A Revitalized 30-06
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A Revitalized 30-06

Copyright 2017 - Stephen Redgwell
My older Savage 110 chambered in 30-06
Shooters are always looking for the next greatest rifle or calibre. It's easy to forget that what we already own can be made better.  This is my latest improvement: a simple bolt handle switch.  No welding.  No time away at the gunsmith.  No expensive alterations.
Let's look at what we already know.  Any rifle is improved with two simple fixes. 
1.  A better trigger.  Replace it, if you have a rifle that did not come with an adjustable one from the factory. 
2.  A decent scope.  Most scopes over $250 will do the job on many calibres.  You don't always need a Leupold or Zeiss.  Especially for rifles that do not recoil much.
Time Marches On 
Thankfully, even inexpensive rifles come with adjustable triggers these days. 
While many older rifles could have their triggers adjusted, sometimes it was easier just to replace it.  I was pleased when Savage came out with the AccuTrigger in 2002 and forced the other rifle companies to improve their own triggers.  If you're not happy with the original manufacturer's offering though, there are aftermarket alternatives. Timney or Rifle Basix work fine for hunting applications.  Progress is good.
With decent glass and a crisp trigger, you are just about there when it comes to accuracy - even with plastic stocks and pot metal parts used in mechanically unstressed areas. 
The naysayers have to face facts: inexpensive doesn't always mean junk. While they weren't the only innovators, Savage was at the forefront when it came to barrel quality and ease of installation/removal. An example is their relatively new Axis rifle. It just flat out shoots! And they have that funky "not attached to the action" recoil lug, just like Tikkas!
Savage was a big influence on the other US companies. the old guard was dragged kicking and screaming into the new century. Since AccuTriggers arrived in 2002, Ruger, Remington, and others had to follow suit. 
It wasn't that many years ago when most shooters poo pooed Savages. They shook their heads, said they were lesser quality, and shot so-so groups.  Isn't it funny how the world has changed! 
That said, these aren't benchrest rifles. They aren't meant to be, but they easily deliver moa groups at 100 yards with little or no effort. Like it or not, we continue to see improved accuracy and cheaper prices.  How much farther they can go is totally dependent on technological progress - or the introduction of phasers.

You can see the older slotted bolt screw, holding the handle on.
Allen heads have been used for many years.

My Latest Improvement 
Bolt handles.  Most male shooters will agree that OEM bolt handles, regardless of manufacturer, are too slender and too short.  That can make them difficult to use in wet conditions or with gloves on.  Sometimes, even with no gloves on!  I have found that my fingers hit against the scopes of several rifles.  This 110 was the worst offender.
Ten years ago, I bought a larger bolt handle from Brownells, for a varmint rifle.  There weren't a lot of options then.  In most cases, bolt handles had to be welded on.  That was time and money gone. But things have changed. I recently replaced two Savage bolt handles - one on an Axis and the other on an older 110 - that were made by Glades Armory. They were reasonably priced and simple to install.  $55 and 10 minutes.
These bolt handles are larger and heavier than OEM. That's a plus.  When you are working the bolt - opening and closing the action - the increased size makes it easier to grasp and manipulate.  The extra weight adds to the positive feel when you are moving the handle.  It is easier to pull the bolt fully to the rear, and cripsly cycle it forward to chamber another round.  Much better than the factory ones!

OEM on the left. Glades Armory aftermarket on the right.

Now I consider three improvements on new rifles, before I replace the stock.  A new trigger.  A nice scope.  A bigger, heavier bolt handle.
You will be pleasantly surprised when you add one to your rifle.  This improvement is not expensive or time consuming.  It's a simple switch that takes a few minutes, instead of months away at the gunsmith.  It doesn't get much better than that!
Click on the link below to go to Glades 

Glades Armory

A picture of the action. 

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