April 09, 2010
Petzal: The Savage Model 111 Long Range Hunter, Part II
By David E. Petzal
In the event you missed the first part of this post, click here to catch up.
This is, as its name states, a dedicated gun for long-range precision shooting at critters. It is long (47.5 inches overall, 24-inch #2 contour barrel with a 2-inch muzzle brake on the end) and heavy (8.65 pounds, and with the kind of big scope that belongs on it, will probably go around 10 pounds). All that weight, combined with the muzzle brake, makes the rifle almost recoil-free in 6.5/284. The 111 also comes in .25/06, 7mm Rem Mag, and .300 Win Mag, and there is a short-action version, the Model 11, for smaller rounds.
In case you have a problem getting your eye aligned with whatever colossal tactical scope you mount on the rifle, Savage has provided a Karsten adjustable comb to crank your head up where it should be. The Accu-Trigger on my rifle broke at 3 pounds on the nose, and was unusually well set up even for an Accu-Trigger. The muzzle brake has a collar that can be turned to block the brake’s vent holes and, in effect, shut it off. Don’t do this. With the brake “on,” you get the customary faceful of gas and earsplitting crack, but it also shoots much more accurately, and with the brake “off,” the point of impact shifts, 3 inches on my gun.
This is not a handsome rifle or a paragon of the rifle-maker’s art. It’s consistent with Savage’s philosophy of spending its time and effort on whatever will improve accuracy and not worrying a hell of a lot about looks. If I stuck with the best-shooting load for this rifle I would have a .500-inch gun. If I went to a custom smith with $3,000 I might get a rifle that would do .400, or even .350. Might. For an off-the-shelf factory rifle to shoot the way this one does, and for under $1,000, is nothing short of fantastic.