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In choosing bolt-action rifles, my first priority is excellent accuracy, with a preference for rifles that can put 3 to 5 bullets in one ragged hole at 100 yards. As it turns out, I am happy to give up all the cosmetics for accuracy, as I have done with the subject of this post.

My rifle shooting is usually limited to the occasional range session, firing on targets at 100- or 200 yards at my gun club, with one of two Savage left-hand bolt rifles: one in .308 and one in .223. This is the factory-supplied photo of the .308 version of the rifle found in the online catalog:

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Why Savage? Well, for one thing, they make a number of left-handed rifles in the USA. The really important reason, though, is the absolutely unreasonable accuracy that the newer Savage bolt rifles deliver: way beyond anything I expected.

The subject of this post is the Savage 10FLCP-K in .308 Winchester, which is a left-handed Model 10 bolt-action Police rifle with a muzzle brake. This rifle has the Savage AccuStock and AccuTrigger, and those are not just buzzwords.

The AccuStock is a synthetic stock that includes an embedded aluminum rail system that holds the action securely in place in three directions (vertically, laterally, and longitudinally). There is no need for bedding the barrel and action to the stock, and the barrel is completely floated: it does not contact the stock at all.

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The AccuTrigger is a crisp and clean adjustable 2-pound trigger, with a safety ("Accurelease") that prevents the trigger from releasing the sear if it is dropped. In concept, this is very much like the Glock trigger safety.

For much more on Savage accuracy technology, follow this link: Savage Arms. They have clearly thought this out.

Detachable 4-round Box Magazine: This is a handy feature for a Police rifle, it's a lot quicker to reload by snapping in a magazine instead of fumbling with four loose cartridges.

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Bolt Release: to field strip the rifle, remove the magazine, eject any cartridge(s), pull the bolt to the rear while depressing the trigger and the bolt release, and you are ready to clean the bore. This gives you easy access to clean the chamber and barrel from the breech, avoiding any contact with the barrel crown.

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Thumb Safety: There is a traditional on-off thumb safety located at the rear of the bolt for easy, foolproof access.

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Muzzle Brake: The introduction of a standard muzzle brake on this rifle makes a huge difference in my ability to enjoy shooting it. With the brake, there is some rearward movement of the rifle, but the sharpness of the recoil impulse is completely gone. There is one new sensation you get with this rifle: the smell of powder smoke, because the brake directs gases back toward the shooter in what I will call a mild gust. It is odd, at first, but not unpleasant.

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Sight Base: There are no iron sights on this rifle: it's made for use with a scope. Shopping around, I discovered excellent Picatinny rail mounting bases from Ken Farrell, which fit the threaded mounting holes on the receiver.

Scope: Leupold FX-3 12x40mm Adjustable Objective Target scope with Full Duplex reticle and Target Turrets, held in place with Burris XTR™ scope rings that clamp to the rail.

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Blackhawk Cheek Pad: The standard Savage stock did not give me a good head position for aligning my eye with the scope, so I needed to either (a) change the stock, or (b) find a pad. I chose the pad. It works just great.

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Break-In: Unlike most of my rifles, this one was broken in with the goal of getting supreme accuracy. Savage publishes a procedure (Savage Arms), which is very much like the one I followed. It took several hours at the range to do this, and it was worth the effort.

Ammunition: If you buy the right rifle, break it in correctly, and pay attention to your shooting, you are about three-fourths of the way to really good accuracy. The rest of it comes from ammunition, in my opinion.

The best load for my rifle is Winchester brass and a Sierra 168 grain MatchKing HPBT bullet, with a cartridge overall length (COL) of 2.210" measured with a Hornady comparator: not the same as measuring with a ruler, the comparator touches the bullet ogive. The bullet-to-leade gap is always set to .020". Measured at the bullet tip, the COL is ∼2.775", with several thousandths of an inch of variation at the meplat, which I normally trim. The brass, subject to very careful preparation, is cleaned, trimmed to length, chamfered, deburred, the primer pocket is cut uniformly, the neck tension is adjusted, and finally it is sorted by weight.

I use the CCI BR-2 large rifle benchrest primer to ignite RE-15 or H335 powder. There are lots of choices in powder, I chose these two because they meter particularly well, which makes it easier to get consistent velocity. The best velocity for this bullet in this rifle is 2,600 fps, for target shooting, in my opinion. The details of the powder charge can be found online at the Hodgdon or Alliant websites.

Results

When I swapped the scope recently, I took the rifle to the range and fired five shots to re-zero the scope at 100 yards, using a good adjustable Sinclair rifle rest and rear sandbag. The target (below) tells the story. The first shot, the left hole in the upper circle, was the cold bore shot. The second shot is the right hole in the upper circle. I then made a one-minute elevation and a half-minute windage correction and fired the three-shot group in the bottom circle. The group shows some vertical stringing, which is the result of faulty breath control on my part.

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And that's my story: the Savage is a modestly priced rifle with truly excellent accuracy. As much as I like pretty rifles, I'll take one that can hit over a good-looking gun any day.

Chris
 

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Very interesting Chris. I won a Savage 30 06 last year at a Ducks dinner and gave it to my son for Christmas. I sighted it in for him. Now this was the light weight package with a scope and I was amazed at how good it shot. I have been a Remington 700 fan ever since they came out in the 50's. I have 22-250, 6mm, 7mm, and a .338 Win on a 700 mag action. All shoot great and the mags have dispatched several big elk.
The Savage 30-06 after some minor sight in adjustments put 3 shots at 100 yrds in about 1/2". How's that for your inexpensive deer rifle.
al
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Very interesting Chris. I won a Savage 30 06 last year at a Ducks dinner and gave it to my son for Christmas. I sighted it in for him. Now this was the light weight package with a scope and I was amazed at how good it shot. I have been a Remington 700 fan ever since they came out in the 50's. I have 22-250, 6mm, 7mm, and a .338 Win on a 700 mag action. All shoot great and the mags have dispatched several big elk.
The Savage 30-06 after some minor sight in adjustments put 3 shots at 100 yrds in about 1/2". How's that for your inexpensive deer rifle.
al
Al,

You can NOT beat that price! I tend to avoid hunting rifles because of the recoil, and because I'm not much of a hunter anyway. It's good to hear that the accuracy is there in the hunting rifles, especially because I imagine it's pretty much a one-shot game. Savage's reputation for accuracy is gaining ground: they are not very pretty, but they sure can shoot.

Chris
 

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Chris,

One of your arrows pointing where the gasses vent is longer than the rest. Please do not do any more of this shoddy work going forward.



I kid of course. As always, great informative write-up with very clear, easy to read information and great pictures. Thank you for taking the time to do this and please, keep up the great work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Chris,

One of your arrows pointing where the gasses vent is longer than the rest. Please do not do any more of this shoddy work going forward.

I kid of course. As always, great informative write-up with very clear, easy to read information and great pictures. Thank you for taking the time to do this and please, keep up the great work.
TheLaw,

Thanks for the feedback. Dang, I've got to pay more attention to those arrows from now on!

Chris
 
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