» » Precision Rifle Project Series: Savage 10FP Part 4

Precision Rifle Project Series: Savage 10FP Part 4

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Since refreshing my Savage 10FP in late 2016 with a new barrel and bottom metal, I really have not done any shooting with the rifle or painted the stainless steel barrel. The main reason is because I wanted to change out the entire optics system. For over 10 years, the 10FP in question had an early 2000’s Bushnell 3200 Elite 10x40mm mildot scope sitting in TPS rings on a Ken Farrell 0MOA base.

This was fine for basic 100 and 200 yard shooting, and the occasional 600 yard shooting, and I found that the Bushnell tracked well from 100 to 600, and back to 100.

If you have not read the previous Savage 10FP Precision Rifle Project articles, go back to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Anyway, since I refreshed the rifle with a new cartridge, I decided that I wanted to get a new scope. On Black Friday 2016, I ended up placing an order with Brownells (using a coupon) for a Vortex Optics Razor HD AMG 6-24x50mm EBR-7 MRAD. The scope was listed as a preorder, and I fully expected I would not see the scope for some time.

As time passed, I stopped thinking about it and was surprised to get an email a couple weeks ago from Brownells to confirm my credit card for the preorder, which meant Brownells got the scope in-stock and was ready to ship it to me. The impending scope triggered a purchase for a Badger Ordnance 20MOA base as well as the necessary 30mm rings.

The inbound shipment also triggered the painting of the stainless steel Shilen barrel, and the Northland Shooters Supply stainless steel barrel nut and recoil lug. I taped off the receiver and the crown and went at the barrel with Brownells ALUMA-HYDE II Magpul FDE.

I needed to give the barrel a week or so to cure, and during that time, the scope arrived.

The Vortex Optics Razor HD AMG 6-24×50 EBR-7 MRAD actually comes with the Vortex Optics Defender scope caps instead of the generic bungee scope caps that the Razor HD Gen II comes with (or at least, the ones my Razor HD Gen II came with back in early 2016).

The Razor HD AMG also comes with a new L-Tec tool.

The L-Tec MOD 2 tool has an angled hex driver and eliminates the slotted driver on the opposite end. This is because the L-Tec / Zero stop adjustment on the Razor HD AMG is a hex screw and not a slotted screw.

As far as the notable differences between the Razor HD AMG EBR-7 MRAD and the Razor HD Gen II EBR-2C MRAD, they include (Razor HD AMG vs Razor HD Gen II, respectively):

  • 6-24x vs 4.5-27x magnification range
  • 50mm vs 56mm objective
  • 30mm vs 34mm tube
  • Black vs “Stealth Shadow Black” finish (frankly, I think the Razor HD Gen II looks like a brown/bronze)
  • Lock ring vs diopter (reticle) focus
  • 28.8 vs 48.5 ounce in weight
  • 19 vs 14 MRAD windage adjustment range
  • 27.5 vs 33 MRAD elevation adjustment range
  • Razor HD AMG lacks the elevation revolution indicator found on the Razor HD Gen II)
  • Made in the USA (German reticle) vs Made in Japan

As far as the initial out of the box observations of the Razor HD AMG, I did notice the smaller appearance of the scope.

While the Razor HD AMG is essentially the same length as the Razor HD Gen II (not counting the sunshade), the scope has a smaller appearance due to the 30mm tube and 50mm objective (as opposed to the 34mm tube and 56mm objective of the HD Gen II).

The turrets of the Razor HD AMG also appear to be shorter than the Razor HD Gen II turrets.

Anyway, after a week of cure time, I mounted the Badger Ordnance 20MOA base.

I do not know why I just didn’t put a 20MOA base on the action to begin with. Had I known better in the early 2000’s, I would have went with a 20MOA base instead of the 0MOA base.

After I let the Loctite cure for 24 hours, I installed the Vortex Optics 30mm Precision Matched Rings (literally rebranded Seekins Precision rings) and mounted the scope.

Several weeks back, I acquired some Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass and some Berger Bullets 6.5mm 140gr Match Hybrid Target with the intent of getting some handloads developed for this particular Savage 10FP rifle. Also, I have been buying some H4350 in the past several months when I had the opportunity. Since the new scope gave me impetus to revisit the Savage 10FP project, I developed some test loads using:

  • Hodgdon 4350
  • Berger Bullets 6.5mm 140gr Match Hybrid Target
  • Lapua brass and Prime Ammo brass
  • CCI BR4 small rifle benchrest and CCI BR2 large rifle benchrest

Other than developing a load, the one key issue I needed to confirm was whether or not I would get any primer cratering with the Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass and the small rifle primers.

For those that do not know, there is a nuance with using small rifle primers in higher pressure cartridges for a rifle that was originally built with large rifle primers in mind, specifically a factory mass produced rifle. Often, the gap or clearance between the firing pin and the firing pin hole in the bolt face can be large enough to allow primer flow back into the bolt face. This results in what appears to be cratering. This can be an unsafe condition, especially if you get into higher pressure rounds / loads, and could result in primer piercing.

Factory (unmodified) Savage 10FP bolt face.

When I had a factory Remington 700 action built into a 6mmBR by Doan Trevor several years back, I asked Doan to also install a smaller diameter firing pin assembly and bush the bolt drill out firing pin hole and install a bushing. This essentially eliminates any significant gap between the firing pin and the firing pin channel in the bolt, mitigating the chance for primer flow.

Bushed and Sako Extractor modified Remington 700 bolt on left, factory Remington 700 bolt on right. Both .473″ bolt face.

Note that the cratering issue can crop up when you introduce small rifle primers into the equation due to the fact that there is less surface area of the primer. This smaller surface area means more pressure on the primer itself, which is why a factory gun using large rifle primers usually will not see this issue (for the most part).

I have seen quite a few posts on forums where people who own factory rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor (e.g. Ruger Precision Rifle) discovered the “fancy Lapua brass” they bought shows cratering whereas their Hornady brass does not. Cratering with small rifle primers is what I wanted to confirm or refute as an issue with my rifle before I committed to buying more Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass. If my rifle does have primer flow problems, then I would have to get bolt sent off to a gunsmith.

After making 40 rounds of handloads using the previously listed components with varying charge weights (five each of 40.5, 41.0, 41.5, and 42.0gr, and for each brass type), and getting the scope mounted, I took it out to the West End Gun Club shooting facility.

First and foremost, I was able to confirm that my rifle does not crater small rifle primers, at least up to 42.0gr of H4350 with the Berger Bullets 6.5mm 140gr Hybrid Target. I am quite happy that this is the case, because I did not want to have to send the bolt off to a gunsmith.

Second, I was able to get some valid load data for this rifle.

The loads with Lapua brass had solid standard deviation and extreme spread values.

6.5 Creedmoor - Lapua Brass (Virgin)

Hodgdon 4350, Berger Bullets 6.5mm 140gr Hybrid Target, CCI BR4, Lapua brass (new). Units: Feet Per Second
 40.5gr41.0gr41.5gr42.0gr
Shot 12622265526982742
Shot 22622266427062732
Shot 32628266427072733
Shot 42635266427102736
Shot 52639266526812733
Average2629.22662.42700.42735.2
Standard Deviation7.664.1611.724.09
Extreme Spread17102910

The groups for the Lapua brass handloads were solid as well.

The rough 5-shot group size (edge to edge minus .264″ diameter) for the 40.5gr, 41.0gr, 41.5gr, and 42.0gr loads with Lapua brass were .421″, .640″, .655″, and .468″, respectively.

The handloads with the same exact components, except for Prime brass, were far from stellar. The average velocities were about 20-25fps faster when using Prime brass instead of Lapua brass, with the same powder charge weight. The standard deviation and extreme spread for the Prime brass loads were significantly higher than the respective Lapua load.

6.5 Creedmoor - Prime Brass (Neck Sized)

Hodgdon 4350, Berger Bullets 6.5mm 140gr Hybrid Target, CCI BR2, Prime brass (neck sized). Units: Feet Per Second
 40.5gr41.0gr41.5gr42.0gr
Shot 12633264227032771
Shot 22632267127122735
Shot 32646268427222763
Shot 42667272227232759
Shot 52644269327172755
Average2644.42682.42715.42756.6
Standard Deviation14.1229.358.2013.45
Extreme Spread35802036

The groups for the neck sized Prime brass handloads reflected the subpar chronograph data.

The rough 5-shot group size (edge to edge minus .264″ diameter) for the 40.5gr, 41.0gr, 41.5gr, and 42.0gr loads with neck-sized Prime brass were 1.034″, 1.331″, .978″, and .971″, respectively.

I want to say that I am disappointed with the Prime brass handloads, but I guess I should not be surprised considering the Prime factory ammo did not shoot great in this rifle to begin with.

I may try a different primer with the Prime brass, although the CCI BR4 is about as good as it gets. I will also have to try reloading with Hornady factory brass to see how well it compares to Lapua and Prime brass in terms of ballistic data and groups.

Anyway, my Savage 10FP rifle ‘refresh’ project has progressed since November 2016 with the complete swap out of the optics system, rotating out the pre-existing Ken Farrell 0MOA base, TPS 1″ rings, and Bushnell 3200 Elite 10×40 mildot scope with a Badger Ordnance 20MOA base, Vortex Optics 30mm Precision Matched Rings, and the highly coveted Vortex Optics Razor HD AMG 6-24x50mm EBR-7 MRAD.

 

The current build specification for my circa-2003 Savage 10FP is now:

  • Savage 10FP (4.275″ action screw spacing)
  • Shilen 24″ 1:8″ twist 6.5mm Creedmoor barrel
  • Sharp Shooter Supply bolt handle
  • Northland Shooters Supply recoil lug
  • Northland Shooters Supply barrel nut
  • CDI Precision Gunworks DBM Bottom Metal
  • McMillan A-5 stock
  • Badger Ordnance 20MOA base
  • Vortex Optics Precision Matched Rings 30mm .97″ height
  • Vortex Optics Razor HD AMG 6-24x50mm EBR-7 MRAD
  • Harris Bipod S-BRM with KMW Pod-Loc
  • US Optics Swivel Bubble Level
  • Barrel, Recoil Lug, Barrel Nut, Bolt Handle, and Stock painted with Brownells ALUMA-HYDE II in Magpul FDE

Total Round Count as of 2017-05-28: 253

As far as a review of the Vortex Optics Razor HD AMG 6-24x50mm EBR-7 MRAD, I probably won’t write one, but I will probably write an article comparing the features of the Razor HD AMG to the Razor Gen II 4.5-27x56mm EBR-2C MRAD.

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