I walked into a pawn shop the other day and talked to the owner. “What have you got that I cant live without”? I asked. He knows that I’m always looking for a good deal on a rifle to make into something else.
He showed me a relatively new Stevens Model 200. I’ll admit, I’ve never messed with a Stevens, knowing it to be made by Savage as one of their bottom line guns. It looked brand new and he told me that it had issues and that he just didn’t want to mess with it. The original owner had fired less than a box of .223 through it and had extraction problems. That was all that he could tell me about the gun. So, I took a gamble on it and gave him 200 bucks for it. It did look new after all and I had hoped that the issues with extraction were fixable.
As it turned out, when I got it home all it lacked was the small ball and the extractor. I went to Midway USA on the net and soon ordered a couple of each. Total fix for the gun was around 12 bucks. I shot it, every thing worked perfectly as designed, and I had another bolt action rifle that I really didn’t need but Hey…it was cheap.
I had just had a run of Green Mountain 1 in 8 twist .30 caliber barrels done for me by a local tool and die shop. He built them on a CNC lathe using the Green Mountain blanks that I gave him and he built them to my specs. I’d had a hard time finding a 1/8 twist barrel in a 16″ or 16.5″ length that was threaded for a suppressor so I had a half dozen made up. I didn’t chamber them, thinking that a 1/8 twist for subsonic projectiles in a .308 rifle would be better for the heavier bullets. Having several .308 rifles. I knew that they refused to stabilize any bullet over 180 grains as subsonic speeds. They were just too long to be pushed slow and they would hit the target sideways at 25 yards, leaving a perfect profile of the bullet on the paper…if it even hit the papers.
So, I grabbed one of those barrels and swapped it out with the thin .223e barrel that came on the gun.
One thing that I have learned over the years is that thin barreled guns do not like heavy suppressors on them. The barrel whip is just too much. Knowing that, I had the barrels produced with a varmint profile. When shooting suppressors on rifles, the heavier the barrel is the more accuracy you will see.
I swapped out the barrel, head spaced it and shot it with some off the shelf Remington Subsonic, 220 grain OTM. I’m not really a fan of this ammo, as it is louder than most of my reloads but since I had a case of it laying around, I shot a box of it through the gun with a suppressor on it just to see how it did. I might add that I had to set the stock up in the milling machine and take a bit out of the barrel channel as the varmint weight barrel was to big to fit properly.
I put a Nikon BDC scope on it and off I went.
Once it was sighted in, I was pleasantly surprised. The gun is accurate and worked flawlessly. Here a picture of the rather simple looking rifle and then a picture of one of the groups. There are 8 shots in that group. That’s about all I can expect with the setup I used, I think a rear sandbag would have tightened it up some but unfortunately for me my dog decided that that nice leather bag that I left laying on my bench would be just the thing to chew on and he shredded it. Completely.
Here it is dressed up wearing a Boyds stock. It looks much better and feels much better.