Savage Arms has been making rifles since 1894 when the company was first organized. History knows Savage Arms for creating the first hammerless lever action model 99, which was revolutionary and included technology such as a rotary magazine and a round counter displaying the number of rounds left in the receiver. Today they are known for creating affordable precision rifles bearing the AccuStock and more widely known the AccuTrigger, and I have been lucky enough to receive a Savage 10 TR LEO sporting both of these features. This model is more like Sasquatch as it is rarely seen in public, Savage doesn’t even have any reference to it on their website. You may find pictures of it here and there on the internet but very few have seen this rifle in person. As I understand it from my Savage representative Savage Arms created this rifle for Law Enforcement purchase only to compete with the Remington 700. I have spent 3 days evaluating this rifle and my initial impression is lookout Remington. This rifle has mass appeal, tactically appealing to Swat Team sniper members and the price-tag will catch the eye of many city politicians and bean counters.
In my best Ringling Brothers Ringmaster voice — Ladies and Gentlemen lay your eyes on the rare Savage 10TR LEO.
This particular Savage 10TR comes with a threaded 24in barrel with 5R rifling and a thread protector (5/8-24TPI). Also in the box with documentation and lock was a 0 MOA scope base. Before heading to the range I called the good folks at JP Enterprises (www.jprifles.com) and ordered a Bennie Cooley Signature Series muzzle break and lock nut, which arrived in short order.
After recieiving the package I decided I did not like the look of the lock nut and ordered a AR10 crush washer, in my eyes it gives the perfect fit and look.
After mounting the the rail to the receiver I outfitted the rifle with a Redfield Revenge 6-18×44.
This scope provides plenty of power for my testing and a crystal clear image. After three days of field testing this scope has held zero consistently.
Scope view at 200yards.
My first day on the range was a little short due to other life obligations but at a minimal I wanted to get this setup bore sighted at 100 yards adjusting my windage and elevation. Once on paper I shot my first group with Federal Gold Medal Match 168grain BTHP Sierra Match King. I was very surprised at the results right out of the box.
I proceeded to shoot 7 more rounds, the first three(upper right) was shot with Hornady Match 168gr BTHP and the last four (bottom left) was fired with Federal Gold Medal Match 175gr BTHP.
Initial Savage 10TR Impressions:
Let me first start by saying I was absolutely amazed at the accuracy of this factory rifle. The only modifications were the addition of the scope, Bennie Cooley Muzzle break, and I checked the actions screws to make sure they were tight. The other noticeable aspect of firing this rifle was the lack of recoil. I have fired many 308 Winchester based rifles over the years and this one has to be the softest recoiling of them all. There is even less felt recoil than the AR10 platform.
DMPS SASS Pictured Above — Soon to be reviewed stay tuned.
I attribute the soft shooting to the newly installed muzzle break referred to as the “Howitzer” by my shooting partner Darrell, and the thick soft rubber butt pad Savage has installed.
The only negatives I have noticed at this point is the additional noise caused by the muzzle break and the size of the bolt. Though I love the benefits of both of these features they can be somewhat of a nuisance. The muzzle break most definitely adds noise and to the unsuspecting prone or bench shooter in the adjacent lane may become annoyed with the blast of air directed their way with every shot down range. To me the noise is an accepted side affect considering how much it reduces recoil.
The extra large bolt provides a sure grip for quick manipulation of the bolt but may require some special handling when transporting it to the range. I tried packing this rifle in a Pillar Lock hard side case with the bolt in the rifle and this was a no go, I had to take the bolt out of the rifle to get the case to close without considerable force. I ended up transporting the rifle with bolt installed inside a blackhawk soft sided rifle case.
Fit and Finish:
The fit and finish of this rifle was immaculate. The Matte Blue Finish is evenly applied, the bolt operates smoothly and the barrel was free floating all the way up to the receiver.
The trigger pull weighed in at exactly 2 pounds according to my RCBS trigger gauge.
Before heading to the range on day two I prepared some of my own reloads in hopes of using a variety of ammunition to bring out the best performance of the 10TR and to reduce my cost of shooting 308 Winchester in a time when sporting good store shelves are bare of ammunition. Who am I kidding, I believe I shoot just to reload and spend time at the reloading bench. This is a good way to relax after a long stressful week at work.
For those that do not reload or care to have that addiction there is another method of training without baring the expense of the 308W. Training rifles chambered in 22lr has long been a good choice to get trigger time cost effectively so on day two my Savage MKII TR accompanied me to the range and was shot at 50 yards. This rifle makes for an excellent cheap training platform to the Savage 10TR 308W. It has many of the same features with the oversized tactical bolt and 24in barrel. So before heading off to the 200 hundred yard range I spent some time on the 50 yard line working on my form, trigger control and breathing in hopes of creating muscle memory to be utilized on the larger rifle. While there I shot the Q3-2013 Rimfire Match Target hosted over at the highroad.org. Many of us today are short of time and do not have the luxury to shoot in weekly matches. This match is a great way to participate on your own time on a great forum with a great bunch of people.
On day two after setting up on the bench
We made the 200 yard walk to hang a B34 Silhouette target
Shot 4 groups at 200 yards
Results Day Two 200 Yards:
Reload — Hornady 150gr FMJ H4895 43gr Group Size 2.720
Reload — Sierra Match King 168gr BTHP Reloader-15 42gr Group Size 1.295
Reload — Sierra Match King 175gr BTHP CFE223 47gr Group Size 1.180
Factory — Federal Gold Medal Match 175gr SMK Group Size 1.451
After completing day two, when I arrived at home I cleaned the Savage 10TR with Frog Lube. There were 14 patches wet with Frog Lube pushed through the barrel with a .30 jag. Before the last 4 patches I took a heat gun to raise the temperature of the barrel, for those wondering why Frog Lube has how to apply video’s on their website explaining. Day three consisted of shooting from 100 yards and 200 yards with a wider variety of ammunition reloaded and factory.
All shots were fired with front and rear sandbag rest.
100 Yard Target and Results:
Factory — Fusion 180gr Soft Point Group Size 1.960
Factory — Hornady Match 168gr BTHP Group Size 1.170
Factory — Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr BTHP SMK Group Size .810
Factory — Federal Blue Box 180gr Soft Point Group Size 1.455
Reload — Hornady 150gr H4895 43gr Group Size 2.130
Reload Hornady 150gr H4895 43.5gr Group Size 1.475
200 Yard Target and Results:
Settling down at the 200 yard line I noticed my scope was a little blurry, I had forgotten to adjust the objective. A quick twist and I was ready for the 200 yard test.
Factory — Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr BTHP SMK Group Size 0.915
Factory — Hornady Match 168gr BTHP Group Size 1.350
Factory — Fusion 180gr Soft Point Group Size 1.310
Factory — PMC Bronze 150gr FMJ Group Size 4.230
After three days of range testing I had formed and documented many thoughts about the Savage 10TR LEO. Instead of going through each minute detail I will summarize, the Savage 10TR is a nice looking, deadly accurate and cost effective rifle capable of performing the sniping role of today’s swat teams. As with any rifle or firearm it is key to find which ammunition best works with it and these past 3 days proved the 10TR 1:10 twist 5R rifling does not like or perform well with 150gr bullets. 165gr – 180gr bullets seem to work best, even standard 180gr hunting loads turned in decent performance. I tip my hat to Savage Arms for such good quality.