I have always liked cop shows. We called them
"shoot-'em-ups". You know, the movies where the bad guys were bad, and the cops
were good, and hereby the conflict between good and evil begins anew. I especially like the
ones with a lot of shooting and showing the latest and greatest weaponry.
Reflecting upon memorable times of my youth,
I would pull out my Red Rider BB gun and no longer be the freckle-faced short little kid from
the hills of Tennessee, but be Chuck Connors shooting the bad guys. I would twirl the
Daisy replica of an old Colt single action revolver much like the outlaws I
saw in the movies, and pull off a hip shot that was impressive, at least to
myself. Forget that you could outrun the BB coming out the end of the old
Daisy barrel (or that you could shoot your little brother in the back at 8
paces without drawing blood); it was the dream that mattered.
Later in life, I loved the scene of Rambo
coming out of the water with a M-60 machine gun. Or watching a sniper in the jungle take
out a Viet Cong at 400 yards with one shot between the eyes. Ah, the things
entertainment is made of.
Much like most of you (if you will admit it), we
never really outgrow the loves of our youth. I still like fast cars. I still like motorcycles. And,
I still like "bad guns".
This brings us to the gun in this test.
A short time ago, I desired to build the ultimate
affordable bolt-action sniper (I mean varmint) rifle. Note that I said
"affordable". There are several excellent rifles on the market that can
equal or better the accuracy of the gun in this test (McMillan, Armalite, etc.), but I wanted to
build and test a gun that most of my friends could easily afford. So, I set out to
investigate a fine building block for this rifle-scope setup, and after much
research, determined that I would shell out my bucks for one of the Savage
.308 bolt-action Tactical models. An excellent choice, it turns out.
This rifle is basically the same as the tactical
rifle used by police departments across the country. Excellent bolt feel. Recessed target
crown. Heavy bull barrel. Crisp trigger pull. .308 NATO round. Matte finish.
Durable composite stock. Weight is around eight pounds empty.
The Savage has good balance, and an excellent finish. The non-glare black matte
finish, while being protected from the elements, is beautiful. Accuracy and
reliability are trademarks of the Savage Tactical. And, the price is right.
For what one gets when the transaction is made, this is truly a bargain.
I never shot the rifle until the "package" was
complete. I had to have a scope and a bipod setup to allow greater practical accuracy at
long distances. So, once the rifle was procured, I went shopping for a scope.
There are a lot of excellent scopes on the market today. After reviewing many scopes in
terms of several factors (quality, reliability, matte finish, and price), I selected the
excellent Bausch & Laumb Elite 4000 series scope in 6 to 24 power It features a sturdy
tube, matte finish, excellent optics, great reticle, easy adjustment in the field, long
sunshade; all at a price equal to a much lesser scope by other major manufacturers.
To help steady the rifle-scope setup for long
ranges, no sniper/varmint rifle would be complete without a good adjustable bipod. I
selected the excellent Harris swivel model, which fits nicely on the front of the Savage
handguard and barrel.
Now, the setup is complete. A great-looking
(and we will soon discover a great-shooting) package. One bad gun. The things of which
great "shoot-'em-ups" are made.
After some massaging of the package by my brother Jeff, we determined it was
time to take this fine-looking package to the field.
Due to the limited range available for shooting
from the bench, all tests were done at 100 yards. The Savage grouped extremely well
with the ammo tested. However, the real test of a tactical or counter-sniper
rifle is it's ability or lack thereof to place one shot, on target, from a cold barrel, every time. It must be reliable in
this regard or it is useless for it's intended purpose. As you can see from the
photo, this package can deliver. Five or ten shot groups are not important in
a tactical rifle. It's that first shot that matters. If tight groups are your thing,
as in benchrest matches, the Savage can do that too. But so can many other rifles. If you
need an all day varmint rig, you probably won't choose the .308. But if you need to know that
you can place one bullet exactly on target every time, and not have to mortgage the farm
to do so, this is your baby. - J.Q.
If you are in the market for a great-looking and great-shooting varmint or
sniper package, I suggest you consider building one like mine. You might select another scope, and you
might elect to do something differently regarding our bipod treatment. But, you would
be hard-pressed to find a more accurate and reliable basis upon which to build your version
of the ultimate affordable sniper setup than the Savage Tactical.
- Greg Quinn
Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or
disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.
All content © 2001 GunBlast.com. All rights reserved.