September 20, 2010
Petzal Reviews the Savage MK II BTVS
By David E. Petzal
The MK II BTVS is a radical-looking .22LR bolt-action that’s one of the most accurate factory .22s* I’ve ever used. Its stock is laminated, thumbhole, with six ventilation ports and two sling swivel studs in the fore-end. All the metal is stainless steel. The barrel is 21 inches long, 1-16 twist, and medium-heavy (.800 at the muzzle). Weight is 7. 5 pounds and the Accu-Trigger on my rifle breaks at 2 pounds 8 ounces. It feeds from a five-shot magazine and fit and finish are excellent.
I tested it at 25 and 50 yards with five brands of ammo that included match, standard-, high-, and hyper-velocity loads, solid and h.p., 32 grains to 40. Accuracy ranged from good to astounding (with Federal and Eley/Remington Match, five shots groups at 25 yards that you could cover with a dime and get change back) and, very rare for a .22, everything went to the same place on the target. The point of impact shift for everything was under ½-inch.
Is the BTVS perfect? Nope. The 5-shot magazine that came with it imploded after a couple of hundred rounds. Its lips had the consistency of the tinfoil on cigarette packs, did not hold the cartridges in place, and the sides of the magazine bound on the rounds as they fed. I threw the goddamn thing away.
But there was a solution. I called Savage and got a couple of their ten-shot replacement magazines (part number 90008) which hold up fine and, when fed with 5 rounds, feed better than the original since the follower spring does not load up and the shells go into the chamber at a flatter angle.
Aside from that, this is a good-feeling rifle that duplicates the weight and balance of a big-game gun. The stock is nicely proportioned, and once you get a magazine that works, it’s a very slick-feeding and reliable rifle, which is true of all too few .22 bolt guns. The MSRP is $455. Savage could charge a lot more for something that shoots like this and it would still be a bargain.
*The others are: Ruger 10/22 Target, Thompson/Center Classic, and the Kimber/America Classic, which is now tragically out of production.