I chose this 7mm Remington Magnum caliber to test because of the availability of ammo and brass for reloading and its outstanding accuracy record at any hunting distance. I chose the rifle because it has so much versatility with the built in cheek rest and muzzle brake. Due to the popularity of this rifle, it took my friends at Savage some time to obtain one for me to test for NH Rifleman publication. We will be testing this rifle with the Leupold VX-6 3-18 44mm CDS Illuminated Boone and Crockett system and with Nosler E-Tip Expandable solid gilding copper bullets in 140 and 150 grains.
Hunters can spend many thousands of dollars on a fine hunting rifle and never equal the engineered quality of this Rifle at this price point MSRP of $1136. Yes it is not cheap but for what is in this rifle it is truly amazing if it can shoot as well as they say. Read on…
For the Techies like me…The rifle is for right handed shooters with a barrel rate of twist of 9.5 thus for 140 grains to 175 grains bullets are stable. Stability is calculated at http://www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmstab-5.1.cgi where bullets are very stable above a factor of 1.5.
The rifle weighs in at 8.65 pounds without scope. Barrel Length is 26 inches and includes a 2 inch muzzle brake that can be turned on and off by a simple twist. Ammo capacity is three rounds and the cartridge is based on the large .375 Holland & Holland Magnum and necked down to 7.2mm or .284 inches. I think of this rifle as a 24 inch barrel with a 2 inch muzzle brake. So what is so engineered? I liked the Savage videos below to share with our readers all the details. The adjustable cheek rest needs an allen wrench to change the height.
Stock – The AccuStock is engineered to seat the floating barrel firmly in a metal housing. A video presentation makes this clear. http://savagearms.com/accuracy/accustock/
Trigger – Next is the innovative and Adjustable AccuTrigger which allows low trigger weights and with Safety primary. The trigger on this rifle is set just under 3 pounds at 2 pounds 15 ounces and breaks crisply. Video http://savagearms.com/accuracy/accutrigger
Barrels are button rifled with a floating bolt head and head-space control and video clips are seen here. http://savagearms.com/accuracy
Recoil Pad and Muzzle Brake
The rifle has a state of the art recoil pad and absorbs lots of felt recoil. But the best option is the Muzzle Brake. Savage added a 2 inch Muzzle Brake that can be turned on or off, adding more or less to velocity and recoil absorption (Pictured below with the brake activated. See the background through the center holes)
The Leupold Scope is the VX-6 3-18 44mm CDS Illuminated with Boon and Crockett Reticle. We will set the scope on 10x for 100 yards with no Illumination. The body of this scope is too short for the existing mounts on the rifle so a set of high rings and a longer forward mount was purchased from Weaver to move the rings closer together.
See the You Tube videos of Nosler bullets and E-Tips on the internet.
On one video the bullet began expand on impact of ballistic gel and at 5 to 6 inches and beyond it creates a maximum wound channel of 4 inches for an ethical kill and maintained more than 95% of bullet weight throughout and mushroomed perfectly.
BULLET GROUP TESTS (OUT OF THE BOX) SUB MOA August 7, 2015
Bullets were reloaded according to SAAMI spec’s and Nosler Manual Powder and Load recommendations for each bullet. IMR 4831 powder was chosen because it was available and had a starting load that was already proven to be accurate.
140 grain 100 yard Test at a MV of 2950 fps with 62 grains of IMR 4831 with the Muzzle Brake turned off ( Recoil was very acceptable with 140 grain bullets)
DATA and Photo’s
Group 1 = 1.06 inches
Group 2 = 0.812 inches
Group 3 = 0.687 inches
Average = .853 inches
JBM Ballistics Table for Drop, Velocity, Energy and Max Point Blank Range MPBR for a 6 inch target. Max Point Blank Range is 293 yards when sighted for 250 yard zero. If the wind was 10 mph the shot would be limited to 220 yards without any correction. The maximum height of bullet flight is at 3 inches high at 141 yards.
I was thrilled with the rifle, scope and bullet set up as this combination shot sub minute of angle right out of the Box! WOW!!!