Gunsmithing the Savage Model  340 Rifle

 

History ;   For a look at the history of these rifles CLICK HERE.   The Stevens model 325 was the forerunner of the Savage model 340, so any gunsmithing that applies to one also applies to the other.  These models were made in 30-30 Winchester, 22 Hornet, 222 Remington, 223 Remington and 225 Winchester, with the 30-30 being the most popular, followed by the 222 Remington.  The reason the 223s popularity was low is because this model was discontinued early enough that production of the 223 was limited at that time.  With the 225 being on the bottom of the production list.

 

Gunsmithing Situations/Problems ;   The most common problem for the early models that used a split retainer for the front of the gas shield is that these get bent or become loose and may break one side off.  This problem was eliminated when they later went to both clips being a wrap around style.  However the later rear wrap around clip can not be used to replace the older split style because of the older ejector system where the split rings were needed.

Another situation is that there is not much you can do for trigger pull adjustment as it is made NON-ADJUSTABLE.  But trigger pull on these guns usually is acceptable to most hunters as this is not really a expensive target rifle.  A good gunsmith can improve it, but don't expect miracles.


One problem with the wrap around extractor is since it has to be spread quite a bit to snap around the bolt head/locking lug, the metal may not return to it's original bend and tension may not be as tight as you would like.  There is a fine line in the heat treating process between strong enough to be a spring and yet so hard that it breaks when installing it.  There seems to not be much that you can do for this.  But with the lower pressure generated by these milder calibers this is not usually a problem.

The biggest problem seems to be a minor situation, but contributes to a non ejection problem if someone has had the barreled receiver out of the stock and reassembled it wrong.  This is that when the stock is removed, the ejector, pin along with the spring can fall out and the person does not realize this.  Or if the person who reassembles it does not understand the pivoting ejector on the 30-30 or the early 222 Remingtons whereby the ejector spring needs to be positioned right (to applying tension) when reassembly.  It is best to, when inserting the barreled action back into the stock is to have the bolt out of the action.  The ejector has a slot in it, the pivot pin needs be inserted so the spring goes over this pin when assembled. This spring needs to be situated so one tail of the spring, one against the ejector is pointing forward, the other will ultimately be bearing on the slot in the receiver.  If you have problems aligning the pivot pin, ejector AND the spring, apply some Vaseline in the slot to temporarily hold the ejector, then insert the pin in just far enough to enter the top part of the ejector, leaving the center slot open for the spring.   Now with needle nose pliers slide the spring in (coiled loop outward).

 

It is best to have the bolt out of the gun, or at least the bolt open when you slide the barreled action into the stock.

Here the pivoting ejector is shown with the spring in location, with the front tail hidden from view.

 



Using this method this allows the pivoting ejector to fall inward with no spring tension on it. The rear tail of the spring needs to be so it lays in the receiver slot and not become bound up or bent, as the barreled receiver is inserted back into the stock.


Another situation can be that the magazines may become badly bent enough on the sides to restrict upfeed of the cartridge.  These magazines are made of thin stamped out then bent unheat-treated sheet metal that have the feed lips formed on the top of the magazines.  If you sit on them, step on them, or slam the vehicle door on one, sometimes this changes how the cartridge feeds into the chamber.  The 30-30 magazine seems to be a lot more forgiving than the 222 or 223 magazines.

 

In the photo below on left, you will see a 30-30 magazine disassembled and in proper orientation.  The spring's tails go forward with the short tail on top (fitting inside the follower's downward bended ends).  This follower has a slight slope on the rear to facilitate feeding because of the rimmed case.  To disassemble this magazine, use an object, (like a lead pencil with eraser down against the rear of the follower), push it down, forcing this follower down at the rear, which will move the front of the follower down and rearward enough to allow the follower's front wider part to be released from the follower stop detents on the magazine box.  This now allows the follower and spring to be removed straight upwards.  Reassembly will be reversed except the follower rear lip needs to be inserted at just in front of the feed lips and you can usually push it rearward and down enough with your fingers to allow the front to drop behind and under the follower stops.  This 30-30 magazine box has an embossed upside down Ell at the rear, to accommodate the follower's rear protrusions.  This locks the follower rearward while allowing room in the box for the cartridge's rim.  This also allows room in the box for the cartridge's rim while holding the rim rearward until it feeds up on top to be inline to feed into the chamber. 

 

The right hand photo below is the 223 Rem. and would also be representative of the 222 Rem. as the box is the same with the exception of the shoulder location.   The Procedure to disassemble and reassemble is basically the same as for the 30-30.  Here you will also notice the follower of the 222/223 has a slight step up on the front.  This is to facilitate feeding.  After I purchased the magazine tooling from Savage in about 1990,  I experienced some feeding problems, and in talking to a ex Savage Service Dept employee, I made this bend by hand.  After I sold my parts business to my son, he did extended experimenting, coming up with the best step height, then made a special bending fixture.

 

Here is the 30-30 magazine disassembled Here the 223 magazine is disassembled

 

One thing to remember that these 30-30 magazines were designed for 150/170 grain round/flat nose ammo designed for lever action firearms, (all that was available at the time these guns were made).  If you reload and try to use lighter/shorter or pointed bullets, the rear rim feed lips of the magazine may not position the ammo properly to function out of the magazine as a repeater.  And this barrel has no funnel/cone to allow for any misalignment of infeeded ammo.  If this is your problem, then on the lighter bullets, moving them out as far as possible may help.

 

While on magazines, the 340 E series has a flat floorplate and for the 30-30 and 225 uses a 1/2 round shaped spring that straddles the magazine and has short ears on the spring ends that engage notches in the upper section of the magazine that "eject' the magazine as compared to finger grooves in the floorplate where you can grasp the magazine.  If this ejector spring gets bent and not engaging the magazine notches, it becomes hard to remove the magazine without opening the bolt then pushing the magazine out from above.

 

Feed systems are critical in firearm functioning, therefore, any rebarreling with any hope of cartridge feeding, care has to be taken to duplicate as near as the original round as possible.  For the 30-30, this leaves lots of calibers out, but I have made slight magazine alterations to allow feeding of the 25-35 (essentially a necked down 30-30).  The factory did make it in 225 Win. where the case rim diameter is very close, with a longer body so it functions quite well out of the factory magazine.  The 7 X 30 Waters may be another, as the pressure for this caliber was designed to approximate the 30-30's.    And it was also made off a 30-30 case, moving the shoulder forward a bit and used a lighter flat nose bullet still to the overall length of the 30-30 so it would function in a Winchester model 94.   Therefore it would feed through this magazine also.


Also be sure that both the front and rear magazine guides are tight AND aligned true with the receiver.

 

Bolt Construction ; The firing pin was unique in that the rear was threaded to adjust the protrusion and locked into place by a retainer key “C” clip that slides over the square rear section.  This is captivated inside the rear cocking protrusion of the bolt body when the striker unit was assembled into the bolt body.   Misfires can happen if someone tore the gun apart and lost this firing pin retainer key #6.  The rear section of the firing pin is threaded with the front of the threads being made a square.  The firing pin length can be adjusted by threading it into the cocking piece #34 for proper protrusion (about .060") out of the bolt face when the bolt is assembled and the firing pin is in the firing notch position of the cocking cam.  This dimension is about the same as the diameter of the firing pin tip.  If this retainer key not reinstalled, or not in the proper location there may not be enough protrusion to ignite the primer when you pull the trigger.

 

Bolt Disassembly ; To remove or adjust the firing pin length, you will need to disassemble the bolt handle from the front body.  There is one 1/8" pin crosswise about 1/2" in front of the bolt handle in the bolt body.  If you look closely at both sides of this pin, you will see that one side is pretty well contoured to the configuration of the round bolt body.  The other side is usually recessed slightly and has a flat end.  This flat end is the side you want to use a pin punch, slightly smaller than the pin diameter.  You will notice a radiused groove in the bolt body that this pin goes through to hold both parts together.  It will only go on one way.   Drive this pin out.  Now the front bolt body can be removed from the rear bolt handle assembly.

 

Here there red arrows show the firing pin key/retainer at the rear & the partly removed bolt body retainer pin.

 

Now before you remove the firing pin, you may want to take a measurement of how much of the firing pin protrudes.  Just be sure that you remember where the cocking piece was located in the rear bolt body behind the bolt handle so you can replace it in the same location, (in the firing notch or cocked notch).  Now take a measurement (as seen in the photo below) and make a note of it.  Now with a sharp instrument (ice pick) slide the 1/2 round key out of the slot as shown by the red arrow in the photo below.  In this position, you can now see the square end of the firing pin.  Find a block of wood with a hole drilled in it enough to the thicker part of the firing pin tip at the shoulder of the spring.  The firing pin will be under the tension of the spring, so you need to unscrew it from the cocking piece in a controlled fashion, otherwise the spring and firing pin will be launched across the room.   Place the unit on your wooden block and push down relieving the spring tension off the cocking piece.   Rotate this cocking piece back to the fire position (the position that allows the firing pin to move farthest forward and with the least amount of tension.   With most of the spring tension off the firing pin and can now unscrew it from the cocking piece.  Clean everything, reassemble, possibly with a new spring if needed.

 

Here is an initial measurement of the firing pin as it was removed from the bolt front
 

 

Bolt Reassembly ; You now can reassemble, and if the gun had no problem firing before, use the measurement you just took.  With the cocking piece in the firing position, and the bolt's rear section slid into the front part of the bolt, the firing pin should look similar to the photo below.  This firing pin tip should protrude about .060 which is again about the diameter of the actual firing pin tip.  Measure it, and if need be, screw the firing pin either in or out, correlating the square notch at the rear so the square flats will allow slot of the 1/2 round key to slide over the square firing pin end end securing it once the cocking piece has moved back inside the rear bolt handle sleeve.  Reinstall the bolt body retainer pin.  Now before you can reinstall it into the receiver, you may need to retract the cocking piece and now firing pin unit so the cocking piece is aligned with the longest notch (full cock notch) in the bolt handle sleeve.

 

Here is the reassembled bolt assembly showing proper firing pin protrusion after the firing pin has been rotated into the bottom of the cocking notch (FIRING POSITION)

 

Safety Related Issues ;   The safety lever was a pivoting sheet metal stamping on the RH side of the receiver that was FIRE when the lever was UP, and SAFE when it was rotated down.  With this lever down also functioned as a bolt lock in the older models.   There was a small lug on the bottom forward part of the safety lever ( lower purple arrow in the photo below) that engaged into a small hole at the rear of the bolt handle area that locked the bolt (upper purple arrow) when the safety was in the “SAFE” position.   Many of the older versions that had the safety (bolt lock) provision would usually break out the thin section at the bolt lock hole on the base of the bolt handle making for a non-locking bolt.  In the photo below you will notice the metal broken out of the bolt handle at the indication of the upper purple arrow.

 

This is of little safety consequences as the factory discontinued this feature to allow unloading of the rifle with the safety on later anyway.  However your bolt handle could get bumped, allowing the bolt to open at an inopportune time.

 

Also the safety could become loose or inoperative if the detent ball (red arrow) became rusted, or the spring behind it also became rusted into the hole.  Or even the ball could have became unstaked in it's hole and lost.   These parts are still available from https://www.gunpartscorp.com/  as of 12-10-13.

 

If the ball is still in place, it should be retained inside the hole with about 1/3 of the ball showing which, when assembled, it puts tension on one of the two holes in the safety lever (blue arrow).  If you are careful the ball could be simply placed in the hole and the lever screwed down tightly, just be careful next time it is disassembled or the ball will go flying. 

 

It should be obvious that the safety retaining screw needs to be tight against it's shoulder between the screw head and the threads.

 

Safety removed from receiver on an early model 340

 

Trigger Adjustments ? ;   The trigger assembly is just that.  It consists of a stamped out sheet metal U shaped housing that is screwed onto the bottom of the receiver by 2 screws.  The front screw of this attachment also secures the rear magazine latch.   Then all the internal parts, trigger, sear, sear cam, magazine stop along the sear and trigger springs are secured together in this unit by rivets, after it is screwed onto the receiver.  The spring's function are a bit unorthodox. 

 

Since it is an assembled unit, if you need to do any work on the trigger unit, some of the rivets need to be deheaded to facilitate removal.  Any gunsmithing on these trigger units lowering the pull weight will have to be minimal, as the trigger sear notch engagement CANNOT be lessened much without creating a safety issue, because the safety lock (which was not sold separately permanently AND riveted to the trigger housing) has sloppy clearance into the top of the trigger slot corresponding to the trigger sear engagement.  In other words if you decrease the trigger/sear engagement by lessening the trigger notch, you run a very serious chance the safety will not lock the trigger when the safety is place ON.  I am not saying improvements can not be made, BUT you had better be DAMNED sure of what you are doing and the consequences involved.  Probably your best bet is to simply stone the sear/trigger engagement notches and live with the creep. 

 

However if I were to try to adjust these, my thoughts would be to make a simple U shaped sheet-metal clip that would slide over the lower rear of the trigger housing, then drill and tap on one rear side (the rigger is split in the center for the spring) thread this for a SMALL machine screw so it would bear on the side of the trigger, giving you an adjustment for engagement.  JB Weld this clip in place.  This would allow you to play with it, while not having the hassle of unriveting and reassembling of the trigger unit and you would not ruin anything.   BUT be careful of the safety lock issue as that is the limiting factor.

 

Unusual Problems ;    I encountered a situation on the 340 below that was recovered from a Eskimo's fishing boat bilge.  After re-barreling it and firing a hundred rounds or so thru it, the bolt later became hard to close.  Headspace was right, and it would do this even on an empty chamber.  I checked about everything you would normally look at, like the bolt retracting/opening cam relationship of the receiver to the bolt root cam as compared to the locking lug starting into the receiver recess.  The bolt was not hitting my scope mount screws nor the rear of the barrel.  Finally I traced it down to a worn gas shield latch.  This is referenced as #1 on the exploded views on the 325/340 article.  It seems that this spring loaded pivoting lever in the front of the gas shield gets depressed as the bolt head slides into the rear opening of the receiver at the locking lug area.  In doing so, this latch is pressed down by the inside of the receiver UNLOCKING the shield.  This particular latch apparently was rusted/worn enough so that it was not being pressed down enough to unlock the gas shield.  If you would hit the bolt handle HARD with the palm of your hand, the jar seemed to force things enough for the bolt to be closed.

 

Also on the early model 325s, the bolt head was made slightly different at the outside lower front (RH) corner.  It had a slight feed lip guide built into the bolt face side.  As time went by, the extractor could loose tension, leaving a mismatch between the extractor and bolt lip causing feeding problems of the cartridge rim to feed up under the extractor hook.  The extractor was then redesigned incorporating this lip into the extractor.  This then required the bolt face to be altered to accept the newly redesigned extractor.   So IF your early 325 needs a new extractor not to worry, just purchase the only style being currently made and alter the bolt face as shown in the photo below by the red arrow.  If you look closely at the wide lip/hook area of the extractor in the photo below, you can see how much the upper wider part of the lip is recessed into the bolt face.  This is the same amount of metal that WAS on the bottom.  In cutting the lip off the bolt face, just use a Dremel tool with a part off stone and grind this lip down flush with the bolt face up to the slot for the extractor shank.   If you don't cut this lip off, the new extractor will be riding on the outside of the old bolt lip, not allowing the extractor to move inward enough to pull the rim out of the chamber.

 

Fitting a new extractor to old style bolt


In case you need to make new front trigger guard or barrel band screws, they are standard 1/4" X 28 TPI and can be made from 1/4" SAE/ National Fine bolts. 

 

Magazine Changes Needed if Using New Magazines in Early Model 325, & 325B :  The early guns, model 325 and 325 B, apparently had a shallower recess in the receiver where the top front and rear corners for the magazine to go into.   When installing new later or current replacement magazines, (even though they are made on the factory tooling). These recesses act as a upper stop for the magazine.  You may have to lightly file off the stop pads on the new magazines.   These are the tabs that are protruding both front and rear corners of the magazine body.    Not much is needed to be removed, about .020 on the front with .010 on the rear has been found to be sufficient.   Otherwise the magazine will not go all the way up and it usually will get bound up by being twisted front to back and get bound against the front and rear guides.

 

Barrel Removal ;  The barrel retainer nut is made with 12  radiused grooves around the outside periphery.  The factory probably used a special fitted wrench, but the average gunsmith can usually accomplish this removal by using four 1/4" round rods, placed so that they bear in the grooves whereby a large (18"-24") Crescent wrench can be used, with the jaws bearing on 2 of these rods on each side.  Or if you have the facilities get a piece of say 3/4" thick aluminum about 2 1/2" wide and long enough for a handle, drill and then bore the hole out on one end to fit over the barrel nut (about 1.200"), mill a 1/4" groove on in a location on the inner hole, enough to slide the tool over the nut and allow a  short 1/4" rod to engage one of the slots on the barrel.    Late nuts were made without these groves but with one 1/4" round hole which needed a special spanner wrench for removal.  This same tool could be also made to remove the new nuts, by drilling a hole in the other side to accommodate the late nuts.

 

Between the barrel and the receiver was the recoil lug, made from 5/16" steel.  This does not thread onto the barrel, but just slips over the barrel threads.   On the rear center next to the bore of this lug will be a short 1/8" stud.  This mates into a slot milled into the lower front of the receiver, which when the two are mated, acts as a location alignment for the lug.  On the bottom center of this lug, is threaded for the front trigger guard/floor plate bolt.

 

 

Shown here is the common castigated barrel retainer nut


 

A Look at Gunsmithing Improvements ;  Originally if you were to mount a scope on them it had to be a side mount.  As time passes us by, scope side mounts are now becoming orphans at sporting goods dealers AND distributors alike, making them hard to find for the gun enthusiast who does not have connections.  Many of the newer sporting goods stores hire younger employees have never even heard, much less seen one of these models, and have no clue as to scope mounting requirements.


Below is a custom machined steel top scope mount base that I came up with which utilizes 3 mounting screws on the front receiver ring.  Not an ideal situation with no rear mounting screws, but if made sturdy enough and close fitting to the radius of the receiver, then using the larger 8-40 scope mount screws, it functions well, is less cumbersome than the side mount and this uses regular commonly available Weaver style top rings.   And if you had the hankering to mount a large front objective scope, you can see that should not be a problem.

The base in the photo below was made to fit the 30-30 action, but may be better to lengthen to the rear the front top ring attachment (as shown in the CAD drawing) as to possibly fit shorter scopes.  4 screw holes are made so it could also fit the 223 receiver, which the front receiver ring extends rear slightly farther than the 30-30.  This way one base would fit both receivers by not utilizing the #3 hole for the 223 and not the 4th hole for the 30-30.   It is made to the length that the front overhangs the receiver and stops at the front of the recoil lug.  It is also made thicker vertically than normal in order to provide a more rigid base because of the long rear overhang.

Metal needs to be relieved on the bottom RH outside to allow for ejection.  This angled milled out length can match the receiver clearance or the dimension used off the drawings which could be used on both.


New style top mount scope base


I have found that if you first locate the base's center and front edge with an edge finder, locate the front hole .522" from the front, drill down in the base with a  1/4" (#3) center drill so that you have about .100 metal under the screw head to the bottom of the base is about right.  Only drill this one hole here as the others will come after you have drilled and tapped the receiver, which will then act as a jig for the other holes, assuring perfect alignment.   You may have to drill the center of this hole out to accommodate the #8-40 screw.


The mounting holes are drilled at the distance of the hole spacing on the gunsmith Forrester drill jig for standard scope mounts.  Since this action does not have any real flat bottom to align it rotationally, you will need to do this pretty much by eye.   BUT once it is in the fixture DO NOT remove it as it will be very hard to re-align if you need to drill other holes on the same plane. 


I made these mounts long enough to have the front of the base even with the front of the barrel lug as seen in a photo below.  This adds a bit which seems to be needed in gaining as much distance between the scope rings that may be needed on some scopes to position the eye properly.


With the barreled action set up in the Forrester jig, using a #28 drill and pilot bushing, drill the front hole down to about the needed depth in the receiver.  Using the #17 pilot bushing, tap this front hole in the receiver. 


Now you can mount the base on the receiver while it and the barrel are still in the jig.  Be sure that this screw is short enough as to not bottom out making for a loose base.  Locate, drill the other holes in the base with the #3 center drill.  This center drill will just fit inside the jig over-arm bushing holes so alignment has no wobble.  Leave the base on, drill the rest of the holes in the base.  If you have a digital readout on your mill/drill record the locations of the holes.  If no DRO is available, then remove the base, layout dye the top of the receiver, reinstall the base and scribe the hole locations.

Now you can go back, drill and tap the rest of the holes to 8-40 in the receiver, clean up the base and things should line up.  This pretty well insures that the base and receiver are drilled in unison.  Otherwise if you come back in, try to pick up hole location, it is a lot harder to be centered sideways.


Using this scope base, the rear part just clears the bolt guide rib mounted on top of the bolt.  It can utilize standard low Weaver style rings giving sufficient bolt handle clearance.  With this base and scope on the rifle, the rear section fits very close to the bolt guide rib, the average shooter would not know that there is no rear mounting screws. 


Depending on the tolerances of the machined parts, for clearance between this new style mount base and the bolt guide rib/gas shield, you may have to band-sand this rib down to ensure total clearance between it and the base.  The early ribs were made of metal while the later ribs are plastic.   I have found that if this bolt guide needs to be lowered, band-sanding lengthwise works best.  This can be done without removing the rib, just depress the latch, rotate the rib so you clear the bolt handle when doing this sanding.  Manually rotate the bolt and rib while it is being held vertically so you take the top down even while duplicating the same original arc.


In the drawing, there is an extra cross slot to better facilitate usage by different scopes.


CAD drawn custom made Savage 340 top mount base

 

After I made these, I found a factory made Weaver base that seems to function quite well.  This is one that is made for the Browning 22 Auto rifle.  The old Weaver number was #60, with the newer version being #60A which has the same hole spacing and lower shape of the older #60, except that the top has been also grooved to accommodate the 3/8" dovetail type rail commonly used for 22RF scopes, while still retaining the regular Weaver rifle type cross slots for the standard center-fire rifle

 

The hole spacing is different than my above custom base, and you can not extend it over the recoil lug because the front hole is so close to the front edge.  When using this, you will use the standard 6-48 threads (to match the existing base holes) and use the front 3 holes of the existing 4 (as shown in the photo below).  You will also have to grind/mill about an inch off the underside behind the receiver ring to allow for ejecting of cases.  This base does not lay down on the rear, near the top of the bolt guide like my custom base does, but it is something that should function and be readily available. 

 

Also the radius of this base where it mates the receiver is a lot less (because it was designed to fit the barrel of the Browning 22), therefore you will have a slight gap under the center when screwed down.  This is really no problem if you suck it down tight.  If you think you need a true mating surface, then paint the top of the receiver with AccuraGlas release agent and fill the void with JB Weld.

 

Weaver scope base #60, with a slight modification to fit the Savage 340 as a top mount base

 

This base seems to fit quite well as for length and clearance once the metal shown above has been removed.  For those of you who may find this photo below with something missing, YES the front magazine guide is not attached, as the photo was taken right after removing it from the Forster drill jig that required it to be removed for positioning.

Since these rifles were never designed for top mounted scopes, the needed holes will have to be drilled and tapped in the top of the receiver.  If you are not equipped for this, take it to a gunsmith, who in all probability will use a drilling jig.  He should also be able to get you the scope base.  These Weaver #60A bases should be available online, OR at any well stock sporting goods/gun shop.

 

Also on the receiver on some guns, I found some rather hard, it could be drilled with a Hi Speed #31 drill, but tapping was something else.   This involved using a CARBON (not Hi Speed ) tap, heating the cutting end red with a welding torch and then immediately quenching this red end in Mercury to harden it.  The reason to use a Carbon tap is that since it will now be glass-hard and can break easily inside a hole, however it is so hard that you can break it apart with a punch, or drive it through the hole, whereas if using a Hi Speed tap, this would not be an option for removal as they are TOUGH and about the only way to remove a broken HS tap is to get friendly with your dentist, beg used carbide dental burrs, which you can use a Dremel tool to worry this broken part in pieces, then be able to remove it.

 

Here the Weaver top mount base #60 shown on the Savage 340

 

One comment, IF YOU HAVE THOUGHTS OF CHANGING CALIBERS, STAY WITHIN THE DESIGN CONFIGURATIONS, by this I mean don't try to make a 30-30 into a 223.  It has been done, I am sure, BUT in recent years, spare parts have diminished considerably, and the only parts supplier (Gun Parts Corp) is the only source being that they purchased all the remaining parts inventory after these guns became obsolete, which much now much has been depleted.  The 30-30 could be converted to 25-35, 7X30 Waters or 32 Win Special, with the 222 to 223, or 6mm-223, 7mm TCU, maybe even the 300 Blackout, anything that would function through existing magazines.

 

My Project Guns :  The wood and metal parts somewhat resembling a firearm, shown in the photo below, was acquired at a gun show in the fall of 2010 for the price of $50.  It's previous home for a goodly number of years had the appearance of very likely occupying a favorite spot in an Alaskan Eskimo's fishing boat, (probably many times near the bottom, along with fish and bilge water).  The seller said, yes it had came from an Alaska Eskimo, but had no knowledge other than that.  I have seen a number of these that had the same previous experience and address where the exterior signatures are very evident.

 

When I made this purchase, you could distinguish some rifling hiding between the heavy rust inside the barrel.   All the metal was well coated with a protective coating of DEEP crusted rust.  The front guard screw and the barrel band screw had to be put in a milling machine, milling the heads off the screws in order to remove then save what was left of that wood that conservatively could be called a gunstock.  This stock was totally devoid of any original finish, but had that special custom BLACK color associated with being NEAR salt water, leaky engine oil, fish slime and bilge water.  The stock also had a large piece of wood missing from rearward of the bolt handle and was almost broken in two by the large cracks thru the front and rear of the receiver area.  The safety was seized with it's detent plunger missing, the metal of the bolt handle that the safety secures when on safe was broken out.  The ejector spring was so weak (and in backwards) that it was inoperable, the ejector pivot pin so seized in the receiver so bad that it required a Acetylene torch's heat to be able to break the rust loose so it could be removed.  The firing pin spring was weak enough that some cartridges (after rebarreling) would misfire.  A new heavy duty Wolff firing pin spring was purchased and installed, correcting that problem.  The magazine was missing.  The rear trigger guard screw was missing.   OH yes, from the size of the rusty hole in the muzzle, it had the appearance of being a 30-30 at one time.  And about 1/2" of the muzzle was cut off at an angle, so near the front sight ramp that you could see saw marks on it.

These pieces of metal were cleaned up (somewhat), then the barrel was taken off.  The barrel retainer nut was so rusted in place that it required pipe wrenches on it AND the barrel, then much effort along with the use of a 2# hammer was required to break the nut loose.  This nut now used on the gun shows marks of this effort.   A used Mauser 98  25-06 Ackley Improved barrel was shortened enough to get a 25-35 chamber to clean up and still retain a 19 1/2" barrel.   An old Weaver K4 scope was installed and the gun shoots pretty decent using 100 gr. Sierra spitzer bullets seated deep enough so they will function thru the magazine.   The magazine follower in a new 30-30 magazine had to be modified enough to accommodate the feeding of this 25-35 round out of a factory 30-30 magazine.

I tried to reload this round a little hotter than normal thinking that this bolt action rifle would be stronger than the lever action guns that this 25-35 caliber was designed for.   In developing this loading, it was done by slowly increasing powder charges of different powders, test firing and watching for excess pressure as indicated by the lifting of the bolt handle along with watching for the primers being flattened as compared to the regular loadings.   BUT as I approached even SLIGHTLY higher loadings than factory equivalent, the gun failed to extract.  So the weak part of this gun in this instance, appears to be the small extractor hooks on the stamped out sheet metal extractor.

The thought behind this modification was that it can now become a beat around gun to be carried on my Quad.  The barrel being that short is ideally suited for the gun to be carried cross-ways in a gun rack in front of the handle bars.   With anything much longer, it is hard to maneuver around on tight trails in the woods that we ride in.

It little gun is so ugly that most thieves would not steal it and of so little value that if I loose or run over it, NO BIG DEAL.  And with this ammo loaded using 100 gr. spitzer bullets and the bullets seated out to match factory 30-30 ammo it feeds reliably well, and it can take any animal (large or small) that I may encounter in the location that I live or happen to wonder into, if I do my part.   I do not think I will even try to improve the appearance of this little jewel, as it's character kind of grows on a person after a while.  And some people say that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Improvements to Action Bedding ;    The original gun, used a front action screw that went into the locking lug and another into a barrel band unit part way up the barrel.  The rear trigger guard screw was simply a wood screw that just held the trigger guard in place, but did nothing to support the rear of the action.   I had developed a better action bedding system a few years before when a 223 was made up.  This system was also used on this 25-35 because of the broken stock.   By measuring, it was found that by adding metal to the rear of the stamped steel trigger housing, a hole could be drilled and tapped there, thereby allowing a rear action/trigger guard screw to secure that end of the action.   This now uses 2 guard screws, one front and rear like most all bolt action rifles for a more rigid setup.  In doing it this way, the front barrel band attachment system was eliminated.  The hole where the band screw was located was modified to accept a sling swivel.

I wish that I had photographed this gun prior to any work being started, thus preserving the idea of a rust protective coating.

Here the modified action (rear screw) is shown with the new top mounts, scope, new rear guard screw, trigger guard & magazine
 


As shown above, a section of 1/4" steel  7/16" X   1/2" was brazed onto the rear of the trigger housing.  This can be done without disassembly of the trigger unit and still protect the temper of the sear spring because of the lesser heat required for that type of welding.   Also this trigger unit is riveted together therefore not made to be readily disassembled.  This length of steel was selected to give a larger area for fiberglass bedding at this area as there is no other real stock bearing surface at the rear and yet not interfere with functioning of the trigger.


This new screw is positioned so that by aligning the hole in the rear of the trigger guard with the welded metal, you can now drill and tap this steel for 1/4 X 28 (or 1/4" National Fine) threads.  If you copy the head shape of the front guard screw (which is the same size threads) with the taper under the head, you can get your new screw to fit.  This screw length can be the same as the front screw which has 1" under the head.  However when I make any, I make them a tad bit longer (like 1 1/8") just in case.  I just buy regular 1/4 NF hex head bolts then lathe turn the heads down to match the original front guard screw configuration.  You may also slightly alter the rear trigger guard hole to better accommodate this new screw head as compared to the older wood screw because the wood screw went into the wood at a slight angle as compared to the new metal screw going in straight.

The hole in the forearm where the barrel band screw was attached, can be utilized for a front sling swivel by making a large metal plug that fills the inner stock hole and threaded internally for 10-32 threads.  This size threads are the common size used on normal threaded forearm sling swivel screws.  Even a wooden plug could be utilized here.

This stock is warped to one side down the barrel channel, there is enough room on that side of the barrel that instead of the normal method of checking barrel clearance with a business card, you could now probably use a THICK leather belt on that side.  There is no doubt the barrel is now free floated.  The missing wood from behind the bolt handle was repaired by fitting a new large piece of walnut and epoxying it in place, then staining it DARK to somewhat match the existing finish.  There was still a visible lengthwise crack thru the wood at the rear of the action and another from the middle of the magazine well up into the recoil lug.   These, plus the other crack at the grip area have since been fiber-glassed using Accuraglas and blowing it into the cracks with compressed air after cleaning the cracks with lacquer thinner then allowing it to dry out. 

The sling is simply a 1" black Nylon webbing that uses the loop thru type plastic retainers. 

 

My beat around Quad gun
 

 

 The above gun also has a little brother that was made up a few years before in the form of another Savage 340 in 223 Remington caliber, that one sports an old Bushnell 3X9 Scope Chief BDC scope.  This was the gun that the above style top mount scope base was originally designed and made for.   This 223 produces groups of  less than 3/4" at 100 yards, so the new bedding system and scope mounting appears to be functioning quite well.

Shown below, this 223 has a new handmade stock to a more of a lightweight simple sporter design.  This rifle was assembled from pieces utilizing a new unfitted factory 223 barrel obtained from Gun Parts Corp.  It started as just a receiver that I acquired from so far back in time that I can not recall where or when it followed me home, then later came a bolt assembly from a gun show.  A barrel and trigger plate from Gun Parts Corp, a used scope and rings, then all that fitted to the wood, rounded it out.

 

The model 340 in 223 Remington set up for varmint hunting 
 


With the price of new guns today, if this rifle was revived commercially, I think it could be produced and sold at a very competitive price.  And in a 6mm-223 cartridge it could still use the original 223 magazine, and would be a nice fit in this rifle as deer gun.  Or go to a 7 X 30 Waters using the 30-30 magazine.

 

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Originated 01-16-2011, Last updated 03-07-2017  
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