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I’m jumping right into this project by starting with the zero MOA Picatinny rail from EGW (Evolution Gun Works). The rifle itself is a Savage model B22 F, SKU 70240, AKA, the “wrong-handed” model. It’s from the newer B series of rimfire rifles, with the obvious differentiator here being the bolt installed on the wrong side. By that, I mean the left side. Savage offers the largest selection of left-handed bolt-action rifles that I am aware of. Everything from rimfires to heavy-hitting centerfires. It’s an impressive selection of rifles that seems huge. Until you try to find one in a store, or online. After signing up for probably a couple dozen alerts from different local and online retailers, one finally showed up. The wait time was about four months, but to be fair, I started looking before the holidays, when most of the 2022 stock was sold out.
The backstory to the project
Like many other companies, my (former) employer sent everyone home during Covid. So the only time I saw my team in person was when we met for tacos, or went shooting. When I got laid off last year, that tapered off quite a bit, as a lot of my team took that as a sign to bail out of that sinking ship. Over time, only one of my former team members met with me regularly. We’d go shooting in the morning, then stop for Mexican food before heading home. Pretty much every weekend from April until whenever it got too cold to shoot, that was part of my routine.
While my friend certainly enjoyed shooting all the different firearms I’ve built or reviewed, there was one detail that bothered me. He’s a lefty. A southpaw. Wrong-handed. He had to learn to shoot right or left-handed in the military, but never with a left-handed rifle. And besides being a veteran, he’s had a few hardships in his life. But he’s always been there to lend an ear, and just be a generally supportive friend. Exactly the sort of person who deserves to be (somewhat) surprised with a semi-custom left-handed rifle. So here we are.
First on the agenda, optics
He knows the rifle has been purchased, but he’s never seen it, let alone handled it. So he doesn’t really know what to expect. While the goal is to make a nice all-around shooter, we currently shoot a lot of steel targets, a KYL rack, and the occasional paper target for groups. Not knowing how accurate this rifle actually is, I dug through my scope drawer and looked for something suitable for this application. For now, that’s a Vortex Crossfire II 6-18×44. I have some better glass, but with the weather being what it is lately, I wanted a scope with parallax down to as close as 25 yards. This way he’ll at least get to use it at the indoor range until things warm up.
Installing the EGW 0 MOA Picatinny rail
I chose EGW because they’re American-made, high-quality, and I definitely prefer a single piece for the mount over the two little OEM bases. They’re probably just fine, but this mount removes any concerns about alignment. And I am all about eliminating variables when it comes to shooting. The EGW Picatinny rail is also ambidextrous, so it works with right or left-bolt guns. I selected the 0 MOA over the 20 MOA option, as this rifle is unlikely to see much action beyond 100 yards. Note that both 0 and 20 MOA options are priced at $39.99. With the rifle cleared (and no bolt or magazine installed) I removed the factory bases and wiped down the little oil that I found under them.
With the Savage bases out of the way, I proceeded to install the EGW Picatinny rail. The package included five (there’s a spare in there) #6-48 x 1/4 screws and the T-10 bit required for installation. All I had to supply was the tiniest amount of blue thread lock and my trusty FAT Wrench. Alternating screws, I snugged them down to the recommended 20 in/lbs. Instead of dealing with the fixed distance of the OEM bases, I now have 5.882″ of rail space, standing 0.4″ off the receiver. The matte black Type II anodizing matches the receiver and barrel finish perfectly, making this look almost factory-installed. And the domestically-sourced 6061 T6 aluminum only adds 2 ounces.
It’s so obvious, but I still screwed up mounting the scope the first time
It’s not really difficult to install a scope. All it takes is a level, a torque wrench, and some patience. So I snugged down the bottoms of the rings, leveled the scope, and proceeded to carefully torque the rings. As I was finishing up, I realized that the little knobs for securing the rings to the rail were on the left side. Which is how I have installed them on every scope I have installed in my lifetime. Always on the left, so the rear one doesn’t interfere with a bolt or charging handle. Except this time, I was working on a lefty rifle. So off with the rings, and I got to start all over again. Not a big deal, as I find the tinkering to be relaxing. Just felt like a rookie error. A quick 25-yard zero with my laser, and it should be on paper for its first outing.
A bit more about EGW
EGW has been around since 1991, producing precision firearms parts and accessories. The original shop was just 1,600 square feet, and had four manual machines. Their latest location is 23,000 square feet, and includes a dozen CNC machines. They’re a supplier to many OEMs, thanks to their use of high-quality materials, and staff with decades of experience. For competition, hunting, law enforcement, and defensive shooters, they have been the go-to for individuals and major manufacturers.
In addition to scope rails, Evolution Gun Works manufactures scope rings, red dot mounts, gunsmithing tools, case gauges, as well as some rifle and pistol parts. Their Keystone Series of rings are excellent quality and priced quite fairly. Which makes it worth noting that if you combine the rail with a set of Keystone Series rings, you automatically get 10% off the rings, and free two-day shipping. I’m not terribly patient when it comes to new projects, so this is definitely appreciated.
With the EGW Picatinny rail in place, and the scope mounted, this project is mostly done, until we see where else we can upgrade it. I took a few minutes to adjust the AccuTrigger for a slightly lighter pull. As long as I had the time, I figured I’d polish up the bolt a bit too. Another dig through my box of spares turned up a usable bipod as well. I’ll get that installed before our first range trip. Pretty excited to hand this over and see the reaction on my friend’s face. And then it’s just a matter of the weather cooperating so we can see how it shoots.
I’d like to thank Evolution Gun Works for providing their Picatinny base for this project. It’s a solid, American-made mount, and I am certain it will contribute to the accuracy of this rifle. To check it out, or see the rest of the precision-machined products offered by EGW, head over to the EGW website.