September 15, 2020
Club and national level precision-rifle competitions are experiencing an all-time high in participation, and the new 110 Elite Precision rifle from Savage Arms embodies this trending sport. After a thorough six-month evaluation of this rifle, Rifle & Optics Editor Tom Beckstrand determined that it is a good choice for anyone looking to ding steel at long range, or poke closely grouped holes in paper.
Announced in 1957, the Model 110 is said to be the oldest continuously produced bolt-action rifle in America. The 110 Elite Precision is the model’s apogee. The most notable takeaways from the 110 Elite Precision rifle include the factory blueprinted action, the Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) Adjustable Core Competition (ACC) chassis, and the use of AICS-pattern magazines. The combination of these elements yields a rifle that is accurate, eminently adjustable and feeds from readily available (and reliable) detachable box magazines.
Blueprinting an action is the process by which a manufacturer or gunsmith, through additional machining operations, ensure that all critical surfaces on an action are perpendicular, parallel or concentric, as the situation dictates. The 110 Elite Precision rifle has a blueprinted action, representing the first time in recent history that Savage has applied this to a Model 10 or Model 110 action. Blueprinting is standard on Model 12 actions, but those accept so-called “large shank” barrels, and are heavy rifles designed primarily for competition. While the Elite Precision is also a competition rifle, it is ready for the fast-moving positional shooting that dominates the precision rifle circuits. Thus, the Elite Precision is built on the 110 for its smaller shank and lighter barrels.
The blueprinting process Savage uses also ensures that the Elite Precision’s receiver face is square with the barrel. Once a barrel threads into the action, a square receiver face ensures even and stress-free contact between the barrel’s shoulder and receiver. (Uneven contact is one source of unexplained “flyers,” so the Elite Precision won’t suffer from this.)
Savage also cleaned up the receiver’s threads to ensure that they make even contact with the barrel tenon. The heat-treating process that any steel receiver undergoes can cause it to warp, even slightly. By cleaning up the receiver’s threads (post heat-treatment), Savage ensures that the Elite Precision’s threads have an even and secure hold on the barrel, eliminates another source of random flyers.
Further, Savage checks the fit between the 110 Elite Precision’s bolt lugs and the receiver’s lug abutments to ensure even contact. Again, heat-treating an action will cause metal to move, so Savage double-checks that lug abutments are square so that the bolt lugs have even pressure on each lug. And just to church things up a bit, Savage also put a gold-colored titanium nitride (TiN) coating on the bolt lugs. Largely applied for aesthetics, TiN is a hard coating that will also slow wear on moving parts and offer protection for the metal substrate.
The most visibly distinct feature of the 110 Elite Precision is the MDT ACC chassis. This chassis is unique for a few reasons, and one is its extended forearm. While prodigious, the ACC’s forearm allows the shooter the ability to more easily assume unorthodox field positions. Rock piles, tree limbs and fabricated barricades all do a great job of supporting the front of the rifle, if the forend can reach them — and this one can.
This extra-long forearm protrudes 16½ inches in front of the receiver face, is flat on the bottom and features an ARCA-Swiss rail machined into its entire length, allowing for a suitably equipped bipod. Since the ARCA rails are continuous, the bipod can be unlocked and quickly slid into the desired position for fast transitions from one position to the next.
The 110’s chassis accepts a series of steel weights that, when attached, can drive the rifle’s weight up close to 20 pounds. For those wondering why someone would want to add steel weights to a rifle, the answer is recoil reduction. There is no faster way to reduce a rifle’s recoil than by adding weight. The 13-pound 110 Elite Precision rifle, once scoped and fully kitted out with the aftermarket weights, weighs near 22 pounds, making recoil minimal. (Weights are not included with the 110 Elite, however, MDT does make a steel weight system that will attach to several points on this rifle.)
The 110 Elite Precision features an adjustable stock, and its comb height is adjustable by turning a big thumbwheel. Two locking screws adjacent to the thumbwheel ensures that it never self-adjusts without you knowing it. The comb can also adjust laterally to account for wide and narrow faces by removing the cheekpiece from the chassis and flipping it upside down. Two screws loosen to allow lateral cheekpiece movement atop the steel hardware.
The MDT ACC chassis on the 110 Elite Precision also has an adjustable length of pull and buttpad height. Like the cheekpiece, the buttpad adjusts for length of pull by means of a large thumbwheel that is flanked by two locking screws. Minimum length of pull is 14 inches and maximum length of pull is 15½ inches.
The buttpad height adjusts by loosening a thumbscrew on the side of the pad. Once loosened, the pad can adjust from 2 inches above the comb to 1 inch below the toe. Being able to raise the buttpad 2 inches above the comb offers a significant increase in contact with the shooter’s shoulder when firing from the prone. This makes any range session more comfortable.
The final piece of the 110 Elite Precision story is the incorporation of AICS-pattern magazines. This is not the first time Savage has used the AICS-pattern magazine, and it appears that as their relationship with MDT grows, the use of these magazines will continue to proliferate its product line. Historically, Savage used either internal box magazines or their own detachable box magazines. The internal magazine was fine, but the detachable box magazines had limited capacity and were expensive. AICS-pattern magazines are ubiquitous in the competition and tactical bolt-action rifle world, and there’s a wide selection of both polymer and metal in five- and 10-round capacities. These are center-fed magazines that work wonders on feeding reliability. AICS mags are available to feed everything from .223 Remington to .300 Winchester Short Magnum.
The Savage Arms 110 Elite Precision is an excellent all-around rifle for most shooting activities that don’t require light weight. It can be made to fit just about anyone, with a chassis that allows for accurate, rapid and effective positional shooting. And while the 110 Elite Precision is not inexpensive, it still costs less than most custom rifles.
Savage Arms 110 Elite Precision
- Type: Bolt action
- Cartridge: .223 Rem., 6mm Creedmoor, .308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor (tested), .300 Win. Mag., .338 Lapua Mag.
- Capacity: 10 rounds
- Barrel: 26 in.; 1:8- in. twist
- Overall Length: 43 in. (collapsed); 44.5 in. (extended)
- Weight: 12 lbs., 6 oz.
- Stock: MDT ACC chassis
- Grip: MDT vertical grip
- Sights: None
- Finish: Flash nitride (stainless steel), Cerakote (aluminum), titanium nitride (bolt body)
- Safety: Two- position selector
- Trigger: Savage AccuTrigger; 1.5 lbs. to 4 lbs. (adj.)
- MSRP: $2,000
- Manufacturer: Savage Arms, 800- 370- 0708, savagearms.com
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