New Precision .308 Bolt Action Sniper Rifles from Savage Arms


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

June 25th, 2009




Click links below for video!

640x480 WMV format (22.2 MB)
320x240 WMV format (8.0 MB)

For many years now, Savage has been working on a well-earned reputation for building accurate rifles. Their basic Model 110 action design has been around for decades, but Savage continues to improve upon and refine that reliable action into rifles that are ever better than the generation before, by applying innovative and practical ideas to that basic platform. The folks at Savage Arms have been leaders in the industry with innovations such as their wonderful AccuTrigger, and more recently, their AccuStock. The AccuTrigger has led the rest of the industry into introducing better triggers of their own. They had to. With the AccuTrigger, Savage made their already-accurate rifles much easier to shoot well. This latest concept shown here, the Models BAS-K and BAT/S-K, is Savage’s effort to make their bolt action Law Enforcement Model 10 series the best off-the-shelf bolt action sniper rifle available. It is hard to quantify the term “best”, but in building a dedicated bolt gun for intermediate to long range shooting from a stationary position, Savage has certainly succeeded. Weighing in at around fifteen pounds with a good scope in place, the BAS rifles are not something that one would want to run uphill with in pursuit of a mobile target, at least not for a fifty-year-old fat guy like me, but for setting up and firing from a fixed position, as is usually the case with military and police snipers, I can think of no other bolt gun that is as easy to fire accurately as this new Savage.

Of course, the heart of this new rifle is the short-action Model 10 that is used in Savage’s other .308 Law Enforcement series rifles. It wears the Law Enforcement AccuTrigger, which is infinitely adjustable for pull weight from approximately one and one-half to six pounds. I won’t go into detail on the design of the AccuTrigger here, as I have plowed that ground several times before, but will state that it is a superb trigger, easy to shoot well, offering a light, crisp trigger pull that is designed to not fire accidentally if the rifle is dropped. The BAS rifles wear a heavy, fluted barrel, which measures .842 inch just behind the threaded-on muzzle brake. The barrel length is twenty-four inches, and the brake adds another two inches. The buttstock is a modified M-4 six-position collapsible type. The overall length measures between forty-five and one-quarter and forty-nine inches, depending upon the position of the buttstock. The adjustable stock is a welcome addition on a rifle of this type, allowing the user to adjust for a perfect fit, regardless of the thickness of the clothing or other gear which might be worn in a particular situation. The comb of the BAS-K is also adjustable for height, to allow perfect alignment of the shooter’s eye with the optic mounted. The BAT/S-K has a target style buttstock that is adjustable in every direction for a perfect fit.

As for the mounting of optics, the modular aluminum stock of the new Savage has plenty of M1913 Picatinny rail. For scope mounting, the rail is dished in a section just forward of the receiver to clear the objective bell of a riflescope, allowing it to be mounted lower than if the rail had been continuous. Great idea. There is also a five-inch section of rail on either side of the rifle, just forward of the action, for mounting a light or infrared module. Ahead of the dished section for the objective bell is another length of rail for mounting night vision optics. On the bottom of the flat forend is a slotted section to allow the mounting of an adjustable hand stop, which also accommodates an adjustable sling or bipod mount.

The magazine is a detachable ten-round box, made of steel and finished in a matte black to match the rest of the rifle. As mentioned above, the stock is modular, and made of a black powder-coated aluminum. The action is mated to the stock using the latest AccuStock system, which firmly fastens the receiver to the stock, eliminating all movement of the barreled action within the stock. The grip is a very comfortable AR type, which allows for all-day comfort while shooting the Savage. The receiver and barrel are built just like the other rifles in the Savage Law Enforcement lineup, but the very unique stock design takes an already-accurate design, and just makes it easier to shoot well. The stock and pistol grip design allows the shooter maximum comfort when shooting from a bench or prone position, eliminating shooter fatigue, and maximizing the practical accuracy of the rifle.

As you might have noticed, I have mentioned accuracy several times, and for good reason. This rifle is all about accuracy. Not just the mechanical accuracy built into the machine, but the practical accuracy of the weapon package, meaning that this rifle is designed to allow the shooter to make maximum use of the potential accuracy of the rifle. In other words, this Savage is not only accurate, but easy to shoot well.

The new BAS-K arrived just in time for my annual trek to the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico, so I placed it within a gun case and loaded up a new Leupold Mark 4 4.5 to 14 power LR/T riflescope, and did not shoot the Savage until we were on the range in New Mexico. The initial impression was that this rifle is very easy to shoot well, and very easy on the shoulder. The muzzle brake, along with the rifle’s weight of 13.4 pounds plus the weight of the scope, mount and bipod made this thing easy to shoot all day. The bulk of the ammunition fired through the Savage was military surplus NATO spec 147 grain ball. Even with that ammo, engaging targets at long range was easy. Shooting from the Harris bipod at life-size mule deer, whitetail, and black bear steel silhouette targets out to 600 yards proved to be very easy to hit, even with the wind blowing steadily. We were not only hitting the targets, but spotters were calling the hits, and slamming bullets repeatedly just behind the shoulder of the targets was the norm, no matter who was doing the shooting. Keep in mind that this was at the Shootists Holiday, and all of those fellows can shoot, but it is still a testament to the design of the rifle that every shooter who got behind that gun turned in a very good performance. With the 600 yard targets presenting no challenge, we moved on to the bison silhouette at approximately 1120 yards. Here, with the wind blowing harder by this time, getting on target was harder to do. However, once we had the scope dialed in and the hold for the wind pegged, the Savage would lay the bullets right in there where we wanted them, even allowing an occasional hit on the sixteen-inch black steel gong on the chest of the bison.

Along with the rifle, I had at my disposal a new Tactical Solutions suppressor to try out. Removing the muzzle brake and threading on the Tac Sol suppressor really turned this into a fun baby to shoot! I was very surprised at the effectiveness of the suppressor. I have fired rifles with suppressors before, but none that were this effective at silencing a .308 Winchester rifle. Other shooters on the line thought that we were shooting a big air rifle, and that is exactly how it felt from the shooter’s position. Downrange, there had to be more noise, as the bullets were supersonic. However, from the shooter’s position, a big “whoosh” sound, for lack of a better term, was all that was heard. Recoil was also greatly attenuated. What little recoil was present without the suppressor was reduced to a gentle push with the can in place. Spotting hits through the scope on rocks and such out to over 1100 yards was easy, and we tried to wear out the famous “banana rock” at about 577 yards from our position. Several shooters, from experienced riflemen to novice teenage kids of a couple of Shootists, had a great time chipping away at that old rock. We shoot at that rock every year with everything from sixguns to lever action rifles to antique single shots, with great success, but this Savage made hitting easier than with anything that I had ever tried before. The more challenging hits were made on rocks out past the 1000 yard mark, and even then, once the scope was adjusted, the Savage would place the bullets on target. The combination of the built-in accuracy and the ease of use afforded by the stock design and wonderful trigger made me look like a better rifleman than I am, and allowed the truly expert marksmen to fully utilize the capabilities of this rifle. In other words, we had a real hoot shooting this rifle! I also had along several tracers in the ammo can, as the ammunition was broken down machine gun belts. We could not use the tracers due to the dry conditions of the vegetation on the mountainside, but one afternoon a huge storm blew in, dumping a lot of rain and some hail along with it. Watching the tracers burn all the way out to 800 yards or so through the Leupold scope was a real blast! All totaled, we put well over five hundred rounds through the Savage with no malfunctions of any kind.

After getting the Savage back home, and a good barrel-cleaning, getting down to the paper-punching was anti-climactic, but it had to be done. As expected, the Savage turned in a stellar performance with Buffalo Bore Sniper ammunition. This ammo uses the superb 175 grain Sierra Boattail match bullets, and the Savage would cluster them into a half-inch hole at 100 yards, and do even a bit better with the Tactical Solutions can in place. This was no big surprise, as most of the sporter-weight Savage hunting rifles will do this with good ammunition. However, the unique stock of the BAS-K is ideally suited to make the most use of the Savage’s excellent accuracy potential. A rifle of this type is built to allow the accurate placement of a single, effective shot on target every time in the gravest situation, and is backed up with an excellent ten-shot magazine and a large bolt handle to crank in another round quickly if needed.

For a military sniper, or a police designated marksman, the BAS-K is as close to the ultimate platform in existence for placing that one shot precisely, anytime, every time. For the rest of us, the new Savage BAS-K is a lot of fun. It is a precision rifle that is accurate, easy to shoot, fun to shoot, and can deliver the goods when called upon to do so. Most of the time, I am shooting at things that do not matter, like paper , steel, and rocks. Some of the time, I am shooting at game, and there are several guns in my battery that can accomplish these tasks well. However, if I had to pick one rifle to make a long range shot-of-a-lifetime in a serious situation, I would reach for this Savage BAS-K.

Check out the entire line of Savage products online at

For the location of a Savage dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

To order the BAS-K online, go to

For a look at the extensive line of Leupold optics, go to

To order the Buffalo Bore Sniper ammunition, go to

Jeff Quinn


For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:


Tactical Solutions suppressor.



Leupold Mark 4 LR/T scope.

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.




Click pictures for a larger version.




Author shoots at a black spot on a rock at 1120 yards, with Jason Cloessner (left) and Mic McPherson (right) spotting.



Threaded muzzle with detachable brake.





Magazine release is large and easy to use.





The comb of the buttstock is adjustable for height.





Savage's wonderful AccuTrigger.





Picatinny rail is dished for scope mounting.