“DIABLO” Budget Build
Project: Budget Varmint/Sniper build.
Subject: Savage 110
Challenge: Keep the project under $600.00 without scope of course.
Needs: Savage Action LA (long action), varmint/heavy/bull Barrel, stock, scope mount, bi-pod, and a sling/carrying strap.
A majority of the parts listed here can be sourced at www.tacticalworks.com
I thought I would start the build with a used Choate stock that I purchased for $35.00. Retail on the Choate Sniper Stock is $190.00 so we got a pretty good deal on this one. I have determined that this stock is for a Savage 110 LA which is good. Could be better but still good.
$565.00 left in the budget.
The difference between the long action and short action is determined by measuring the distance between the two receiver screws. The distance on this stock is 5.062 vs. the short action of 4.275. Disclaimer: There are 3 generations of the short action so if you have a short action make sure you know which generation of the short action you have before ordering a stock.
I am starting this build a little backwards. Most people start a build with a rifle they already own and add upgrades to that rifle . I’m starting with the stock simply because I knew it was Savage and I want to build a Savage. I want to build a Savage because I am impressed with the accuracy out of the box and because I should be able to find one for around $250.00. Per a post on the Savage Shooters forum, a decent Savage can be easily found in local gun/pawn shops for no more than $300.00.
Good news! When disassembling the Choate stock I found $3.00 in quarters rolled in duct tape. The PO put the quarter rolls under the recoil pad I’m guessing for either added weight or for a very rainy day.
Budget back up to $568.00. After the unexpected gift of $3.00 I started daydreaming…. How nice would it had been if the PO had used gold coins instead of quarters… Heck, gold weighs a lot more than quarters! Unfortunately the added weight consists of run of the mill 1978 to 1999 quarters. Never look a gift horse in the mouth I guess.
I am now considering the round that I would like to shoot. I have always liked the 30.06 and the .308. I prefer the .308 since I have a few rifles that shoot .308 already. This will help me keep my ammo and reloading supplies/costs down however it looks as if the .308 command a premium.
Last night was spent scouring websites for a Savage 110’s for sale and more information. I found a great buy f $149.00 “buy-now” however someone has run the bid up to $190.00. Missed this one by a few days it looks like.
I don’t feel as if the prices of bolt action rifles will skyrocket if our new administration makes any changes to current policy so I am going to take my time finding the Savage 110 action.
I did find a few helpful sites/forums. I love Sniper’s Hide and have been a member there for a few weeks. Savage Shooters is another helpful forum however to access the classifieds you must be a paid member. At $12.00 a year it might prove to be well worth the price.
Today I’ll spend my lunch hour at a few shops and places of pawn to better understand my options and why not its my birthday. I would prefer to buy local simply because it will reduce our price since I won’t have to pay shipping and/or a transfer fee of $25.00.
So its been a few weeks and here are the results of my Savage hunting.
Gunbrokers everything is simply too expensive after you build in shipping and a transfer fee.
Locally I was able to find a few good deals but they are a little on the high side. 7mm Savage 110 $250 good shape, 30.06 Savage 110 with BuckMaster Scope $375. I found about 6 total at the Pawn shops but all of them were just too expensive and would break the budget.
I started searching the forums and that is where I decided I would find what I need at a decent price. After searching for while I decided to post a few WTB (Want to buy) posts. I posted WTB at AR15 forum and Savage Shooters. I started finding a few possibilities. One was Action only for an .06 for $200 obo. I offered $150.00 shipped and was told to hit the road. The man had already had 3 offers for $175.00.
I received an email from a guy from the AR15 forum asking if I was still looking for a 110 action. I replied saying yes. He had a 110 long action 30.06 with a sporter conture barrel and a new bolt. Only issue, the safety needs to be replaced. After some negotiation we arrived at a sale price $200 shipped to my FFL. The seller mentioned that he should have the safety and will do his best to find it and ship it with the action.
Here are the pictures from the seller. Nice guy!
So only after a few weeks I’ve been able to find a good deal on a stock and what I think is a good deal on the action. The goal will be to resell the sporter barrel for around $50.00 once I get it. If the scope rings and base come with the action I will resell them as well.
Quick buget check:
Choate ultimate sniper stock $35.00
Quarters found in stock -$3.00
Action and Barrel $200.00
Transfer fee/MO/Stamp $16.50 (including stamp)
Total $248.50. $351.50 still in the budget for scope base (tactical), barrel, paint/duracoat, & tools.
As I eagerly await the arrival of the new purchase, my mind is now drifting to what size and conture the barrel should be. I’ll need to place the order soon considering it takes around 4-months for the barrel to be built and shipped. I’ve decided to go with a “drop in” barrel. Drop in barrels are sized and threadded to be mated with a the Savage receiver. The installtion should be as easy as removing the old barrel and installing the new barrel. I know, I know, there is a lot more to it than that however it seems like the right direction to go for ease of use/installtion and price.
I want to build a tactical sniper rifle which leads me to favor the shorter barrels however I do want a rifle that will be accurate at a long distance. My original thought was a 20″ varmint conture. I’m now thinking I might be okay with a 22″ varmint conture. What do you think?
Awaiting the arrival of my new Savage 110, I started thinking about the finished project. In doing so, I started to comb over the Choate stock and wonder what color would be best. My thoughts are primer gray, green, or black. I’m thinking to keep it easy I’ll just go with black but the jury is out. While
I was inspecting the stock I realized the the receiver screws and were missing and the rail screw was stripped. I had seen a new rail on the Savage Shooters site for $15 that would solve this issue however at this point, I don’t want to spend any of the budget on things that are not absoultly necessary so I started scouring the web for new screws.
I went to Choate’s website hoping to find the screws there at a reasonable price however the screws were not on the site. Bummer. A few days past and I thought I would give them a call.
I called and was promptly answered by a very cheerful woman named Phylis. I explained my predicament to Phylis she simply said “You know we have a lifetime warranty on our stocks” I replied, “That is great to know but my stock is fine” she then happily said ‘Honey we’ll take care of you.” She asked for my shipping information and a week later a sweet little package arrived at my office. In side that sweet little box was two receiver screws and the rail tightening screw. FREE! Wow, great customer service and free replacement parts. How wonderful!!
Thank you Choate and special thanks to Phylis! Check out thier web site, they have great products and are great people. To visit them head over to: www.choatestocks.com to check out the stock for this project. Its the Ultimate Sniper Stock.
I’m told that the Savage should arrive at my FFL’s tomorrow. Can’t wait to see it. Stay tuned.
Bolt issues. When I bought the action I knew there would be a little work to get everything together. The PO said that I would need to grind down the fin on the bolt so that it will work with the older savage.
I was a little unsure about taking a grinder to the bolt without finding out exactly why the bolt wouldn’t just slid into the action. Back to savage shooters forum. Hoping I would make short order out of the question I started a new post. After a few days the responses started rolling in. A few of the responses said just grind the fin and it will work great. Other responses said that newer bolts sometimes work and sometimes don’t work in the older actions. I decided to chat with my gun smith and FFL. Frank said that as long as we check the head-space we should be fine. As a final precaution I contacted the PO and asked him why he bought this specific bolt for this specific action. He said that he contacted Sharp Shooter Supply and they told him to order this bolt as a replacement and just trim off the fin. I decided that I had done my due diligence and it was sage to remove the fin from the bolt. I put a grinding wheel on the Dewalt grinder and slowly removed the fin. Once the fin removed the bolt slid right in to the action. So far so good. At this time I am not positive if this is the correct fix and plan to have the rifle gone through by a gun smith before firing a live round. I am not suggesting this is a fix and do not suggest you do the same. If you have a similar problem contact a qualified gun smith. Do not take chances with your life. Believe me I will not fire this rifle until I am sure it is safe. Secondly, if my gun smith cannot test fire the rifle I will test fire the rifle from a distance in a secure gun stand with a string tied to the trigger. Safety first!
Its been a while since I have updated this page for a few reasons. The primary reason is because I ran into issues with the Choate Ultimate Sniper Stock. I’m starting to wonder if the PO had the same issues therefore sold the stock for only $35.00. The issue is that the action seems to sit in the stock way too high.
As you can see from the picture the safety tang is sitting about 1/4+ out of the stock. Also take notice of the last 3 digits of the serial number. 666….This project now has a name “DIABLO”!
I started looking around for a fix for the stock and thought I would start another post at Savageshooters forum and ask if anyone had run into this issue or if I had a bad stock.
I received a response from one of the members and he stated that he loves the Ultimate Varmint stock but the safety does sit a little out of the stock. I responded to him with the above pictures. He replied, “That doesn’t look right at all”.
Left with a feeling of wasting $35.00 and a lot of time I started searching the web for a new stock. All of the options that I liked were starting at around $200 going up to $600. We’ll that blows the budget subsequently kills this project.
As I was checking my email that night I noticed that I received a 2nd response to my post on Savageshooters. It was the same member suggesting that I contact Choate directly regarding the issue.
I shot an email to the address that they have on their website and included pictures. Two days later there was a personal email from Fred Choate. Fred replied..”Send it in, we’ll take a look at it”.
After finding a ski box to accommodate the stock, I promptly shipped the stock back to Choate. The total cost for shipping and the box was $25.00. We’ll need to deduct that from the budget. Quick Budget check
I hadn’t received any confirmation from Choate so I made a phone call to Choate on the 9th on April. As usual a very nice woman answered the telephone. I inquired about the stock and if they had received it yet. She nicely said she would look into it for me if I would kindly wait a few minutes. She then set the phone down, I could hear her chatting with a few other woman, she picked up the phone and said, “Sir, we sent our your new stock yesterday. You should have it very soon”. I went on to thank her profusely and said goodbye.
Possible change in plans?….. But first a quick budget check up. So, a few weeks back I went to the Denver gun show to search for needed parts.
- Choate Ultimate Sniper Stock -$35.00
- Quarters in recoil pad $3.00
- Savage 110E -$200.00
- Postage, Money Order, Stamp -$16.50
- Shipping to Choate- $25.00
The parts I believe I need to finish the build at this point are: barrel, recoil lug, scope base, bipod, and a sling. I also need to buy or find the following tools: barrel nut wrench, head space gauges, barrel vice.
Back to the gun show. As I walked the isles of the show I found very little in regards to bolt action parts. There were a lot of hand guns and plenty of over priced ammo, AKs and ARs but to my disappointment not much for “Diablo” unfortunately.
Toward the end of the show I happened to see a large barrel and what looked like a Savage action. I stopped and looked and was a little confused. It was a Savage Short Action with a Remington bull barrel. I asked the seller what I was looking at and he went on to tell me a story. Per the seller the PO took the Savage to a gun smith and had the Remington barrel turned and threaded for the Savage action. The barrel was brand new and not a single round had been down the tube. When I asked why the seller went on to explain the the PO tried to do a home trigger job and could not get the trigger to behave properly. After looking at the rifle the seller told the PO that the only way he would be better off selling he parts and buying a new gun. The other option was to pay the seller to order a new trigger/FCG (fire control group) and pay the seller to put the rifle back together. The PO dedcide he would be money ahead and traded the Savage for a new rifle.
“One mans trash is another mans treasure”. I asked the seller for his card and left the show. I called the seller a few days later and asked if he sold the Savage parts. He said no and he would be happy to sell the barrel to me for $150 or the action for $100. I told him that I thought that was a little steep considering I just bought a complete set up for $200. He thought for a minute and said, if you meet me at the next show I will hold this for you and I’ll take what I have in to it, $200. I thought for a minute and said sure. I met he last weekend and purchased the parts.
My initial plan was to buy the parts, sell the action and use the barrel for “project diablo” Now I’m not sure what to do. Do I use the new parts for a second build or do I just complete this build. The jury is still out at this point.
I have determine that the I will need a new sear spring so I phoned SSS (Sharp Shooter Supply) and ordered a new sear spring. Should be here soon.
Just like Christmas. Today the new stock showed up at my office today. A brand new Choate OD Green Ultimate Sniper stock!
I quickly pulled it from the box and instantly became very excited to complete “Diablo”. Until I get the proper tools I can’t try the Remington barrel on the action but man does it look good sitting in the stock. The Sporter contour doesn’t look very good in the Ultimate Sniper stock because the barrel channel is 1.25″ and the sporter barrel looks very small. The new stock has the safety tang area built up a little and the action fits like a glove. I can’t wait to get all of the parts together and take a few after pictures!
New sear spring arrived today from SSS. Not only do they have great customer service but they ship quick! The sear spring was $2.00 and the shipping was $2.00.
Shopping spree! I still haven’t decided what to do with the parts I picked up last weekend but I have decided that the secondary marked has little to offer for recoil lugs and scope bases. After reading endless posts on a number of forums I have decided that I will need to purchase these parts new. I have found a few one-piece tactical scope mounts on the forums and Ebay but it seems like they are all priced close to retail. The price for these bases range from $40 to $150+
I found one post on Sniper’s Hide that I found useful in regards to scope bases. The poster really sums up I intend to do with Diablo.
“That being said, this base is made out of aluminium and in no way can be compaired to bases from Badger Ordnance. If EGW were to offer a steel base I honestly think that it could be on par with the Badger bases if the machine work were kept at the level it is now. I may be wrong but I really don’t think the EGW base would survive being dragged around in a drag bag for years (but then again the Savage would probably crap out before the base would), so take that into consideration if you are truely building a tactical rifle.
Overall, the EGW base is a good deal for what you are getting, and at 1/4 of the price of a badger base I would not hesitate to buy another one. But make no mistake, this is not a badger base, and if you are building a nice rifle that you already have 2k into why not just spring for a high dollar base? If you are building a low dollar tactical rifle such as myself this base will serve you very well.”
The last few points are very true for this build, a low dollar, fun to shoot, tactical rifle. Sold! 1 EGW on order from Brownells.
Minutes later I ordered a recoil lug from SSS. After looking inspecting the recoil lug I believe that it is bent. Frank (FFL) even noticed it when he first opened the box.
Scope Base $44 shipped. Recoil lug $30 shipped.