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Sorting a Savage Part 1 By Laurie Holland


Single-shot models in Savage’s Precision-Target and Precision-Varmint ranges use the three-screw PTA. Model 12 F Class (foreground) and Model 12 LRPV behind.


averaging 0.6 inches. The elevation zero remained very close to that used with barrel #1, but the windage zero shifted no less than five-MOA, fortunately in the ‘right’ direction putting the new setting almost at mid adjuster travel. The 600 yard match score was poor, in the low 70s, not unexpected with ammo that wouldn’t hold half-MOA but the waters were further muddied by such bad weather that the match was abandoned at half-time.


At this stage, I wasn’t overly concerned as every barrel is an individual and you must assume that load-tweaking will be needed. Moreover, reducing the barrel length was almost guaranteed to change its harmonics needing loads to be worked up again. However, while I quickly found a 90gn BTLR / Viht N150 short-range load that grouped well and furnished a good result in a 500 yard club match, the VLD / VarGet combination continued to struggle, the best I could get running at a just acceptable 0.4 inches. The 28 inch barrel produced 2800 fps MV, a drop of 50 fps over the longer tube – but it was barely run-in and MVs usually rise after 150-200 rounds. Nevertheless, that was disquieting as I was now running a full 100 fps down on where I’d started in 2010.


Another worry was a strange group produced by one of the six charge weights tried – four bullets in a nicely shaped 0.3in. cluster, one a full inch low! I rationalised that away as a probable mechanical issue, the rifle most likely too far back on the front-rest and rear bag so the bi-pod attachment fixture touched the rest-top for that one shot. No connection was made with the occasional low ‘flier’ in previous league round matches at that time – the mindset that said they were caused by a worn-out barrel survived intact. Anyway, time for further experimentation had now run out with the F European Championship meeting imminent.


I wasn’t over confident about how the rifle and this load were going to perform but hoped ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ as they say in showbiz. Well, it wasn’t! Everybody has such an experience sooner or later – it’s part and parcel of competing in a high-tech discipline with highly stressed rifles and components – and you just have to be grown up about it. As only elevations seemed to be affected, I used the matches to improve my wind reading experience, valuable as I only shoot on Stickledown once a year. Moreover, I still spent a very enjoyable three days at Bisley despite the problems.


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