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Big Game Rifle
Rifle Magazine
March - April 2003
Volume 35, Number 2
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 206
On the cover...
Savage offers an extensive lineup of bolt action rifles in short and long actions, including the package model (10/110GXP3) with scope, 16BSS with laminated stock and the 12FV with synthetic stock, blue barreled action and the revolutionary AccuTrigger.
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Savage AccuTrigger

It wasn’t until the early 1970s that I saw another Savage rifle, a Model 110 bolt-action .243 Winchester. It ultimately turned out to be the most accurate sporting rifle I have ever had the pleasure of working with in the field. Not only did it earn a good deal of pelt money (when coyote hides were worth something), but it won the same bet - twice.

A friend was ragging on about how his Model 600 Remington 6mm Remington had it all over the .243 Winchester. It was a good-natured jabbing, but during an outing for coyotes, as we set up next to a buckskin log (a deadfall with the bark rotted off), a coyote came running up an old logging road at what appeared to be at least 250 yards, possibly more. I told him to take the shot. He missed.

Never one to miss an opportunity to rub it in just a bit, I asked how he could possibly miss at what was easily point-blank range. Feeling the urge to really get his goat, I bragged that the Model 110 could hit a quarter at that range, never mind a coyote. He handed me a quarter and asked if I had $10.

Twenty minutes or so later, after finding a suitable place to spot the quarter, I laid my leather jacket over the log for a soft rest, braced my elbow on a broken limb, set the crosshairs of the Weaver 6x scope accordingly and tweaked the trigger. In an instant, the quarter was gone. We both walked down to see the evidence: if I actually hit the quarter or just hit the wood on the stump, causing the coin to fly off.

The quarter was lying in the road next to the stump with a dent in the side, not a hole, just a dent. Doug figured it was dumb luck, but I offered to go double or nothing. Back at the log, I launched another 75-grain hollowpoint at around 3,400 fps at the quarter. Again, it disappeared.

After another long walk down the road, we found the quarter literally buried in the soft pulp wood of the stump - neatly drilled almost dead center. After that word got out; don’t bet against the Savage 110 .243 Winchester.

Some 14 years after I acquired the Savage 110 .243 Winchester, I had the opportunity to try a Model 110B .30-06 with a brown laminated stock. The rifle was equipped with plastic open sights, which sort of offended my sense of dignity, so I removed them and mounted a Pentax 3-9x scope. I still own that rifle, and it routinely prints five shots with any reasonable handload in .6 inch or so - not occasionally, or now and then, but routinely.

We also own a Savage Model 116FCSAK Weather Warrior with the on-off muzzle brake. It’s a stainless outfit with synthetic stock that prints .300 Winchester Magnum factory loads or handloads around one inch or less, with the brake on or off. Savage calls the brake a “Shock Suppressor” and, quite frankly, I don’t like the noise they make when the ports     are open, so they are turned off in the field and opened to help reduce recoil during longer shooting sessions at the bench. Either way, it’s on the rifle, and I wanted to use it enough to have an educated opinion. After seven years, I’m still of the opinion that I don’t like conventional muzzle brakes, but Savage went one up on everybody by allowing the user to turn it off.

The other Savage bolt action that warrants space in the closet is what the factory calls a “Youth” rifle. In reality it is a bobbed off Model 110 .223 Remington with a slender 20-inch barrel and somewhat shortened stock (length of pull). It’s Roberta’s varmint rifle - and it shoots right along with the best of the specialized varmint rigs with factory fodder or handloads. Moreover, it is light enough to lug around all day, and it fits her vertically challenged stature (that’s political speak for “short”). I was a bit hesitant when we ordered it but didn’t hesitate to pay the price when we found out it could hit prairie dogs as far out as she wants to shoot.

Over the last few months, I have had the privilege of examining a couple other Savage bolt rifles. One is still a prototype, and I can’t say anything about it, except that I like it. The other is a Model 12 (short action) .22-250 Remington with a synthetic stock and blue barreled action. The barrel is what most folks would call a varmint weight or bull. Either way, it’s listed in the catalog as a 12FV Tactic with a 26-inch barrel.

The unique feature on this particular rifle is the new AccuTrigger. You have probably seen the advertisements for this feature by now, but while ad pages are full of wonderful new and innovative gadgets for hunters and shooters, I would suggest folks pay strict attention to the AccuTrigger. It is, without a doubt, the most innovative and useful advance in “triggernometry” in my lifetime - which is fast approaching a whole passel of lustrums.

The AccuTrigger is unique for at least two reasons. First, you can set it anywhere from 1.5 to 6 pounds, and it won’t go off accidentally - not even if you throw it against a brick wall or drop it off a tall building with a loaded chamber. (This is not, however, an invitation to leave a loaded round in the chamber while the rifle is not in actual use.)

Second, it is, in fact, easily adjusted by the user. No lawyers are involved.

In short, the Savage AccuTrigger is the answer for all you shooters who continue to gripe about the plague of lawyers who have come to dictate design parameters to rifle manufacturers - not that manufacturers don’t have legitimate concerns about law suits that run from ridiculous to idiotic. But some of those folks who yell the loudest might well be the same folks who sue the rifle manufacturer over their own dumb behavior. (One of the most experienced rifle shooters I have come to know over the years wound up suing a manufacturer because of his stupid actions, so I know it happens.)

This leads one to wonder why someone else in this industry didn’t come up with a way to get around lawyers’ restrictions. After all, I’ve heard gripes from just about everyone about lousy trigger pulls that require a visit to the gunsmith before the outfit is even remotely considered field worthy. Hummm.

This is why the Savage AccuTrigger is so interesting. Ron Coburn (president of Savage Arms) apparently paid attention. Instead of griping about our lawyer-infested society, he just asked the design engineers to figure a way around the objections.

When Brian Herrick (vice president of marketing and sales) called several months back to ask if I would look at the new trigger “device,” he outlined Coburn’s challenge - that the trigger be user adjustable from 1.5 to 6 pounds, completely safe with no danger of accidental discharge and crisp with no creep.

When the rifle arrived, it would be fair to say I was taken completely by surprise. It is not often that some manufacturer produces a product that lives up to all my expectations, and then some. Then, too, Brian advised that the “device” was not yet (at that time) released to the public, so I sat on it for several months - which allowed time to thoroughly evaluate it and amend my opinion, if necessary.

After using the AccuTrigger for some months now, I’m of the opinion that it is the most practical lawyer-proof trigger ever offered on a sporting rifle. I’m told, however, that it is only available on target-grade or varmint-type rifles such as the Tactic on hand. If demand warrants, the AccuTrigger might be made available on standard hunting models later. For now, at least, varmint or prairie dog shooters should be in hog heaven with that 1.5-pound creepless trigger. While it may appear a bit brash, it would be safe to say that Savage just put every other sporting rifle trigger in the “also ran” category.

Kudus to the folks at Savage, Ron and Brian in particular, along with the engineers, for finding a useful solution to a problem that most folks seemed content to just gripe about.

Awesome Art
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