varmint rig has been long considered a luxury by many shooters.
Spending the money and setting up a gun just for the purpose of
varmint hunting is looked upon as frivolous by some. This is a
mistake. A rimfire twenty-two or an available deer rifle can be
used to pop the occasional coyote or groundhog that may
cross your path, but to really pursue the sport of varmint and
predator hunting, more accuracy and a flatter trajectory
can be of real benefit to the shooter.
can also be, in many areas, enjoyed year round. While big game
hunting in most places lasts only a few weeks, the pursuit of
predators and vermin usually has no season, allowing many months
of hunting, while providing a welcome service to the world in
keeping undesirable pests and predators under control. A good,
accurate, and dependable varmint rifle is a great asset in the
pursuit of small targets at long range. A flat shooting
cartridge without excessive recoil is also of great benefit,
allowing the shooter to really reach out across a bean field or
pasture to eliminate a wary target that could disappear in a
heartbeat if spooked.
Over the years,
several good varmint cartridges have been introduced by both
ammunition manufacturers and wildcatters, but the one cartridge
that has risen to the top of the heap is the .22-250. The
.22-250 was for many years a wildcat based upon the .250 Savage
case necked down to accept .22 caliber bullets. It became so
popular that Remington legitimized the cartridge many years ago,
and it has continued to grow in popularity ever since. The
.22-250 offers high velocity, flat trajectory, good accuracy,
low recoil, and plenty of punch for vermin and predators out to
several hundred yards. In some states, where legal, the .22-250
is used to take deer, and does a good job with the proper
bullets. While not my first choice as a deer cartridge, the
.22-250 cartridge is about the best choice available for a
dedicated varmint rifle.
received for testing one of the better varmint rifles available
on the market today; the Savage Model 12 BVSS chambered
for the .22-250 cartridge. We tested here at Gunblast.com the Model
12 FLVSS a little over a year ago, which is similar
except in the configuration and material of the stock. The FLVSS
is equipped with a synthetic stock of standard configuration,
while the BVSS tested here wears Savage’s laminated wood stock
of target design. The main feature of the rifle reviewed in this
article that piqued my interest is Savage’s
new AccuTrigger, of which I go into detail in a separate
article. While the trigger on the FLVSS tested here earlier was
very good, the new AccuTrigger is amazing! It is quite simply
the best trigger for precision shooting that I have ever
seen on a production rifle.
The model 12 BVSS
is Savage’s top of the line varmint gun. Upon opening the box
containing the rifle, I was really impressed with the quality of
fit and finish of the BVSS. The gun wears a fluted twenty-six
inch stainless heavy barrel with a recessed target crown. While
most rifle manufacturers now use other rifling methods, Savage
button rifles their target barrels for greater accuracy. Several
factors combine to produce an accurate rifle, but without a
quality barrel, accuracy suffers. The BVSS wears a quality
The action on the
model 12 BVSS is constructed of stainless steel, and is of
push-feed design. The barreled action is pillar-bedded into the
laminated stock for greater accuracy and stability. The barrel
is free-floated its entire length, also to enhance the
repeatable accuracy of the gun. The 12 BVSS has a blind
four-round magazine in .22-250 chambering.
laminated stock is set up just right for a heavy varmint gun. It
is of a prone shooting design, with a two and one-quarter inch
wide forend and an ambidextrous Wundhammer palm swell, which
makes for a very comfortable hand position. The stock has a
black forend cap and a red rubber butt plate. The 12 BVSS has an
overall length of forty-six and one-quarter inches and weighs
ten pounds. In .22-250, the Savage’s barrel is rifled one turn
in twelve inches, and measures .812 inches at the muzzle.
the 12 BVSS, I mounted a Bausch & Lomb 6 to 24 power
target scope. This scope has proven reliable on several rifles,
and makes a perfect sight for the Savage varmint rifle. The
trigger pull was set to one and one-half pounds with the tool
I assembled an
assortment of .22-250 ammunition using bullets from Speer,
Hornady, and Barnes. While the bullets from Speer and
Hornady were labeled as match grade, the Barnes VLC varmint
bullets proved to be as accurate as any in this gun. I continue
to be favorably impressed with the Barnes VLC bullets in .22
caliber. They wear a proprietary coating that reduces friction
and allows the 50 grain bullet to be pushed to over 4100 feet
per second in a good .22-250, resulting in spectacular terminal
performance and a very flat trajectory.
took place in less than desirable conditions, with temperatures
hovering just above freezing with a strong gusty crosswind. I
set up at the shooting bench using my Rifle
Rest from Target Shooting Incorporated. This rest is a
great aid to accurate shooting, both at the bench and in the
field. After sighting the rifle in at 25 yards, all accuracy
testing was done at a range of 110 yards. Waiting to shoot
between wind gusts as best as I could, I was able to get very
good groups with every load tested in the BVSS. Again, the
AccuTrigger was amazing, and proved to be a great asset in
accurately shooting the Savage.
The cartridges fed
smoothly from the magazine into the chamber, and could also be
dropped onto the follower and fed singly if preferred. Ejection
was smooth and positive.
The model 12 BVSS
proved to be very accurate, especially considering the wind
conditions, with one-quarter inch three-shot groups with the
Hornady and Barnes bullets. In fact, two of the better loads
with the Barnes VLC bullet achieved one-quarter inch groups.
Of all loads tested, the worst group of the day was just over
five-eighths of an inch at 110 yards, with the wind playing a
major part in that group dispersion.
accuracy of the Savage 12 BVSS is due to the quality of assembly
of precision parts into a very user-friendly package. The
comfort of the stock, along with the superb trigger, allows the
shooter to use every bit of accuracy built into the heavy
button-rifled stainless barrel. The BVSS is available in several
chamberings from the .223 up through the .300 magnums.
For a shooter
looking for a dedicated varmint gun, the Savage .22-250 model 12
BVSS would be hard to beat. It has all of the accuracy needed
for precise long range shooting, an excellent stock, and the
best trigger on the market.
I like it.
Check out the 12
BVSS, and other fine Savage products online at: www.savagearms.com.
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