• Savage's MSR10 Hunter in .308 Winchester

    I have to admit, when I first heard that Savage Arms was getting into the MSR market back in December of 2016 my initial reaction wasn’t very positive. For starters, the MSR market was already extremely saturated
    as most every other manufacturer had already gotten into and established themselves in the MSR market. Second, Savage was very late to the game as many feel the peak sales years for MSR-type rifles had already passed them by. So why invest the money, resources and time into a market segment that’s already flooded with options?

    That initial impression and reaction is why it has taken me so long to review one of Savage’s MSR offerings. Our friend Charles wrote up a review for the MSR15 Patrol model about a year and a half ago and he gave it very high marks as an all around duty/patrol rifle, but neither of the two initial MSR15 options really piqued my interest. As January 2018 rolled around Savage introduced a number of new bolt-action models which kept me preoccupied through the first half of the year, but as summer started to fade I finally put in a request for a MSR10 Hunter in .308 Winchester.

    The reason I opted to go with a MSR10 over a MSR15 is because the MSR10 isn’t just another cookie-cutter AR, but instead is a unique proprietary design with roughly 3/4″ of length removed from the receivers. As a result the bolt carrier and charging handle are unique to Savage and aren’t interchangeable with other brands of AR-10 components.

    The upper and lower receiver on the MSR10 Hunter are both forged from 7075-T6 aluminum and receive a matte black hardcoat anodized finish. As noted the receivers are of proprietary length and the mag well is designed to accept LR-308 or SR-25 style magazines. A single 20-round Magpul magazine is included with the rifle.

    The upper receiver assembly is of the flat-top design and features an incorporated flange for attaching the forearm. The receiver features a forward assist and brass deflector as well as a durable flip-down plastic dust cover for the ejection port. The charging handle is standard mil-spec style with a slightly extended catch lever. The bolt is an E9310 High-Pressure piece fitted with dual ejectors, and both the bolt and bolt carrier are nickel-boron coated. Unlike a standard AR15, the Savage MSR10 utilizes a firing pin spring.

    The barrel is a button rifled 5R unit that measures 16″ in length and features a 2-3/4 inch long proprietary screw-on 4-port muzzle brake that direct gas upward and to the sides. The gas system is slightly longer than mid length and is what Savage refers to as “mid-length+.” An adjustable gas block is employed to allow the user to easily tune the gas system for best performance with a given ammunition and/or when attaching a suppressor.

    The free-floating forearm is an M-Lok style made by Midwest Industries and attaches to the receiver via four fine thread hex head bolts. It is of a fairly slender design measuring just under 1-3/4 inches in width and just shy of 2-1/4 inches in overall height, while the overall length with mounting flange is comparable to a 13-inch conventionally mounted AR-15 forearm. A gap is provided in the top rail to allow for adjusting the gas system.

    Moving on, the lower receiver assembly comes fitted with a full compliment of Blackhawk components. The buttstock is a Blackhawk Axiom Carbine Stock with Pad and the pistol grip is the Blackhawk Knoxx Grip. A Blackhawk AR Blaze Trigger comes standard as well. Fire control markings adorning either side of the receiver accompanied by a standard bolt release lever on the left and mag release button on the right.

    Overall length of the Hunter model in .308 Winchester is 35-inches with the buttstock collapsed and 39-inches with it fully extended. Weight is listed at 7.8 pounds without optics and the MSRP as of this writing is listed at $1,481.00.

    The MSR10 Hunter is also offered in 6.5 Creedmoor and .338 Federal – both with 18-inch barrels and the same MSRP as the .308 Win. model.

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. celltech's Avatar
      celltech -
      Great article Jim! I love reading about AR-10's as I got the bug to build one 6 months ago. I settled on an Aero Precision M5E1 platform and tried to keep it as light as reasonablly possible. I ended up right at 8 lbs.

      So the Savage claims they are 7.8 lb, did you actually weigh it? What is the profile on that barrel? It looks pretty chunky at the muzzle and maybe fluted under the handguard? As mine has an 18" barrel and a full rifle length gas system I went minimalist with the MFT stock. I am shocked how soft shooting it feels considering it's a .308.

      Even though you say the handguard is thin I still wish all the vendors would get rid of the mostly useless top rail, like the Atlas-S systems. That would turn this rifle into a more serious, hard hitting, GTW companion.

      Thanks as always for the great articles...we appreciate all you put into the site!

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    1. J.Baker's Avatar
      J.Baker -
      Weight: Yes, it came in just a touch over 7 3/4 lb so the claimed weight is pretty spot on.

      Barrel profile was thicker than I thought it would be given the light weight but I didn't measure actual diameters. Yes it is fluted under the forearm.

      Hunter comment - that was just a little tongue-in-cheek humor since it's setup very similar to a M4 carbine (16" barrel, collapsible stock, etc).

      I don't mind the top rail, it gives you a place to mount a front back-up sight if you want to run them.
    1. big honkin jeep's Avatar
      big honkin jeep -
      Here are a couple of my observations using a full size "heavy" AR. Not a Savage but I picked up a.308 chambered modern sporting rifle many moons ago with visions of it being a "hunting rig". The one I picked up was a DPMS LR .308 with an A2 style stock and 24" stainless fluted barrel. It will barely close in a 38" zippered case. It weighs over 11# empty with no glass, sling or bi pod and I tuned it up a little further with a Chip McCormick trigger (The factory trigger sucked) and a JP recoil eliminator brake. The accuracy is flat out awesome and rivals some of my better shooting bolt actions, BUT... All my envisioned advantages quickly went out the window when I tried to hunt from a wooden 4'x4' box blind with veiled windows, carpet, shooting rails, and a comfy swivel office chair looking over a green field. One would think that such an ideal blind setup would make it a piece of cake but here are some of the shortcomings I found with my particular rig. The length weight and bulk were very cumbersome to manipulate within the blind or get out the window. It seemed that the magwell (even with a 4 round hunting mag) and the hand grip were just protrusions to hang on to, or bang into stuff and make noise when trying to silently move the rifle while watching out the window. I found the round hand guard did not lend itself to propping up steady on a flat shooting rail like the flat bottom side of a typical hunting rifle fore end. The scope mounts so high on an AR because their is no drop at the comb due to the buffer tube that high or extra high rings must be used which makes the vertical profile of the rifle extremely tall. Especially if you count the distance from the top of the scope turret to the bottom of the mag or grip. I'm running a 6.5-24x50 Vortex on mine and once I did manage to get the muzzle out the window I found myself looking at the wall of the blind above the window as the narrow blind windows, Which I'd never had a problem with before, suddenly weren't tall enough. I finally left the comfort of the box blind and tried to hunt prone in some sagebrush from a mat. Yeah it wound up being kind of a miserable hunt.
      On the other hand I do have an accurate and fun range toy. A fella at the range commented "Nice ammo waster" My reply was " Take a look at my target" "It's only wasting ammo when they don't all go dead center"
      Anyway maybe try out some of the other AR10 or SR25 rifles on the market and I think you'll agree that A flat top with a shorter lighter configuration weighing 7.5# is much better suited as a "Hunter" than most of the rest of what's out there. Sounds to me from your review like they trimmed it up pretty well to match the application. Thanks for the review.
    1. celltech's Avatar
      celltech -
      I think that once you get an AR-10 to the 8lb and below point you are on to something. Now I would still take a true lightweight rifle if I was slogging through miles of brush, but this is a handy, hard hitting, and easy to shoot rifle. I am still working on the weight and profile of mine and have a thinner handguard on the way. My biggest hinderances to consistancy were the trigger...taken care of by a LaRue MBT...and the very lightweight MFT stock. That one I am still working out my technique on. But man...it this thing fun to shoot, way less felt recoil than any of my bolt guns including a heavy 12FV. And it's accurate enough at this point.
    1. Tallowbox's Avatar
      Tallowbox -
      Sounds much like the discussion which went on for a year or more about naming the winery I envisioned and helped establish. Yep finally the board voted to use the name I first proposed.