• Savage 110 Tactical LH in .308 Win. Review

    For 2018 Savage Arms decided to make a major change to their bolt-action centerfire rifle lineup by renaming several models using the original "110" nomenclature. For the past twenty years Savage has used a two or three digit model numbering system
    to differentiate between short-action (two digit) and long-action (three digit) rifles. Prior to 1998 however, all Savage rifles based on the 110 action design were designated with a three digit model number. As you can imagine this has created a lot of confusion for Savage enthusiasts and owners - especially those who aren't fully educated on the complete 60 year history of the 110 design. For those not in the know, you can rest assured that Savage is still making short-actions for rifles chambered in short-action cartridges, even if it has "110" in the model name.

    The new Model 110 Tactical LH in .308 Winchester that we are discussing here today is one of those newly renamed models, and being the .308 Win. is a short-action cartridge I can assure you that it's wearing a true short-action receiver with 4.40" action screw spacing. This model [and it's right-hand counterparts] replace the old Model 10FCP models that Savage offered last year. While some may not like the confusion that has been caused by the renaming, I don't think anyone can argue that the changes found on the new 110 Tactical are all major improvements over the previous model.

    The Model 110 Tactical LH is only offered in .308 Winchester, but the right-hand models are also available in 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5mm Creedmoor. The LH model comes fitted with a 24-inch fluted heavy barrel with a 1 in 10" rate of twist and a threaded muzzle to accept a muzzle device such as a brake or suppressor. The barrel is mated to a blueprinted Savage short-action receiver outfitted with an extended tactical bolt handle and Savage's most excellent AccuTrigger which can be adjusted down to around 1.5 pounds. Savage also includes a 20 MOA tapered EGW picatinney rail with the 110 Tactical models.

    Savage made two significant changes to the old Model 10 FCP-SR when they renamed it for this year, that being the addition of their all new AccuFit Stock System and the change back to using an AICS-style magazine. As we covered in our review of the Model 110 Storm earlier this year, the new AccuFit Stock System builds upon the existing AccuStock system through the addition interchangeable comb risers and length-of-pull spacers. These new risers and spacers allow the shooter to tailor fit their rifle to their specific build and shooting style ensuring proper eye alignment with the scope and reach to the trigger. All of the different risers and spacers are included in the box with the rifle so there is nothing extra to purchase separately. It's a simple yet very effective system, and while it lacks the ability to be adjusted "on the fly" it's simplicity helps to keep the cost down.

    As noted above, the other major change for 2018 was the move back to an AICS-style magazine. When Savage first came out with the Model 10FCP-SR a few years ago it came with an MDT magazine which uses the AICS pattern and AICS compatible bottom metal. The following year Savage came out with their own proprietary 10-round magazine that worked with their proprietary DBM bottom metal, and refitted the rifle with those components much to the dismay of many of our forum members. Fortunately that decision has been rectified for 2018 as Savage has equipped the new 110 Tactical models with an all new AICS-pattern bottom metal as well as a Magpul 10-round 7.62 AC magazine.

    Making the change back to the AICS-style magazine just makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, AICS magazines have proven themselves to be extremely reliable and durable in both competition. law enforcement and military use, and it's that dependability that has made it the number one go-to magazine type for most all new firearms being made specifically for PRS-style competition and tactical purposes by both mass manufacturers and custom makers. Second, going to an AICS magazine offers variety as there are several companies out there who make AICS compatible magazines in different materials and sizes so the customer can opt for a metal or plastic magazine in their choice of 5 or 10-round capacity. Lastly, some of the AICS pattern magazines cost less than Savage's proprietary magazine which helps to keep more of your hard earned money in your own pocket.

    The AccuFit stock fitted to the 110 Tactical (and 110 Varmint) varies slightly from the stock used on other AccuFit models in that the forearm has been widened into a beavertail design and the rubber over-molding in the grip areas have been replaced with molded-in checkering. Ergonomically
    the stock on the 110 tactical is identical to the 110 Storms' sporter stock from the magazine well to the butt and uses the same comb risers and L.O.P. spacers.

    For testing the 110 Tactical was fitted with a Bushnell Elite Tactical DMRII Pro 3.5-21x50mm optic featuring the G3 FFP reticle and a Harris 6-9" swivel bipod. All shooting was done from the bench using said bipod and a Protektor bunny ear rear bag. Ammunition used for testing consisted of the following:

    American Eagle Varmint & Predator 130gr JPH (#AE308130VP)
    Federal Big-Game 165gr Nosler AccuBond (#P308A1)
    Federal Gold Medal 175gr Sierra MatchKing (#GM308M2)
    Federal Gold Medal 185gr Berger Juggernaut (#GM308BH185)
    Federal Law Enforcement Tactical 168gr Tipped Sierra Match King (#T308T)
    Hornady American Whitetail 150gr Interlock SP (#8090)
    PMC Bronze 147gr FMJ (#PMC308B)

    Overall I was very happy with the accuracy this rifle delivered at both 100 and 200 yards with most ammo types. The bulk of the above listed loads consistently shot MOA or better at these distances, and those that didn't averaged in the 1-1.5 MOA range. Any group that didn't fall into those margins was usually a result of shooter error.

    Of the factory loads tested, the one that shot best from this rifle proved to be the Federal L.E. Tactical 168gr TSMK load followed closely by the Federal Big-Game 165gr AccuBond load. Both loads proved to be very consistent from group to group, and each had several 200 yard groups that were pushing 1/2 MOA. Average group size for both types of ammo was right around 3/4 MOA.

    The least accurate ammo type of those used in this test would fall to the American Eagle 130gr JHP with groups that averaged just under 1.5 MOA. That's still pretty good for factory ammunition from a factory rifle, and in my experience Savage .30 caliber barrels have never shot the lighter bullets as well as they do those weighing over 150 grains.

    Groups shot with the Hornady American Whitetail 150gr Interlock and Federal Gold Medal 175gr SMK loads both averaged a little over 1 MOA, with the 175gr SMK just being slightly better. The PMC Bronze 147gr FMJ ammo shot just slightly worse with an average of just over 1.25 MOA.

    The one ammo that I was slightly disappointed in was the Federal Gold Medal 185gr Berger which averaged 1.2 MOA. For whatever reason this particular rifle just didn't shoot this ammo as well as some of the other loads tested which just goes to show that each rifle and barrel will have it's own unique personality when it comes to ammunition.

    In total 380 rounds were fired through the 110 Tactical during testing, and the overall average group size for all seven types of ammo at both 100 and 200 distances came in at 1.1 MOA. For a bone stock factory rifle shooting a wide variety of factory loads that's pretty darn good.

    Throughout the course of my testing the 110 Tactical performed without a single hiccup. Feeding, extraction and ejection proved to be flawless with each type of ammunition used, and magazine lock-in and retention was very positive. The AccuTrigger came set at a crisp 1.75 pounds and broke cleanly with only a hint of over-travel and I saw no need to adjust it.

    It should come as no surprise that I have high praise for the new AccuFit Stock System as I really liked it in January when I reviewed the 110 Storm. Some may think it's cheap or chinzy and feel that Savage should have gone with an adjustable setup, but I disagree. The AccuFit System is simplistic in nature and is cheap to manufacture, which is a big reason Savage was able to add it to their rifles without an increase in price. A mechanically adjustable design would be much more complex and expensive to manufacture which would have driven the price up.

    I was also extremely happy that Savage includes a 20 MOA rail on these rifles. While not everyone needs or can benefit from a 20 MOA rail, given how most customers will ultimately use this rifle it makes sense to incorporate one in lieu of a standard zero taper rail. It's also much easier to locate a zero taper mount locally should they wish to change it out. Attention to small details like that matter, especially on models aimed at specific niche segments of the overall market.

    The same can be said for the switch back to an AICS magazine and shipping the rifles with a Magpul magazine. It's what the market wanted and Savage listened.

    As with all of my product reviews, I always look for at least one or two things that could be imrpoved upon or be done a little better to make the overall product better. In this case, the minor two nit-picks I found have to do with two components I just praised above: the stock and the 20 MOA rail.

    In the case of the stock, while I love the range of adjustment afforded the user by the AccuFit system I feel Savage somewhat dropped the ball in terms of the overall stock design. Aside from the wider beavertail forearm, the 110 Tactical (and 110 Varmint) stock is essentially the same stock that is found on the 110 Storm and other AccuFit models. Savage could have done better in my view by creating a completely different stock for these two models that is precision or tactical oriented with a more closed and vertical pistol grip and less angle at the toe to make it more ergonomic and stable when shooting from the bench or prone. One look at the most popular aftermarket precision and tactical oriented stocks on the market from McMillan, Manners, Bell & Carlson, etc. would have shown the engineers at Savage what these shooters are looking for in a stock. A factory molded AccuStock with the AccuFit system mimicking some of the attributes of such aftermarket stocks would have made this rifle that much more appealing to customers and been better suited to how the majority of customers will be using this particular model.

    As for the 20 MOA EGW picatinney rail, my only complaint here is that it has the extension that protrudes out over the recoil lug and barrel nut. With today's shorter scopes this extension is often times more of a burden to the user than a benefit as it reduces the amount of fore and aft movement available to properly set eye relief. In my case, I couldn't move the scope back enough on this rifle to get the proper eye relief before the forcing cone of the scope came into contact with the front edge of the rail. As a result I had to mount it more forward which required me to stretch my neck to move my cheek weld forward on the comb to get a clear, full image through the scope at maximum magnification. It's for this very reason that myself and many others typically cut off these extensions before mounting such a rail to our rifles.

    Those two nit-picks aside I'm extremely happy with the new 110 Tactical as an overall package. The level of accuracy it displayed with such a wide variety of ammunition combined with the very generous feature set and very reasonable price make it a real value that offers a ton of "bang for the buck." There's really nothing on this rifle that you need or would want to change/upgrade sans maybe the stock, and that would just be a matter of personal preference as the included stock is perfectly serviceable as has been shown here.

    So if you're in the market for a no muss, no fuss rifle that's truly "ready to run" right out of the box with all the right features and options, the new 110 Tactical may just be the rifle you are looking for.

    Additional Photos:

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. yoda4x4's Avatar
      yoda4x4 -
      Hey Jim - what size rings did you have on with that 3-21x50 Bushnell? I'm guessing high.

    1. J.Baker's Avatar
      J.Baker -
      Those were Warne 34mm Fixed Medium's that are 0.375" from the top of the scope rail to the bottom of the maintube.

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