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 (ours was 7/8″, just 1/8″ larger that the diameter of the heavy barrel)
Black Spray Paint
Rifle Vise (optional, but will make life much easier. But having a bipod mounted will do just fine)
Quick Clamp (just used to lock vise to table)
Second: Let’s determine if our barrel is free floating.
This step is very simple, all you’ll need is your dollar bill. Just wrap the dollar bill around the barrel and hold at the top. Now slide the bill back and forth the length of the barrel in between the stock’s forearm and the barrel. If you feel any snags at all, you’ll want to add some room in the barrel channel. We’re going to show you how to easily complete this in the next step.
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 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.