This post is directed at shooters who either own a Savage 110 BA 338 Lapua bolt rifle, or have easy access to one.
I am researching precision bolt rifles in .308 and .338 Lapua , and the 110 BA is the cost effective lowest priced .338 out there. It is also locally available, whereas others like the Sako TRG models and Accuracy International models are not, so I have been able to actually handle a 110 BA and measure key dimensions on it.
The measuring and handling raised some questions, the answers to which are somewhat important to me because of my circumstances and the rifle's long OAL and weight:
1. It appears that the entire Magpul rear stock assembly is mounted to the Savage using a proprietary method, not the standard stock-over- buffer tube method. But, it also appears that there is ONE allen head bolt that goes through the rear of the receiver, which if unscrewed, would enable easy and rapid removal of the entire stock assembly including the proprietary rectangular tube mount. This would leave the rifle intact from muzzle brake to rear of receiver, but shorten its OAL to 39.75" for transport or storage. Does the removal of that allen bolt actually do this, or is there more holding that stock assembly on?
It's not that allen bolt. On the right-hand side of the stock, just above the REAR edge of the grip/palm rest, is an oblong metal plate with two allen screws that go into a similar plate on the left-hand side. This is where the buttstock separates. I'm using an ARKTIS drag bag and even with the buttstock extended for LOP it still fits.
2. The muzzle brake does not appear to be pinned. I assume it IS locktighted. Can it be unscrewed to shorten the rifle further or to allow installation of a suppressor?
If you can get a thread protector, and carry a strap wrench, you can take it off and put it back on all day to your heart's content. I'm considering a suppressor (AAC Titan-Ti in .338) for my gun. My ears ring enough as it is (too much time spent in Blackhawks, riding motorcycles and using poor hearing protection elsewhere.
3. The trigger seems fabulous. Is it as good in actual use as it appears to me to be?
Yes. It's amazing. NO creep. Breaks like glass. About 1mm overtravel set at 1.5 lbs it breaks at 1.5 lbs every time. I like it.
4. It appears that the plate to which the Harris bipod mount is attached is itself easily removable - it appears to be bolted onto a flat surface on the bottom of the alloy for end, and looks like it can simply be unbolted. Once unbolted, a simply short Picatinny rail could be bolted on instead, and my Atlas bipod, which is already equipped to simply clasp onto a Picatinny rail, could be mounted. Am I seeing this correctly?
Yes. That plate is held in place with two countersunk allen screws which go THROUGH the metal and are held down with nylock style nuts inside . You could drill and tap the fore end any place you need to get your rail in place.
5. The chamber seems incredibly difficult to access for cleaning, because of the length of the chamber and its "depth" inside the alloy upper, due to the long OAL of the 338 Lapua cartridge. How in heck do you get in there to clean it effectively?
? I use a chamber-sized brush (something I had on hand, I think from a .308 AR10 cleaning kit) on the end of a shorter cleaning rod I had on hand.
6. What do you use as a bore guide when running a cleaning rod from the receiver butt all the way through that loooooong rear housing and loooong chamber, to finally hit the barrel throat???
Dewey Adjustable bore saver rod guide with solvent port .338-.358 model # ABS-4 fits a little loosely but will keep crud out of your action. You'll need a LONG (44" at least) rod. I just run a rod through the gun with the magazine removed and hose it and any dripping off with gun scrubber. The finish is nearly indestructible.
7. What is the finish used on the rifle?
Unobtanium? I have no idea. The scope rail is anodized, otherwise something proprietary.
8. The Savage / Accuracy International magazine used will apparently accommodate a COAL much greeter than the 3.68" "standard". How long a COAL will it handle without issues?
The magazine is stamped "ACCURATE MAG .338 LM (3.850)" and I've put cartridges measuring 3.851 in it with no problem. If you dig around this board some you'll find other answers to this question as it was beaten like a cheap mule several times over.
9. Can you readily attach a rear monopod to the stock?
Why would you want to use a monopod? Bean Bag. Sand bag. That's been drilled in to me by several other shooters/trainers, lately by Ed Shell at Central Virginia Tactical has been helping me with my technique (thanks, Ed). I had a monopod on ONE gun about five years ago and sold it about four years ago and haven't looked back. Bags are cheap.
I'd greatly appreciate if one of you who has a Savage 110BA, or access to one, could answer all or some of the above questions!
I've only got about 60 rounds down the pipe so far, pretty much decided on VV 570 powder at 95 to 95.5 grains with a 300 grain SMK during OCW testing, Retumbo is next on the list with 95 grains. Both loads gave me velocities at/around 2790 fps, the VV570 variation was within 2 fps (Retumbo was higher, around 8-11 fps variation), best groups at or under an inch at 300 yards. Yeah. about 0.3 MOA. Dig it. And it was cold, and I was futzing around with an oversized rear bag I'm not used to and the dog ate my homework and billy pushed me off the slide...
You are going to LOVE this gun. I sold a bunch of shit and bought a Schmidt-Bender PM2 5-25 MRAD scope with a Gen 2 XR reticle so I could get the elevation needed for well beyond 2000 yards. I only need 15.5 mils to get on target at 2000 yds with the current load if JBM is close to real world (which it usually is).
Depending on what you're shooting and where, others will argue that the 300 Win Mag will do the job. PAST 2000 yards, the higher BC of the .338 seems superior.
Get what you feel good about. You will burn some powder.
Thanks for the workout and review.