• Savage's MSR10 Hunter in .308 Winchester

    Now as good as the MSR10 Hunter is, there are a couple minor things that I feel could be improved upon to make it even better. None of them are major issues, and they mostly deal with ergonomics so they may not apply to everyone, but they are things I felt the vast majority of people would likely agree with me on after they spend some time with one of these rifles.

    First up would be the butt stock and it’s lack of comb height adjustment. Nothing fancy is needed here and I do really like the shape and function of the Axiom stock, so if Blackhawk could simply modify the design to accept snap-on cheek risers similar to Magpul’s MOE stock it would be perfect.

    My second issue is with the grip. As previously noted the supplied Blackhawk Knoxx grip provides a noticeably short reach to the trigger which makes it rather difficult (and uncomfortable) to exercise proper trigger engagement with the first pad of your finger. Swapping out the supplied grip with an Ergo SureGrip Ambi added about 1/4″ (0.240″ to be exact) to the reach which was a significant improvement, but ideally the reach would need to be extended another 1/4″ or so for my liking. For reference I have average size hands wearing a medium glove. A trigger shoe would work well for this, but at present I’m not aware of anyone making one for AR triggers. For the record, I think the short reach to the trigger is (in part) a negative side effect of Savage’s shortening of the receivers.

    My third nit-pick is with the charging handle – more specifically the latch. I would like to see Savage equip these rifles with something slightly larger that offers more purchase area – something like Badger’s Tac Latch or similar. Most customers who purchase one of these rifles will be mounting an optic on it, and depending on the optic chosen the ocular bell may extend rearward of the charging handle making it very difficult to charge the rifle. I ran into this issue when I initially mounted my NightForce SHV 4.5-14x50mm in an American Defense Recon mount to this rifle, and given the much stiffer buffer spring compared to an AR/MSR15 the added purchase area on the latch would make charging the rifle quite a bit easier.

    Last but not least we have the supplied muzzle brake, which according to my shoulder does little to nothing to lessen felt recoil and only amplifies the report of the rifle. While shooting the MSR10 Hunter both with and without the brake in place neither myself nor two other shooters could discern a noticeable difference in felt recoil or muzzle jump.

    Overall the MSR 10 Hunter proved to be a very pleasant surprise in that it wasn’t just another basic “me too” AR-type rifle. Savage Arms did an excellent job of identifying the shortcomings of the common AR-10 rifle and then selected quality components to address those shortcomings. The result is a well put together package equipped with premium components right out of the box so that the end user won’t have to spend more money “upgrading” their rifle down the road.

    To put this into perspective, just think of how much extra money you would spend “upgrading” your typical off the shelf mil-spec AR-type rifle.

    Better Trigger: $100-300
    Better Grip: $20-60
    Better Buttstock: $60-350
    Free-Float Forearm: $150-300
    Nickel-Boron Coated BCG: $120-190
    Extended Charging Handle Lever: $30-80
    Adjustable Gas Block: $25-100

    Bare minimum you would spend over $500 to upgrade mil-spec components on a typical AR-10 to bring it up to the same level as the MSR10 Hunter comes equipped off the shelf. When you price the MSR10 Hunter against some of it’s competitors (the S&W M&P10 or DPMS Compact Hunter for example) you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck with the Savage.

    Savage’s tag line for their MSR series of rifles is “Better comes standard,” and the MSR 10 Hunter easily hits that mark.

    Detailed specifications for the MSR10 Hunter and all of Savage Arms other offerings can be found on their website at www.SavageArms.com

    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!

      Attachment 5453
    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.

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