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Savage Impulse Mountain Hunter Rifle: First Look

The American-made straight-pull bolt-action Impulse rifle from Savage Arms is now offered in the lighter Mountain Hunter configuration featuring a Proof Research carbon-fiber-wrapped barrel.

Savage Impulse Mountain Hunter Rifle: First Look

The Savage Arms Impulse Mountain Hunter rifle earned its name during a grueling British Columbia moose hunt. (Photo by Joe Kurtenbach)

In January 2021, Savage Arms accomplished what European rifle manufacturers had tried, and largely failed, to do for decades – successfully introduce a straight-pull bolt-action rifle to the American market. Of course, it helped that Savage had home field advantage and more than 120 years of experience in the field. With the Impulse, the Westfield, Massachusetts-based maker struck the right balance of new technology and trusted features, and offered it at a price point that was palatable to stateside hunters and shooters.

At launch, the Impulse boasted more than a dozen new patents in support of its straight-pull action, the Hexlock bolt head, its user-adjustable bolt handle – designed to be ambidextrous and adjustable for angle – and the bolt removal method which is simple and safe. To these, Savage stalwarts like the customizable Accustock and Accutrigger, as well has Savage’s well-regarded button-rifled barrels were included. Three initial offerings were born: Impulse Predator ($1,379), Hog Hunter ($1,379) and Big Game ($1,449). Overall, my detailed review found the guns to be accurate, fast handling and fun to shoot.

Savage Arms Impulse Mountain Hunter
The Savage Arms Impulse Mountain Hunter model pairs the company's straight-pull action with a Proof Research carbon fiber barrel for weight savings. (Photo courtesy Savage Arms)

To these guns, Savage added the Impulse Elite Precision ($2,499) in early 2022, fitting the action with longer barrels as well as a chassis receiver and adjustable stock that accommodate the accessories and customization preferred by long-range competitive shooters.

Now, Savage has introduced the Impulse Mountain Hunter ($2,437) to round out the lineup. Looking at the hunting-oriented guns, there is no question the Predator, Hog Hunter and Big Game can get it done. But, despite their virtues, the Impulse line of rifles is on the heavy side for polymer-stocked bolt actions. Tipping the scale between 8 and 9 pounds, the guns are ideal for truck and blind hunting, but could become burdensome on longer treks and stalks. Enter the Mountain Hunter which, by comparison, is a lean, mean hunting machine.

Savage Arms Impulse Mountain Hunter straight-pull action
Lock up for the Impulse straight-pull action is achieved by the innovative Hexlock bolt head utilizing six stainless ball bearings. The bolt handle's drop angle is adjustable and it can be swapped from the right side to the left for ambidextrous operation. (Photo courtesy Savage Arms)

Utilizing a 22- or 24-inch Proof Research carbon-fiber wrapped barrel, Savage was able to shave around a pound-and-a-half of weight off the Mountain Hunter without sacrificing accuracy. All the innovation of the Impulse action remains, as do the Accustock – in a clean, grey and black palette – and adjustable Accutrigger which can be tuned to break cleanly between 1.5 and 4 pounds. But, at just over 7 pounds, the Mountain Hunter model allows the Impulse to go farther and higher than before. I learned this firsthand on a challenging, and ultimately successful, British Columbia moose hunt. More on that in an upcoming field review, stay tuned.

Initial chamberings will include 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 28 Nosler, .308 Winchester, .30-’06 Springfield, .300 Win. Short Magnum and .300 Win. Mag., with at least one more option coming soon.

The Savage Arms Impulse Mountain Hunter is available to order, and the company expects to be shipping rifles by late 2022. For more information, visit savagearms.com

Impulse Mountain Hunter Big Game - 6.5 Creedmoor

  • Type: Straight-pull bolt action
  • Barrel: Proof Research 22-inch carbon-fiber-wrapped stainless steel
  • Rifling: 1:8
  • Sights: None, 20-MOA rail
  • Stock: Grey, synthetic Accustock
  • Trigger: Accutrigger, adjustable, 1.5-4 pounds
  • Magazine Capacity: 4
  • Overall Length: 44.75 inches
  • Weight: 7.34
  • Price: $2,437
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