September 23, 2010
By James Tarr
I am consistently amazed and refreshed by the innovation that drives our economy. Even for an industry as specialized as the firearms market, new products--and improvements to existing models--seem to happen on a daily basis.
Savage Arms recently announced a new version of its well-respected Model 10 bolt-action rifle, the Model 10 Precision Carbine. Available in .223 Remington or .308 Winchester, this rifle is aimed at the law enforcement/tactical market and features a short-action, medium-contour 20-inch barrel finished in matte black.
The short-action Precision Carbine is fed by a four-round detachable box magazine and wears one of Savage's new synthetic AccuStocks clad in digital green camouflage. While most people who think of police marksmen envision them as operating in urban environments, nearly as many officers roam the back roads, and the Precision Carbine is ideally sized and suited for the trunk of a patrol car.
The heart of Savage's new Accu-Stock is an aluminum chassis around which the stock is molded during the manufacturing process. When secured to the chassis, the rifle's action is locked into place along all three axes--preventing movement not just side to side and up and down, but forward and back as well.
"The stock literally squeezes the action from all directions," Savage CEO Ron Coburn says. "It becomes part of the action, making the whole rifle much stiffer and much more consistent." The chassis is locked onto the action, leaving the button-rifled barrel free floating.
The Precision Carbine retains the traditional Savage safety, but the bolt release is now on the trigger guard. The bolt knob is smooth and oversize for easy handling.
Combined with Savage's excellent AccuTrigger, the sample of which on our carbine broke at a crisp 21„2 pounds, accuracy of the Precision Carbine equaled many custom rifles. Remember not so long ago when any rifle that could do close to two-inch groups at 100 yards was considered acceptable? The Precision Carbine turned in minute-of-angle or better with most ammunition.
The Precision Carbine features a smooth, oversize bolt handle and an overall weight of seven pounds without scope or rings. Rifles chambered to .223 feature a 1:9 twist barrel; .308 rifles have a 1:10 twist. The rifle's receiver is drilled and tapped for scope bases/rings.
The muzzle is slightly countersunk to protect the rifling, and the rifle features a new trigger guard-mounted bolt release and smooth barrel lock nut. The four-round detachable magazines are handy if the user wants to quickly change ammunition types, and the box magazine that came with the Savage seems well-designed.
The Precision Carbine has two sling-swivel studs at the front of the fore-end--one presumably for a sling, the other for a bipod such as the Harris I mounted on the rifle during testing.
The rifle sports the new smooth barrel nut that affixes barrel to action, and the AccuStock is treated to a digital green camo finish.
I also shot the rifle off an Eagle Industries Drag Bag. Due to its light weight I found I had to work harder on my fundamentals to get the groups I wanted out of the rifle when shooting off the drag bag. This is not so much of an issue with heavier sniper rifles, but just try maneuvering those in and out of a patrol car.
A 20-inch barrel does slightly reduce velocity compared to the standard 26-inch tubes found on full-size sniper rifles (average loss is 25 fps per inch of barrel), but this has not been shown to be a practical disadvantage for shots inside 400 yards.
As the average shot for a police sniper is 70 yards, the handiness of the Precision Carbine's shorter barrel for getting in and out of vehicles, buildings and shooting positions will far outweigh the velocity loss.
The light weight of the Precision Carbine combined with its brake-free muzzle meant that the rifle in its .308 configuration did have some recoil to it. I would imagine this package in .223 would be a pussycat, but then you'd be trading recoil uprange for foot-pounds downrange.
The Precision Carbine has two sling-swivel studs on the fore-end: one for a sling and one for a bipod.