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savage MKII-FVT

Savage MKII-FVT Accurizing Boyd’s Stock

We got our hands on a Savage MKII-FVT to use as a precision .22 trainer. The MKII is an awesome rifle with great accuracy right out of the box. It has a decent trigger, a good action, and comes with peep sights. The only issue we have with this MKII is the stock is pretty low quality and does not provide a stable platform nor a good comb height. A simple fix for that was purchasing the Boyd’s Pro Varmint stock. Upon receiving the stock we immediately went to make the switch on our MKII and ran into two very minor issues. One, Boyd’s does not make this stock to fit the peep sights so we would need to cut a small section out to allow the use of our sights. Two, the heavy barrel on our MKII was not quite free-floating in our new Boyd’s stock so we would need to take just a hair out of the barrel channel so it would be free-floating. We’ll discuss how to tell if your barrel is free-floating and how to make it free-floating if it is not already. So enough chat, on to the tutorial.

First: Tools needed

  • Dremel or file
  • Sandpaper (150 grit wood sandpaper)
  • Wooden Dowel
  • Dollar Bill
  • Black Spray Paint
  • Rifle Vise (optional)
  • Quick Clamp

Second: Let’s determine if our barrel is free-floating
This step is very straightforward, all you will require is your dollar bill. Just wrap the bill around the barrel and grab it from the top. Then slide the bill backward and forward the length of the barrel in between the stock’s forearm and the barrel. If you feel any snags, you’ll want to add some space in the channel. We’re going to explain how to easily complete this.

Third: Opening up the barrel channel
Wrap the sandpaper around your wooden dowel with the sanded side out and lay it into the stock’s barrel channel. Hold the sandpaper with one hand and the dowel with the other. Now just move the sandpaper and dowel back and forth through the barrel channel. Do this a little bit at a time and reinstall your barreled action every so often and do the dollar bill trick each time. Once the dollar bill no longer snags and is able to move freely between the barrel channel and barrel, your barrel is free-floating and you’re done with this step.

Now, if you don’t have peep sights on your MKII, you’re done. Just tape off the stock with plenty of blue painters tape and spray the barrel channel so it’s black again. If you do have peep sights you’ll want to continue to the next step.

Fourth: The sight relief cut
Set your action into your stock and mark where you are going to need to remove material. After you’ve got it laid out, bust out the Dremel or file or sandpaper and get to sanding. We had to cut down about .30inches. If you marked it out you should really need to do any fitment checks. But once you think you’re done you’ll want to reinstall your action with peep sights installed to verify fitment before painting. Once you’ve verified everything fits, all that left to do is paint and you’re done!

All in all, a pretty simple project. Free-floating the barrel will generally increase your accuracy and is worth the hour that it takes to make sure it is completely floated in the forearm.

cleaning rifle

Getting Clean

Often the question is raised “how often should I clean my weapon?” Even those who aren’t comfortable *asking* sure seem to perk up when it is asked.

The truth is, as with most questions I am asked, the answer is [drum roll…] It depends.

It depends on the finish, which in large part depends on when the firearm was manufactured.

Prior to the advent of the “tactical tupperware”, with it’s often derided as toy-like – because it was made of polymer – construction and feel, most guns were “blue” in the finish. Let’s talk a moment about bluing. The process of bluing is actually a controlled “rusting” of the firearm with a couple of different benefits. Bluing, with it’s “controlled” rust, would help protect the metal. Also, bluing would darken the barrel and reduce the glare which would be present with an unfinished or raw metal barrel. There is cold bluing and hot bluing. That is too in-depth for this discussion but suffice it to say, bluing is achieved by applying about 6 chemicals which are nasty enough on their own, though they have cool names like “sweet spirits of wine” and “blue vitriol”, I’m surprised the people involved in the process aren’t spitting out kids with hooves on their foreheads. There is also a process called “browning” for firearms. Those who enjoy extra credit, should research it a bit and give us a synopsis in the comments.

Blued firearms, while prettier, are higher maintenance. We can all remember grandpa showing us his Smith & Wesson revolver and quickly wiping our fingerprints off of it. Bottom line. Any time you fire a blued gun, a good and thorough cleaning is in order.

Over the last 35-odd years, blued guns have pretty much gone the way of the do-do bird. As I type this post, I struggle to think of a manufacturer turning out blued guns (it is late so if I missed any, please do point it out to me in comments, you’ll get to make fun of me, we’ll all laugh – it’ll be fun). Nowadays, our modern firearms have finished with cool names like “Tenifer” [if I ever have another daughter – that’s her name] and “Melonite”. Other options include hydro-dip and even a baked-on {and now air dry) ceramic-based coating called “Cerakote”.

These finishes are much lower maintenance but they are not maintenance-free. It is incumbent on all shooters to keep their weapons in working order. The all-too-common misconception is these finishes are somehow “self-cleaning”. They are much easier to clean and far more forgiving toward the lazy, the fact is, this tool may be called upon to defend your very life one day. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. At least field strip it and snake the bore.

Field stripping consists of removing the slide on an automatic. If you are shooting a revolver (as I often do) let’s face it, you’re a massive badass and have minions to clean your gun for you. Have *them* wipe it down and snake the bore.

To field strip an automatic:

  • Keep the firearm pointed in a SAFE direction
  • Remove the magazine
    Lock the slide to the rear
  • Visually and digitally inspect the chamber to make sure it’s clear
  • KEEP the firearm pointed in a safe direction while releasing the slide
  • Consult your owner’s manual or REPUTABLE online source to locate your model’s slide removal mechanism. On a Smith & Wesson M&P, for example, the slide removal lever is on the left side of the firearm, just in front of the trigger guard. Also on the left side of the slide is a half-moon shaped relief in the slide. While aligning the “half-moon” of the slide centered on the top front corner of the slide removal lever, rotate the slide removal lever clockwise until it is vertical. Once you have achieved this, release the slide. KEEP the firearm pointed in a safe direction and pull the trigger. The slide should now be free to slide off the front of the firearm.
  • Hold the slide in your non-dominate hand, upside down. The recoil spring should be visible.
  • Depress the recoil spring slightly from the rear and lift it up about ½ – ¾ of an inch and remove it from the slide.
  • At this point, grip the barrel by the lug, moving it forward slightly, you should then be able to lift the rear of the barrel (the chamber) and remove the barrel by pulling it toward the rear of the slide.
  • At this point, you can take an old toothbrush or gun cleaning brush along with a little cleaning solvent ( I actually use Simple Green on my modern automatics) to remove dirt and debris from the “rails” on the slide as well as the corresponding rails.
  • Use a bore snake or some sort of cloth patch to drag the bore of your firearm
  • Once you have removed the dirt and debris and cleaned the bore, apply a little gun oil to the outside of the barrel and apply a little to your bore snake or patch (it’s best practice to not shoot a dry bore).
  • Replace the barrel, then the recoil spring.
  • Reattach slide to your frame.