Being a woodchuck hunter since adolescence, I am always looking for a new piece of equipment to take afield. This time around, I hit the jackpot when I received the new Savage B.Mag Target chambered for the hot .17 Winchester Super Magnum (WSM). It was like a breath of fresh air for rimfire shooters.
Savage engineers designed the B.Mag Target action specifically around the relatively new .17 WSM cartridge. The rifle features a rear-locking-lug design, and it cocks on closing the bolt with some effort. This was done because, interestingly, the parent cartridge was created from a Winchester industrial round made to drive nails into concrete. With that came a stronger case—50 percent thicker than the .17 HMR case—and it’s designed to work at more than 33,000 psi. The cartridge also called for a stronger spring and firing pin.
The bolt body is polished. The bolt handle, bolt knob and rear shroud are aluminum, with the tapered bolt knob drilled out to save weight. Even though the action of the gun is stainless, this assembly is black, which is a nice contrast to both the action and stock.
At the bolt face you have a round firing pin, as opposed to the more common rectangular rimfire firing pin, and the extractor has been made rugged to help pull the hefty .17 caliber case out of the breech. The bolt release is on the left side of the receiver.
The safety is mounted on the rear tang; forward for Fire, back for Safe. The AccuTrigger was its usual crisp self. My sample came from the factory averaging three pounds, and if you want to change it, simply pull the barreled action to adjust it.
The rotary magazine is detachable and small enough to carry an extra in your pocket for day hunting. Made from a combination of metal and polymer, it is center loaded and holds eight rounds. A plastic latch combined with a metal fitting on the other end hold this magazine in place within the well of the rifle. Twin screws at one end allow you to disassemble it for cleaning or maintenance.
The heavy barrel measures 0.80 inch at the muzzle and is 22 inches long with a target crown. The receiver comes with the traditional Weaver cross-slot bases, onto which I attached a Simmons 2.5-10x40mm scope for testing.
The Savage thumbhole stock comes from Boyd’s. It’s perfect in all the details that make this a great stock for small game or varmints and is treated to a weatherproof satin finish. I love this type of grip on a thumbhole stock because it positions your hand in the same place every time.
The right side of the stock is dished inward to allow your hand full access to the thumbhole while allowing your hand to fit comfortably into the hole. The cheekpiece is rather long and has a bit of a rollover. For me, it positions my eye right behind the scope. The classic recoil pad has a black spacer, and there’s a sling swivel stud near the toe.
The Savage logo is engraved on the base of the pistol grip. I should mention that you need to be careful when you flop down to shoot from prone. One wrong move and you could easily chip this part of the stock.
The fore-end is two inches wide and flat. It also contains a pair of swivels—one for carry, one for a bipod. There are finger grooves on each side as well as vents to cool the underside of the barrel.
Shooting this gun is a pleasure. If you’re not familiar with the .17 WSM, it cruises along at about 3,000 fps—a lot faster than both the .17 HMR and .22 Mag. If you like to shoot varmints at 200 yards, bullet drop with the .17 WSM is only four inches, as opposed to 11 inches with the .17 HMR and 18 inches with the .22 Mag. And the WSM delivers twice the energy as either of the other two.
RifleShooter protocol requires rimfire rifles be accuracy tested at 50 yards, but believe me, both the rifle and cartridge are good for longer distances than that. Much longer. Hornady’s 20-grain V-Max turned in not only the best overall average but also the best group of the day at 0.41 inch.
Recoil was nearly nil, and with the exception of getting used to the extra effort of closing the bolt to cock it, the rifle operated without any problems. This combination is going to be a winner in the field. As I understand it, more variety in ammunition is on the way, but even with the current loads, the Savage B.Mag Target is a great choice for all you varminters out there.
Buy it now. Log on to GalleryofGuns.com, select this firearm, pay a deposit and it will be at your local gun store in two days. When purchased from GalleryofGuns.com, Davidson’s guarantees to repair or replace this firearm for life.
Savage B.Mag Target Specs
- Type: Bolt-action rimfire
- Caliber: .17 Winchester Super Magnum
- Capacity: 8-round rotary detachable magazine
- Barrel: 22 in., stainless, 1:8 twist
- Overall Length: 40.25 in.
- Weight: 6.1 lb.
- Stock: Matte gray laminate
- Finish: Matte
- Trigger: AccuTrigger adjustable; 3 lb. pull (measured, as received)
- Sights: None; Weaver-style bases installed
- Price: $589
- Manufacturer: Savage Arms; SavageArms.com
Savage B.Mag Target Accuracy Results