Homemade Savage Action Holder

I made an action holder for conveniently swapping barrels at home or at the range out of hard wood. (I think it was maple scraps left over from some machinery shoring.) The holder works simialr to barrel blocks, squeezing the front of the action between two peices of wood. The action is held in place with long stock bedding screws (availabe from Brownells or just cut the heads off long 1/2-28 bolts). Furniture hardware (1/4-20 threaded inserts and 1/4-20 threaded rod) is used to compress two halves of a block drilled with a 1-1/4 hole saw.

Note that this is used for swapping barrels on a switchbarel rifle. Getting a factory barrel off the first time may require either barrel blocks or beefer version of this action holder mounted in a large vise to get the holding power needed.


Drill a 1-1/4 inch hole (with a hole saw) in a piece of hardware at least 1-3/4 inch thick. Then cut it it to form the two holder halves. Mount half (the larger if you didn't cut evenly) onto a pair of boards that are set up so that when the action is clamped, the trigger clears the bottom board. The bottom board shold be long enough to clamp to a table or bench..

Once the pieces comprising the bottom of the action holder are made up, drill 5/16 inch holes for the action bedding screws. If you have both long and short actions, you can use the same hole for the front screw, and drill two holes for the rear screws.

When you locate the holes for the front action screw, either set it up for the recoil lug to be flush with the piece of hardwood or, (as at the right) just recessed. If its recessed you will have to dremel or chisel out a recess. The recess for the lugwill help to locate the recoil lug when you are putting on barrels. In order to help to locate the recoil lug, and also provide some holding power when pulling off barrels, I added two nails with the heads cut off to help keep the action from turning.

Here are the action bedding screws installed on an action. The action is slipped into place with the holes you just drilled locating the action as needed.

Prepare the top piece by chiseling out a recess for the scope bases and drilling holes for the threaded rod and wing nuts that will be used to provide the compressing force to hold the action in place. Drill matching holes in the bottom board and install from the reverse side threaded inserts.

The last item to fabricate is a steel bar drilled to match the holes in the top piece. This is so when you tighten the wing nuts on the threaded rods compression force is transfered from the steel bar to the top wooden block. Otherwise the block will break in the middle from the forces applied to the side.

Here the action is held in place ready for a SSS or Wheeler barrel nut wrench to be used to loosen the barrel nut. The wing nuts should be made as tight as possible. What you want is the friction of the blocks to provide all or most of the holding powere - not the action bedding screws and definelty not the sight base! (It probably is okay if the nails against the recoil lugs provide some holding force.)

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