When it comes to introducing new guns, Savage hasn’t been resting on its laurels. The recent introduction of the Savage MSR 10 and 15 series are perhaps the best examples of Savage’s continuing effort to introduce new and innovative products. When the Savage MSR 10 and 15 lines were introduced at the 2017 SHOT Show, no one paid any attention to the new bolt-action centerfire rifle with the funny-looking stock that was sitting all by itself. So entered the Savage 10 GRS into the world of precision rifles.
The Savage 10 GRS is part of the Law Enforcement product line, but it is designed to meet the needs of any serious long-range shooter. This rifle uses the Model 10’s action, but instead of an aluminum chassis such as that used on the Savage 10 BA Stealth or a McMillan or H-S Precision stock, Savage sourced the stock for the 10 GRS from Norwegian stock-maker GRS Riflestocks AS. The selected stock is GRS’s Berserk model.
The robust action, zero-tolerance headspace control, AccuTrigger, hand-straightened and button-rifled precision barrels, floating bolt head and the GRS Berserk stock combine to provide an accurate long-range rifle that is a pleasure to shoot. The feel of the GRS Berserk stock is totally different from that of the aluminum chassis, laminate or fiberglass stock normally found on a precision rifle.
The Savage 10 GRS tested was chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. It is also available in 6mm Creedmoor and .308 Win. The carbonsteel, straight-fluted, heavy-contour barrel for the 6.5 Creedmoor version is 24 inches long. Its rifling has a 1:8-inch twist rate. All barrels are button rifled and hand straightened, if necessary. Barrels are threaded at the muzzle for the addition of a muzzle device or suppressor and are supplied with a thread protector.
A factory blueprinted action is used on the 10 GRS. This includes Savage’s “Zero-Tolerance” headspace control and a floating bolt head that adjusts itself for a perfect fit. The bolt has two locking lugs and requires approximately 90 degrees of rotation to lock/unlock. A large, easy-to-grasp knob is provided on the bolt handle. The action works smoothly.
“The Savage 10 GRS is part of the law enforcement product line, but it is designed to meet the needs of any serious long-range shooter.”
However, it is easy to short-stroke the bolt, because the empty case is ejected well before the bolt is all the way back and in a position to feed the next round in the magazine. The supplied magazine is a Magpul model PMAG 10 7.62 AC, center-feed design. A lever in front of the trigger guard, similar to that on an AK-47, is pushed forward to release the magazine. As is to be expected, the trigger used on the 10 GRS is Savage’s excellent AccuTrigger.
The trigger on the test gun broke at a clean and crisp 2 pounds, 1.2 ounces (this was the average for 10 consecutive pulls using a Lyman digital trigger pull scale), with no overtravel. A good trigger being second only to a good barrel for accuracy, the AccuTrigger might just be the best innovation ever on a modern production bolt-action rifle.
The heart of this rifle is the GRS Berserk stock. Most shooters will find it quite different from any other stock they have ever used. The right-hand-only, black synthetic stock is made from 15 percent fiberglass-reinforced Durethan. The pillar bedding blocks are made of 65 percent glass fiber. Rubber pistol grip and forearm surfaces provide a firm, slip-free grip under all conditions. They provide just the right feel—not slippery, but not too sticky, either.
The butt pad is easily adjustable by simply pushing in on the locking button, moving the butt pad to the desired position and releasing the button. The length of pull is adjustable from 13¼ to 14½ inches. Like the butt pad, the cheekpiece is also adjustable using a single locking button. It has 1 1/16 inches of travel. Be careful not to pull the butt plate or the cheekpiece out too far when the locking button is pushed: They are not captive, and it is possible to lose the button and the spring.
“The Savage 10 GRS is an accurate, well-designed and -built rifle– and at a very affordable price.”
(No, I didn’t lose either of them on the test gun.) The surface under the rear of the stock is flat and long so that it works well with sandbags or similar rear rests. The stock was very pleasant to use, and I would take it over a laminate, fiberglass or other type of synthetic any day… except for one thing: It just didn’t fit my hand. I have small hands, and the pistol grip was just too large to wrap my fingers around while still getting the meat of my trigger finger squarely on the face of the trigger. I was forced to “cheat” and rotate my hand forward on the grip. If Savage made different-sized inserts for the pistol grip, as many polymer pistol manufacturers do, that could solve the problem. I also like to rest my thumb on the right side of the action tang, rather than across and behind it, so it would be nice if a ledge were molded in there, too.
The Savage 10 GRS is a stand-alone model in the Law Enforcement/Tactical Rifle line. There are other similar models built on the 10/110 action, such as the 10 Savage Ashbury Precision, 10 FCP-SR, 10/110 FCP HS Precision, 10 FCP McMillan and 10/110 BA Stealth, which vary mainly because of their stocks.
Savage also has a Target Rifle line with precision actions and various features designed to tailor the rifle to the type or class of shooting desired. This line is only slightly more expensive than the Law Enforcement/Tactical Rifle line.
Only the ammunition stamped on the side of the barrel should be used in the Savage 10 GRS. The test gun was clearly marked “SAVAGE MODEL 10 6.5 CREEDMOOR CALIBER.” For test purposes, I used only new ammunition from American Eagle, Fusion, Hornady and Winchester. Bullet weights ranged from 120 to 140 grains. The instruction manual provided with the rifle warns the user that “the use of reloads, handloads, military surplus, or any other commercial/noncommercial ammunition not manufactured to SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc.)/ANSI (American National Standards Institute) specifications will void the warranty.”
No sights are provided with the Savage 10 GRS. However, a 1913 MIL-STD rail, attached to the receiver, is supplied. For testing purposes, I installed a Bushnell Elite Tactical DMR IIi 3.5-21×50 first focal plane riflescope with a G3i reticle, using Weaver Tactical 34mm-diameter, “High” scope rings.
New for 2017, the Bushnell Elite Tactical DMR IIi 3.5-21×50 first focal plane riflescope is a good value at a street price of around $1,650. This is a rugged, compact, yet full-featured, riflescope, in keeping with the rest of the Elite Tactical line of riflescopes from Bushnell. The DMR IIi features a G3i illuminated reticle, ThrowHammer magnification power lever, T-Lok locking windage turret, RevLimiter zero stop, fast-focus eyepiece, side parallax adjustment and a 34mm tube diameter. Ultra-wide band (anti-reflection) coating is custom applied to every lens element in the optical path to allow the best possible light transmission for optimal brightness and true color. Each scope is argon purged for improved water and fog proofing. RainGuard HD is applied to the outer lens surfaces so that moisture from rain or snow beads up, causing less light to be scattered. This provides a clear, bright view in less-than-optimal conditions.
The G3i reticle was designed in conjunction with G.A. Precision. It is illuminated, with 11 intensity settings. There is an “off” position between each intensity setting. The horizontal crosshair is marked in .5 mil increments with short vertical lines at the .5 mil intervals and longer vertical lines at the whole-mil intervals.
“Mover marks” are located at 1, 1.25 and 1.5 mil positions to the left and right of center for shooting at moving targets. The vertical crosshair is also marked in .5 mil increments, with short horizontal lines at the .5 mil intervals and longer horizontal lines at the whole-mil intervals. From the 2 through 10 mil positions below the horizontal crosshair, the lines increase in 1 mil increments for windage hold-offs.
This riflescope is an excellent choice for the Savage 10 GRS. Its compact size is in proportion to the rifle, but it has sufficient power at 21x for long-range shots and enough low power at 3.5x for a wide field of view. I like the first focal plane ability to range-find at any power. All the controls have the proper “feel,” with enough friction and detents to feel and count turret rotation. My only criticism is that even with the ThrowHammer power lever, changing the magnification requires a bit too much effort.
After mounting the Bushnell Elite Tactical DMR IIi 3.5-21×50 riflescope on the Savage 10 GRS, I made my first trip to the range. I broke in the rifle with 25 rounds of various brands of ammunition, cleaning the bore after every five rounds. I also got acclimated to the AccuTrigger, which was every bit as nice as I thought it would be. One three-shot group of Winchester 140-grain Match BTHP measured a respectable .95 inch.
My next trip to the range was for accuracy evaluation. I fired three five-shot groups at 100 yards for each of six different factory loads. The best three-group averages were all shot using 140-grain bullets, and they were extremely consistent. Winchester 140-grain Match BTHP had the best average for three five-shot groups at 0.84 inch. American Eagle 140-grain OTM and Hornady 140-grain ELD Match tied for second at 0.92 inch. Hornady 120-grain ELD Match ammunition came in at 1.13 inches for fourth place.
Suffice it to say that the 10 GRS did not care for the Hornady SuperPerformance 129-grain SST and Federal Fusion 140-grain ammunition, at 2.43 inches and 2.48 inches, respectively.
I don’t get the opportunity to shoot past 100 yards very often, so when the opportunity to do so arose, I jumped at the chance and took the Savage 10 GRS to the Durham Pistol and Rifle Club (North Carolina) and shot it at 300 yards.
I used only the three best performing types of ammunition from the 100-yard evaluation—Winchester 140-grain Match BTHP, American Eagle 140-grain OTM and Hornady 140-grain ELD Match—at this range. I fired one five-shot group with each of the three factory loads. The results were about as expected: slightly more than three times the size of the 100-yard group averages. The Winchester 140-grain Match BTHP 300-yard group was 2.95 inches; the American Eagle 140-grain OTM group was 3.89 inches; and the Hornady 140-grain ELD Match group was 3.72 inches.
I took my Kestrel Sportsman Ballistics Weather Meter with me to determine the wind speed and direction, but the wind was dead calm, so there was no wind drift to cause the groups to open up. Using a 100-yard zero, the Winchester 140-grain Match BTHP ammunition dropped 15¾ inches; the American Eagle 140-grain OTM dropped 12¾ inches; and the Hornady 140-grain ELD Match ammunition dropped 8¾ inches.
The Savage 10 GRS is an accurate, well-designed and -built rifle—and at a very affordable price. Based upon the two smallest five-shot groups of .64 and .69 inches, I believe that it is capable of consistent, .75 MOA-or-better accuracy. With a little work developing the correct handload, it might even approach .50 MOA. I evaluated a Savage 10 BA Stealth in 6.5 Creedmoor a few months back. It exhibited approximately the same accuracy as the 10 GRS. My complaints with that rifle were the buttstock and pistol grip. The pistol grip didn’t have a good feel to it; the cheekpiece on the buttstock wouldn’t stay in place; and there was too much play in the length of pull adjustment.
The GRS Berserk stock addresses those complaints and adds a nice, easy-to-grip forend. The M-Lok system on the forend is sacrificed in the process, however. It just depends on how you plan to use the rifle: If you don’t need the M-Lok system, and the pistol grip of the 10 GRS fits your hand, I would suggest going with it, rather than a 10 BA Stealth.
“As is to be expected, the trigger used on the 10 GRS is Savage’s excellent Accutrigger.”
There are many quality rifles to choose from these days, but the Savage 10 GRS could be a good starter gun for PRS competition. Many PRS shooters in my area shoot rifles chambered in one of the 6mm cartridges, so the 6mm Creedmoor version might also be a good choice.
Savage continues to produce well-made precision rifles at a reasonable price. The Savage 10 GRS is only one of the additions to Savage’s line of reasonably priced precision rifles. The 10 Savage Ashbury Precision is another addition to the Law Enforcement line for 2017.
Anyone in the market for a noncustom precision centerfire rifle should take a close look at the Savage lineup. Its AccuTrigger, AccuStock, Zero-Tolerance headspace control, floating bolt head, precision-rifled barrels and factory-blueprinted actions are just some of the ways in which Savage has used innovationand engineering to produce a better rifle.
|Winchester 140-grain Match BTHP||
|American Eagle 140-grain OTM||
|Hornady 140-grain ELD Match||
Hornady 120-grain ELD Match
|Hornady Superperformance 129-grain SST||
|Federal Fusion 140-grain SP||
NOTES: Groups were fired from a Caldwell Rock BR adjustable front rest and rear sandbags at 100 yards. Velocity was measured in feet per second (fps) and calculated at the muzzle using a LabRadar device. E.S.=Extreme Spread; S.D.= Standard Deviation; Sm. Grp.=the size of smallest single group, in inches, for that ammunition; Ave. Grp.= the average group size, in inches, for three five-shot groups.
CALIBER: 6.5 Creedmoor (also available in 6mm Creedmoor and .308 Win.)
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 10
ACTION TYPE: Bolt
BARREL: 24-inch, fluted, heavy barrel
FINISH: Hot salts blued barrel, action and bolt
RIFLING: 1:8-inch twist rate
SCOPE MOUNT: 1913 MIL-SPEC rail section factory-mounted on receiver
STOCK: GRS Berserk
OVERALL LENGTH: 44 inches
WEIGHT: 9.2 pounds
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the November 2017 print issue of Gun World Magazine.