This post describes a procedure for disassembling the bolt of a Savage Super Sporter Model 40 or 45 centerfire rifle.
But first, a little nature study. The summer of 2018 at ATOTT headquarters was very, very dry. Weather people called it a severe drought. Then in September it began to rain. Lots and lots! The moisture really woke up the fungus and scenes like the one in the picture popped up all over in lawns, meadows and open woods. This fairy ring had the largest mushroom bodies I had ever seen in such an arrangement. They looked like some kind of Amanita (Death Angel), so we did not have a meal of mushrooms and eggs. But they were fun to see and in a few days all were gone. They sleep in the ground and we don’t know when they will be back.
The Savage Super Sporter
I have written a couple of reviews of Savage Super Sporters, one a .30-06 Springfield and the other a .30-30 Winchester. They are sturdy, plain rifles from the beginning of the bolt action sporting era (ca. 1930) and they shoot well. Not many were sold, however, due to being a nonessential product offered during the Great Depression in America. The picture shows a Super Sporter in .30-06 Springfield. Lacking checkering and a rear mounted aperture sight it is identified as a Model 40 but that is not indicated on the gun.
Though scarce, there are enough of these old bangers around that some folks might benefit from information on the bolt. Especially since it is not a Mauser pattern bolt. Paul, a reader in southern California, found a good one on the used shelf and wrote me with a question about the procedure for disassembly of the bolt. I had to admit that, surprisingly, I had never taken an SS bolt apart but would do what I could to provide some guidance. It turned out to be a bit of a trial so I am posting some info on the procedure.
There are several reasons that one might want to disassemble a bolt.
• The firing pin is not operating freely due to corrosion or damage.
• The firing pin is broken.
• The main spring is weak or broken.
The Super Sporter bolt has two locking lugs at the rear and opposed extractor lugs at the front. The picture shows there are two pins that hold it together, one through the bolt sleeve retaining collar and one through the bolt sleeve cocking cam. It seemed that
removal of these two pins would free all of the pieces enough to drop a couple small ones on the floor and lose them. I chose to remove the pin in the retaining collar first (using a pin punch) and it sure ‘nuf loosened the retaining collar, bolt sleeve, and cocking piece.
The parts stayed together, however, so it was clear something else had to be done. Removing the middle pin through the bolt handle sleeve was the obvious answer and when I finally grabbed it with needle nose pliers it came right out and all the parts were freed. Everything seemed to be in good shape except maybe the main spring was a little short. Take a look at the parts picture. There are the two pins, of course, and then can you identify the bolt body, bolt sleeve with handle, bolt sleeve retaining collar, cocking piece, main spring, and firing pin? Good job.
Long as I had the bolt apart, I decided to order a mainspring to replace the original. It was a used one, of course, but it was a quarter inch longer than the original. Assembly is a bit more tense than disassembly but you can do it. Might need a shot of liquid tranquilizer, but no more than one. On second thought, forget that.
The pin in the bolt sleeve retaining collar goes in first. I used a pin punch to align the holes and a bit of jockeying gets the pin all the way through.
The second pin is the bugger because one must align the cocking piece, bolt body, and bolt sleeve cam slot to get it in. All against the pressure of the main spring. The pin should go into the cocking cam slot in the bolt sleeve in the fired position. Help is needed if you don’t have three hands. I used an adjustable clamp to hold the pieces with the spring in
place and then minor adjustment with a thin knife blade for final alignment that is just good enough. It works just fine, but if you can get the second pin inserted in ten minutes or less without profanity then you are a better gun tinkerer than I am.
Here is a picture of the reassembled SS bolt compared with the bolt of an Argentine Mauser.
Now, where’s that tranquilizer?