A couple of years ago I was bitten by the long-range bug. I started devouring every morsel of information I could get my hands on in relation to sending projectiles a very long way into small targets. It did not take long to realize my budget and my dreams did not match up very well. I turned my focus from what I wanted – to what I really felt I needed to get started. If I could find something that would get me shooting, I could save up for upgrades later if they were in fact needed to advance my skills.
My list of “must haves” were as follows:
- At least a medium heavy barrel contour
- A decent stock
- Decent trigger
- Caliber that would get me to 800 yards
I didn’t have a set budget for the rifle alone, but I knew the more I spent on the rifle the less I could spend on an optic, ammunition, and any other accessories I needed to get me shooting.
With these requirements in mind I started looking to see what was out there. It seems almost every manufacturer has an entry-level, or budget friendly, model that checks some of these boxes but not quite all. Almost by fate I was sent a sale flyer for my local Cabela’s store. On the front cover of the flyer I saw a Savage Arms Model 10T rifle on sale and per the description it checked all of the boxes. I had owned a Savage Model 10 before, but what was a 10T? I found mentions of them on a few online forums but it seemed they were fairly new to the marked and no one knew a whole lot about them yet. I really wanted to see one. At my first opportunity, I took a drive over to Cabela’s to put my hands on one. After checking it out I decided this was about as good as it was going to get and I brought one home chambered in .308 Win.
The Savage 10T is built off a traditional Model 10 action with a few upgrades from the factory. Attached to the Model 10 action is a 24” heavy contour barrel with a 1:10 twist and 5R rifling. The factory stock is the Savage Accustock with beavertail fore-end and dual sling studs. To complete the action is an oversized “BA style” bolt knob, a one piece EGW scope rail and the Savage Accutrigger.
To get out on the range I topped the rifle with a Vortex Viper PST 6-24×50 scope and a Triad Tactical stock pack to get my cheek weld in better alignment with the scope. I also picked up a case of Federal Gold Medal Match 168gn Sierra Match Kings to see what she could do.
Over the next few weeks I put 200 rounds through the 10T and could not be happier. With a rifle weight of 9.5 pounds before rings, optics, or anything else is added there is little recoil from the .308, and it is a breeze to shoot for extended periods. The gun is very capable of sub-moa groups at 100 yards, and I have shot under ½” groups when I am doing everything right. For the first 50 rounds or so the action was gritty and not as smooth as I would have liked for it to be. This has been resolved through break in and the action is very smooth now. I have been pleased with the stiffness of the Accustock, it is much better than the factory Model 10 stock. If using a bi-pod there is very little flex in the fore-end and accuracy has not been affected in my opinion. Although I have not measured the Accutrigger I would estimate it in the 3.5 lbs range with very little creep.
Since that first case of Gold Medal Match I have fired several hundred more rounds and have become very fond of this rifle. The only upgrade I have made was to swap the EGW 0 MOA rail with an EGW rail that has 20 MOA built-in. I have continued to stretch the range past 100 yards and have been able to make very consistent hits out to 650 yards, and have a hit at 725 yards. My goal of 800 yards is getting closer and closer and I have no doubts that I will be able to achieve it with the Savage 10T very soon.
For a rifle that can be had for under $600 (at times under $500 with factory rebates) I do not think you can do any better than the 10T. As your skills progress and you want to upgrade parts the Savage Model 10 aftermarket is very popular and there will be countless options of stocks, chassis, triggers, etc. When I purchased my 10T the only caliber you could get was .308 Win. Now, with the popularity of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, Savage has expanded the options to include it as well. Had that been an option when I made my purchase the choice would have been difficult to make. Maybe, buying both is the appropriate option.
Author – Ryan Curry was born and raised in West Texas. He is an avid outdoorsman that enjoys shooting, hunting, hiking, and camping.