Saturday, April 10, 2010

Savage Rifles

Savage Arms company continues to innovate. They've introduced a model they call the Long Range Hunter, both in a short action and a long action. Several years ago, I bought my second son a rifle like this. It's a 7mm Remington Magnum, and at the time, Savage was calling it a varmint rifle. (Yeah, who hunts varmints with a 7 mag?). It's got a heavy barrel, a synthetic stock and that wonderful Accu-trigger. We found that with the proper handloads (it likes Nosler Ballistic Tips and IMR 4831 powder), it would routinely turn in groups that hover around a half-inch at 100 yards. Matt shot a lot of 3-shot cloverleaf groups with that rifle, all bullets touching the same hole.

Dave Petzal reviews the Long-Range Hunter and comes to the same conclusion I came to many years ago.
This is not a handsome rifle or a paragon of the rifle-maker’s art. It’s consistent with Savage’s philosophy of spending its time and effort on whatever will improve accuracy and not worrying a hell of a lot about looks. If I stuck with the best-shooting load for this rifle I would have a .500-inch gun. If I went to a custom smith with $3,000 I might get a rifle that would do .400, or even .350. Might. For an off-the-shelf factory rifle to shoot the way this one does, and for under $1,000, is nothing short of fantastic.
Dave's right, although a lot of us have been saying the same thing for years. Savage might not make attractive rifles, but they make accurate rifles. This for a suggested retail price of $934.00, it's a heck of a deal if you want a long range rifle. It comes in the standard calibers and in 6.5X284 Norma. It's a heck of a deal if you want to shoot something far, far, away.

On the other end of the spectrum, Savage is making an entry level rifle they call the Edge. It's a rifle for the beginning hunter, or the hunter on a budget. It uses a different receiver, and from what I've read, Savage took some bold steps when making this rifle. For example, the recoil lug is imbedded in the stock, rather than sandwiched between the barrel and receiver. With an MRRP at $329 dollars, the base rifle very inexpensive. I've paid more than that for used rifles on pawn-shop shelves. This new Savage Edge comes in all the standard calibers, from .223 Remington to .30-06. There's a caliber for any game you'd like to try.

What do you get from a rifle that costs so little? Jeff Quinn reviewed the rifle.
To those of you familiar with Savage rifles, you will know what I mean. For those who are new to Savage bolt guns, it means that this rifle is very accurate; a lot more accurate than a hunting rifle has to be. Several groups were fired that measured under one-half inch, but the five-eighths inch group shown was typical for the day. No groups measured in excess of the magical one-inch mark. I remember years ago when a typical hunting rifle took a lot of tuning and load development to shoot consistently under an inch at one hundred yards. Now, many rifles will do that well or better, if you are willing to spend the money for a quality rifle. This Savage Edge, with standard hunting ammo produces very good accuracy, with no special tuning nor working up tailored handloads. Right out of the box, it shoots like a Savage.
This rifle is what we've come to expect from Savage Arms. A low price point and excellent accuracy.

What more could a rifleman ask?


J said...

>What more could a rifleman ask?

One in 30 caliber with a 1 in 12 twist for cast bullets.

Old NFO said...

Savage IS a good rifle, and yep, most of them are ugly, but who cares??? They shoot like a dream!

JPG said...

Nice article, Dennis, and so true. Savage rifles are a classic example of the American ideal: What You See is What You Get. Several years back, I was taken with the idea of the all-around rifle, and the Cooper-spec'd .308 Scout concept seemed to be the way to go.

I SO wanted the Steyr version, but did some research before plunking down the (then) $2600 for the package. I spent a year in the process, but, long story short(er,) I ordered the Savage Scout. The furnished aperture sights are the best I've seen on a non-military rifle. I insalled a Leupold M8 Scout Scope, a third sling stud and a homemade, black web version of the Ching Sling. My rifle was produced before the Accu-Trigger was introduced, but the letoff was satisfactory.

Not near so stylish as the Steyr, no. In fact, downright homely. But the results validate the concept. With my Sierra 165 GameKings/4895 powder loads, it's no trick to get one-inch groups at 100 yards. Even with standard GI ammo, two inch clusters are easy. These are from a bench, sure. The real magic is in starting standing, rifle slung. On signal, even this creaky ol' guy can sling up, drop to sitting, and pop a Coke can on the 100 yard berm in under three seconds. This performance will take any venison I need to harvest. Give me time to find a field rest, or to go to prone, and prairie dogs within 200 yards are in serious jeopardy.

All for less than half the cost of the Austrian wundergewehr (?).

Anonymous said...

Just bought an edge in .223. While the barrel is very accurate well within 1 MOA, they bored the scope mount holes offline. Wasted a lot of ammo before I discovered why I couldn't even find the paper. Almost ruined a very nice scope trying to force it to overcompensate. Finally found windage andustable rings and will try those to compensate. Now that is incredibly sloppy workmanship. I don't care if they charge $11 for the rifle. Very disappointed in Savage !!!