CHP 10 Rifle building 101

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Well-Known Member
Oct 4, 2006
In previous chapters I?ve talked a lot about loads and ideas to consider when one chooses a rifle. Those things ranged from topics as varied as caliber selection to recoil pad selection. In this chapter we will move more toward the hardware of the process.

I will attempt to document the construction of a custom rifle. This particular rifle will be made on a pre-acc.-trigger, blued, Savage 10ML action. I have chosen to start with a 45 caliber barrel on a John Okubu stock. I will break the construction into two parts the action, and the stock.

If you take a look at the image that follows this paragraph you?ll see the basic disassembled action parts ready to begin the project. Every metal part on the rifle is represented in this picture except for the trigger guard, trigger guard screws, and the sling swivels. Some of the parts may seem a bit different because this rifle will use a considerable amount of custom parts. The trigger is a Timney model the recoil lug is a SSS machined flat, and the breech plug is my own design but it is hard to see in the picture.

I start the process by taking every part off the action for a reason. I want the receiver, barrel nut, and recoil lug assembly to fasten together as true as possible. To get the flattest possible fit I clean the receiver of parts where it can be chucked up in a lathe and faced. I also take the barrel nut and flatten the face as well. This takes a bit more energy because the nut can?t be chucked in the lathe. So a flat machining surface and lapping compound are required to get the proper fit.

You might have noticed a breech plug in the image. This is not a requirement but it can aid in the process. So as seen here I?m about half way finished with a custom breech plug assembly. Now if your going to have a custom plug you have to have a custom plug chamber. That means more machining to the barrel but again I think it?s worth the effort. Because I make the plug I can choose the liner, dimensions, and material the plug is made from. This allows me to control important items such as liner life, liner diameter, plug length, and primer position. All of these items can effect how the rifle shoots.

The end result of the machining process is shown in the image below. It is evident the surfaces of the parts are going to mate in perfect alignment.

If you are going to go to all the trouble to surface the receiver and nut it makes no sense to use the standard stamped recoil lug. Even though it?s going to be more trouble to finish a stainless part black it?s worth the trouble in the end result when we start to shoot targets. You can compare a standard lug to the custom model in the image below. In this case bigger is better. Flatter is better as well.

In the stage of construction shown I?m not quite ready to assemble the rifle. Two steps have to take place first. I have to clean and polish the parts for finishing. Then the exposed pieces must undergo a finishing process. It can be Teflon, bluing, or other finish but this rifle will receive ?Gun Coat?. If you noticed all the parts are blued that?s because I cold blue so I can store the rifle and not worry about any part weathering, however normally I would chose a finish that matches the purpose of the rifle or customer?s preference.

In a short time I will add to this chapter with how the rifle look and shoots. I will also give some details on the stock. It won?t be anything not seen before but I think it will be a match to the rifle?s appearance.


Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2005
Wow, excellent information as always. I hope you realize that the line at your door will get longer..


New Member
Dec 3, 2020
Hello all. I'm new to this forum and first of all I just wanted to say hi.

I'm a long-time fan of smokeless muzzle-loaders, and I have a couple Savage 10ML-II rifles. To me, it makes perfect sense to go with smokeless powders in modern ML.

I just bought a custom smokeless ML, and I was searching for more info about its components, and I came across this thread. I realize the thread is 13 years old and that the OP hasn't been on this site since shortly after he posted this info. Some people seem to find posting to old threads offensive - I hope you all don't. I see it as a good way to good info alive.

Anyway, based on the OP's description of the rifle he built, I'd say the odds are quite good that the rifle I purchased is the same rifle. The pictures in the thread have gone stale, so I can't tell for sure.

I've been shooting .452 300 grain Hornady XTP bullets with sabots in the .50 Savages, as well as in my Rem 700MLs. This rifle being .45 cal, I'm not sure if I should be getting some .40? cal bullets and using them with sabots, or if I should just use the same .452 bullets in this rifle. The latter would probably be better just from a logistics POV, just because I have a large qty of the .452 bullets, as well as a fair amount of .458 bullets. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but if I used .452 bullets, would I use regular ML patches with them? I suppose the important thing is to start small and work up in diameter, so I don't end up with a bullet stuck in the middle of my barrel.

For powder, I have most of the powders recommended by Savage for their 10ML-II, but mostly I have found good results with 44.4 grains of 5744. Would that be a reasonable place to start with this rifle?

I haven't been able to get any useful info about loading & shooting the rifle from the seller, because he says he bought it 8 years ago, fired it once to make sure it worked, then put it away in his safe and never touched it again.

So, any tips on how to proceed with shooting this rifle would be appreciated. If OP Rick, RBinAR, is a known person or builder with a shop & is still around that anyone knows of, any info anyone has on contacting him would be helpful.
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Staff member
Global Moderator
Dec 24, 2009
RBinAR passed away many years ago. You may want to ask in the regular smokeless section and include pics of your rifle.


Well-Known Member
May 18, 2005
I think Steve White (sw or sew) on some sites could help you. He and RB talked often and lived in the same State, AR.