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Savage Model 25 Lightweight Varminter

Savage Model 25 Lightweight Varminter

I'm the type of guy who is interested in any kind of varmint rig, and when I opened the 2008 Savage catalog and saw the Model 25 Lightweight Varminter, I just had to have one to shoot and take woodchucking.

I like a walking, sporter-type varmint rifle, and this one fits the bill perfectly.

At around eight pounds without scope, it presently is available with a standard laminate stock, a thumbhole laminate stock (the version I chose to test) or a classic-styled walnut stock. The thumbhole version has a high comb and dual front sling swivel studs, and it's devoid of any fancy embellishments such as fore-end tips, grip caps or checkering.

I find a thumbhole stock very handy when bracing the gun on a fallen tree, bipod or even a piece of farm equipment. The contour of the Savage's thumbhole stock fits my hand perfectly without any crimping or awkwardness, regardless of shooting position. The pistol grip has a rakish angle at the base, and the inside sweep is just right for prone shooting over varied terrain.

The cheekpiece blends into the Monte Carlo comb, and a groove has been milled into the top of the comb to allow rearward bolt travel. Three vents have been cut in the fore-end to allow air circulation around the barrel to aid in cooling. Dual sling swivel studs provide a spot to hang a sling and another for a bipod.

The Model 25 sports a brand new action, specifically built around cartridge cases with a rim diameter of .378 inch--the .223 Remington family. Not only is the action a true short action, it is much smaller in diameter than most bolt-action rifles on the market today. The Model 25 also boasts a newly designed three-lug bolt that is nothing like the Model 110 that has been the flagship of the line for more than 50 years now.

To remove the bolt all you do is open it, pull the trigger to the rear and withdraw it from the action. The three lugs allow a 60-degree bolt lift, making for a short, quick throw. Within the bolt face you'll find a sturdy extractor with a traditional plunger-type ejector. The Savage logo is handsomely laser engraved on the jeweled bolt body.

A detachable magazine holds four rounds of either .223 Remington or .204 Ruger ammunition. Made from space-age plastic, it is very quiet when inserting or detaching.

Both from the bench and while hunting I found this gun to be one of the smoothest-operating rifles that I've used in a while. Standard features include the AccuTrigger, which produced a three-pound pull out of the box.


Action Type bolt action centerfire
Trigger AccuTrigger
Manufacturer Savage, 413-568-7001
Capacity 4 rounds
Weight 8 lb., 4 oz.
Caliber .204 Ruger, .223 Remington
Barrel Length 24 in.
Stock wood laminate thumbhole (tested)
Sights None; scope bases included
Finish polished blue
Stock A2 Black Zytel Mil-Spec material/type: w/trap-door assembly
Overall Length 43.75 inches
Price $588 to $635

The safety is a two-position rocker type. With the gun on safe, it's possible to work the bolt.

The barrel is 24 inches long, has light fluting and is target crowned. It is installed within the receiver by Savage's unique hand-swaging method, which establishes very close headspace to aid in accuracy. The use of a small ejection port adds rigidity to the receiver. Combined with a free-floating barrel and pillar bedding, the gun is quite capable of taking small game at more than reasonable distances.

The afternoon the gun arrived I mounted a Burris 3-9x40 Fullfield II scope in lightweight Leupold rings and headed to the range with an assortment of factory ammunition. Groups proved more than acceptable even without a barrel break-in period, especially with Winchester's Ballistic Silvertip.

The next day was warm, and for the most part the 'chucks were staying down, but I hunted anyway, taking three with the Savage at various distances.

As a dedicated varmint hunter, I found the new Model 25 a pleasure to carry and use in the field. I predict a great future for this gun, and look forward to added chamberings. It carries well, handles well, and performs in the field.

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