Stuck bolt

Matches3215

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OK first post here. I did a quick search and wasn't quite satisfied with what I found. Here's the info:

Gun: Savage 10 fcp-sr
Ammo in question: factory Nosler match CC 168 grain

I went to the range yesterday and shot fiocchi all day with no problems. Decided to start using the Nosler. After discharging the first round, I noticed lifting the bolt was a little difficult. It had some resistance. Then opening the bolt to eject the casing took some work too. Got it out after about 30 seconds of messing with it and load the next Nosler round. I discharge this one and the bolt still lifts with resistance but won't open. I didn't get it open until I got home. I had to rest the butt of the gun on the ground (barrel pointed up) and hit the bolt downward a couple times for it to bust free.

Peeled in the chamber and the casing is still in there. So a couple of rams with the cleaning rod down the barrel and it busts free too. It took alot of force to get it out.

I've read that the bolt not opening is a symptom of ammo that's too hot but would I also experience difficulty in lifting the bolt too? Should I have the rifle inspected by a gunsmith? I noticed the casing was damaged from the ejector ripping the rim.
 

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Drstrangelove

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Did the unfired Nosler 168 chamber easily or with resistance? A stuck bolt is the sure sign of excessive chamber pressure. This could have come from the bullet engaging the threads on locking the bolt, insufficient headspacing of brass rim or shoulders, or wrong amount or type of powder. I would take some careful caliper measurements of the factory fired brass as well as new cartridges; also compare to the Fiocchi fired and unfired, as well as to standard specs in a reloading manual. If the Nosler is off spec on COAL, shoulder/neck length I would not be surprised. That brass looks asymmetricly charwelded, making me think poor seal and or wrong powder. I would certainly contact Nosler. You are lucky savage actions are strong, however their QC can leave something to be desired. If the fired brass is way over or under expected spec in both the Fiocchi and Nosler empties, it would be safe to be concerned your chamber is cut improperly.
 
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Long Range 338

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If you are shooting different bullets its often recommended to clean your barrel before shooting a different bullet. I would suspect this is your issue but you would be well advised to try to check the ammo to verify it is built to spec. I wouldn't think 308 ammo would be tough to build in this day and age but stuff happens sometimes.
 
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Matches3215

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Did the unfired Nosler 168 chamber easily or with resistance? A stuck bolt is the sure sign of excessive chamber pressure. This could have come from the bullet engaging the threads on locking the bolt, insufficient headspacing of brass rim or shoulders, or wrong amount or type of powder. I would take some careful caliper measurements of the factory fired brass as well as new cartridges; also compare to the Fiocchi fired and unfired, as well as to standard specs in a reloading manual. If the Nosler is off spec on COAL, shoulder/neck length I would not be surprised. That brass looks asymmetricly charwelded, making me think poor seal and or wrong powder. I would certainly contact Nosler. You are lucky savage actions are strong, however their QC can leave something to be desired. If the fired brass is way over or under expected spec in both the Fiocchi and Nosler empties, it would be safe to be concerned your chamber is cut improperly.
The unfired Nosler, to my recollection, chambered easily.

Unfortunately I did not save any of the fiocchi spent casings. Also, my micrometer is at a buddy's house so I'll have to get over there sometime to measure these casings.

I agree with the asymmetrical charwelding observation.

I doubt that my savages chamber is cut incorrectly as I've already discharged at least 200 rounds through it with no problem. Again, I'm still new to this so if I'm missing something feel free to correct me.

I'm currently putting in various spent Nosler casings (same type of ammo, 168 gr. match grade) and the bolt is getting stuck every time and it takes some hammering to open it. Lifting and closing it provides no resistance however. I would think this points to some sort of damage to the gun because ejecting these casings did not require hammering the bolt open before.
Thanks for your reply.
 

Matches3215

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If you are shooting different bullets its often recommended to clean your barrel before shooting a different bullet. I would suspect this is your issue but you would be well advised to try to check the ammo to verify it is built to spec. I wouldn't think 308 ammo would be tough to build in this day and age but stuff happens sometimes.
I will certainly be measuring these casings for variance.
 

Drstrangelove

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The unfired Nosler, to my recollection, chambered easily.

Unfortunately I did not save any of the fiocchi spent casings. Also, my micrometer is at a buddy's house so I'll have to get over there sometime to measure these casings.

I agree with the asymmetrical charwelding observation.

I doubt that my savages chamber is cut incorrectly as I've already discharged at least 200 rounds through it with no problem. Again, I'm still new to this so if I'm missing something feel free to correct me.

I'm currently putting in various spent Nosler casings (same type of ammo, 168 gr. match grade) and the bolt is getting stuck every time and it takes some hammering to open it. Lifting and closing it provides no resistance however. I would think this points to some sort of damage to the gun because ejecting these casings did not require hammering the bolt open before.
Thanks for your reply.
I think the case neck is getting stuck in the barrel... sounds like the brass was not trimmed correctly. Take a black sharpie and color up an entire Nosler cartridge, primer to bullet tip. Do same to a fired brass. Insert them into chamber and close bolt. Fight bolt open and post pic. Dollars to donuts that spent neck will be scraped clean.
 

Matches3215

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I think the case neck is getting stuck in the barrel... sounds like the brass was not trimmed correctly. Take a black sharpie and color up an entire Nosler cartridge, primer to bullet tip. Insert into chamber and close bolt. Fight bolt open and post pic. Dollars to donuts that neck will be scraped clean.
I suspect the same. Standby for pics of test.
 

Drstrangelove

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There is a dent in the case right behind the shoulder. This could certainly lock the brass in place. You need to have a gunsmith take a careful look at your chamber for a protruding machining bur.

Last request... color up a Nosler Cartridge’s bullet and see if the rifling leaves marks.
 
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Drstrangelove

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If bullet show no marks, put the empty back in one more time with the shoulder blacked out a 1/2” back along case wall. Excess shoulder length will rub clean.
 

Matches3215

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There is a dent in the case right behind the shoulder. This could certainly lock the brass in place. You need to have a gunsmith take a careful look at your chamber for a protruding machining bur.

Last request... color up a Nosler Cartridge’s bullet and see if the rifling leaves marks.

I'm a little nervous about chambering a live round. I really appreciate your input and insight. It was definitely more than I had considered or thought of. I think I'll just call up a gunsmith tomorrow and ask them to check it out.

One more question: what's a ballpark figure for cost of having a gunsmith inspect the rifle?

I'll report on what the gunsmith finds to keep everyone updated.
 
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Long Range 338

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Repeatedly chambering your spent brass is not going to help you. You should chamber resized brass or pull a bullet and chamber that piece. There is a reason for your high pressure. If you do not understand enough to check the chamber yourself, you should consult a knowledgeable individual. You could bump this thread in the morning but you are just chasing your tail at this point.
 

Matches3215

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Repeatedly chambering your spent brass is not going to help you. You should chamber resized brass or pull a bullet and chamber that piece. There is a reason for your high pressure. If you do not understand enough to check the chamber yourself, you should consult a knowledgeable individual. You could bump this thread in the morning but you are just chasing your tail at this point.
Agreed. I don't know enough to move this any further. I'll be calling up a gunsmith tomorrow, set up a time to drop it off and figure it all out.
 
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Matches3215

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This happened right as I was repeatedly pounding a gong at about 300m which is the furthest I've shot. 😔 I was really enjoying the ringing.
 
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spife7980

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I'm a little nervous about chambering a live round.
Why? Put the safety on and dont look down the barrel while you do it.

If it resists obviously dont force it. If it doesnt resist then you know that it was fine going in. If its fine going in and its only tough after you pull the trigger then Im going to guess that the ammo is too hot. Get your micrometers back from your body and measure to compare.
 

Clocked92

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I did some load work for a buddies Savage 110 a few months ago. What you're experiencing sounds similar to my experience. I had a gunsmith inspect the fired and unfired rounds and borescope the chamber. The chamber was fine, no machining burrs, no concentric issues. So we stuck a go and no-go gauge in the gun. The bolt didn't close on the no-go... Which is correct. However, the bolt was very tight to close on the go gauge.... not correct. So we determined that the headspace on the gun was just set really tight so any loads had to be down loaded or else it would hit pressure really early.
 

Matches3215

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Shop says it'll be a few weeks before they can get to it since they are backed up. I was told on the phone there is a minimum $45 service charge. I'm really worried about what they'll find, what it will cost to fix, or worse, that the rifle is toast and I'll have to buy a new one. Like I said before I'm new to this so I don't know what kind of damage is possible.

On the bright side the guy behind the counter was inspecting my rifle and then told me I have a nice rig. 😁 Felt good considering the source.
 

nn8734

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Shop says it'll be a few weeks before they can get to it since they are backed up. I was told on the phone there is a minimum $45 service charge. I'm really worried about what they'll find, what it will cost to fix, or worse, that the rifle is toast and I'll have to buy a new one. Like I said before I'm new to this so I don't know what kind of damage is possible.

On the bright side the guy behind the counter was inspecting my rifle and then told me I have a nice rig. 😁 Felt good considering the source.
Is/was your rifle having issues with other ammo or just the Nosler shit?
 

hafejd30

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I’d have tried different ammo like hornady etc. I also would send to savage. If your having an issue they would probably take care of you at little to no cost
 
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MK20

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First of all, don’t trust most gunsmiths too much. Always verify for yourself if you can.

Also, this doesn’t sound like an issue that will permanently dead line your rifle. Just gotta work the gremlins out. Don’t worry. You are in good hands here.
 
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101stinfantry

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I was at a class with a guy running that same ammo in a gas gun, can't remember what kind now, but it would pop primers out. Switched to FGMM, and the problem went away. So it may be the ammo, and not the gun.
 
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nn8734

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I was at a class with a guy running that same ammo in a gas gun, can't remember what kind now, but it would pop primers out. Switched to FGMM, and the problem went away. So it may be the ammo, and not the gun.
That what I think also. I hate that fucking Nosler ammo. Turns my half minute rifles into shot guns. Shot 5 rounds in my A5 about a month ago and quit. Grouped over 2” at 100 (this is a rifle that groups 2.5” or so at 500 with AB39 or AA11 when I’m on my game). Those 5 pieces of brass all had extractor marks and a couple had sticky bolt lifts.

The Nosler bullets themselves are decent so took the rest of the box home, pulled the bullets, put them and the brass in a small box and largely forgot about them until now lol.
 

Matches3215

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Is/was your rifle having issues with other ammo or just the Nosler shit?
I think what happened was the bolt got a little stuck on the last round of Fiocchi that I shot. I got it opened pretty quick. But after discharging the Nosler it was just stuck closed. So I'm not quite sure which ammo to blame. The one that the bolt started to stick with or the one that the bolt definitely got stuck closed with. I will never switch ammo mid-day again though.
 

Matches3215

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I’d have tried different ammo like hornady etc. I also would send to savage. If your having an issue they would probably take care of you at little to no cost
I'll consider contacting them if I have another problem like this again.
 

Matches3215

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Thanks all for your replies and respect. All these responses have good info and input. Seems like a great community here.
 

Matches3215

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That what I think also. I hate that fucking Nosler ammo. Turns my half minute rifles into shot guns. Shot 5 rounds in my A5 about a month ago and quit. Grouped over 2” at 100 (this is a rifle that groups 2.5” or so at 500 with AB39 or AA11 when I’m on my game). Those 5 pieces of brass all had extractor marks and a couple had sticky bolt lifts.

The Nosler bullets themselves are decent so took the rest of the box home, pulled the bullets, put them and the brass in a small box and largely forgot about them until now lol.
I may start buying hornady or Federal from now on. I've been slowly stocking up on this Nosler and now have maybe 5 full boxes of this stuff now. 😕
 

nn8734

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I think what happened was the bolt got a little stuck on the last round of Fiocchi that I shot. I got it opened pretty quick. But after discharging the Nosler it was just stuck closed. So I'm not quite sure which ammo to blame. The one that the bolt started to stick with or the one that the bolt definitely got stuck closed with. I will never switch ammo mid-day again though.
I’d clean your barrel with good solvent/bore brush and run patches until they come out clean. Then clean and carefully inspect your chamber for any anomalies (it’s prob fine; your brass neck pic with the sharpie doesn’t indicate presence of anything obvious)...pick up a box of Federal Gold Medal Match 175 or 168. Shoot a couple rounds of Gold Medal and see what happens. Gold Medal uses very mild charge weights and shouldn’t produce any over pressure in a healthy bolt gun, esp if it’s unsupprrssed. If no functional issue either with extraction or signs of pressure and it groups as it should, I’d conclude it was an ammo problem.
 
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Matches3215

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I’d clean your barrel with good solvent/bore brush and run patches until they come out clean. Then clean and carefully inspect your chamber for any anomalies (it’s prob fine; your brass neck pic with the sharpie doesn’t indicate presence of anything obvious)...pick up a box of Federal Gold Medal Match 175 or 168. Shoot a couple rounds of Gold Medal and see what happens. Gold Medal uses very mild charge weights and shouldn’t produce any over pressure in a healthy bolt gun, esp if it’s unsupprrssed. If no functional issue either with extraction or signs of pressure and it groups as it should, I’d conclude it was an ammo problem.
Good advice. I wish I'd tried this before I dropped the gun off at the gunsmith.
 

Matches3215

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Well I finally picked up the rifle. They were backed up so it took awhile. Guy said they cleaned the chamber and deburred it. So it could've been that I suck at cleaning the chamber or there was some burr that eventually caused the casing to get stuck.
 

Feo3086.5

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My Ruger Predator in 308 was having the same problem, I sent it to Ruger and they replaced the barrel at no charge. I told them the rifle was bought used on GunBroker, and they said as long as there name was on it they would fix it. I shot 10 rounds through it, and so far no issues. Shooting it again tomorrow.
I hoe your behaves properly since you got it back.
 
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clcustom1911

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Well I finally picked up the rifle. They were backed up so it took awhile. Guy said they cleaned the chamber and deburred it. So it could've been that I suck at cleaning the chamber or there was some burr that eventually caused the casing to get stuck.
Or, the Nosler ammo is too hot because it's a bad lot.

I've had factory ammo that locked the bolt up. You know what I did? Stopped shooting that ammo, notified the manufacturer, and took it back to where I bought it from.
 

hafejd30

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Well I finally picked up the rifle. They were backed up so it took awhile. Guy said they cleaned the chamber and deburred it. So it could've been that I suck at cleaning the chamber or there was some burr that eventually caused the casing to get stuck.
What it cost to have it looked at?
 

Matches3215

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Or, the Nosler ammo is too hot because it's a bad lot.

I've had factory ammo that locked the bolt up. You know what I did? Stopped shooting that ammo, notified the manufacturer, and took it back to where I bought it from.
There was no indication of case expanding or anything hinting that the round was too hot, other than it being stuck.
 

clcustom1911

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There was no indication of case expanding or anything hinting that the round was too hot, other than it being stuck.
The case didn't expand at all and there was no hinting of being hot?

I assume you measured the case head, neck diameter, shoulder, and length at the datum on the unfired and fired brass to confirm this lack of expansion?

Pro tip and spoiler: all cases expand when fired to some degree or another in order to seal the chamber to direct all the expanding hot gasses out behind the bullet, they spring back slightly as well... hence why the cases need to be resized to some degree when reloading them.

Here are some points and info to consider since my coffee has kicked in:

I see on your brass you chambered the one casing that got stuck and pulled the trigger due to the primer deformation. I'd be willing to bet that primer was very flat before you did that and there could have been some primer flow/cratering... flat primer and cratering is an indicator of either being close to high pressure or being in the high pressure area depending on the brand of primer. Flat primers can happen from another thing too: the headspace may be on the maximum SAAMI tolerance and your casing is likely a hair smaller than the minimum headspace tolerance so it will chamber in any rifle. During the nanoseconds the pressure is increasing in the chamber, the shoulder seals the chamber and locks everything in place, the pressure continues to build and it has to go somewhere... everywhere. Pressure pushes the bullet out and expands the case in all directions, including back toward the bolt face. If the headspace is on the SAAMI maximum pressure can push out the primer out a hair, it mushrooms, and then the case head gets pushed back to the bolt face which flattens the primer. More on that later.....

Notice on the shoulder of your one stuck case, where the side of the case angles sharply toward the case neck?

Right here in the green circled area...

Screenshot_20200316-064146_Chrome.jpg

Compare that to an unfired nosler brand of ammo. I'm willing to say the fired brass has a much sharper junction and extra tool marks that were embossed onto the casing from the chamber due to the pressure. Based on my experience, a cartridge usually takes 2-3 firings to get to that amount of "fireforming" to the chamber... yours happened on the first firing which could be an indicator of higher pressure which could have contributed to your stuck bolt.

On the case just above the rim you see there is a faint, cloudy ring that goes all around the base of the case in that area?

Right here....

Screenshot_20200316-064823_Chrome.jpg

One of two things, either the chamber is a non-custom savage chamber, not a polished custom chamber or...

During the nanoseconds the pressure is increasing in the chamber, the shoulder seals the chamber and locks everything in place, the pressure continues to build and it has to go somewhere... everywhere. Pressure pushes the bullet out and expands the case in all directions, including back toward the bolt face. If the headspace is on the SAAMI maximum and your ammo is smaller than SAAMI minimum so it chambers in all rifles... your brass is going to expand to fit your chamber. Lots of areas are designed to expand and contract. The area of the brass where the case head and where the arrows are in the picture.... not really happy with expanding.... and an indicator of either high pressure or the mismatch size issue.

Get a flashlight and look inside the fired case, waaaaay down in there, you may see what looks like a depressed ring on the inside at the same position as that cloudy area on the outside of the brass.

Kinda like this. These are when I resized some brass waaaaay too much because I was stupid:

Screenshot_20200316-071136_Photos.jpg

That ring is the beginning of case head separation.

Thats it for now. There's more, but I'm hungry. I understand you're new to this whole thing and thats all good. You're rifle was probably fine and whoever you took it to made some money for doing essentially nothing.

Some things to consider are:

"Deburring" did they say how? Where was the burr? Did they find it with a borescope of some kind? Did they put a reamer through your action from the back and into the chamber to get this burr? Or did they take the barrel off? For $58 I dont think they did another than clean it.

Take care and be safe.
 

hengehold

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If you are shooting different bullets its often recommended to clean your barrel before shooting a different bullet. I would suspect this is your issue but you would be well advised to try to check the ammo to verify it is built to spec. I wouldn't think 308 ammo would be tough to build in this day and age but stuff happens sometimes.
Cleaning between bullet types has absolutely nothing to do with it.

sticky bolt lift is a huge red flag that indicates excessive chamber pressure.

1. I would stop using that ammo immediately.
2. have a gunsmith take a look at the rifle or call a Savage if it is a factory barrel. If it is a factory barrel it is their problem to solve, not yours.

-TH
 
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Long Range 338

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Cleaning between bullet types has absolutely nothing to do with it.

sticky bolt lift is a huge red flag that indicates excessive chamber pressure.

1. I would stop using that ammo immediately.
2. have a gunsmith take a look at the rifle or call a Savage if it is a factory barrel. If it is a factory barrel it is their problem to solve, not yours.

-TH
OP spends a whole day shooting Fiocchi with no issues, only has issues with Nosler ammo. At what point did it become a defective gun? Also of note, OP took the rifle to a gunsmith to have it checked out.