|March - April 2003
Volume 35, Number
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.
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
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
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
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.