• Savage Predator Hunter Max-1 in .204 Ruger

    This is actually the second time I have reviewed a Predator Hunter model in this caliber - the first time being when the Predator Hunter first came out back in the summer of 2007. The only difference was that last time it was a right-hand model with a blind magazine and wearing Mossy Oak Bush camouflage, while this time around itís a left-hand model with a detachable box magazine (DBM) and RealTree MAX-1 camouflage.

    Editors Note ~ After ten years of running this website I finally committed the ultimate sin as a writer and forgot to take any photos. I didnít actually forget - I really thought I had already taken them. My typical routine is to take detailed ďas deliveredĒ photos as soon as I receive the product, so after having the rifle a few months I just figured I had done that just like I have a hundred times before. Unfortunately - like a bonehead - I didnít double check before shipping the rifle back to Savage. You can imagine my surprise when I realized I didn't have a single photo on my computer or my camera.

    The most obvious difference I noticed when I first pulled the rifle out of the box was that the barreled action was no longer camo-coated like the previous version I had reviewed. I really didnít care for the quality of the coating on the first one or the fact it would be ruined if you removed the barrel or scope mounts, so I was happy to see they stuck with a matte blued finish for the newer model. Another obvious difference was the magazine type, and again I was pleased to see the change to a DBM. The detachable box magazine just makes a lot more sense for a rifle thatís being marketed specifically for predator hunting where one will be in and out of the truck several times a day moving from stand to stand.

    The other big difference between this new model and its predecessor is that this one has the newer bottom bolt release. Some people love the new position, some hate it; Iím pretty much indifferent on the matter other than I do think the new location looks a lot cleaner and more thought-out.

    The Max-1 variant of the Predator Hunter features a 24-inch fluted medium-heavy contour barrel that measures 0.750" at the muzzle, a detachable box magazine, the Varmint AccuTrigger (1.5-6-lbs), and the new AccuStock. Overall length comes in at approximately 44-inches and the weight is 8.5-lbs. sans optics or accessories. Magazine capacity for the .204 Ruger cartridge is 4+1 and the MSRP comes in at $915.00 as of this writing.

    For range testing purposes I mounted up a Weaver Classic V24 using the supplied Weaver-style bases and a set of Burris Signature Zee rings. Ammunition consisted of some leftover reloads from a previous rifle and some Hornady factory loads. Accuracy with the reloads wasnít too impressive and I really didnít expect it to be as it didnít shoot worth a hoot in my last gun either. On the other hand, the factory Hornady ammunition shot extremely well and consistently yielded five-shot groups in the half inch to three-quarter inch range at 100 yards. At 200 yards the Hornady ammo was still sub-MOA with most groups falling within the 1.25 to 1.50Ē range.

    The only thing I might possibly change with the Predator Hunter would be for it to have an 18 or 20-inch barrel rather than the 22-inch (Mossy Oak Brush models) or 24-inch (RealTree Max-1 models). I tend to prefer my hunting rifles be more compact, and this change would help eliminate the nose heavy feel when shooting off-hand. A shorter barrel could also possibly improve the handling when following a moving target.

    Other than my personal barrel length preference I really canít fault anything with the Predator Hunter. As a total package itís extremely versatile and serves as an ideal platform for its intended design Ė a predator hunting rifle. I do think the Mossy Oak Brush is a more attractive and effective camouflage pattern for the type of terrain most predator hunters will find themselves in, but the Max-1 isn't too far off either.

    Just add your favorite rifle scope and itís ready to go pound some coyotes...it's that simple!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. SlimySquirrel's Avatar
      SlimySquirrel -
      I have one in .223

      You mentioned the finish rubbing off on the Barrel of the previous model. I noticed that with a little wear on my new Hunter Max 1 the Stock paint rubs off pretty easy too.

      Having said that, I don't really care much for the Factory accustocks looks but one thing is for sure, with the American Eagle 50Gr Ballistic Tip ammo it shoots half MOA at 100yd consistently. The same with the Fiocchi 55Gr SP.

      This rifle is fairly weighty, and as mentioned above it has a noticeable "Front Heavy" feel especially with my Suppressor attached!

      Over all though, this Rifle is an excellent buy, well priced, accurate and reliable. Just be sure to check the feeding issues related to Short Action calibres as they have a tendency to feed low, "stove piping" the rounds but it is easily fixed by opening the magazine lips gently.

      Hs Precision make an excellent stock for these rifles if looking to upgrade

      and Boyds also make a fine thumbhole Varmint

      for a more dedicated "Sit and Snipe" Stock. Just be sure to measure your screw spacing.

  • Help support Savage Shooters by
    joining Team Savage today!

    Upgrade to Team Savage