April 07, 2010
Petzal: The Savage Model 111 Long Range Hunter, Part I
By David E. Petzal
Way back in 1958, a gun designer named Nicholas Brewer spewed forth a new rifle for Savage called the Model 110. It was a true inanimate hideosity, a collection of cheap parts that could be assembled into a cheap rifle that worked well and shot better than well. Since the early 1990s when Ron Coburn took over the company, Savage has relentlessly improved the 110, and it is now at the point where Mr. Brewer would be hard-put to recognize it. Some of the changes are cosmetic. Some, like the Accu-Trigger, Accu-Stock, and muzzle brake, are for performance. And they do perform. The Model 111 Long Range Hunter in 6.5/284 Norma that Savage shipped me about a month ago is the most accurate factory rifle in a big-game caliber that I’ve ever used.
I’ve had other guns that would turn in spectacular groups with one or two brands of ammo, or custom rifles that would shoot as well or better overall, but this one costs $934, and the groups run like this:
Norma factory, 140-gr. Nosler Partition--.436
Black Hills, 142-gr. Sierra Matchking—1.394*
HSM, 140-gr. Berger--.678
Cor-Bon, 139-gr. Scenar--.560
Handload, 140-gr. Hornady--.730
Handload, 140-gr. Nosler Accu-Bond--.528
*When I asked Savage’s sinister Marketing Manager, Bill Dermody, if this was a selected rifle, he said: “No, we shot one group to see if it sucked and then shipped it.” That group was Black Hills ammo, and measured .600, so I have no idea what is going on here. It may be Lucifer at work.
I let this speak for itself.