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Long GunsWords by Rebecca Thomas
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My dad taught me how to shoot, and we enjoyed the time together. Whether we were in the truck heading out to our favorite shooting spot or blazing away at a row of soup cans, I cherish those memories.
Many rifles and a handful of shotguns rode in the truck with us over the years. Everything from rimfire rifles (perfect for new and seasoned shooters alike) to deer rifles and the wayward shotgun rattled around in the cab. Each had its place and purpose.
No manufacturer has the breadth and variety of rifles and shotguns as Savage. They make everything from rimfires to the big magnums. This latest collection can handle everything from an exotic game hunt to teaching a youngster how to shoot.
Model 42 Takedown
The Model 42 Takedown is a break-open rifle/shotgun combination that places a .22-caliber barrel over a .410 shotgun barrel. It is an inexpensive and light package that allows the owner to explore the capabilities of each cartridge. Being a takedown, the firearm disassembles into two equal parts with the push of a single button. An included Go Bag from Uncle Mike’s makes storage a breeze.
The Model 42 loads one round of each cartridge at a time. Depressing a small lever slightly forward of the triggerguard opens the action to insert rounds. The shooter chooses which round to fire by rotating a nub on the hammer to ignite either the top or the bottom barrel, then manually cocks the rifle/shotgun by pulling the hammer all the way to the rear. The notched rear and blade front sight are effective for rimfire/shotgun ranges.
It would be difficult to find a rifle or shotgun that requires more deliberate effort to fire. This makes the 42 an excellent choice for a new shooter learning to safely handle firearms and for the seasoned shooter looking for a casual shooting experience. Each step of the firing sequence requires shooter input, so the odds of accidentally discharging the 42 are among the lowest of any firearm available. The increased interaction makes for an afternoon of leisurely shooting without expending a ton of ammunition.
16 or 116 FCSS
This versatile Savage rifle is most at home in hunting camp. The 116 FCSS is the long-action Weather Warrior-series rifle that features both the AccuStock and AccuTrigger.
The AccuStock, designed by Savage, pairs an aluminum chassis that cradles the action with a rigid polymer stock, a system superior to those on most hunting rifles. The aluminum block holds the action firmly in place, helping the rifle retain its zero even after hundreds of rounds.
The AccuTrigger is also a Savage design. The blade that protrudes from the trigger face is a safety that prevents the rifle from firing even if it is struck vigorously enough that the trigger releases the cocked firing pin. This safety design allows Savage to equip their rifles with crisp triggers that have no creep and light pull weights. Few things make shooting more enjoyable than a good trigger.
16 or 116 Lightweight Hunter
If your hunt takes you to the mountains where you might be huffing and puffing, Savage’s newly redesigned Lightweight Hunter makes a great companion. The redesign includes an excellent injection-molded polymer stock that is much more rigid than those found on competitors’ rifles, which means the Lightweight Hunter is less likely to have the erratic accuracy that results from the stock touching the barrel.
The rifle has a couple of visual cues that let the shooter know it’s the lightweight model. There are some lightening cuts on the receiver and the bolt is fluted, but the weight savings from these actions amount to a couple of ounces. The real weight loss occurs on the svelte 20-inch barrel.
Savage manufactures their own barrels, so there are no limits on what they can create. The Lightweight Hunter barrel is slender and about 4 inches shorter than most hunting rifles, so it weighs quite a bit less. The weight loss is a huge benefit when climbing rugged terrain.
A17 Target Thumbhole
The incredibly popular A17 has found a new home in a laminated thumbhole stock. The A17 was a big breakthrough in the rimfire world because it allowed magnum rimfire rounds to be safely fired in a semiautomatic rifle. Until the A17 came along, magnum rimfire semiautos occasionally experienced out-of-battery fires that posed a safety risk.
Savage created the A17 with a delayed blowback action that safely allows pressures to drop before the action opens to eject the spent case. It is an ingenious design that has proven very popular, especially with varmint hunters. The new thumbhole stock will make this rifle even more desirable.
The thumbhole stock is laminated and comes with a very high comb. The laminate is more rigid than polymer, so accuracy will be excellent. The high comb puts the shooter’s eye in better alignment with scopes mounted to the A17, making for a comfortable shooting experience.
Mark II FV-SR
This rifle has mass appeal. It’s chambered in .22LR (Long Rifle), it comes setup for a scope, and it has a threaded barrel for use with a suppressor. A young shooter firing a rifle for the first time will be thrilled with this low-recoiling, near-silent rifle. The absence of muzzle blast will make it much easier for the novice to develop sound shooting fundamentals before moving on to more powerful (and noisy) rifles and cartridges.
The Mark II has the excellent AccuTrigger and a detachable box magazine that speeds the loading and unloading process. Its short length and low weight make it just as handy to transport as it is to shoot. While it doesn’t come with iron sights, it does have a section of rail attached to the top of the receiver. The rail section accommodates most rings.
320 Pump MO Obsession Camo
The Stevens 320 is an economical shotgun that shoots and handles as well as shotguns costing twice as much. New for this year is the 320 with Mossy Oak’s Obsession camouflage pattern. The pattern is hydro-dipped onto the stock and forend, so it wears well. The new 320 is a great companion for those spring turkey hunts, the type of hunting for which Mossy Oak created the Obsession pattern.
The 320 disassembles and functions similarly to most pump-action 12 gauges. A threaded cap on the tubular magazine can be removed, allowing for easy removal of the barrel. The end of the barrel is threaded and can accept choke tubes. Choke tubes screw in and out of the muzzle to provide the pattern most appropriate for the shooting activity.
While the A17 might have been the first reliable semiauto magnum rimfire, the A22 Magnum could prove to be the most popular. The A22 Magnum shares the same action as the A17, a delayed blowback that uses a locking lug to keep the bolt closed until pressures drop to safe levels. With all the design challenges worked out with the A17, the A22 Magnum represents an expansion of Savage’s Magnum rimfire line.
The A22 Magnum features Savage’s excellent AccuTrigger and rides in an economical injection-molded polymer stock. Like its sibling, the A22 Magnum has a detachable 10-round magazine that sits flush in the stock.
Shooting the A22 Magnum is fun; I was sending 40-grain bullets downrange as fast as I cared to pull the trigger. The accuracy was exceptional, with five shots grouping well under an inch at 50 yards. While the A22 Magnum doesn’t have nearly the muzzle velocity of the A17, the heavier bullets are preferable in some scenarios.
Model 10 Predator Hunter Max 1
This rifle is near the top of Savage’s rifle line for those hunting predators or desiring a rifle that can fire several rounds quickly. It’s chambered in cartridges from .204 Ruger to 6.5 Creedmoor, has a detachable box magazine and features a slightly heavier and fluted barrel to better handle the heat generated from firing multiple rounds. As with any Savage rifle, it has the barrel nut that allows the shooter (with a handful of tools) to remove and install a barrel. For high volume shooters or for those that like to tinker, this is a preferred feature.
The Predator Hunter includes the AccuStock and AccuTrigger, offering tremendous performance for the money. Chambered in .204 or .22-250, this rifle is exceptional for predator hunting. Chambered in .243, .260 or 6.5 Creedmoor, it becomes a versatile rifle that can handle predators, deer or ringing steel with friends.