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The Original Silver Bullet
Rifle Magazine
March - April 2002
Volume 34, Number 2
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 200
On the cover...
The CZ Model 550 Prestige .30-06 with a Bushnell 3-9x scope. Photo by Stan Trzoniec.
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Product Tests

Savage Mark II-LV Rimfire Sporter .22 LR

This Savage model was manufactured in its Canadian plant. Canadians must still take pride in their work because the rifle is well made and carefully finished. There are no unsightly gaps between stock and barreled action. All metal surfaces, including those surrounding the countersunk muzzle, were carefully polished before blueing.

Whether shooting over a rest or from a field position, the stock is blessed with very little drop and is extremely comfortable. Laminated stocks always bring mixed reactions: Some people like them; others don’t. Granted, they tend to be markedly heavier than either a wooden or synthetic stock of the same dimensions. Even so, in my eyes, their pluses outnumber their minuses. Immune to swelling or shrinking, they’re indifferent to climate and darned near indestructible.

Too bad Savage didn’t install a couple of sling swivel studs in that stock though. Anyone intending to tote one of these muzzle-heavy rigs afield will be well advised to add them; a carrying sling will make life a lot more enjoyable.

This is no kid’s rifle. Thanks to the hefty stock and bull barrel, the Mark II’s weight totaled a few ounces over 7 pounds once a Leupold Compact 4x scope and a set of Weaver mounts were installed.

Like all rimfires, the Savage was choosy about its ammunition. It showed a definite preference for Winchester’s Power Points, grouping five-round strings from 1.0 to 1.2 inches at 100 yards, from the bench. Remington’s Subsonic cartridges came in a close second, huddling from 1.1 to 1.6 inches at the same distance. CCI’s strings spanned 1.7 to 2.3 inches.

Comparing the Savage sporter’s performance on target with that of other rimfire hunting rifles that have passed through my hands over the years, I found it pretty impressive. Few out-of-the-box .22s did as well. Almost any currently produced .22 sporter can deliver some pretty impressive scores once it is fed ammunition it likes. Although the Savage showed preferences for certain brands over others, as expected, its largest groups would have been accurate enough to take out a bunny or even a squirrel at 100 yards.

Its stiff, beefy barrel probably deserves much of the credit for those near-MOA groups. Too bad my supply of match ammunition has been depleted. It would have been interesting to see what the Savage could have done with some.

Even so, most of the groups fired would probably have been a shade tighter had the Savage’s trigger been easier to control. For an untuned factory trigger, it really isn’t too bad. According to the Lyman trigger pull gauge, 10 readings registered pull weights ranging from 3 pounds, 10 ounces to 4 pounds, 9 ounces.

A couple of rough spots can be felt as pressure is applied against the trigger and it begins to move. Consequently, rearward movement is a bit jerky no matter how gently finger pressure is increased. Sear release is surprisingly crisp though. It probably wouldn’t take a lot of gunsmithing to hone that pull. In fact, sending a few hundred more rounds downrange might help trigger assembly parts wear in considerably. That trigger seemed noticeably easier to manage at the end of the firing tests than it had been when the first rounds hissed downrange. Of course, that might have been due to the fact I had unconsciously become accustomed to the trigger’s peculiarities and learned to accommodate them.

The bolt was easy to manipulate, none of that stiff, just-assembled stubbornness; so slick, it felt as though it were operating in an oil bath. Wonder how those Canadians did that?

Feeding and extraction were positive and malfunction-free too. In fact, it proved easy to slip five rounds in the magazine, something I can’t say about every .22 I’ve tried.

Savage’s Mark II-LV is a quality rimfire sporter with a lifetime’s worth of service and pleasure built into it. - Al Miller

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