• Savage Model 10 Predator Hunter Review in .223 Remington

    The camouflage pattern used on the Predator Hunter works very well in masking the rifle's profile in a grassy environment.In recent years Ron Coburn and his team at Savage Sports Corporation have made a significant effort to update their model 110 centerfire bolt-action rifles. This effort has brought forth such features as an all new magazine system, the revolutionary AccuTrigger™, and a new high-luster blued finish to name but a few. Along with these new features came new models such as those in the Classic Series, the Long Range Precision Varmint, and so on. The 2007 model year continues this trend, and the Predator Hunter model is one of several all new models to have been introduced under the Savage Arms brand.

    As the name implies, this new model was designed around the demands and needs serious predator hunters. Savage consulted with noted predator hunter and call manufacturer Gary Robertson to ensure this rifle would be well suited for its intended market and end use.

    As delivered the Predator Hunter rifle features a 22” medium-heavy contour barrel mated to a short-action receiver utilizing a blind magazine box and large knob bolt handle. The stock is the standard Savage synthetic style providing a round forearm and sling swivel studs. The whole works, including trigger guard and Weaver-style scope bases are finished in Mossy Oaks’ Brush camouflage pattern. The Predator Hunter is offered in your choice of .204 Ruger (1-12”), .223 Remington (1-9”) and .22-250 Remington (1-12”).

    At the range with the Leupold FX-II 6x42mm scope and Harris bipod mounted and ready to go.My initial impressions on this new model were somewhat mixed. On one hand I was happy to see Savage stepping up and offering a completely camouflaged rifle, but at the same time I questioned the execution. For starters most predator hunters will either shoot off a bipod or shooting sticks, and the standard synthetic stocks are notorious for having a flimsy forearm. Such a flaw is counter-productive to accuracy when used in this manner as the forearm will flex enough under the weight of the rifle to allow it to contact the barrel.

    Another issue I had was the fact that this model comes equipped with a blind magazine. Considering the majority of predator hunting consists of frequently moving from one set to another and often involves using a vehicle to move between sets, a blind magazine becomes a real inconvenience. In Savage’s defense, I can assume the reason for this choice is because they have yet to finalize the new detachable and hinged floor-plate magazine system designs for .204/.223 sized cases.

    Nit-picking aside, the Predator Hunter rifle actually works very well as a package. The combination of the synthetic stock and medium-heavy contour barrel result in a very balanced rifle, with the balance point just slightly forward of the front action screw where it should be. The result is a rifle that shoulders quickly and easily and lends itself well to quick off-hand shots. The Predator Hunter also bodes well when used off a bipod or shooting sticks.

    The camouflage coating of the tang and safety tab resulted in the safety being a little stiffer than normal.For this evaluation I chose to mount a Leupold FX-II 6x42mm fixed power scope using Burris' medium height Signature Zee rings. While most would opt for more magnification on a varmint/predator rifle, I find a quality 6x to be sufficient out to around 400 yards in most situations. The fixed magnification means less potential for something to go wrong with the scope internally, and the 6x magnification is low enough to track those close-in runners and high enough to reach out to reasonable distances. I'll admit though, 6x definitely isn't ideal for target shooting as is clearly shown by the included targets.

    Ammunition for this evaluation was pretty much a mixed bag of anything I could get my hands on locally. I don't normally shoot or reload for the .223 cartridge, but I was able to borrow a set of dies to experiment with some handloads as well as use factory loads from Hornady and Black Hills.

    As noted above, the optics proved to be a limiting factor when it came time to evaluate the rifles accuracy potential. The reticle of the Leupold scope features rather heavy crosshairs (1/2 MOA @ 100 yards), so getting a consistent aiming point proved to be next to impossible. Even so, most groups averaged in the 0.75 to 1.5 inch range which is more than adequate for most critters. With higher magnification and a finer crosshair I have no doubt this rifle would have easily printed 1/2-inch groups.

    During range testing I found the Hornady 55-grain V-Max factory ammunition to shoot the best, with Black Hills 52-grain Sierra Matchking moly loads coming in at a close second. Handloads were on par with the Hornady factory ammunition, particularly my load of 27 grains of Varget topped with a 50-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet and a CCI BR4 primer. Another good shooting load proved to be 25.5 grains of Ramshot TAC, 65-grain Sierra Gameking bullet and a CCI BR4 primer.


    Additional Photos:

    The medium height rings  put the objective bell of the scope to close to the barrel to allow the fitment of a Butler Creek flip-up cap. The camo finish wasn't the best around the loading/ejection port of the action. The scope bases are already installed when the barreled action is camo dipped, so if you want to switch to a different base you will need to cut the film around the base with an Exacto Knife or utility blade.
    Target 1 Target 2


    Contact Information
    Savage Arms
    100 Springdale Rd.
    Westfield, MA 01085
    (413) 568-7001
    www.SavageArms.com









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