The New Model 10 Predator Hunter .22-250 from Savage Arms

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

July 10th, 2007

 

 

 

Savage bolt actions have become the most recommended varmint and target rifles to our readers who write and ask my opinion. I am often asked to recommend handguns, shotguns, and rifles to shooters who are looking to buy a firearm and want to know what I would choose. Sometimes, I have wished that I did not recommend a certain gun when someone buys it, and then it doesnít work as it should. I have been burned that way a couple of times, so I am very choosy about what I recommend. Whenever I have recommended a Savage, I have never been bitten.  The dern things are accurate, and that ainít just my opinion. Lots of competitive shooters are discovering that a Savage will shoot right along with rifles costing several times the price. Savage has many variations of their heavy-barreled bolt guns, to serve as dedicated bench guns, tactical rifles for police, and heavy varminters for setting up near a prairie dog town.

A little over a month ago, I received here the new Savage Predator Hunter. It is a fully camouflaged medium-heavy barreled .22-250. It is of a size and weight that can serve well from a fixed shooting position for a day on a dog town, and also serve as a walking varminter, being moved from field to field in pursuit of groundhogs or coyotes.  With the full camo treatment and lightweight stock, Savage is marketing it towards the coyote hunter, hence the name "Predator Hunter".  Besides the .22-250 chambering, the Predator Hunter is also offered chambered for the .223 or .204 Ruger. The free-floated barrel is twenty-two inches in length, and has a diameter of 1.045 inches at the receiver and tapers to .738 inch at the muzzle. The Predator has the large bolt knob that works very well with a gloved hand. The internal box magazine holds four cartridges in .22-250 chambering, and probably one more in the other two chamberings, but I had none here to verify that.  It of course has Savageís excellent AccuTrigger that is adjustable from about 1.5 to 6 pounds.  At its lowest setting, mine measured one pound and ten ounces.  In my opinion, the AccuTrigger is the best trigger available on a production rifle today. Because of the AccuTrigger, other manufacturers are making their triggers better than they used to be as well, but I still havenít seen any that I like better yet. The stock is synthetic, and the action is pillar bedded into it. The stock has molded checkering on the pistol grip and forend, and has a sling swivel stud attached underneath the forend, with another near the toe of the stock.  The action comes with two Weaver style scope bases attached, and the sample that I received has a 4 to 12 power Simmons scope mounted that matches the finish of the Mossy Oak camo rifle. It seems to be a pretty decent scope, and has an adjustable objective and one-quarter minute click adjustments. I believe that Savage offers the Predator with or without a scope attached.  Without scope, the Predator weighed in at seven pounds, fourteen ounces. That is a pretty handy carry weight. My Savage VSS Varminter .22-250 weighs more than eleven pounds without scope. It is great for a fixed position, but can be a burden to carry all day long. The Predator Hunter is the ideal weight for a walking varminter.

Shooting the Predator proved even better accuracy than I expected. I wanted to try out some of the new Varmint Grenade bullets from Barnes. These little thirty-six grain pills are a hollowpoint design, and have a core made of a copper and tin mixture. They are explosive upon contact with just about anything, especially when pushed to over 4000 feet-per-second from a .22-250. Jessica Brooks at Barnes Bullets suggested that I try Ramshot TAC powder, but I could not find any, so I used one of my favorite .22-250 powders, AA2460. Using the Accurate Arms 2460 powder, I pushed these little jewels 4315 feet-per-second at ten feet from the muzzle of the Predator. For accuracy testing, I mounted a Leupold 6.5 to 20 power target scope. The Simmons that came atop the rifle would probably serve well, but the optics are just nothing like as clear as the Leupold, and I wanted to see how good this rifle could shoot. This rifle with those little Barnes bullets would group better than I can hold, I do surely believe! If I could shoot well enough, I think that they would all go into the same dern hole at 100 yards out of the Predator.  Even with me doing the shooting,  every group went into under one-half inch at 100 yards. I was very pleased with the performance of the rifle and ammunition. As expected, this is one accurate rifle! I have come to expect no less from Savage.

If you are in the market for a varmint rig that will really perform, I highly recommend the Predator. It is not too light, not too heavy. Just right. The camo finish is a nice touch for setting up calling in coyotes. The .22-250 chambering is great for just about all varmint and predator hunting. With the right bullet, like a Barnes X or Nosler Partition, it is even well-suited for whitetail deer hunting, where legal. A neck shot with the right bullet is easy to make with the Predator Hunter, and ruins very little meat that way.  While the camo scope looks good on the Predator Hunter, I recommend that you buy the rifle without the scope, and bolt on a good Leupold. It costs more, but an accurate rifle deserves a quality scope., and you will never shoot to the rifleís potential without good optics.

Check out the Predator Hunter online at:  www.savagearms.com.

You can buy the Barnes Varmint Grenade bullets at any good gun shop, or order from:  www.barnesbullets.com.

For the location of a Savage dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR icon at www.lipseys.com.

Jeff Quinn

To locate a dealer where you can buy this gun, Click on the DEALER FINDER icon at:

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

Savage Model 10 Predator Hunter.

 

 

The Model 10 Predator Hunter features Savage's superb AccuTrigger.

 

 

Barrel is free-floated along its entire length.

 

 

Large bolt knob is easy to grab with a gloved hand.

 

 

Safety is centered on the tang, just as God intended it to be.

 

 

 

 

Action is pillar bedded into the stock.

 

 

Test rifle was equipped with optional Simmons 4-12x scope.

 

 

Barnes' new Varmint Grenade bullets and Accurate 2460 powder proved to be an excellent combination.

 

 

Accuracy was outstanding, as these 5-shot 100-yard groups (top and center), and 3-shot 100-yard group (bottom) shows.