To say Dominic Griffith likes the Savage AccuStalker would be an understatement. It’s accurate, sturdy, well engineered, comfortable to handle and shoot – and it’s inexpensive
The Savage AccuStalker is a remarkable and desirable rifle that appears to live up to each of the claims made by its manufacturer and distributor. If accuracy from a mid-priced rifle is what you are seeking, then this must surely be a strong contender.
Although I frequently express a preference for lighter rifles because they’re more user friendly on the hill and in the forest, as a rule you get greater accuracy from heavy barrels. The Savage AccuStalker incorporates a short (20in) medium-heavy, floating and fluted match barrel, factory threaded for a sound moderator. However the chunky ¾in muzzle-diameter barrel does not add much to the overall weight of the rifle which, fully set up with scope, weighs just under 10lb.
The Savage AccuStalker boasts several other features designed to enhance accuracy. Firstly, Savage’s floating bolt head and headspace control system is designed to ensure greater consistency and grouping, while the aluminium, three-dimensional block bedding claims a 20% increase in accuracy over regular pillar bedding. The factory-built AccuTrigger enjoys a crisp pull while integrating a safety release mechanism to address the potential problem of accidental release associated with light triggers. In effect, the trigger works like an old-fashioned first pressure – not to everyone’s taste but easy to get used to. My preference is always for a simple, single-stage trigger with no creep, no drag and perfectly machined surfaces for a sheer and crisp release. The American market, however, is so risk-averse that triggers in many manufacturers’ rifles are too heavy in release, requiring a strong and long pull, often with drag over the opposing surfaces, with the effect that accuracy is heavily compromised.
SAVAGE ACCUSTALKER: STABLE AND BUSINESSLIKE
The test rifle was delivered with a coated, synthetic, black stock with a wide, flat fore-end and two front swivel studs. My Harris bipod attached firmly to the second stud and the stock felt comfortable to hold and extremely stable.
To handle, the Savage AccuStalker feels businesslike and the balance remains good despite the heavy barrel. The oversize bolt handle operates a smooth and positive bolt and there were no cycling problems through a full magazine. The detachable four-shot, steel magazine is sturdy and robust and has a recessed release catch that protects against accidental release.
The rifle also has a three-stage safety – back for safe, the central position for safe unload, and forward to fire. The catch is a simple, centrally located, near-silent slide with a broad and textured thumb grip for ease of control. The Savage AccuStalker is available in .223 Rem, .243 Win and .308 Win.
It was fitted with weaver bases and mounted with a Bushnell Elite 6500 2.5-16×42 variable scope. Using Lapua 100gr .243 ammunition and expending just three rounds to find zero, the rifle achieved a very nice five-shot 1in group at 100 metres with the first three shots touching and the final two just 1⁄2in higher, all making a perfect circle. Typical groups followed, with many of the shots touching. For a rifle of this price, such accuracy is quite remarkable and appears to confirm the manufacturer’s claims regarding bedding and headspace. Even unmoderated, the recoil was scarcely noticeable and, in all honesty, the rifle was a pleasure to shoot from any position, including on the sticks. The scope, too, performed extremely well for its price with a clear image that began to distort only at maximum magnification.
SAVAGE ACCUSTALKER: WHAT UK SHOOTERS WANT
This rifle is certain to find its way into many gun cabinets. Inexpensive but supremely accurate, sturdy and well engineered, comfortable to handle and comfortable to shoot, this is an extremely practical rifle for all disciplines likely to be found in the UK. Most surprising of all was its trigger – certainly the best I have come across in an American product.
As Derek Edgar, managing director of Edgar Brothers, says, “This incredibly accurate and high-quality rifle is packed with features that UK shooters want.” I can only agree.
Savage Model 16 AccuStalker: £1,409
Busnell Elite 2.5-16×42 Variable 6500 Scope: £620
Where to buy the Savage AccuStalker: Visit www.shootingsports.edgarbrothers.com or call 01625 613 177