Savage’s Model 110 Long Range HunterBy Nik Maxwell
- 9th Jan, 2020 Jan 9, 2020, 4:55 PM
- 2 Comments
Savage Arms first introduced the Model 110 to their bolt action rifle range back in 1957. Moving forward to 2019 and the 110 line-up now consists of no less than 27 variants, quite literally, something for everyone.
Having been a hunter who for most of my hunting and shooting only ever used the medium calibres, I was keen to try my hand with a magnum chambering. Adding to that, I have always been a solid proponent of the 7mm /.284 calibre, so it was a no-brainer when the New Zealand Savagearms agent offered me a Savage 110 Long Range Hunter chambered in none other than the legendary 7mm Rem. Mag. for review.
The Long Range Hunter (LRH) is best described as your typical long-action, bolt actioned rifle. Even with its modern aesthetic, the 110 has a familiar feel that reminds me of my youth when Dad and I would spend an afternoon at the range shooting his long-action Parker Hale in 6mm Remington or my Husqvarna M98, at the time, chambered in 8x57mm Mauser.
The 110 LRH is dressed in black throughout with the AccuFit stock featuring a two-tone, dark grey with black elements. The stock’s darker elements include the adjustable comb inserts, the length of pull inserts, and the over-molded rubber grip sections on both the pistol grip and fore-end.
Adding or removing the comb and/or Length of Pull (LOP) butt pad inserts is easily achieved with a phillips-head screwdriver. Call me fussy, but I always cringe whenever I see phillips screws used on a rifle. The 110 uses hex head bolts to secure the receiver to the stock and in my opinion (nit picking here...) these could have been used throughout.
Removal of the stock requires a little bit of guesswork at first, as the main bolts are hidden under the magazine floor plate and the bolt release.
The receiver and barrel are coated in a matte black, non-glare finish. On the hill and with the inevitable moisture content you’ve come to expect when hunting the NZ back country, the metal did succumb to some water spotting and the barrel and receiver have developed a very slight patina. It is not at all unsightly and in my opinion gives the rifle a purposeful and used look.
The jewelled bolt features opposing lugs and Savage’s floating bolt head design. Removing the bolt requires a wee bit of dexterity at first. To remove the bolt, make sure the safety is off, then work the action backwards while at the same time pulling the trigger and the bolt release just forward of the trigger guard.
“Of course, the Model 110 features Savage’s safety inspired AccuTrigger. Fully adjustable, the trigger-pull on the review rifle broke at a hefty 4lbs. I dropped that down to 2lbs to aid the shooting of groups.”
I would’ve expected the floorplate to be flush fitting and fixed securely inside the magazine housing, but instead, the mag’s floorplate has about 5mm of vertical travel that seems unnecessary and makes for random metal on metal noises when you’re carrying or handling the rifle.
Of course, the Model 110 features Savage’s safety inspired AccuTrigger. Fully adjustable, the trigger-pull on the review rifle broke at a hefty 4lbs. I dropped that down to 2lbs to aid the shooting of groups.
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All Model 110 LRH rifles utilise 26” button-rifled barrels in all available chamberings and feature an adjustable muzzle brake (excluding .338 Win. Mag – the .338’s is not adjustable).
Operation of the brake is simple. Rotate it clockwise to open and anti-clockwise to close. You will in most circumstances have the brake open, but they are noisy, so on the range and on the line with other shooters, the closed configuration may be the more courteous option!
There are no iron sights, however the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts. I also had on review a Bushnell Prime 6-18x50 that made an ideal pairing. I mounted the scope via a Weaver-made Picatinny rail and mount.
ON THE RANGE
To conduct my range testing I was provided with some Federal Premium 140gr & 160gr Trophy Bonded, Norma Oryx 140gr, and Swift Scirocco 150gr factory ammunition. Shout out to the NZ Ammunition Company and Sportways Distributors for the ammo!
My “long-range” testing consisted of 300 metre shooting at my local NZDA range. Considering that it was a brand-new rifle, I expected an initial break-in period would be required so I didn’t put a lot of stock into the first 20 rounds I fired through the 110. I banged the Federal Premium 140gr through fairly quickly resulting in consistent 1.25”, 100 metre groups.
Next up was the Federal Premium 160gr Trophy Bonded which shot MOA, ie; 1” groups at 100 and 2” groups at 200m, and continued to perform up at 300m with groups averaging 3”. (Yes, I know MOA equals 1” groups at 100 yards and I was shooting at metres, but close enough!)
Both the Norma and Swift Scirocco shot well also, the Swifts just edging out the Norma which I put down to the barrel twist preferring the heavier weight projectiles. Overall, groups averaged 3-4” at 300m with the best group measuring 2” (sub MOA) from the Federal Premium 160gr.
This inherent accuracy can be attributed to Savage’s AccuStock rail system which consists of a large section of milled aluminium molded into the stock that Savage says, “secures the action three-dimensionally along its entire length”. This type of bedding job is next level and works. Note that there is virtually no flex on the fore-stock.
“The LRH happily devoured all the factory ammunition I had on hand with more than satisfactory results.”
Throughout my time with the LRH, I put through 100 rounds of assorted factory ammunition. During one session I fired 57 rounds of magnum ammo and walked away feeling like I’d been shooting my Sako .222. Felt recoil was very light, owing in part to the weight of the rifle, the muzzle brake and stock design and, the extremely soft and comfy recoil pad!
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The LRH happily devoured all the factory ammunition I had on hand with more than satisfactory results. Full load development combined with increased familiarity of the firearm will generally bring out the true potential of most rifles and the 110 will be no exception; it is a good shooter.
IN THE FIELD
For a multitude of reasons, my actual field time with the Model 110 was somewhat limited, although I did manage to take it with me on my trip into the Kawekas in early April (Sika Hunting Tips & Info: Kaweka Ranges, Spion Kop, Apr 2019).
What quickly became apparent with the LRH is the weight; this is a big gun weighing in at a touch under 9lbs.
It’s not a deal-breaker weightiness, but for many hunters these days the focus is on weight reduction and with so many options available it may be a hard sell to the hunter who likes to travel light.
That being said, I almost always hunt with a rifle scabbard pack which greatly reduces the wear on my arms after they’re subjected to a full day of carrying a rifle, something my elbows are beginning to feel as of late...
Anyway, like any keen sika hunter I was eager to secure a stag during the rut. With that in mind I held off shooting the several hinds and yearlings I encountered over the first couple of days and backed myself to harvest a meat animal towards the end of the hunt... just like that. Yeah right!
Despite all efforts, no shots were fired and the Kaweka sika were once again left in peace by one of NZ’s most “selective” hunters, ha-ha!
The LRH’s straight-out-of-the-box ability to consistently shoot MOA out to 300m with readily available factory ammunition is impressive.
Couple with that the ergonomic AccuFit stock’s design and adjustability, as well as Savage’s excellent AccuTrigger, you can’t go too far wrong!
And what can I say about the rifle’s handling? Well, it is nicely balanced and sits well in hand when carried. It is a puppy to shoot and the adjustable comb and LOP stock allows the shooter to set up the stock to their liking.
The Savage 110 Long Range Hunter is a decent rig and with a retail price of NZD$2199, it is a serious contender for the price conscious hunter or shooter looking for a magnum chambered hunting rifle.
Savage firearms are imported and distributed by Sportways Distributors Ltd.
|Savage Model 110 Long Range Hunter:|
|Action||Bolt, twin front lugs|
|Barrel Finish||Matte black|
|Rate of Twist||1 in 9” right hand|
|Barrel Material||Carbon Steel|
|Calibre||7mm Rem. Mag.|
|Importer||Sportways Distributors Ltd|