• Savage Model 11 Hog Hunter in .223 Remington

    I have always been a fan of the fast handling offered by rifles fitted with a 20-inch barrel, so when Savage announced a new heavy barreled model with a 20-inch barrel I was keenly interested and immediately put in a quest to receive one in .223 Remington.
    When the rifle arrived at my local dealer i was very excited. Upon removing the rifle and bolt from the box I noticed how thick the barrel really was but at 20 inches it makes for a very well balanced rifle. Everyone at the gun shop asked what it was and had to handle it a bit, and they to all remarked about how well balanced it was for a heavy barreled rifle. The Accutrigger and over sized bolt handle were also positively received by the growing crowd. I knew it was going to be a very sweet rifle to evaluate.

    A few days later I took the Model 11 to the range to make a few observations. I cleaned it on the shooting bench before starting. The bore cleaned up easily with a few patches of solvent to remove the fouling left by the test firing at the factory. After cleaning I set up targets at 25 and 100 yards to get the scope sighted in. It was a fairly busy day and the Hog Hunter attracted a bit of attention. The fella who was most interested was a deputy who loved the balance, weight, accuracy and most importantly to him, the over all length. These qualities attracted me as well. I had already expected it of the rifle but was pleased none the less when it perform as well as I had hoped it would.

    While this Model 11 series is designated "Hog Hunter" I will most likely use it as a varmint rifle and maybe in an occasional F-Class match. The 20 in barrel is just about the perfect length for a .223 and the 1-9 twist makes it accurate with the 65 to 70gr bullets. However, being that the Hog Hunter is offered in other calibers I can see how it could easily be used as a thick woods rifle for pigs or deer.

    For testing purposes I mounted a Leupold VX-2 6-18X40 AO target scope on the rifle. I was able to shoot under 1moa on the 10" steel dingers we have set up at 200, 300, 400, and 500 yards using Sierra 69gr MatchKings. While shooting off the bench using the Harris bipod there was some flex in the synthetic stock, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the standard length stock. As long as you don't try to twist the stock while shooting it doesn't touch the barrel. The stock flex is hardly noticeable when shooting on a rest like my Caldwell Rock. The checkering and mold lines are uncomfortable while shooting but nothing a sharp knife, file or sandpaper won't fix. The bolt cycles well but is somewhat hard like all Savages are. The oversized bolt knob helps this some if you quickly cycle the bolt. Loading the magazine was a chore at first as the magazine spring/follower was quite stiff but got a bit easier the more it was used.

    Due to the shortages of powder and bullets I was not able to test a large variety of combinations. The following is the best performers of the combinations I was able to produce. The data was acquired by firing 2 ea. 5 shot groups at 100 yards from a cement rifle bench and Caldwell Rock rest. The weather is 90*F and 60% humidity, elevation is 30 feet ASL.

    Avg. Group
    69gr SMK Varget 25.0gr Hornady CCI BR4 0.688"
    69gr Nosler CC H4895 25.5gr Winchester CCI BR4 0.773"
    68gr Hornady Match TAC 25.0gr Hornady CCI BR4 0.864"
    55gr Nosler BT TAC 24.8gr Winchester CCI BR4 0.992"
    70gr Hornady SP H4895 24.7gr Remington CCI BR4 1.108"

    As we can see it was able to produce sub-MOA groups with all but one bullet which is a pointed soft point bullet. I'm sure that as more bullets and powders become available I will be able to get smaller groups. I'm giving all you hoarders out there an obscene gesture right now!

    Now that we have discussed the accuracy let us cover the other details of the Model 11 Hog Hunter. The first thing that everyone who is familiar with Savage and Stevens rifles will notice is that the plastic stock is of the typical Savage style but is molded in olive drab rather than the traditional black or the battleship gray of the Stevens. I really like the OD green on this rifle. It is shorter than the standard stock also. The stock features the typical Savage recoil pad and two sling swivel studs so if you intend to mount a bipod and sling you will need take that into consideration. The trigger guard is black plastic but looks good. The mold lines and checkering are sharp but easy enough to deal with. It has the standard internal 4 round magazine. I should point out that this is not an Accu-stock.

    The barrel and action are a very nice satin black as is the bolt body and oversized knob like what you will find on the Model 10 tactical series rifles. The barrel is 20 inches in length and a heavy contour that comes with a smooth barrel nut, open sights, and a threaded muzzle with a knurled thread protector. The rifle comes with Weaver style scope bases installed at the factory but also features LPA adjustable open sights. The sights leave much to be desired as they are overly large and the rear does not flip down so they are always sticking you when you carry the rifle. The front post looks a like huge golf ball and tee that Arnold Palmer would be proud of. The rear sight is a sliding ramp that holds windage very well but cannot be adjusted to be zeroed at short distances. At 50 yards the impact is 2 inches high at the lowest setting and about .5 inches high at 100 yards at the same setting. Beyond 150 yards the sights are usable but the large ball of the front makes any kind of precision work impossible as you just can't see much of the target. I would have preferred a rabbit ear front post like the M-1 Garand or M-1 Carbine and maybe a flip up ring inside the rear base.

    The Savage Model 11 Hog Hunter is part of Savage's specialty series. The Hog Hunters include the Model 11 in .223 Rem such as this one, Model 11 in .308 Win, and the Model 111 in .338 Win Mag. All feature the Accutrigger, 20 inch barrel, od green plastic stock, open sights, threaded muzzle with protector and Weaver style scope bases. The over all length of these rifles is just a tad over 40 inches making them perfect for trucks, atv's and boats with weight varying from 7.25 to 8 pounds.

    The Savage Model 11 Hog Hunter series has an MSRP of $535.00

    Contact Information
    Savage Arms
    100 Springdale Road
    Westfield, MA 01085

    **The photos show a Redfield Revenge scope not the Leupold VX2 I did the evaluation with. This particular Redfield was being evaluated for a separate article and just happened to be the scope mounted on the rifle during the photo session.

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Apache's Avatar
      Apache -
      I am not a hoarder, I am a well stocked shooter and continuing to be even more well stocked.......

      Nice review!!!
    1. Chrazy-Chris's Avatar
      Chrazy-Chris -
      Thanks for the review. You mentioned it was shooting high and the front sight covered the target- what if you zero'ed it for a 6 o'clock hold where the point of impact is just on top of the front sight rather than behind it? Would it still be shooting too high?

    1. LoneWolf's Avatar
      LoneWolf -
      I actually used to zero my M16 this way when we used Iron Sights for annual qualification. It is much easier to see your target this way since the front sight post would appear so much larger than the target at extended range (i.e. 200, 300, and 500yds). I've always qualed expert on the Marine Corps course of fire. It's a little different with the Trijicon ACOG however. Definitely not a match style scope so determining hold is always interesting.

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