The Calm Before
Savage 110 storm
Savage 110 Storm
The Savage model 110 has long been the backbone of Savage Arms. It is the rifle that brought Savage back from the brink of disaster in 1988 when Savage declared bankruptcy. All other models were dropped and under the leadership of Ron Coburn, Savage returned to its roots to build an affordable, quality rifle. Savage emerged from bankruptcy in 1989 and has been an industry leader in innovation ever since. During the last fifteen years, Savage has given us innovations such as the Accutrigger, Accustock, floating bolt head and zero-tolerance headspacing. With the introduction of the reinvented model 110 for 2018, we now also have the Accufit stock.
The Savage 110 was introduced in 1958 and has been manufactured continuously ever since. After various upgrades over the years, 2018 brings us the “reinvented” model 110. These rifles fall into Savage’s Big Game Hunting and Specialty series and initially comprise nine new models. Major updates are also being made to the Trophy Series and AXIS II lines later in 2018. In addition to the new Accufit stock, the new 110 models feature new cosmetics and ergonomics including improved shaping of the pistol grip and fore-end and soft-touch grip surfaces. As with its predecessors, the new 110 models include the Accutrigger, Accustock, floating bolt head, zero-tolerance headspace control, hand-straightened and button-rifled precision barrels, strong two-lug action, light weight and good accuracy. Here we will take a look at the model 110 Storm chambered in .30-06 Springfield.
SPECIFICATIONS & OPERATION
The bolt action uses a 2-lug bolt with a 90-degree angle of operation and a floating bolt head for precise alignment with the chamber. A three-position tang safety allows the shooter to place the gun on safe with the bolt locked, on safe with the bolt unlocked and off safe, ready to fire. With the safety in the middle position, the shooter may safely remove a chambered round while the trigger remains locked. The 22-inch long barrel and receiver are made of stainless steel for corrosion resistance to match the synthetic stock and the “Storm” all-weather character of the rifle. With a diameter of .585 inches at the muzzle, the barrel would be considered a “lightweight” or “sporter” design. Consistent bore diameters, wall thickness and rifling twist rates, as well as button rifling and hand straightening, make Savage barrels some of the most accurate in the industry. As I have come to expect from Savage, the Accutrigger provided a smooth pull and a crisp break at 3 pounds, 11 ounces. A good trigger may not contribute to the accuracy of a rifle like the barrel and action do, but it is awfully difficult to see a rifle’s accuracy without one. Savage’s patented Accustock system of molding an aluminum chassis into the synthetic stock provides a rigid platform to which the action is attached. For added stability, the Accustock engages the action three-dimensionally along its entire length. As the action screws are tightened, the action is wedged between the sides of the chassis. While the screws provide vertical pressure, the sides of the chassis provide horizontal pressure, locking the action uniformly in place. The end result is a lightweight yet rigid, weatherproof hunting stock.
"The Savage model 110 has long been the backbone of Savage Arms.”
New for 2018, the Accufit stock provides a simple, lightweight yet strong way to tailor the fit of the stock to the shooter’s physical requirements. The synthetic shims used to adjust the length of pull allow for approximately 1-3/4 inches of adjustment. Synthetic risers also adjust the comb height in 1/8-inch increments. To make either of these adjustments, simply use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the two screws in the recoil pad, change the riser to adjust the comb height, add or delete shims to adjust the length of pull, then reinstall the recoil pad using the proper length of screw (provided).
Savage’s centerfire rifle model line-up was completely overhauled for 2018. Savage no longer uses the two-digit “10” designation for rifles chambered for short-action
cartridges. Both long and short action rifles now have the 110 designation. See the accompanying sidebar for a cross reference of old versus new models. Along with the model 110 Storm are the Hunter, Varmint, Tactical, Long Range Hunter, Predator, Scout, Bear Hunter and Wolverine rifles. Each reinvented 110 model is chambered in a variety of cartridges appropriate for that model.
In order to maintain the hunting intent of the Savage Storm, all ammunition used to evaluate its accuracy was factory hunting type ammunition. Some of the ammunition used was premium grade, but none was match grade. Ten loads from four different manufacturers were used during this evaluation. Bullet weights ranged from 150 to 175 grains. All ammunition used in the 110 Storm func-
“Even if you have the money for a high-end hunting rifle, buy two 110s chambered for different cartridges instead. That way you can tailor your gun to your game.”
tioned without any problems.
A Bushnell Engage 4-16x44mm riflescope was installed and proved to be a good match for the Storm, for short and mid-range targets. It provides a wide field-of-view at 4x and sufficient magnification at 16x. It also physically fits the Storm well; not too big, not too small. The simple lift and turn locking turrets were easy to operate yet securely maintained the desired setting. A 30mm diameter tube allows for 50 MOA of travel for both windage and elevation adjustments. Those adjustments were spot-on, moving the reticle one inch at 100 yards with four clicks. The Deploy MOA reticle operates in the second focal plane with 0.18 MOA thick crosshairs and hashmarks at 1 MOA intervals for accurate elevation holdover. We found the reticle was a little busy at the center and would prefer that the first hashmarks in all directions from center be eliminated or at least made smaller. Overall, the scope performed very well, especially considering its modest price. It has some premium features without a premium cost.
The first item of business was to break in the barrel. I first cleaned the barrel, then fired two shots, cleaned the barrel, et cetera, until I had fired twenty rounds. I used these rounds to sight-in the rifle, first at 50 yards, then at 100 yards. Next I shot three 3-shot groups for two different factory loads. I shot slowly so that the barrel didn’t heat up and I cleaned the barrel after each set of nine shots. After cleaning, a single fouling round was fired. The velocity for each round was determined using a Labradar doppler radar device. During the next two range sessions, I checked the accuracy and velocity for eight additional different factory loads, using the same protocol as before. This time I also measured the barrel temperature immediately prior to each shot to make sure that the barrel wasn’t overheating and possibly causing groups to open up. The ambient temperature was in the mid-30s to low 50s and I rested between loads, so barrel overheating was not a problem. Barrel temperatures ranged from 39ºf to 70ºf. I also shot 20 rounds of Fusion 165 grain ammunition at a steady pace to see if I could heat-up the barrel and cause shots to string. There were no signs of stringing or any other measurable variations during this time. The starting temperature of the barrel was 52ºf and the final temperature was 90ºf. The maximum ambient temperature for this session was 56ºf and I was shooting from a covered bench, so the barrel wasn’t subject to heating due to the ambient temperature or the sun.
The new Savage 110 Storm performed well during this evaluation. At 1.48 inches average for the ten factory loads tested, its accuracy is more than sufficient for an affordable hunting rifle. With the Hornady 150 grain Interlock load coming in at 1.06 inches for three 3-shot groups, this off-the-shelf rifle is closing in on 1 MOA accuracy. The Savage 110 Storm’s design is simple yet provides the basis for good accuracy in a hunting rifle. The ergonomic revisions for 2018 improve the feel of the
“Unless you have money to burn and must have a high-end hunting rifle, the revamped Savage 110 Storm is just the ticket.”
“With the introduction of the reinvented model 110 for 2018, we now also have the Accufit stock.”
rifle and the Accufit stock provides adjustments to accommodate shooters of all sizes without excessive expense or unwieldy knobs, buttons or levers to get in the way or come loose. With the exception of a possible seasonal adjustment to allow for more or less clothing, once the stock is set to your body, you won’t need to change it. The length of pull shims and comb height risers may not look like much, but they are light, fit very well and feel solid during use. The most important parts of the rifle, that barrel, action and trigger assembly remain a solid platform for the rest of the rifle. These core items are designed, machined and assembled in such a way that an inexpensive hunting rifle can be accurate, reliable and feel like an extension of you. Unless you have money to burn and must have a high-end hunting rifle, the revamped Savage 110 Storm is just the ticket. Add the Engage riflescope of your choice and a sling and you are good to go. Even if you have the money for a high-end hunting rifle, buy two 110s chambered for different cartridges instead. That way you can tailor your gun to your game.
01 02 03 04 The bottom metal is stainless steel like the barrel and action to maintain to the all-weather design of the Storm. Four shim packs are provided to add approximately 1-3/4 inches to the length of pull. The detachable box magazine holds four .30-06 Springfield cartridges. Even with a synthetic stock, the Savage 110 Storm is a good looking rifle.
05 06 07 08 The Accufit stock is shown disassembled with the riser, shims and recoil pad removed. They are all held in place by two Phillips-head screws of varying lengths, depending upon the number of shims that are installed. Savage’s new Accufit stock uses risers in 1/8-inch increments to change the height of the comb. Shim packs in various thicknesses are used to modify the length of the stock to change the length of pull. The stainless steel bolt head is checkered on top only. The Accutrigger has a blade insert in the face of the trigger so that the trigger cannot move to the rear unless the face of the trigger itself is depressed. The magazine (4 round for .30-06 Springfield) is shown removed from the stock revealing the closed bolt assembly from underneath the rifle.
« 05 « 02 » The fore arm for the Storm’s stock has soft-grip surfaces on both sides for a better grip during inclement weather. 04 The Savage 110 Storm’s long action bolt has dual locking lugs for a 90º throw, as well as a floating bolt head. The Bushnell Engage 4-16x44mm riflescope is economical and performs very well for short to medium distances. The Deploy MOA reticle has hash marks at 1 MOA increments for elevation and windage holds. It also features locking turrets and Tool-less Zero Reset. « 07 » 06 The stainless steel barrel on the Storm measurers 0.585 inches in diameter for a “lightweight” or “sporter” profile. The buttstock can now be customized to fit the shooter by changing the height of the comb and length of pull using only a Phillips-head screwdriver. » 08 Savage provides five risers to choose from for a total of 1/2 inch change in the comb height. » 01 The Accustock system provides an aluminum chassis molded into the synthetic stock that adds rigidity to the fore end and provides both vertical and horizontal support to the action. « 03 The Savage 110 Storm breaks new ground with the Accufit stock along with a reshaped fore end and pistol grip, and the addition of soft-touch grip surfaces on both.