A few things I learned while working on my Savage bolt


Full Member
Dec 6, 2012
Fernley, NV
I have been doing a lot of dry fire on my rifle and I noticed that the extractor wasn't working well on the "A-zoom" .308 Win snap caps. I haven't had a chance to take it to the range yet so testing it with live ammo hasn't been an option. I did some research and found that a lot of people complained about the savage ejector and thought that this may have been my issue. The bolt would pull the rounds from the chamber, yet the snap cap would just fall back onto the magazine. I called Savage to ask them if there was a problem, gave them my serial number and within 5 minutes the operator said that a replacement was in the mail. 3 business days later, I got it. A new pin, spring and ejector. Remarkable customer service, I might add. In the past, I had sent my 870 to Remington to get worked on and it took 2 months to replace the firing pin (which was broken when I received my shotgun, which I hadn't even fired) and 4 months to fix an extractor issue (again, factory). But I digress, I was happy with my new parts from Savage and going to swap the old ones out.
I took the pin out and the old extractor in a gallon ziplock bag because I wanted to compare both of them. The replacement extractor has a long piece of metal which extends into the spring whereas the original didn't. It was just a flat bottom which sat on top of the spring. So after I installed that, I was compressing it up and down to test the movement. It seemed as though there was much more tension over the factory; which is to be expected because I purchased the donor action and bolt used. In doing this, somehow the extractor came off the bolt! the spring remained in the bolt and the extractor fell into my lap, but that .125" detent ball which sits between the spring and extractor disappeared. After vacuuming the whole living room and looking like a dope fiend while going through the bag with a magnet, I had just about given up.
A little online research found that many Savage owners upgrade to .140" (9/64) ball bearings because of the slop with the .125" diameter bearing. Some found that this had remedied their extraction issues. But where would I get something like that without having to order it and wait a few days? Answer, also found online... A 12ga shotgun shell, #4 shot, has .130 steel shot in it. I have tons of shells, so I cut the top off of one and viola! More than I could ever need.
I had sent in an order at Sharp Shooter Supply for 2 of their extractor / ejector upgrade kits already, so I will just keep those if ever the need arises.
All of that and I finally inserted the snap caps again... Same issue... So, I took the gun outside and loaded up some real ammo and cycled through a full 10 round mag which the gun was on (half cock?) safe. No problems, it threw the brass out with authority. I measured the diameter of the live ammo and snap caps with my calipers and they are identical. This confuses me because being as how they are the same, shouldn't they cycle similarly? Anyways, I just thought I should share this information as I know it will remain online and hopefully someone who comes across it may find their answers in it.
1) use a ziplock bag whenever playing with your bolt
2) just because a snap cap doesn't work, doesn't mean it won't cycle real ammo
3) #4 shotshell is a perfect replacement for that detent ball (which I still have not found)
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Full Member
Nov 9, 2017
Thanks for the info. Wish I hadn't given my q2 game steel away.


Sergeant of the Hide
Full Member
Aug 28, 2020
Thanks for sharing what you learned tinkering around. And I love to hear of out of the “box fixes” the stele shot bb was a great on the fly fix! While recovering from surgery I had a new pistol to play with and it wouldn’t load snap caps from the mag with any reliability and also would only eject them from the chamber about 50% of the time, so on day 8 or 9 of recovery I wasn’t in agony so went out back and shot a few mags out of the pistol and it worked fine; except for the mag that came with the gun- new to me a used handgun. Some bubba university graduate had the wrong spring in the mag- or maybe correct spring but to short. I spent days laying around war gaming what could be wrong, and in my state or mind- in pain not sleeping not eating much I skipped over step one in trouble shooting a auto pistol - magazine! Also being “off” my game and on some pain meds I wisely didn’t touch any real ammo till about day 8-9 when I’d stopped taking pain killers and had had a few nights decent sleep.
map I guess my story isn’t like your at all except what we learn by doing .