Whenever you walk into your local gun store
or up to a table of rifles in a gun show, and pick up a new bolt
action rifle with a good trigger pull, you can thank Savage Arms
for that, no matter what the brand of rifle. A little over six
years ago, Savage introduced their new AccuTrigger,
and that wonderful trigger has changed forever the quality of
factory triggers that are available on new bolt guns. Savage’s
AccuTrigger was so superior to anything that other rifle major
makers were placing on their bolt action rifles at the time,
that every major brand now has a better trigger than they did a
few years ago. Still, The AccuTrigger is leading the way. When
other rifle makers were telling us that we had to live with a
heavy trigger pull for liability reasons, or buy an expensive
replacement trigger, Savage delivered.
Now Savage has introduced their AccuStock
into the 2009 rifle line, which promises more rigidity and a
more solid bedding of the action into the stock. This should
deliver better accuracy, but that might be hard to prove, as
Savage bolt action rifles are already famous for delivering
excellent accuracy. The heart of the AccuStock is the aluminum
bedding channel and spine that cradles the action on three
sides, while the spine runs almost to the tip of the forend of
the synthetic stock. The barrel is free-floated into the stock.
Most of us have seen free-floated barrels in stocks before that
had an uneven gap along the sides of the barrel, and in some
cases, the stock touched the barrel on one side, but not the
other. This really ruins the accuracy potential of a good
barrel. The spine within the AccuStock prevents that from
happening. The Savage barrel is free-floated, and it remains
that way, no matter the weather. Back at the receiver section of
the stock, that aluminum channel rises up on both sides of the
receiver. Not a V-block, but a square-sided channel that grips
the action on the sides as the receiver bolts are tightened.
Forward of the receiver bolts is one more bolt that threads into
a tapered wedge that tightly clamps the recoil lug to the rear
of its mortise in the aluminum channel, eliminating all
forward/rearward movement of the action within the stock. No up
and down movement, no fore and aft movement, no lateral
movement. The action is rigidly bolted into that stock like a
heavy benchrest rifle. However, you don’t have to carry a lot
of weight or spend a fortune to get this AccuStock. The Savage
models that have the AccuStock also have other features, like
either a detachable box magazine, or a hinged floorplate.
Personally, I prefer the detachable box. More on that later. The
AccuStock rifles also have a redesigned bolt release, that is
now in front of the trigger guard, and it also hides one of the
receiver bolts. The barrel nut on the AccuStock rifles is a new,
smooth design, which looks a lot better but functions the same
as the older grooved style.
The 111FCNS shown here is chambered for the
.30-06 cartridge, but is available in several other chamberings,
and Savage also offers a short action version as well, to better
handle cartridges of .308 Winchester and similar length. As
mentioned above, the 111 FCNS has a detachable box magazine. The
design of this magazine is faultless. It holds four rounds, for
a total loaded capacity of five. It detaches easily, but
doesn’t dump the cartridges all over creation as does a hinged
floorplate. Cartridges can be loaded into the magazine either
while still in the rifle or while detached. However, for those
who prefer, a hinged floorplate is standard on the similar FHNS
version. The stock is black synthetic, with molded-in checkering
on the pistol grip and forend. The Savage "Indian
Head" logo adorns the pistol grip cap. Sling swivel studs
are furnished, and the recoil pad is nice and soft. The barrel
and action are a deep polished blue-black. The twenty-two inch
barrel wears no sights, but the receiver is drilled and tapped
for scope mounts. Magnum chamberings get a twenty-four inch
barrel. The barrel diameter measures 1.02 inches just in front
of the receiver, and tapers to .572 inch at the muzzle. The
sample rifle weighed in at seven and one-half pounds, which is a
pound heavier than is listed for this model on Savage’s
website, but I triple-checked the weight. The Savage safety is
right on top, in the center, just as it should be, and has three
positions. Fully rear is on safe, with the bolt locked down. The
middle position is still on safe, but the action can be cycled,
and fully forward is the “fire” position. The excellent
AccuTrigger released crisply at just over two pounds pressure.
Perfect. The bolt lifts ninety degrees, and the bolt handle is
checkered on top of the knob.
Featured along with this new Savage rifle is
the new VX-3 scope from Leupold. The VX-3 is replacing the VX-III
line of scopes. The new series has better mechanical
adjustments, and has a better coating system on the lenses than
did the VX-III line. The new technology is called the Xtended
Twilight Lens System, and the coating is Leupold’s
DiamondCoat 2. The VX-3 also is reported to have a better
waterproofing system. It is hard for me to tell you exactly how
the new scope is different from their excellent VX-III scope,
but looking through the new VX-3 is a real pleasure. The image
is perfectly clear and bright, with absolutely no distortion or
fading at the edge. The image is brilliant all the way across
the lens. It is bright, clear, and crisp. The sample scope has
the Duplex reticle, but two other reticles are available as
well. The adjustments are graduated in one-quarter minute
clicks, and are easily adjusted without tools. This is one of
the best hunting scopes through which I have ever peered. The
3.5 to 10 power shown here wears a matte finish, and has a 40
millimeter objective lens. I mounted the scope atop the Savage
rifle using Leupold Rifleman rings. These rings are sleek,
lightweight, hold the scope securely, and are relatively
inexpensive. They will fit any Weaver-style scope base. I get
emails from shooters and hunters everyday asking about
riflescopes. It is amazing to me how many folks will spend
whatever amount necessary to buy a fine rifle, and then try to
mount the cheapest scope they can find. I would rather have less
rifle and more scope. It is a system, and like any system, it is
only as good as the weakest component. A good rifle will not be
accurate if the scope has internal movement. Same with the
rings. They must hold the scope absolutely without movement. I
have a box full of cheap scopes, and another full of cheap
rings. They are worthless. Worse than that, they have cost me a
lot of wasted time and ammunition, trying to get a rifle to
shoot accurately, when the problem was the optics. Like my good
friend John Taffin often says, “Cheap is too expensive”. He
is right. It is a lot like buying good bologna. They don’t
grind up the finest cuts of beef and pork to make ninety-nine
cents per pound bologna. Same with good optics. They don’t put
two hundred dollars worth of precision ground multi-coated
lenses into a forty dollar scope.
Keeping all that in mind, I set out to see
how well this system would shoot. I had a pretty good idea
already, as I have come to expect nothing less than good
accuracy from a Savage bolt action rifle, and Leupold has also
earned my trust. I tried a variety of factory ammunition, along
with my favorite .30-06 deer hunting handload, which consists of
a Hornady 150 grain Spire Point (3031) atop 53.5 grains of IMR
4064 with a Winchester or Federal primer in Remington cases.
This load has served me and a few friends perfectly for many
years. It drops whitetails in their tracks, and is accurate in
every .30-06 rifle in which I have tried it. In this new Savage,
I was not disappointed. It grouped under one-half inch at one
hundred yards consistently, and that is the best that I can
shoot. Of course, I was using my Model
1000 rest from Target Shooting, Inc. Without a good rest, I
cannot prove nor disprove a rifle’s accuracy. The Model 1000
is one of the best. Factory ammunition also performed very well
in the Savage rifle. This is a hunting rifle, so I used hunting
ammunition. No match ammo was fired, as buyers of this rifle
will be hunters, not paper-punchers. All ammo tried would group
under one inch at one hundred yards. One of my favorite factory
whitetail loads is the Remington Reduced Recoil load that uses a
125 grain bullet. These kill as well or better than anything,
are accurate, and are easy on both the shoulder and the budget.
Neither the rifle nor the scope featured here
are externally very different than their predecessors. However,
the Savage has what is probably the most rigidly-mounted
barreled action in a mass-produced rifle available anywhere, at
any price, and it still sells for less than the competition. The
Leupold scope looks like the same Golden Ring scopes that
hunters have trusted for generations, but internally, it is
better than the excellent scopes which preceded it. Both the
rifle and the scope are good buys in today’s market, offering
better quality, accuracy, and value than rifles and scopes
costing much more.
For prices and options on the many models of
Savage rifles and shotguns, go online to www.savagearms.com.
To look at the extensive line of quality
Leupold optics, go to www.leupold.com.
To find a Savage dealer near you, click on
the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Savage 111 FCNS rifle online, go
NOTE: All load data posted on this
web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor Gunblast.com
assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data.
The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under
conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the
potential user of this data. Always use data from respected loading
manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated
in the source manual.
|For a list of dealers where you can
buy this gun, go to:
||To buy this gun online, go to:
Savage's new AccuStock system allows for perfect
bedding every time.
AccuStock's wedge block tightly clamps recoil lug to
aluminum bedding channel.
Inc.'s Model 1000 Rifle Rest.
0.875" 100-yard group fired with
Remington's Reduced Recoil factory load.
0.437" 100-yard group fired with Jeff's favorite
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