Savage 338 Lapua Mag help!

High Binder

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Hey guys, I'm getting hard lifts and almost stuck cases in a new 338 Lapua Mag with really low loads (88.8gr H1000). I know that there's some issue with Savage cambers being tight but this is crazy. It's Lapua brass trimmed to 2.718". I'm using Fed 215s, H1000, and Berger 300gr OTMs.

Any ideas what's going on here? I went out today with test loads starting at 88.8gr all the way up to 91.5gr and after the stuck 88.8s I decided not to press my luck going any higher.

Here's a pic of the brass, there are no drag marks on the necks/body, primers aren't flat. The brass is FL resized (not small base though). They chamber like they should but post firing brings this problem.
ztab88.jpg


Thanks for the help!
 
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P7id10t

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Take a Cast of your chamber and head space
Measure and compare the cast to your fire-formed case and see where it's binding
 

bcrich

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Sorry to welcome you to the club! I had 4 stuck cases at the last match out of 40 rnds using the same components but 89.5g load. Looks like the extractor slips off the rim and leaves a burr where it slipped off. Maybe a beefier extractor if that even exists. So we are both screwed (you a little harder) somebody help us both ha!
 

High Binder

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Sorry to welcome you to the club! I had 4 stuck cases at the last match out of 40 rnds using the same components but 89.5g load. Looks like the extractor slips off the rim and leaves a burr where it slipped off. Maybe a beefier extractor if that even exists. So we are both screwed (you a little harder) somebody help us both ha!

This club sucks! My extractor stays on the rim, but I do have to pull on the bolt a good bit to pull the case out.
 

spelunk

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I have had several stuck in my 110BA as well. I am trying to decide if I should adjust it or not. The go and no-go gauges worked, but this behavior can't be right.
 

timelinex

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I had the same issues with a hard lift and pressure signs , starting at low charges. This was with hsm brass and h1000. Changed my powder to retumbo and brass to lapua and haven't had the problem since..... However my extractor always leaves a swiping mark on the brass, even if I don't shoot the round and just eject it. I think it was the brass change and not the powder change that fixed the issue, but not 100% sure
 

timelinex

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Something that just popped out to me is that your brass is trimmed to 2.718. My chamber is much longer than sammi spec, but I know sme people had issues with the savage 338's and it was fixed by trimming to UNDER spec ( spec is 2.714). Worth a try
 

High Binder

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Take a Cast of your chamber and head space
Measure and compare the cast to your fire-formed case and see where it's binding

Luckily I have some dental impression goo that we used to use when I was a machinist so I'll do this and see what I find. I'll report back.
 

High Binder

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Something that just popped out to me is that your brass is trimmed to 2.718. My chamber is much longer than sammi spec, but I know sme people had issues with the savage 338's and it was fixed by trimming to UNDER spec ( spec is 2.714). Worth a try

Shit, I thought I was under spec at 2.718. I don't mind trimming more but how much lower than 2.714 would you go? Another 10-20 thou maybe or more?
 

timelinex

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You could try trimming 10 thou more, it won't hurt anything and will answer your question. Or just buy the Sinclair $7 tool to measure your required trim length. I did that for all my rifles and have found that I don't need to trim for a veeerrry long time !
 

High Binder

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You could try trimming 10 thou more, it won't hurt anything and will answer your question. Or just buy the Sinclair $7 tool to measure your required trim length. I did that for all my rifles and have found that I don't need to trim for a veeerrry long time !

In all my years of reloading I've never done that. Are you talking about this tool?
Sinclair Chamber Length Gage | Sinclair Intl
 

timelinex

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Yup those are the ones. Turns out my 308 chambers allows up to 2.044 and my 338 up to 2.750. As you can see, that's waaaaay over max, so it would be a waste of time trimming then having to debur etc.. Best $6 I've ever spent , for time saving.
 

vh20

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I found that my Savage 110 FCP .338 LM (Same action and bbl as the 110 BA) chamber length is also quite long (as measured by the Sinclair gauge). I am now using the SAAMI max length as my trim-to length.

Hey, TIMELINEX - can you elaborate a bit more about your "extractor" leaving a swiping mark on the brass? Did you mean to say "ejector" instead? I'm asking because I'm getting EJECTOR marks and swipes on the headstamp even though I don't have any other signs of pressure. Also I'm getting some brass smears being deposited on the bolt face. I haven't noticed if any of this occurs with a round being just chambered and not fired. Also, I couldn't tell if you meant you were still having this occur after switching to Lapua brass, or just with the other brand? I'm having it occur with Lapua (all I've ever shot in mine) and I'm using Retumbo as well. Thanks.
 

varmint slayer

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The 110s are notorious for having a bad headspace problem right out of the box. Even though it passes a go and no go gauge, you may have to adjust it a couple thousandths more to get it to stop being tight. There are or were several threads about this.
 

timelinex

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I found that my Savage 110 FCP .338 LM (Same action and bbl as the 110 BA) chamber length is also quite long (as measured by the Sinclair gauge). I am now using the SAAMI max length as my trim-to length.

Hey, TIMELINEX - can you elaborate a bit more about your "extractor" leaving a swiping mark on the brass? Did you mean to say "ejector" instead? I'm asking because I'm getting EJECTOR marks and swipes on the headstamp even though I don't have any other signs of pressure. Also I'm getting some brass smears being deposited on the bolt face. I haven't noticed if any of this occurs with a round being just chambered and not fired. Also, I couldn't tell if you meant you were still having this occur after switching to Lapua brass, or just with the other brand? I'm having it occur with Lapua (all I've ever shot in mine) and I'm using Retumbo as well. Thanks.


Yes sorry I meant to say ejector swipe marks. I'm sure it has something to do with the chamber being slightly too small, however the rifle generally shoots great, so if it aint broke don't fix it! I don't mind cleaning the bolt face every once in a while.

The 110s are notorious for having a bad headspace problem right out of the box. Even though it passes a go and no go gauge, you may have to adjust it a couple thousandths more to get it to stop being tight. There are or were several threads about this.
Can you point me to these threads? I have never seen a thread that mentioned a fix for this...
 

vh20

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Yes sorry I meant to say ejector swipe marks. I'm sure it has something to do with the chamber being slightly too small, however the rifle generally shoots great, so if it aint broke don't fix it! I don't mind cleaning the bolt face every once in a while.

Man, that's helpful. Thanks a lot. Because of your post I went and chambered a few empty cases that haven't been through this gun before (some of that 1x fired brass from Graf's (but resized) with the NT headstamp which is actually Lapua brass). I examined it closely under a 5x loupe before and after chambering, and sure enough, most of the swipes I'm seeing are happening just from the act of chambering/extracting the case without it even being fired. I'll bet if I had cleaned the bolt face first, I'd be seeing brass deposits there as well. I have been trying to tie these signs to possible pressure issues, but now I'm pretty well convinced that pressure has nothing to do with any of it.

Currently the best I can do with this rifle is between 0.6 - 0.7 inches for a 3-shot group at 100 yds. I'm still working on it, though. Thanks!
 

varmint slayer

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Yes sorry I meant to say ejector swipe marks. I'm sure it has something to do with the chamber being slightly too small, however the rifle generally shoots great, so if it aint broke don't fix it! I don't mind cleaning the bolt face every once in a while.


Can you point me to these threads? I have never seen a thread that mentioned a fix for this...

Here is one that somewhat talks about the headspace issue.

http://www.snipershide.com/shooting...394-savage-110-fcp-338-lapua-sticky-bolt.html

There are more but I can't seem to find them now. You can read more just by googling savage .338 Lapua headspace issue.
 

aloreman

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The issue i found with mine is in the neck area. I had to turn my necks down to give them some clearance and all of the above problems went away. im using 88.8 gr of h 100 and a 300 gr smk. had the ejector swipes and the extractor skipping the rim. Now it works great.
 

SPAK

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I'd check headspace as well. Take a new piece of brass, and compare it to a once fired and see what the difference is on the bump gauge..... Even if your headspace is "tight" if a new piece of brass chambers without resistance, insufficient headspace isn't likely your problem.

However, excessive headspace where your brass is overly stretching and slamming back into the boltface is more concerning in my opinion. I've had a rifle with excessive headspace by .020" mimick pressure signs with ejector swipes and difficult extraction.

Not saying it is the problem but its definitely worth checking...
 

SPAK

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Yes sorry I meant to say ejector swipe marks. I'm sure it has something to do with the chamber being slightly too small, however the rifle generally shoots great, so if it aint broke don't fix it! I don't mind cleaning the bolt face every once in a while.


Can you point me to these threads? I have never seen a thread that mentioned a fix for this...


Timelinex,

Can you depress your ejector plunger all the way by hand/tool??
 

SPAK

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I'm not sure how to quantify.... Really it's to make sure you can depress it... Sometimes brass can get in the spring in the ejector and prevent the plunger from being able to depress all the way. This might cause ejector marks even on normal loads...
 

bcrich

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The issue i found with mine is in the neck area. I had to turn my necks down to give them some clearance and all of the above problems went away. im using 88.8 gr of h 100 and a 300 gr smk. had the ejector swipes and the extractor skipping the rim. Now it works great.

How much did you remove from the necks? Ill try anything.
 

aloreman

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turned them down to .0145. I could reseat bullets in my fired cases with about .001 neck tension. necks started out at .016-.017. You should be able to drop a bullet into the case after firing.
 

bcrich

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I can slip a new bullet in the fired case... Damn I knew it wasn't gonna be that easy as turning the neck!
 

bodywerks

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Do some research. Savages chambered in 338lm have been known to have this exact issue. Mine did. Many have found that the headspace is set too tight. Might wanna look into that. If that don't fix it, call savage. While headspace might fix it. I think they are chambered with a bad reamer or something, cuz there's a whole lot of threads about this exact same issue.

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2
 

High Binder

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turned them down to .0145. I could reseat bullets in my fired cases with about .001 neck tension. necks started out at .016-.017. You should be able to drop a bullet into the case after firing.


Looks like this may be my problem area. I can't get a bullet into the neck of a fired case by hand, and I mean it's not even close. It's tight as hell but from the numbers below it looks pretty close.

Here's the avg. numbers of the neck on a fired (un-sized piece):
ID = .337" calipers
OD = .368" calipers
Thickness = .0145 ball mic

Do my numbers above look like the neck thickness is the issue? Aside from turning down the necks has anyone ever just taken a 338LM reamer to it or even a ball hone to the throat?

I took a piece that really sticks and coated it in layout fluid (Dykem) and chambered it and then beat it out with a rubber mallet. There are no scratches on it anywhere.

1zqy7o0.jpg
 

bodywerks

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No scratches on the case, anywhere? Was it a full length sized piece or recently fired?
If no scratches anywhere on the brass after chambering it that's quite peculiar.

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2
 

SPAK

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Looks like this may be my problem area. I can't get a bullet into the neck of a fired case by hand, and I mean it's not even close. It's tight as hell but from the numbers below it looks pretty close.

Here's the avg. numbers of the neck on a fired (un-sized piece):
ID = .337" calipers
OD = .368" calipers
Thickness = .0145 ball mic

Do my numbers above look like the neck thickness is the issue? Aside from turning down the necks has anyone ever just taken a 338LM reamer to it or even a ball hone to the throat?

I took a piece that really sticks and coated it in layout fluid (Dykem) and chambered it and then beat it out with a rubber mallet. There are no scratches on it anywhere.

1zqy7o0.jpg

Based on those numbers that's a really tight neck in my opinion.
Allow for some springback and your chamber neck diameter is around .369".

Neck thickness x 2 + bullet diameter: .029+.338=.367" loaded OD of your necks.... Giving you approx .002" of clearance in the necks.

that's assuming your bullet diameter is exactly .3380". It might even be .3385"-.3390" depending on the bullet.. That's also assuming your necks are .0145" all the way to the neck shoulder junction which it probably isn't... Most of the time the neck is a little thicker as it gets closer to the neck shoulder junction...

You could try turning your necks for more clearance. I'm surprised savage allows that little clearance in the neck area of the chamber...that's something I'd expect in a tightneck benchrest rifle.
 

SPAK

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Do you have any resistance when you close the bolt on a fired case?? How many firings??

When you said you had to beat that case out with a mallet, was that to lift the bolt open or to push the bolt back to actually pull the case out of the chamber?? Was the bolt easy to lift?

What's the measurement of the base of the fired case just ahead of the rim??

Also just out of curiosity what's the rim diameter and the diameter of the extractor groove on fired brass vs new brass??

Sorry for all the questions. Just trying to get a better understanding.
 
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High Binder

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No scratches on the case, anywhere? Was it a full length sized piece or recently fired?
If no scratches anywhere on the brass after chambering it that's quite peculiar.

Yeah, no marks at all (I was surprised) as this stuff scratches very easily and goes on so thin that you can't tell its there with a mic. This is on a twice fired piece that has not been re-sized since firing but was originally FL sized and chambered perfectly but then gets stuck.
 

High Binder

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Do you have any resistance when you close the bolt on a fired case?? How many firings??

What's the measurement of the base of the fired case just ahead of the rim??

Yeah, it's a bitch to chamber the fired brass, you really have to force the bolt down and then you have to force it back up and hit the bolt handle with a mallet to eject the brass. They are all on their second firing.

0.585" just right above the extractor groove is that what you mean?
 

High Binder

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Based on those numbers that's a really tight neck in my opinion.
Allow for some springback and your chamber neck diameter is around .369".

Neck thickness x 2 + bullet diameter: .029+.338=.367" loaded OD of your necks.... Giving you approx .002" of clearance in the necks.

that's assuming your bullet diameter is exactly .3380". It might even be .3385"-.3390" depending on the bullet.. That's also assuming your necks are .0145" all the way to the neck shoulder junction which it probably isn't... Most of the time the neck is a little thicker as it gets closer to the neck shoulder junction...

You could try turning your necks for more clearance. I'm surprised savage allows that little clearance in the neck area of the chamber...that's something I'd expect in a tightneck benchrest rifle.


You're right. As it gets close to the shoulder it's .017" - .018" thick. The bullet is dead-nuts 0.338"
 

mudpig

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That is really tight in the neck area. My 110BA 338LM fired cases are .0371 at the neck and .5845 at the base 1/8th above extractor groove.
 

SPAK

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Your chamber is defintely tight. In all aspects. The saami spec for the base is .587" you're still .002" smaller than that on a fired case..

If you have trouble chambering a fired piece of brass, it's definitely going to be extremely difficult after firing a live round as the brass can only return to its original dimensions after firing and no smaller..

Why there aren't any scratches on your coated case is interesting but from the numbers and what your describing your chamber is pretty tight....

The other consideration might be that as your extractor snaps over the rim of the case, there might not be enough clearance to rotate the bolt if the brass is causing the extractor claw to stick out too far....I don't know how likely this is but given the lack of clearance and tight chambering it's not out of the question unless there's something in the savage bolt design I'm not aware of.

Do you have any problems with new brass??? Or only fired and reloaded??
 

High Binder

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That is really tight in the neck area. My 110BA 338LM fired cases are .0371 at the neck and .5845 at the base 1/8th above extractor groove.

Damn, that's a .003" difference at the neck but only a .0005" difference at the base. My problem must be in the throat, do you have any extraction problems?
 

turbo54

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Another member here, Fenix Mike, solved his Savage 338 troubles by:

Firing a cartridge loaded with ~50gr H4895 and ~50gr H1000 topped off with a 300gr SMK.

If you try this method, you might want to stand back and pull the trigger with a string.
 
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High Binder

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If you have trouble chambering a fired piece of brass, it's definitely going to be extremely difficult after firing a live round as the brass can only return to its original dimensions after firing and no smaller..

Do you have any problems with new brass??? Or only fired and reloaded??

I can see where the extractor is grabbing the rim but it doesn't slip off. If I chamber a sized piece of brass and then take it out it comes out freely and there doesn't feel like there is any drag from anything.

So it really appears to be a throat problem in that the ID is too small. I only have problems once the brass is reloaded, but it was virgin (empty) Lapua brass to begin with. Once sized it chambers no problem but once it's fired, its fucked. Having never had this problem what would you guys recommend for a course of action, I can neck turn no problem but if that doesn't work?
 

SPAK

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You have been blessed and cursed with a tight chamber....Here's what I suggest:

If you have no problems with new brass loaded and fired then you should be able to solve your troubles with your reloading tools/process... If you have the extraction problem with new brass the rifle needs to go back to savage for a replacement or at least the chamber needs to be redone..

If new brass is gtg, you'll likely need to adjust your full length sizing die to bump the shoulders back more as you should only feel a very slight resistance closing the bolt if any at all. Use your bump gauge to ensure you're only bumping he shoulders .001-.002" at the most.

You can turn your brass necks all the way to the neck shoulder junction (which is proper anyhow) to .0135-.0140" if your sizing die will allow you to turn down that far and still maintain at least .001" of neck tension.

But from your numbers it looks like someone didn't measure the reamer before chambering your barrel and it was finally worn down too small.... Unless savage just runs a really really tight chamber.

I'd try bumping the shoulders back just until you don't feel resistance closing the bolt, load a bullet and see if that fixes your problem first...then turn your necks....

All that being said I wouldn't blame you if you called up savage and made them fix this... Call up Joe Degrande at savage, I've dealt with him on a number of occasions and he has always made things right.
 

High Binder

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Another member here, Fenix Mike, solved his Savage 338 troubles by:

Firing a cartridge loaded with ~50gr H4895 and ~50gr H1000 topped off with a 300gr SMK.

If you try this method, you might want to stand back and pull the trigger with a string.

Is that the dude from a few months ago who blew up his Savage? (looked like he stuffed 1-lb of C4 down the chamber)
 

SPAK

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I should specify, do you have any problems firing new brass and extraction?
 

High Binder

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You have been blessed and cursed with a tight chamber....Here's what I suggest:

If you have no problems with new brass loaded and fired then you should be able to solve your troubles with your reloading tools/process... If you have the extraction problem with new brass the rifle needs to go back to savage for a replacement or at least the chamber needs to be redone..

If new brass is gtg, you'll likely need to adjust your full length sizing die to bump the shoulders back more as you should only feel a very slight resistance closing the bolt if any at all. Use your bump gauge to ensure you're only bumping he shoulders .001-.002" at the most.

You can turn your brass necks all the way to the neck shoulder junction (which is proper anyhow) to .0135-.0140" if your sizing die will allow you to turn down that far and still maintain at least .001" of neck tension.

But from your numbers it looks like someone didn't measure the reamer before chambering your barrel and it was finally worn down too small.... Unless savage just runs a really really tight chamber.

I'd try bumping the shoulders back just until you don't feel resistance closing the bolt, load a bullet and see if that fixes your problem first...then turn your necks....

All that being said I wouldn't blame you if you called up savage and made them fix this... Call up Joe Degrande at savage, I've dealt with him on a number of occasions and he has always made things right.

Rodger that, I'll start working to that end and see how it goes but you're right, this is a bullshit problem to have with a brand new rifle. Thanks for the info and help!
 

turbo54

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I haven't been following this Savage 338 phenomenon too close, but I know I've read about this extraction issue at least 10 times over the last year.

Has Savage addressed this to anybody? Has anyone brought this up with Savage?

Sure seems like a consistent flaw, based on what I've read.

Savage is a good outfit, I have little doubt they'll make these right.