A savage value

     In testing the Savage Model 10FCP in .308 with a McMillan tactical stock and the proprietary Savage AccuTrigger, Law Enforcement Technology reviewers found a real value in terms of flexibility, accuracy and options.

     Our rifle shipped with a test target with a 3-shot group (measuring 0.4 inches) using Federal Gold Medal cartridges loaded with Sierra Match King BTHP/168 grain bullets. We didn't have that exact bullet, but we had plenty of the law enforcement equivalent: The 165 grain Federal Tactical Rifle Urban (TRU T308M). So duplicating the target was easy.

     On our first day on the range we began with a 100-yard sub one-half inch group, ended with a sub one-half inch group and shot sub one-half inch groups all day. Our Oehler Model 35P chronograph confirmed that this particular combination had a low standard deviation — a component of excellent accuracy. If accuracy was Savage's single goal, they already exceeded their quota. In fact, one of the ranges where we tested our rifle had a competition earlier where a shooter prevailed with an out-of-the-box Savage Model 12BVSS. Even at longer ranges, this rifle could outshoot some custom products.

     Savage's AccuTrigger is user-adjustable and can be turned down to its lowest resistance without increasing the likelihood of an accidental discharge. It looks and feels like a conventional trigger, except its metal blade protrudes from the center of the contact area, where the pad of the finger touches. This blade, called the AccuRelease, prevents the rifle from firing unless it is pushed fully rearward.

     Savage engineers resolved a paradox that has existed since rifles were made of metal: A lighter trigger pull increases accuracy potential. This trigger is light and crisp enough for precision shooting while remaining secure. Although we did not do extensive testing, we determined that dropping the charged rifle did not discharge it. Even a direct strike on the receiver at the trigger's lowest setting did not set bullets in motion.

     Depressing the AccuRelease actually seemed to urge proper shooting techniques, and shooters acclimated seamlessly. The AccuTrigger was crisp with unnoticeable creep with a light take up. It broke cleanly and consistently.

     The floating bolt head that closes the chamber door was another feature that stood out. Floating lugs are the same size as locking lugs but rotate freely behind them. Floating lugs ensure a completely concentric feed and keep the assembly stable in the boltway. The floating bolt aids in a more consistent cartridge placement in the chamber, minimizing the headspace, or measurement of "play" in the chamber variance.

     Bullets fed off the detachable box magazine easily. We did not have any problems extracting and ejecting any of the hundreds of rounds fired through it. With the magazine attached, the rifle could also be single-loaded and safety checked in the dark by any tester who had previously seen the rifle in the light. We especially liked the thumb operated three position safety, which was also small-hands friendly.

     Custom gunsmiths spend many hours getting the bolt to bear evenly on all sides when chambering the cartridge. Although many factors influence accuracy, centering the cartridge the same way every time will distinguish the purebred from the mutt. The action on the 10FCP appears relatively easy to manufacture. However, our long shooting sessions required us to inspect and tighten parts on the bolt regularly. The extractor was strong and easily removed for service or cleaning. In fact, the entire bolt was user serviceable and easy to disassemble.

     The 10 FCP's free floated heavy tapered barrel has a 1/10-inch twist, target crown and tactical black finish. Plenty of stock cradles but never touches it. Our 10FCP was equipped with a McMillan tactical stock. Its extra high horizontal comb can be singled out at any SWAT Competition. Our testers found that it put the cheek and the shooting palm at a fairly comfortable angle.

     The McMillan stock allows the Savage 10FCP to be manhandled into position and rested on whatever is available. For this reason, the stock selection is as important as the optic when it comes to law enforcement tactical incidents.

     The stock felt "dead," meaning it did not readily transfer vibrations to the barrel or action. Its extra front lug loaned itself readily for a bipod or target sling. If we were to change anything, we would have added a short patch of rubber on the bottom, just forward of the action, for better sandbag contact.

     For shooters who throw hundreds of rounds downrange daily, Savage was planning ahead. It obviously was designed for easy gunsmithing, like rebarrelling and rechambering. Part interchangeability is probably why this rifle is so cost effective — Savage has designed a platform that can be used for many types of shooting. For example, the same AccuTrigger can be found in their muzzleloader line and their precision target model line.

     The rifle did not seem particularly heat sensitive. We spent one range day firing 100 rounds, one after another. Usually a rifle exhibits vertical stringing, where bullets tend to print higher as the barrel gets hotter. Every rifle exhibits some sort of temperature sensitivity; the Savage 10 FCP showed a consistent and predictable shift which was rather unnoticeable within 200 yards.

     At the conclusion of our testing, all shooters agreed — this is one of the best values in law enforcement precision rifles offered today.

     Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer who teaches at Hartnell College in Salinas, California.