feature By: John Haviland | May, 18
Savage was sold to ATK in 2013, which eventually split off its shooting businesses into a separate company called Vista Outdoor. Savage’s engineering team remains in place and recently has further improved the Model 110 with a fresh look and the new AccuFit system that enables shooters to adjust length of pull (LOP) and comb height.
“The conversation started with style and aesthetics,” said Beth Shimanski, Savage’s senior marketing manager. “Everyone agreed we needed to freshen up the Model 110. As we got further into the process, however, we started thinking a lot more about individual shooters – what their unique needs are and what drives them to ultimately go to a gunsmith. That’s when we decided to really raise the bar and make the gun fit better too, and the AccuFit system was born.”
The polymer stock’s new look includes rubber panels on the forearm and grip for a sure grasp, and recessed bars on the forearm and front of the grip for ornamental flair. The forearm and grip are also slimmer. The grip is 45⁄8 inches in circumference, which is about an inch slimmer than grips on many factory rifles.
The AccuFit system is comprised of five risers that adjust comb height in 1⁄8-inch increments, and four inserts that set LOP from 12.5 to 13.5 inches. A Phillips screwdriver is the only tool required to detach and attach the recoil pad.
The AccuFit system I used was on a Savage Model 110 Storm .30-06. A Bushnell Engage 4-16x 44mm scope sat fairly high on the rifle. The lowest of the five comb risers came installed on the stock. I almost had to place the bottom of my jaw on the comb for my eye to line up behind the Engage scope.
Changing comb risers required unscrewing the recoil pad, sliding the installed riser to the rear and pulling it up to remove it. The second-highest riser was still too low. The third-highest riser was about even with the centerline of the bore and positioned my eye just right behind the scope with my head erect and cheek pressed on the comb. Three hooks on each side of the riser lock it on the top of the buttstock.
The risers with higher combs have a forward slant and steeply drop off about 1.25 inches at the nose of the comb. That space is required to remove the rifle’s bolt.
The comb risers are rather narrow. I would rather they were as wide as the buttstock and rounded; the increased width would provide even more cheek contact to steady the rifle. A thick comb also allows using a slightly lower comb. With the third riser in place, drop at the heel of the stock is .75 inch. That accentuates muzzle jump on a hard-kicking rifle and bangs the comb up against the cheek.
Instructions for the AccuFit system state: “Length of pull is measured from the inner elbow to the middle of the trigger.” I measured a distance of 14.5 inches from my inner elbow to the pad on the tip of my index finger, bent like it would be pulling a trigger. That LOP was much too long for me.
The only way to determine correct LOP is to shoulder a rifle and note how it fits. The distance between your trigger-hand thumb and nose should be sufficient to prevent a punch in the nose during recoil, but not so far that it is difficult to easily swing the rifle. Additionally, the eye should be positioned the correct distance behind a scope for an instant full view through a scope.
The AccuFit system’s recoil pad is spongy but did not bottom out from the recoil of a .30-06. The pad certainly softened the recoil from .30-06 cartridges firing 180-grain bullets. With only the recoil pad installed on the stock, LOP was 12.5 inches. LOP increased to 12.75 inches with the narrowest spacer inserted between the recoil pad and stock. Placing the ever-thicker inserts one at a time between the recoil pad and stock increased LOP to 13.0, 13.25 and 13.5 inches. The 13.5-inch LOP was just right.
That LOP and the fairly high comb riser provided a solid hold on the rifle. “A form-fitting rifle offers more benefits than feeling good when you throw it up to your shoulder,” Shimanski said. “The right length of pull and comb height give you a solid cheek-to-stock connection, proper eye relief and comfortable, personalized fit – which collectively add up to improved, repeatable shooting form.”
Adding more than one insert would lengthen LOP even more, out to 15 inches for tall and long-armed shooters. However, instructions for the AccuFit system state: “We do not recommend installing more than one length of pull insert into your stock.” No reason is provided, but perhaps several inserts together create a weak link. Screw lengths of 1¼ , 1½ , 13⁄4 and 2 inches are provided to attach the recoil pad and correct spacers to the stock.
While target shooters compulsively tweak their rifles on the range, Shimanski says far fewer refinements are required in the hunting field. “Once the rifle is set, you shouldn’t have to make changes for different shooting positions and conditions,” she said. “But it is easy to make seasonal adjustments as needed – such as shortening the stock to accommodate wearing bulkier clothing during cold-weather hunts.”
Shimanski pointed out that Savage considered concerns not addressed by rifles with adjustable combs. “For example, some rifles have external knobs for adjusting the cheekpiece,” she said. “But these can snag on brush and clothing. [The] AccuFit was built to be snag-free, so it won’t hang up, even if you’re belly crawling through the grass.”
I was ready to shoot the Savage Storm rifle with the correct comb riser and LOP spacer installed. The rifle’s AccuRelease blade in the middle of the trigger required a half pound of finger pressure to lift the block and clear the way to release the sear. The owner’s manual did not state the adjustment range of the AccuTrigger’s final pull weights. Turning the return spring tight with the supplied tool resulted in a maximum pull weight of 4.5 pounds. The trigger came set with a pull of 3.25 pounds, and that was as light as it could be adjusted by turning the trigger return spring as loose as it would turn. That is a good pull weight for a hunting rifle, plus there was no creep or overtravel.
The Storm rifle with the Accu-Fit System is a new rendition of Savage’s Weather Warrior rifle with all stainless steel metal, except the sling swivel studs and the frame of the detachable magazine. The imbedded aluminum frame inside the AccuStock made the forearm very stiff, and it took quite a bit of hand pressure on the forearm tip to even slightly bend the stock.
Supported on a bench, the rifle shot five factory .30-06 loads relatively well at 100-yard targets. Velocity of three of the five .30-06 loads slightly exceeded the velocity listed on the boxes, which is unusual from a rifle with a 22-inch barrel.
My son shot Federal 150-grain Non-Typical Whitetail loads through the rifle from various positions at targets at 100 yards. Thomas shot four bullets in 2.5 inches while sitting with the rifle supported on a tripod. Offhand, he shot four bullets that spanned 6 inches. He shot three bullets in 3 inches and then five bullets in 4.5 inches while standing with the rifle propped against a post.
The following day, snow blew sideways on a hard, cold wind out of the east. Thomas clamped a Harris bipod to the Savage’s front swivel stud to shoot prone at 200 yards. The .30-06 load used consisted of Berger 150-grain FB Target bullets and 57.0 grains of IMR-4451 powder.
I told him to let his old man take a turn. I shot four bullets that later measured 2.65 inches. “Beat that,” I said. Thomas loaded the magazine, pulled the rifle up tight and fired four bullets in a 1.95-inch group. A smirk of a smile appeared on his face.
Never one to leave the range with unfired ammunition, he continued shooting from prone at 12-inch and 6-inch diameter steel plates at 300 yards. Through a spotting scope I watched his first four bullets hit the exact center of the larger plate. The smaller plate was hit one bullet after another, like he was ringing a bell.
Thomas liked the Model 110 Storm’s stainless steel metal and polymer stock. He thought it would stand up well to the weather around his home in remote Alaska, where rain and snow always blow sideways. The rifle’s AccuFit system, together with its AccuTrigger and AccuStock products, make the rifle ready right out of the box for anywhere hunters walk.
The AccuFit system is available on Savage’s revamped Model 110 Big Game, Specialty and Trophy series rifles in a variety of finishes and feature packages. Depending on the model, 21 cartridges are available, from the .204 Ruger to the .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum.