Pilot 2 model suppressor.  I installed additional weights on the end of the internally threaded sleeve but after testing, it was found that I did not need any additional weight on the end of the sleeve.  I could fine tune the tuner by moving the barrel bushing and threaded sleeve in small increments toward the receiver but it is shooting decent groups as is.  When I retrieve the 52 yard targets fired, I will take a few pixs of it and post the groups fired showing the difference between no barrel tuner, just the suppressor and also the tuner with weights and without.  Another pix from the muzzle end:

NOTE:  I moved the barrel tuner and bushing about 1/4 inch toward the receiver and noticed that accuracy increased.  With the barrel tuner bushing not making contact with the treaded end of the suppressor at the barrel muzzle, the muzzle report was much quieter and did not hear the pronounced metallic ringing sound that was not there before I installed the barrel tuner.  Apparently moving the barrel bushing and tuner away from the muzzle end finding a much better "sweet spot" stopped the barrel vibration as evidenced by the lack of the metallic ringing sound, although I am sure this is debatable since I have no scientific evidence to validate my claim, other than a 5 round bullet cluster.  When I shot this rifle with the Harrell style tuner before having the barrel threaded and using the suppressor, I did notice a pronounced ringing sound produced by the Harrell style barrel tuner.  I will fire additional groups and get a more accurate picture of what is taking place.  So far, the Porter Custom Barrel Tuner over the suppressor is working as expected! I believe the weight combination of the suppressor and the barrel tuner is working out pretty good!

Below targets fired with the auxiliary barrel tuner and the suppressor.  The target was used over the course of a week firing a few rounds early in the morning and the wind was variable to heavy at times and did manage a couple good groups when the wind was still.  I can't remember what ammo I used or the configuration of the barrel tuner; e.g., with sleeve, with weights, etc., senior citizen mode kicked in on this one but plan to fire some next week and make written notes of what I did on each individual target.

I believe target 14 was fired without the barrel tuner sleeve, only had the barrel tuner bushing behind the suppressor.  Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 11-30-14.

Pix below of some empty casings...wonder how many is in that coffee can?

SUPPRESSOR CLEANING 12-24-14

Below are a few pixs of the suppressor after 625 rounds were fired through it.  I used several different brands of ammo including Wolf Match Target, CCI Standard Velocity, Eley Tenex, Standard Plus and Norma TAC22:

I applied a coat of White Lithium grease after cleaning the suppressor the last time to see if that would help reduce the cleaning time and I do believe that it did.  I soaked the baffles in Hoppe's No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner about 10 minutes and used a small screw driver to dislodge the caked up lead residue from the small end of the baffles without any effort.  The lead particles did not adhere to the baffles like it did before using the white lithium grease.  I believe the white lithium grease was the reason the lead particles didn't adhere to the baffles, although the lead particles still formed a coating over the white lithium grease.  It took about 26 minutes to fully clean the baffles and have them like factory new again. 

I have tried Ballistol, Kroil oil, Hoppe's No. 9 powder solvent, mixture of auto transmission fluid and Acetone and none of them worked that well and it took about 3 to 4 hours using the Kroil oil to fully clean the suppressor baffles which consisted of some serious scrubbing with a bristle brush.  I am convinced that coating the baffles with the white lithium grease is the answer to quick cleaning the baffles although I believe it catches more of the lead particles initially.  Pix below of the lead build-up removed from the suppressor after the Hoppe's cleaner was drained off:

As evidence from the pix, you can see the lead particles came off the baffles in layers and/or chunks.  I am very impressed how easy it was to clean the suppressor this time!

Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 12-25-14.    

FIRING PIN MODIFICATION 05-08-15

It has been several months since "tinkering" with the Savage Mark II BTVLSS and the ole cliché, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" which carries a lot of intelligential weight was totally ignored today.  I had some spare time on my hands this afternoon and decided to check the firing pin out.  The firing pin along with the extractor and cartridge guide are easy to remove from the bolt by simply removing tension on the spring steel extractor spring clip that holds them in place by inserting a very small flat head screw driver under each end of which it can be removed from the bolt.  The firing pin will fall out from the slot or channel milled into the bolt by inverting the bolt and gravity will do its thing but the extractor and cartridge guide have a tighter fitting slot that secures them and can easily be pushed out with a small flat head screwdriver. 

I noticed the firing pin has some wear marks on the left side indicating drag or friction within the slot aka channel in the bolt toward the most forward portion of the firing pin; about 1/8 inch and decided to slick up the channel a little on that side using 600 grit wet or dry sandpaper.  The channel for the firing pin was .082 inches in width and the firing pin is .071 inches and plenty of "slop" aka clearance.  I also used a thin wedge shaped hard Arkansas white stone and stoned a good portion of the slot on both sides but unable to go the full depth due to the taper and thickness of the Arkansas stone.  Using my 2.5 x MagEyes, I could clearly see tool marks on both sides of the channel for the firing pin with most of tool marks on the left hand side.  I placed the firing pin in the channel in the bolt and applied pressure from the opposite side of the firing pin against a small piece of the 600 grit wet/dry paper to burnish the channel that created the marks on the firing pin. 

I also decided to grind down the area between the shoulder of the firing pin that makes contact with the barrel when dry fired and take material away from the actual part of the firing pin that contacts the rimfire shell casing since some expert Gunsmiths like Bill Calfee and others seem to think that it does inhibit accuracy by not producing consistent primer ignition. To quote Mr. Bill Calfee, "We want the pin to strike just inside the outside edge of the rim.  We do not want the pin to strike the edge of the rim where it rolls over itself.  That would mean the firing pin is striking solid brass and combined with the rim hitting the steel breech face of our barrel causes excessive vibrations, let alone poor ignition."    Whether it will help this hunk of metal or not, remains to be seen....grin if you must.  I was a little anxious since this modification could render the firing pin inoperable in very short order with too much material removed at the wrong place on the firing pin.

I used my late 1960s model Dremel Tool, still on its last leg and a thin wafer friction cut off wheel which is around .042 inches in thickness and secured the Dremel Tool in my vise and ground the end of the firing pin freehand using the vise as a tool rest and with the aid of the 2.5 X magnification MagEyes.  I carefully ground a little until I though I had what I needed removed and then assembled the firing pin and extractors into the bolt and fired a test round.  I believe I did this at least four (4) different times until I got the desired results; e.g., the firing pin striking inside the outside rim of the shell casing and without misfires of course.  I used the hard Arkansas white stone to burnish/polish the areas of the firing pin that I ground and made certain there was a very small bevel to the edges of the firing pin that indents the brass rimfire case, of which the manufacturer had it slightly beveled already so the entire width of the firing pin would not strike the brass case.  Click on below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

Below are some thumbnail pixs taken with my Macro lens and you can better see what I did:

Below is a pix of the fired shell casings showing the progress from left to right and you can see the shell casing on the right doesn't have the outside edge of the rim peened, indented or flattened against the barrel rim:

I got the Brown and Sharp dial micrometer out and checked the rimfire casings.  I test fired using Standard Plus 40 grain subsonic LR ammo and an unfired rim diameter is .271 inches.  The fired case diameter  across the rim where the firing pin indents the outside diameter of the rim before the firing pin was modified was .276 inches.  After the firing pin modification the rim diameter was .2715 inches, an increase of only .0005 inches or 1/2 of a thousands of an inch.   The pix below from the internet and is located on page 221 in Bill Calfee's book The Art of Rimfire Accuracy of which I own a copy:

Below is a Macro close-up pix of a cut-away of the fired shell casings before and after the modification:

In the above pix, you can clearly see the difference between the firing pin hitting the rim of the case (left) versus the firing pin hitting inside the outer edge of the rim (right) and also from the pix on the right, there appears to be a hotter ignition by the coloration difference between the two cases also. 

With the bolt disassembled, I stoned the face of the bolt but didn't try and remove all the tool marks/imperfections but leveled it out pretty good.  I was afraid I might reduce the headspace which could cause some problems with various brands of ammunition.  Using the hard Arkansas fine white stone, you definitely don't remove much material at all but are more or less polishing and burnishing the metal.

I will remount the factory scope blocks on the receiver and dig out the Weaver T36 scope and if the wind allows, will shoot a few test rounds tomorrow and see if this helped the grouping any.

I decided to put a one piece EGW Picatinny scope rail on the receiver after an email from Chris Johnson who is into gunsmithing and has a Savage he is tricking out.  The current Savage Mark II BTVLSS has the new receiver which has a 1 5/8 inch port opening instead of the older 1 3/8 inch port opening, therefore I had to order Product ID 41610 that fits the Savage model 93 which also fits the new Mark II with the 1 5/8 inch port opening. 

I mounted the Weaver T36 scope and fired 5 test rounds using the Wolf Match ammo, however the wind was pretty bad at around 0900.  I still had a Killough Shooting Sports Professional League red bullseye target on the back stop at 52 yards and the first shot fired went into one of the targets above the one I was shooting at; couldn't tell which one.  I dropped down a couple target rows and fired another round and it printed two targets over and one row up.  The wind was blowing pretty hard and I got three (3) rounds with the holes touching.  As to why the rifle was shooting that far off from POA, I don't know since the Weaver T36 scope holds its settings pretty good.  When the one piece Picatinny rail arrives, I will mount and/or bed it to the receiver and do additional test firing.  If the wind dies down some, I will recalibrate the scope and fire additional rounds to ascertain if the firing pin modification helped the grouping.  

Web published updates by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 05-08-15, 05-09-15 and 05-10-15.

BEDDING PICATINNY RAIL 05-09-15

I received the EGW Picatinny scope rail this afternoon and bolted the two rear screws to the receiver and there was at least .003 inches clearance between the rail forward contact area with the receiver.  I couldn't immediately locate my feeler gage set and used a piece of newspaper .003 inches in thickness to ascertain the front area that makes contact with the receiver needed bedding, otherwise there would be torque on the rail (bending) when all four screws were tightened which is not desirable and this would transfer to the scope for sure.  If the receiver is perfectly flat along with the rail, there would not be a need to do any bedding unless you just wanted to do so.  A stress free relationship between the parts where applicable is the ultimate goal.  I basically used the same materials left over from bedding the receiver which was Devcon 10110, plumbers putty, Acetone and Kiwi neutral wax shoe polish.  I didn't want the Devcon plastic steel putty to adhere to the receiver and coated it a couple times with the wax shoe polish and filled the two screw holes with plumbers putty.  I cleaned the forward part of the rail with Acetone and plugged the screw holes with plumbers putty.  I then mixed up a small amount of the Devcon plastic steel putty at a 2.5:1 ratio of resin to hardener and applied it to the forward portion of the Picatinny rail.  The rail was carefully positioned on the receiver and tightened the two rear screws until the Devcon plastic steel putty was squeezed out between the receiver and the rail.  You do not install the forward screws, otherwise you would be bending the Picatinny rail and wasting your time and energy with the bedding.  What excess Devcon putty oozed out between the rail and the receiver was removed with Q-Tips.  Click on thumbnail pixs below for a larger screen view:

Will let the bedding cure out until tomorrow afternoon and hopefully can remove the Picatinny rail, clean the putty from the receiver scope base mounting screw holes and the rail and attach the rail to the receiver using blue Locktite Threadlock Blue 242 and torque to the recommended 20 inch pounds.

I got the rail installed and fired some test rounds but the wind was horrible and the jury is still out whether the firing pin and/or Picatinny rail improved the performance of the rifle.  I double checked the receiver and it was found that the receiver is perfectly flat, however the Picatinny rail was the problem and there was a .003 inch gap under the front contact area and not the receiver.  Also, the mounting screws were too long for both the front and rear holes in the receiver.  There is only a little over 4 full threads tapped into the forward receiver and had to grind down the screws using the Dremel tool with the abrasive cut-off wheel and had to take a couple threads off the other two screws for the rear since they protruded through the receiver which is only around .125 inches thick.  Click on below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

SINGLE SHOT ADAPTER AVAILABILITY

There has been much interest in a single shot adapter for the Savage Mark II and Lowey Products in Australia has them molded out of plastic for 20 bucks each and 6 dollars shipping.  I have a couple on order and will give them a test run in the very near future.  Below is a pix of them:

Click on the picture above for a hyperlink to their website with additional information.  05-10-15.

NOTE:  I received the single shot adapters on the 18th and they work excellent!

TESTING OUT THE FIRING PIN MODIFICATION 52 YARDS

The wind has been gusty the past few days due a tropical depression moving by our NC coastline and my shooting results hasn't been that good.  This morning the wind was decent and fired some Wolf Match Target and Eley Tenex published at 1049 feet per second, however they print much higher and sound much louder than the Wolf Match Target published at 1050 FPS.  I tried different settings on the custom tuner and finally left the custom tuner barrel off with the tuner barrel bushing nearly touching the suppressor and got my best grouping.   I fired some SK Standard Plus and CCI Standard Velocity yesterday but the results was very bad due to the wind gusting and I haven't learned how to read the wind yet either......a rookie for sure!  Below is pix of the last two five shot groups fired:

The scope point of aim wasn't moved and you can clearly see the Eley Tenex printed much higher and also the muzzle report was louder as well.  The Wolf Match Target ammo shoots excellent even with the flier from the main group on target # 19.  When the weather is more conducive to shoot again, I will shoot additional targets to ascertain if the firing pin modification actually helped any.  So far, I can't really say; "The jury is still out".......grin if you must!  The above two groups are about typical of what this gun does at its best the way it is set up with good ammo, shooting conditions and shooting form.  I really shouldn't complain too much because the gun has met my goal of head shooting squirrels at 50 yards but it has taken a lot of time, effort and funds to get to this point in time.  05-11-15.

NOTE:  I fired some of the Eley 10X rounds on 12-17-15 and set-up the chronograph and the bullets are rated at 1049 feet per second on the Eley box but they were shooting high and very loud like my suppressor wasn't working.  The five rounds velocity were:  1123, 1119, 1121, 1111 and 1110.  I don't know what equipment Eley is using but those bullets are definitely hotter as depicted by the results above.  The group was excellent though. 

FIRING PIN MODIFICATION UPDATE 05-17-15

Remember I started this firing pin modification out on 05-08-15 with a quote of the ole common sense cliché, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", well, I just couldn't leave well enough alone and went back and took a little more off and stoned the surface to clean it up.  From that point on, I would get a misfire or two with each 50 round box of ammo fired; this is a guess of course since I didn't keep a good tally of how many rounds I fired.  The Savage firing pin is a restricted item and only a licensed gunsmith or firearms manufacturer can order it on line from savage.  Man, the rifle was even shooting the cheaper CCI Standard Velocity rounds with some accuracy and was about to get stoked at last!

I did an internet search of the closest gunsmith and also called our local gun dealer who recommend Claude Floyd of Norwood which actually located on Rocky River Springs Road there in Aquadale and gave him a call yesterday, whereby setting up an appointment for this afternoon.  I took the rifle and some fired cases and Claude was in front of his shop when I arrived and we introduced ourselves and he gave me a tour of his place.  To make a long story short, he looked at the firing pin and recommended that we replace it with a factory one and I left the rifle with him.  If Claude will permit, I would like to do a short story on him because he does some fantastic stock and forend building and hot bluing of firearms which appears to be his main expertise among other things.  

I will post additional information when Claude replaces the firing pin and I will take the ole camera along too.

NOTE:  It appeared it would take a week or two to receive the firing pin from Savage and my friend Robert Webster invited me to a rifle shoot in Hamlet, NC and I called Claude and picked the gun up today on 05-20-15 and advised him to give me a call when the part arrives.  It is only a thirty minute drive to his shop and don't mind the extra trip which has some good back country scenic views to take in along the way, of which is an extra bonus.  In the mean time, I plan to weigh out a box of CCI Standard Velocity ammo and separate them in groups by one tenth of a grain.  I will then fire a five shot group through the Shooting Chrony F-1 and see what the velocity of each round checks out to be and also how the different weight grain five (5) shot aggregate groups.

UPDATE:  I have not heard anything back from Claude Floyd about the firing pin he was supposed to order and since I got one direct from Savage within a few days after signing a disclaimer of liability form and with a little tweaking and file work on the firing pin, it is performing great as of 12-03-15.

I fired a five shot group using the CCI rated velocity @ 1070 fps but the chronograph went from 1044 to 1083 fps which is a variance of 39 fps which isn't that great.  I tested a five shot group using Eley Tenex listed at 1049 fps and they were 1088 to 1100 fps with a variance of only 12 fps.  I knew the Eley Tenex sounded much louder than other subsonic rounds that I have fired and guess the Shooting Chrony put that question to rest.  My Hornady electronic grain scale is being delivered this afternoon and will weight out some rounds this evening for tomorrows testing.  I know this is a lot of extra things to do but being retired gives me some extra time to do more of the fun things......grin if you must!  Besides, I have been working out each morning before the sun is blazing down opening up a drainage ditch using a shovel and wheel barrow and need a little break!  05-20-15.

REPLACEMENT FIRING PIN UPDATE

A sales rep. from Savage emailed me and said they would ship me a firing pin for the Savage.  I had to complete their "Release of Liability" form and email it back to them of which I did.  The sales rep. was very knowledgeable and courteous.  They will ship the part at no charge which is a plus.  05-21-15.

I took another look at the firing pin and decided to increase the forward travel several thousands of an inch more and fired a hundred or more rounds through it and without a single misfire.  Below is a close-up pix of a rimfire case cut-away where you can see the indentation strike of the firing pin and how the modification keeps the firing pin from striving/flattening the outer most part rim of the case, yet closes the area where the priming compound is contained causing ignition to take place:

Old school thinking was you had to flatten the outer edge of the rimfire case for proper ignition but that certainly isn't the case.  As Bill Calfee and other expert rimfire gunsmiths have proven, the firing pin striking just inside the outer edge of the rim is a better system reducing vibrations created by the firing pin striking the outside of the rim against the face of the breech bolt.  Those gunsmiths have the winning race gun records to validate their theory.   05-23-15.

NOTE:  I received the firing pin today and that was some fast service by Savage!  The last firing pin  modification (tweak) has the rifle firing each time and I have a spare firing pin at the moment.  05-26-15.

AMMO TESTING 52 YARDS 05-21-15

Today wasn't the best of weather conditions for shooting the little rimfire but since I had already weighed out a box of CCI Standard Velocity and Wolf Match Target, impatience got the best of me I suppose.

I was hoping that I could find a correlation between the bullet weight in grains and velocity along with bullet impact (Point of Impact) on the target but the jury is still out on that one.  I was hoping the weight of the bullet might detect a potential flyer but so far, that hasn't been the case.  There are many, many variables as to why a flyer round can happen, other than the shooter. 

Below a few pixs taken of the target and work sheets:

   

I was really shocked at target # 12 of which the Wolf bullets in this test group weighted @ 51.3 grains and one round was recorded at 934.9 feet per second with the other five @ 1045, 1056, 1054, 1052 and 1055 feet per second.  The round was certainly very weak to the ears as well and printed 1.25 inches below the center of the bullseye.  I know this is only one such test group but the weight of each round apparently didn't have a direct relationship to the velocity, however the velocity did have a direct relationship to the POI (Point of Impact) on the target which is understandable. 

The Wolf heavier grain bullets, 51.8, 51.9 and 52.0 did seem to hold a tighter group than their lighter counterparts but not by a large margin.  Today's weather conditions was not the greatest but I don't think that had anything to do with the velocity variations; certainly the POI on some rounds fired.

I think the best thing is to find ammo that shoots well in your rifle and don't be too concerned about why it shoots that way better than the others but that is "just the nature of the beast" to want answers to the unknowns.....grin if you must!  

As far as hunting accuracy goes; all of the above groups except maybe the very low POI round would take a squirrels head out without much trouble if the shooter did his or her part.

TESTING OUT HOLLOW POINTS FOR SQUIRREL HUNTING

This 2015 hunting season, I have harvested a good many squirrels that were consuming the shelled corn broadcast for the deer around 50 yards plus or minus from my shooting position.  The best of the moderate price range ammunition has been the Wolf Match Target ammunition in my gun, however sometimes even with a head/neck shot the squirrel doesn't know it is supposed to be dead and a few have gotten away before I could get to them.  I knew that hollow point ammunition is the key to do some serious damage to a squirrels head and that is where the scope cross hairs are settled. 

My friend Robert Webster of Hamlet, NC gave me a box of Winchester 40 grain hollow point subsonic and a box of 42 grain Winchester subsonic hollow point ammunition to try.  The 40 grain shot the best but it still left a lot to be desired in my gun, although it shot excellent in his rifle.  I harvested 5 or 6 squirrels in a row with the 40 grain Winchester subsonic HP round and it did some horrendous damage to the head and the squirrels definitely stayed down for the ten count. 

I received some Eley 40 grain hollow point subsonic rounds from MidwayUSA and they grouped much better than the Winchester 40 grain HP subsonic rounds.  I checked the bullets out with my micrometer and there was a good bit of difference between the lead bullet band diameter on both rounds.  The Winchester bullet band diameter was only .219 thousands and the bullet band diameter on the Eley was .224 thousands of an inch and that is a .005 difference.  Apparently, my gun likes the larger bullet band diameter as the Wolf Match Target ammunition in 40 grain solid nose is also .224 inches in diameter.  I checked CCI Standard Velocity and the bullet band was .223 inches and the brass casing diameter was also .223 inches in diameter.  I did not set the chronograph up to check the velocity as it was very windy and not the best of conditions to be testing out .22 caliber rounds fired but tried and catch the wind at a lull.  I didn't hear any rounds that seemed low and/or high velocity compared to the rest of the rounds fired.  With the rifle being suppressed, it is easy to ascertain a weak or hot round fired by the muzzle report only and of course the bullet placement on the target.  Below is the target fired over a few days period:

 

I have harvested 5 or 6 squirrels (head shots only) with the Winchester 40 grain hollow point subsonic round at 48 to 50 yards but this is very marginal ammo for squirrel hunting and plan to retire that ammo for punching paper only since the Eley 40 grain hollow point subsonic is far superior grouping in my hunk of junk metal called a Savage Mark II BTVLSS.  

I ordered a .22 caliber resizing die from Neal Waltz located at Massillon, Ohio to create some hollow points from the Wolf Match Target ammunition and hope it will group as good as the Eley Subsonic HP.  There are several videos on YouTube that show the results of the Neal Waltz resizing die set and it looks promising. 

Nate Wilder at the Squirrel Hunting Journal has good results with the Wolf ammunition that has been resized and hollow pointed from the Neal Waltz resizing die along with the SK Standard Plus ammo. 

I will publish addition information on the Neal Waltz resizing die set when I have a chance to create some hollow point ammunition from the Wolf Match Target ammunition.  Shooting holes in paper targets is fun and relaxing but the fruits of the harvest on the plate with some rice and/or mashed potatoes and gravy is far better!

Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 12-03-15. 

EARLY MORNING TESTING AT 52 YARDS - WIND FAIRLY CALM

Got a chance to fire a few rounds this morning before the wind got too bad and below pix of several different brands of ammunition fired.  This morning, the Eley 40 grain subsonic HP was the better of the ammunition.  I took the barrel sleeve and weights off the rifle barrel and it grouped pretty good; could easily make a head shot at 50 yards with the Standard Plus and the Eley Subsonic HP and the Wolf MT.  With the auxiliary barrel sleeve and additional 3 oz. weight removed from the barrel, naturally the rounds printed high and adjusted the scope 5 clicks down.  

I also fired a couple rounds of the Eley Tenex listed at 1076 feet per second on the box but those rounds are at/or above subsonic; very, very loud even suppressed.  Ammunition approaching 1105 feet per second at outside temperature of 48 degrees F., the suppressor does very little to reduce the crack of the sound wave.  The Eley subsonic hollow point 40 grain bullets grouped the best this morning and a couple of the Wolf rounds were hot and went high on the target.  So far, I am really impressed with the Eley 40 grain hollow point subsonic round rated at 1040 feet per second.

I sent the above pix to my friend Robert Webster in Hamlet, NC and he got fired up and went out and shot a 5 round group and sent the pix to me and here it is:

I must confess that is one of the best groups fired at 50 yards in a good while and to top it off, I gave him the box of Eley 40 grain hollow point subsonic rounds....grin if you must!  Robert's Mark II BTV will outshoot my Mark II BTVLSS on any given day of the week.  12-07-15.

ELEY SUBSONIC 40 GRAIN HOLLOW POINT TESTING

I recently removed the barrel tuner bushing, barrel pressure point and cleaned the bore and chamber and started testing some of the ammunition formed with the Neal Waltz Die of which it will make a hunting round out of some of the standard available ammo that is not available in the hollow point configuration.  Check out the Neal Waltz Die page.

I fired 25 rounds of the Eley Subsonic 40 grain hollow point bullets with a velocity claimed of 1040 feet per second and below is the target fired at 52 yards and the worksheet of each round fired:

ELEY SUBSONIC 40 GRAIN HOLLOW POINT 1040 FPS  OAL .988  DB .225
 
Target 16 1055 fps 3 O'clock White/Red
1045 5 O'clock Red/White
1029 3 O'clock White/Red
1046 6 O'clock Red
1040 Low Outside
 
Target 17 1047 12 O'clock White/Red
1040 3 O'clock White/Red
1064 12 O'clock White/Red
1069 12 O'clock Outside
1061 1 O'clock Outside
 
Target 18 1068 1 O'clock Outside
1028 7 O'clock Outside
1068 12 O'clock Outside
1065 12 O'clock Outside
1061 12 O'clock Outside
 
Target 19 1061 9 O'clock White
1058 11 O'clock Red/Outside
1077 12 High Outside
1052 4 O'clock Outside
1042 6 O'clock Outside
 
Target 20 1061 11 O'clock White/Red
1043 9 O'clock Red/Outside
1038 6 O'clock Red/Outside
1052 1 O'clock Red/Outside
1029 Bull's Eye White

Target # 16 had a good group going until round 5 was fired which recorded a muzzle velocity of 1040 feet per second and should have been in the pack but it could have been shooter error on that one.  The rounds that have about the same velocity were grouping together which is to be expected.  I didn't change the POA or scope setting on the groups and the bullet followed the velocity rating as far as high and low on the target.  There was some variable wind but not too much of a problem to taint the results.

Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 12-12-15. 

ELEY SUBSONIC 40 GRAIN HOLLOW POINT UPDATE

During the above ammo testing of the Eley subsonic 40 grain hollow point ammunition, I experienced several misfires and noticed the indentation into the bullet case looked good and thought maybe it was my firing pin that I had altered a good while back.  After firing several of brands of ammo, it would misfire only on the Eley subsonic about once every 5 or 10 rounds.  I took the firing pin out and ground the shoulders in two place to allow about .005 or more forward travel and decreased the same amount on the firing pin that would make contact with the barrel chamber.  I test fired again and it wasn't as bad as before but still an occasional misfire of which I could rechamber the bullet and it would fire. 

The rim thickness on some of the Eley cases were around .003 inches less than the others and that could be the problem but hard to believe Eley's quality control didn't pick up on them.

Savage sent me a replacement firing pin on 05-22-15 of which I hadn't installed it and upon installing it, it was .200 too short and was apparently for the older Mark II bolts, whereas this Savage has the new "E" series receiver. 

I called Savage Arms and talked to Lori in their customer service department and she stated she would get me a replacement firing pin right out.

I emailed Nate Wilder of The Squirrel Hunting Journal and asked him if he had any problems with the Eley Subsonic 40 grain hollow point ammunition and he said he had misfires too which verifies an ammunition issue versus a gun problem.  I believe he was shooting a CZ rifle at the time. 

UPDATE:  I received the new firing pin in on 12-21-15 and installed it.  I test fired 15 of the Eley Subsonic 40 grain hollow point ammunition without a misfire.  I will test fire additional Eley rounds at a later date. 

Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 12-15-15 and 12-21-15.

CZ 452 AMERICAN LEFT HAND RIFLE PURCHASE

To keep from sawing this Savage Mark II BTVLSS rifle into pieces, I finally broke down and purchased a CZ 452 American .22 caliber LR in left hand from our local gun shop Village Pawn & Gun Shop LLC on 12-17-15 and will start getting it set up after the first of the year.  I will continue to shoot the Savage and see if there is anything I have overlooked as far as increasing its accuracy short of a barrel or stock change which definitely is not feasible.

Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 12-20-15.

NORMA TAC-22 AMMO AT 52 YARDS 01-13-16

While waiting on the CZ 452 American to get back from Accurate Ordnance in Winder, GA to have them thread the barrel for my suppressor, I fired a few rounds this afternoon using the Norma TAC-22 ammo.  This ammo shoots pretty good but you still get a weak or a hot round about every 5 to 10 rounds which is to be expected with this ammo.  I didn't set the chronograph up since with the suppressor, you can easily detect by hearing a weak and a hot round and the bullet placement on the target will verify what you hear.

I experimented with the action bolts starting out at 15 inch pounds of torque and went to 20 and then 22 inch pounds.  I also shot the rifle without and with my auxiliary barrel sleeve which acts like a barrel tuner which is documented on the target fired and posted below.  Like I said before; this is a dang good squirrel rifle and with decent ammo, a squirrel doesn't have a chance at 50 yards and you can easily accomplish a head shot.  The rifle performed much better with the action bolts torqued to 22 inch pounds for both the forward and rear action bolt.

This rifle prefers the Wolf Match Target and SK Standard Plus but don't have any Wolf Match Target that hasn't been hollow pointed by the Neal Waltz resizing die and saving that ammo for my squirrel hunting needs.  Naturally, the Eley Tenex shoots excellent too but a little pricy for my shallow pockets to just get some trigger time in.  Hopefully, the Wolf Match Target will be available soon from venders that don't price gouge you of which those venders can keep the ammo until the lead bullets oxidizes the color of Cumulous clouds as far as I am concerned! 

USING HORNADY GS 1500 RELOADING SCALE

Since I did not segregate the Norma ammo by weight nor did I set the chronograph up to check the muzzle velocity of the rounds fired, I decided to pull a few of the bullets and weight the bullet, powder charge and the case weight separately.  I pulled four rounds and the bullet weight were: 41.3 grains, the powder charge was 1.3 grains and the case weights were 10.1, 10.3, 10.4 and 10.5 grains.  The reloading scale has an accuracy listed as +- .2 grain.  The gross weight of the four bullets were as follows:  52.7, 52.9, 52.9 and 53.0 grains. 

I don't think the Hornady GS 1500 reloading scale is accurate enough to validate a definitive conclusion but it appears that the weight of the rimfire case would have more to do with the variance in the muzzle velocity of the four bullets pulled.  Next bullet pulling time, I will see if I can measure the rimfire case wall thickness and do a rim thickness check to go along with the other components weighed.  Pulling at least 50 rounds would give a more reliable conclusion but time consuming.  Again, quality ammunition is definitely the ticket with all other "ingredients" being equal.

Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 01-13-16.

MODIFICATION WARNING DISCLAIMER

The above information in its entirety is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY from a personal liability standpoint and do not try this at home.  Modifications to firearms and ammunition can cause serious bodily injury and ultimate death.  The above modifications to the Accu-Trigger will certainly void your Savage product warranty and relieve Savage of all liabilities in the event of an accidental discharge brought about by such modification and/or trigger replacement. 

SUMMATION

In SUMMATION, this Savage Mark II BTVLSS is an excellent squirrel rifle but weighting at 9.5 lbs. with a scope, I doubt you would want to enter any ARA 50 yard matches.  Some days it will group like a cat's meow (sub minute of angle at 50 yards) and other days like a gorilla who lost his bananas.  I doubt you would want to enter any ARA 50 yard matches; it would be like entering a Jackass in the Kentucky Derby

One of my close friends made a comment about what I have been doing to this rimfire;  "That will be pretty bad if you can't hit a bull in the butt with a base fiddle with that rifle."  We both grinned and I explained that I had already done some test firing with the rifle and it is now a keeper with all the time I have invested in it, however I would not hesitate to saw it into pieces if it gets where I can't hit a squirrel in the head at 50 yards!  However, I would strip it down and save the suppressor, barrel tuner bushing, scope rail and scope!  Check out Murphy's Law page if you don't believe me.

I would not have purchased a Savage Mark II BTVLSS with what I now know and many of the reports of how great the rifle shoots out of the box on various threads  is not reliable.  Post some of those targets fired with the claimed half inch groups at 100 yards and not fake or falsify the yardage; there is just too much error on the World Wide Web!  Work in a Correctional environment for 30 plus years and you will definitely get my drift!  For the most part, I believe only what can be verified. 

This rimfire rifle is one of the WORST NEW GUNS that I have ever owned as far as accuracy right out of the box!  For those that have purchased this rifle and it shoots like a dream, you probably have one that should be sold as "One of a Thousand" like the ole Winchester 73 movie starring Jimmy Stewart!

After all the modifications, etc., this is a dang good squirrel gun but ain't worth a plug nickel at punching paper.

As I have posted many, many times on this website, "Most of the time, you get what you pay for." 

Leaving on a positive note, this gun has fulfilled my requirements of being able to shoot a squirrel in the head at 50 yards, one shot one kill and I have certainly enjoyed seeing what I can get out of the gun and from the early groups fired, there has been a large improvement in performance with all the modifications done!

Web published updates by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 12-03-15, 12-07-15, 12-12-15, 12-20-15, 12-15-15 and 01-13-16. 

SAVAGE MARK II BTVLSS RETIRED TO THE GUN CASE

After getting all the accuracy from a Savage Mark II BTVLSS which has taken a couple years of trying everything, I finally decided to purchase a CZ 452 American .22 caliber rimfire rifle in a left hand model.  Initially, the CZ 452 American left hand was my first choice but no one could deliver one in a timely manner and went with the Savage Mark II BTVLSS.  The Savage Mark II BTVLSS is a dang good squirrel gun but leaves a lot to be desired for when punching holes in paper.  I did everything to it except pour molten lead or concrete into the void spaces in the factory stock to replace all the missing wood.

From initial testing, it appears the CZ 452 American will constantly out group the Savage Mark II BTVLSS. 

Web published update by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 02-13-16.

LEAVING ON A SPIRITUAL NOTE

Open this link, for Bible verses about God's creation.  It is wonderful to be able to enjoy God's creation and live in a country where we can freely worship him, of which in many countries, those rights and privileges are not allowed and/or guaranteed. 

IN GOD WE TRUST - GOD BLESS AMERICA - "FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE"   JOHN 3:16 KJV 

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