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I'm wondering, do I *really* need my Savage 111?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by MacTech, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    About a month ago, I had the urge to get a decent hunting rifle, for no other reason than I was missing one in the collection, I purchased a Savage 111 .30-06 package (non-AccuTrigger, polymer furniture), and overall I've been happy with it, but....

    I just realized I'll probably never use it for it's intended purpose of hunting, if I was in a hunt-or-starve situation, I could get by with my Mossberg 500 and rifled slugs, as we have deer on our property (50 acres of land) and the maximum shot distance I would take is 50-75 yards, so the mighty .30-06 is overkill for that situation, I can't see myself shooting more than 100-200 yards at maximum, New England (Maine, specifically) doesn't have an overabundance of wide, flat terrain that would let the '06 stretch it's legs

    I didn't realize when I bought it how expensive the ammo is ($20+- for 20 rounds), so it's not economically feasable to use it for long-range target shooting, besides, my rod and gun club rifle range maxes out at 200 yards, and I can hit targets at that range with my .22 (with a bit of holdover)

    then there are some other reasons, from a target bench, it takes me a few seconds to reacquire the target paper and find out where I hit, due to the rifle's stout recoil, the recoil isn't as bad when supporting the gun freehand, but it still takes me a couple seconds to reacquire the target, if I was using it for hunting, this delay for followup shots could cause problems if the animal was shot badly and needed additional shots to finish the job....

    Basically, for my purposes, the gun has a rather stout recoil, is expensive to shoot, and the trigger pull (5.5ish lbs) isn't to my liking, I like lighter triggers

    I know I could put a lighter spring in to reduce the pull weight, but it wouldn't solve the other issues like the long delay for followup shots, the stout recoil, and the expensive ammo

    the largest animal I would have to hunt on our property would be whitetail deer, the most common animal I'd have to shoot would be a coydog (coyote-dog hybrid), yes we do have the *occasional* moose, but they keep t themselves and don't bother anyone

    I think for my purposes, the Savage 111 *might* be overkill, sure it'd be great for those long-distance Zombie Headshots in the inevitable Zombie Uprising, but how likely is that ;) besides, the report would be nothing more than a dinner bell for Zack, and seeing as it takes me upwards of 2-3 seconds to get back on target, I had better be Zombie-Popping from an elevated, isolated position

    Knowing what I know now, I really should have gone with either a .308 (more common ammo, but the same recoil/followup shot issues) or a .30-30 for high to mid power rifle, or maybe even a .223/5.56 as the most common usage it would see would be target shooting and coydog dispatch

    I'm wondering whether I should trade the gun in towards another firearm, my options being;
    1; something in .223/5.56/7.62X39
    2; something in .30-30
    3; another Savage .30-06 with the AccuTrigger/AccuStock....

    bear in mind that the most it'd be used for is whitetail hunting, I don't reload for .30-06 (yet), so making lighter down-loaded rounds for target shooting is not an option *yet*

    If I decide to keep it, I want to lighten the trigger to around 2#, and get a more rigid stock for it, poly is nice and low-maintenance, but rigidity is sorely lacking

    <edit> I just noticed a few spots of light surface rust on the barrel, and on the bolt, I keep this gun clean, well oiled bluing, and yet it's still showing cosmetic spotting, we do have a salt marsh on our property, yet none of my other firearms (Savage Mark II-G, NEF single shot .22, Mossberg 500) are showing any spotting, maybe I should look into the Weather Warrior series....
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2009
  2. Reid73

    Reid73 Well-Known Member

    Well, I dunno what it best for you ... but I do agree that for plinking / short-range target shooting, a .30-06 is not an ideal choice.

    As you know, you can save some money and tame the recoil a bit by reloading. Of course, reloading equipment isn't exactly cheap, but you can get into the game for < $30 with a Lee Loader.

    If you are content to use your shotgun for deer hunting, then I don't see much need for a .223, 7.62X39 or .30-30.

    By all means trade in the rifle if you've gone sour on it, but take your time before choosing what you really [strike]need[/strike] want ... switching in and out of firearms tends to cost a fair bit.

    Sorry to hear about the rust. :(
  3. lefteyedom

    lefteyedom Well-Known Member

    Keep the 06 and buy a varmint rifle to go with it.

    $20 for a box of ammo is just what it cost these days, That said you could get a basic reloading kit and load your own. It is fun and will save you some money in the long run.
    The basic Savage 110 trigger is very easy for you the owner to safely adjust to a crisp 3 to 4 pounds. Which is a very safe hunting trigger pull.
    The Plastic stock can be easily replaced with ether a factory wood stock or nice aftermarket stock.
    Lastly if you really don't like the 30-06 you can replace the barrel with almost any standard caliber from 25/06 to 35 Whelan.
  4. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    I do like the rifle, don't get me wrong, the '06 is a true *manly* round, my main issues with the gun are the following;

    5.5LB (unscientifically verified with a Zebco DeLiar fishing scale and a looped wire leader) trigger pull, I have just checked online, and it looks like I can either just put in a lighter trigger spring, or keep the stock spring and tweak the adjustment screw to a lighter pull, so this might be a non-issue, I'd like to get the trigger as close to the 2.5# pull of my Savage Mark II-G as possible, as it's my training analogue for this gun, both are bolt action and have similar manual of arms, they have the same scope (Bushnell Trophy 3-9X 40mm)

    stout recoil; aside from a Mosin-Nagant M-44 that I was unhappy with the accuracy with, this has been my only "big" rifle, I'm just not familiar with the recoil impulse of a .30 caliber rifle, i'm fine with the recoil of a .357 Magnum revolver or a .45ACP pistol, I just need time to adjust to the .30-06

    expensive ammo; yes, reloading is the answer to both the recoil issue (reduced power loads) and expense of ammo, I do have a Lee Pro 1000 with .45ACP dies, can the Pro1K handle .30-06 reloading?

    as far as the rust issue goes, it's just the occasional random speck, annoying, but nothing that will compromise reliability

    True, if I want a varminter, why not pick up a basic NEF in .223, it's the cheapest option, maybe an accutrigger-equipped Savage varminter
  5. camoman33935

    camoman33935 Well-Known Member

    Not tryin to steal MacTech's thread

    But I got a Savage 111 too but mines in 7mm Rem Mag...I really like the idea of having it rebarreled in another caliber, most likely .270...what all has to be changed out/done to do that? And can it be done with a magazine fed rifle?
  6. Arkel23

    Arkel23 Well-Known Member

    No, it's not. It's hard to say what you need to do, maybe you should keep the 30-06 and hunt with a friend in a bigger field and still hunt on your property? If you want.
  7. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    camo - you'll need a new boltface and will need to check feeding function.

    mac - if the rifle doesn't make you really happy, you should get rid of it. that is my approach to about everything in life: if it doesn't make me happy, then change it. so, yep, you should trade/sell that '06.
  8. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    I say give it a good home elsewhere if you don't like it and go get something that floats your boat. Sounds like the old 30-30 lever gun would be more inline with your needs.
  9. Arkel23

    Arkel23 Well-Known Member

    It does. I just wouldn't use it on moose if he plans on shooting one someday.
  10. Reid73

    Reid73 Well-Known Member

    Besides rolling your own, another option is Remington's "Managed-Recoil" cartridges, which are available in .30/06. A Limbsaver recoil pad could be worth considering while, too.

    That said, I agree with dakotasin: if after serious reflection you're unhappy with a situation, it's usually best to make changes rather than rationalizing. Just make sure that you think it all through first, though ... impulsivity is an expensive approach to life! ;)
  11. gondorian

    gondorian Well-Known Member

    How about a new barrel, in 25-06 ? It would have less recoil, but it would still be expensive for ammo so I don't know, just throwing it out there.
  12. Reid73

    Reid73 Well-Known Member

    Rebarrelling is certainly worth considering, and the .25/06 is a great cartridge. However, given that he doesn't seem very keen on the rifle itself, I suspect that it would probably be cheaper and easier to simply trade it in on one that he does like.

    With practice and proper technique, most people can learn to manipulate a bolt action pretty quickly. But a bolt is always going to be slower for follow-up shots than a semi or a pump.

    Fortunately, rapid shots are rarely needed in most hunting situations.
  13. WNC Seabee

    WNC Seabee Well-Known Member

    Like a couple others have said, as I read the OP, I was thining, "He needs a .30-.30".

    Light, fast on target, more than capable of taking game...yes, even on Moose if you had to. Not ideal, but capable if it's a survival situation. Let's not turn this into a "you better have a howitzer if you're gonna ethically shoot a Moose" discussion.
  14. Red Tornado

    Red Tornado Well-Known Member

    You probably need to get rid of it. If you're not happy with it, then rebarreling it changing the stock, etc. is probably not going to make you really happy either, but you'll have too much invested in it. You can probably trade for a 25-06 or whatever and lose less than it would cost to redo the whole rifle. It just never made sense to me to dump a bunch of money into a gun I don't like. I'd rather sell or trade it to someone who will enjoy it.

    I think the NEF .223 would be hard to beat for a value varmint rifle. It's probably a little light for deer, but it depends on your state laws, (they're legal in MO) plus you've still got the 500.

    However, I agree with the consensus that a 30/30 would be just about perfect. Less recoil, somewhat cheaper ammo, light, handy, and my 336 will shoot 1 1/4" at 100 yards, so they're plenty accurate enough. I don't know about the accuracy on a 94, but I'm sure they're fine.

    Whatever you decide, do what makes you happy and keep us posted.
  15. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    Zombies shot at 500 yards or more are worth 10x points though.
  16. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    Just on a whim, I took the 111 to the gunshop to see what it'd be worth in store credit, and for what they offered ($280) I decided to keep it, if I do decide to private sale it, I can get a lot more for it

    While I was there, I took a look at some .30-30 levers, the Marlin 336, the Winchester 93, and whatever the Remington model is in .30-30

    the one commonality between the three rifles is they *ALL* felt too cramped for me, shooting position was uncomfortable and unstable, my grip hand felt too close to my trigger hand, by comparison, the Savage 111 felt much more comfortable thanks to the long fore-end, now I'm not a tall guy (5'8") but the levers felt far too cramped to me, whatever brand I tried

    So, I'm going to keep the 111, after all, it gives me more barrel choices than a lever, it has a more comfortable stretched out shooting position, and the '06 is a eminently versatile cartridge, I can easily recreate .30-30 level loads, and still have the option to load up the big thumpers

    it also looks a *HECK* of a lot easier to clean from the breech, just remove the bolt, and run the cleaning rod down the breech end, I'd imagine that a bolt-action is a mechanically simpler design to boot, less fiddly small parts to mess up or break

    that said, I do intend to add a .30-30 lever to the collection eventually, however, I'm going to keep the 111, it's a nice gun, reliable, accurate, and my main complaints can be addressed easily with some minor tweaks, lighten the trigger pull, and put a better recoil pad on it, maybe at some point, put it in a better stock
  17. camoman33935

    camoman33935 Well-Known Member

    A better recoil pad? Im guessin yours didnt come with the pillow on the buttstock lol :D

    But I too decided to keep mine after a trip to the gunshop...even with a brand new Tasco World Class scope on it...they said theyd give me about the same price the offered you...i said screw it...

    Im just gonna get a .270 barrel on it and be happy...

    Glad you decided to keep it
  18. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    Mine did come with the "JelloPad", how does the JelloPad (Savage P.A.D.) compare with the Limbsaver or Decelerator?

    I just checked out Sharpshooter Supply, and they have a reasonably priced adjustable trigger that they claim is a drop-in DIY job (the Competition Trigger for $97), if a simple and free tweak job on the existing trigger does not reduce the pull, I may just spring for this trigger....

    looks like the tweak job worked, I pulled the barreled action out of the stock (boy are bolt actions mechanically simple!), and adjusted the spring tension screw down a few clicks, I was able to drop the 5.5# trigger pull to a nice crisp 4# pull, no creep just nice and crisp, I'm happy with the trigger pull now, 4# seems to be a decent compromise between a crisp target shooting trigger and a safe hunting trigger, I tested the safety in on, 1/2 on and off positions, and in both half and on positions, the trigger will not trip nor will the sear release, it looks like this is a safe setting, a lighter trigger would be nice for target shooting, but this is going to be my "do everything" general purpose rifle, I wouldn't exactly feel safe taking a target-triggered rifle into the woods hunting, the 4# pull is a nice, safe compromise

    Glad I kept the gun, now to figure out a way to mitigate the stout recoil...
  19. camoman33935

    camoman33935 Well-Known Member

    Im not sure bout the difference between the Savage Pad and the Limbsave/Decelerator...mine still has the Savage Pad on it and is pretty easy on the shoulder considerin its a 7mm Rem Mag...

    The trigger may be a good modification to do but I dont have a problem with mine...

    As far as the stout recoil you might want to take a look at the Remington Managed Recoil loads...I personally havent tried them but what the heck...its worth a shot right? The Savage buttpad really does cut down on the felt recoil though...
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    There's a lot more to hunting than the rifle. If you have never hunted and suddenly the martians came and you were forced to, you'd probably starve, no matter the rifle, unless you just got real lucky. But, I guess you can justify about anything with all those foil hat scenarios, eh? :rolleyes:

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