Rear Gass Baffle. What is that? Well its part number 28 on the chart bellow and I absolutely hate this thing. This article is why I hate it and how to at least minimize the problems it creates.
First it is an extra part that can break. This would not be a problem but it could really be eliminated entirely. Since its two claimed tasks can easily be performed in other ways and with simpler components I think it should have never been put in the design in the first place.
My second big biff with it is that it adds resistance to the rotation of the bolt. Making bolt lift more difficult. At the end of the article. I will talk about how to fix some of these, or at least minimize it.
Now Savage calls it a rear gas baffle. Another-words if the rifle were to have a catastrophic failure such as a ruptured case or blown primer it would block gas coming out of the receiver. This is stupid though. Gas escaping the rifle is always going to take the shortest rout. The shortest one being the loading and ejecting port of the rifle. I am sure there was some engineer that thought they were really smart when they put the Rear Gas Baffle in there. By the way I do not think they were at all neuron saturated.
The second thing it does is so provide a ramp that the bolt handle rides on and is forced backwards to eject a round. This is called Primary Extraction for short. Again why they did not simply build the ramp into the action itself is beyond me. I know the Savage Axis does have its Primary Extraction ramp built into the receiver. Perhaps they learned. By the way building the ramp into the gun would have made it easier to manufacture too.
Now this Rear Gas Baffle is held to the bolt body by a bearing. In some of the older designs they actually used an Allen screw to press the ball against the bolt body. This is what lead to this article. I was working on a customers bolt that had terrible bolt lift. It was well over 12lbs and even with my bolt lift kit in it it was still well over 10lbs. Re-liftng the bolt while it was still cocked was a hard experience requiring more than 3lbs of effort. I knew something was not right.
Here is what I found. The only thing preventing the rotation of the bolt was the Rear Gas Baffle. Trying to spin it on the bolt body was itself very difficult. I took an Allen wrench to the retaining screw and loosened it ever so slightly. Instantly the bolt was better. Bolt lift was down to just 4lbs. A huge improvement over the 12lbs that it once was.
Only older Savages have this Allen screw in the Rear Gas Baffle. The newer ones have a dual bearing design with a spring inside. Most of them are ok but really it should just hold the baffle in place. I put a video down bellow of the bolt after the work. Before this I had to really grip the bolt handle hard and even brace the rifle to cock it before.
Another issue that sometimes harms the performance of your bolt and make bolt lift a wrestling match, would be a bur on the inside edges of the Rear Gas Baffle. I mainly find this on newer models but it is pretty constant. It is a pretty easy fix. I nearly clamp it up in soft jaws. With a file I simply remove the bur. One side is usually worst than the other but do both sides. This has sometimes help alleviate the issue and in almost all cases takes a few ounces off the bolt lift. Considering how easy it is to do I now do it to ever one that comes through my shop.
One last treatment for the Gas Baffle is to take both ball bearings out and shorten the spring. This though is tricky and I do not recommend it. First time I tried I lost all the parts and had to source some new ones. It is something though that I am going to add on to the entire process soon.