One of the least exciting of these cartridges is the .308. It's also one of my favorites. I killed my biggest elk with a .308, tipped over iron rams with a .308, and learned a lot about wind and bullets at long range with a .308. If I had to choose one centerfire cartridge for all my shooting, the .308 would be on the short list. And if I were limited by budget to one rifle, I'd seriously consider the new Savage Precision Carbine.
It's an LE product, but the digital camo that hides it from hostiles can also hide it from game. It's a handsome mix of the colors around my home in summer: sand, sage and shadow. The checkered stock is injection-molded, of sporter profile, with a black half-inch pad and two front swivel studs. It incorporates the new alloy action cradle and barrel channel rib with lug wedge that make it an AccuStock (see sidebar).
|BLACK HILLS MATCH, 168 MATCHKING||2,600||28||0.9|
|FEDERAL PALMA MATCH, 155 BTHP||2,776||8||0.8|
|FEDERAL LOW RECOIL, 170 RN||2,092||17||0.9|
|HANDLOAD, 44 VARGET, 165 TROPHY BONDED||2,681||10||1.1|
|HORNADY LIGHT MAGNUM, 150 SST||3,009||1||1.1|
|HORNADY TAP, 168 BTHP||2,659||14||1.3|
|LAPUA, 185 RN||2,615||8||0.8|
|REMINGTON MANAGED RECOIL, 125 SP||2,714||20||1.4|
The free-floated 20-inch barrel is heavy at the rear, straight-tapered to a .75 muzzle with recessed target crown. It is button-rifled 1-in-10 (the .223 has a 1-in-9 twist). The detachable box magazine holds four rounds. Savage has installed a new bolt release on this and other centerfires. A sliding button in front of the guard replaces the stamped, bridge-side lever. You must still pull the trigger to free the bolt. I find this change no improvement; an amigo of mine, Rich McClure prefers the button. I like the smooth oversize bolt knob and AccuTrigger--set on my rifle at an even two pounds, near the bottom its range.
The short, heavy barrel gives the Precision Carbine a tilt to the muzzle. The rifle hangs nicely in the hand. There's minimal barrel whip, and point of impact should remain the same during a fast string.
For testing, I attached a Clearidge 6-20x40 scope with adjustable objective. Its matte-black finish was almost a perfect match for the Savage barrel and receiver. Though modestly priced, this high-power variable delivers sharp images; in rotation, the target knobs click like stilettos on tile.
With eight types of ammunition, the Savage Precision Carbine printed uniform groups. I'd like to have trimmed the average, but a minute of angle is very good accuracy. No matter bullet type, weight or velocity, this rifle shot well. Function, from magazine to bolt to trigger, was without fault. In a taut sling, the beefy, compact rifle shuddered only to heartbeat. Its modest length keeps weight to just seven pounds.
Yes, even if you don't wear metallic shades, you'll like Savage's Precision Carbine.