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Review of Savage 111 package .300 win mag

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Eleanor416Rigby, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Eleanor416Rigby

    Eleanor416Rigby Well-Known Member

    Everything in this review is from my hunting perspective. I don’t really enjoy target shooting that much. I don’t shoot for groups. I shoot for one predictable shot from a cold barrel.

    The bad: PLASTIC. I realize that it’s 2013 and some plastics can be as good as or better than steel in many applications. I like plastic frames for concealed carry ala Glock, Springfield XD, etc. However, the plastic stock, trigger guard, magazine, and insert in the stock to fit the magazine just feel cheap. IMHO The stock is too slim, and it looks flimsy. Worse yet, it actually is flimsy. I like a little wider fore end because it feels better in my hand and sits better on a rest for me.

    I do not like detachable box magazines in hunting rifles. I have never needed a quick re-load after emptying a magazine. If I empty a magazine in the field, I’ll need a quick trip to the range, not more ammunition to scare the deer with. I have, however dropped a detachable box magazine on the ground, and I have been known to lose things.

    The black finish on the metal is not impressive. If it lasts and protects, it will be fine for me. I’m not too concerned with the looks, but if you are, a blued rifle or SS would be much nicer looking.

    The good: Package Price. $549 for the rifle and Nikon Prostaff 3-9 X 40 with BDC reticle. It also includes sling studs. The scope or a similar quality one would retail for $150 to $200. I did not try the bullet drop compensation feature on the scope. I learned to shoot at hunting ranges without it, and I don’t trust it. If the crosshairs are not exactly vertical and horizontal at the time you take the shot, the ballistic drop reticle will mess up the windage. BTW, at sunset on the range, the burris on my 30-30 and the simmons on my .223 both handled the yellow glare better, allowing me to shoot with my polarized glasses. (I was rotating rifles to keep barrels from getting hot.) The Nikon required me to take my polarized glasses off to get a clear sight picture with the sunset glare coming in. I tend to work with the sun at my back or get in a shaded area when hunting, so it’s a non-factor for my purposes most of the time. I was able to shoot fine with the Nikon without my polarized glasses.

    Accutrigger: pull is light and creep is minimal. After dry firing, I decided not to adjust. It seemed fine and predictable out of the box. I flinched on the range when a shooter next to me fired one, and it made me go off target just before firing. Mistakenly, I kept my finger on the trigger while bringing my cross hairs back on target and it went off for a 5-inch flyer. It’s probably the lightest trigger I have used other than bench rest or double trigger.
    Accuracy out of the box: With minor modifications not likely to have changed the accuracy, it shot spot on within the first box of cartridges I ran through it. (Federal 180 gr. Pointed soft point). By spot on, I mean I aimed at a dot and it struck about 3” high right over the spot at 100 yds. That way, I can hold on the boiler room from 0 to 300 and humanely harvest anything in N. America. I don’t really shoot for groups. I shoot for being able to predict one shot from a cold barrel. It is a hunting rifle.

    Modifications: I’m not a gunsmith and I did not want to “build” a rifle for hunting, but I had to make some minor mods. The stock was the only thing I felt I absolutely had to change. I didn’t want to pay for a custom and was not satisfied with the fitment prospects of available drop-ins, so I fiber-glassed the fore end of the plastic stock and painted it a wood-like brown. Then I cut a 1” strip of 100 grit sand paper and ran it under the barrel to make it float a little more freely. It was already free, but I wanted more clearance. I also ordered and installed a metal trigger guard from Savage for around $20.00 plus shipping. The Accutrigger makes the trigger assembly a little more complicated and after it flew apart, it took me a while to piece it back together correctly.

    Miscellaneous: Screws in the scope rings were not installed tightly. The scope was loose enough in the rings to turn by hand. I took out every screw in the bases and rings and installed them with loc tite.

    It feels lighter than I expected. It’s listed at around 8 lbs., which is a little light for a magnum rifle including scope. Before I settled in to a good position with good form, it was beating me up. It was Texas January, so I had just a flannel shirt. The first few rounds, I was getting hammered. The .300 win mag with 180 gr. bullets reminded me to mind my form. After that, it was fine. I’ve been shooting .270, 30-30, 12 gauge with buck shot, and with all of those recoil is a non-factor. I thought about filling up the hollow parts of the stock with lead shot, but after remembering my form, it was ok. The recoil “pad” is hard as woodpecker lips.

    I don't like the parlor trick you have to play to get the bolt out by pulling the trigger and sliding the little button back at the same time. It's not necessary.

    Summary: Too much plastic, but a pretty good buy for the money, especially if you are able to fix or replace the plastic stock cheaply. It’s built on an action proven to perform. Nothing on it is visually attractive, but it will put venison on the table. I would trade the scope, rings, and sling studs for a decent wood stock.
  2. tdf88

    tdf88 Member

    I recently bought the same package in 308. How much did the fiberglass help with the forearm and what kind did you use.
  3. col_temp

    col_temp Well-Known Member

    Would be interested too. I just got the 111 in 270. Need to make some adjustments before taking to the range some testing.
    tdff88 what ammo have you tried, anything either of you have found to stay away from?

    As an aside for others looking, shop around you can usually find this package for about 50-60 bucks less than Eleanor... did. I got mine for $489 same package just different caliber.
  4. soonerfan85

    soonerfan85 Well-Known Member

    The 111 is a great hunting rifle. I have a walnut stocked 111 30-06 with a Burris 3-9 that's about 6 years old. Sat in the safe all through this year's deer season, used my old Winchester this year. Took the Savage to the range last month and the first shot at 100yds was right through the middle of the bullseye. Second shot was 1/2 inch low and left. After the second shot I got to thinking about the recoil, so you can guess where the third shot ended up, nearly off the paper. These guns will shoot. :eek:
  5. RPRNY

    RPRNY Well-Known Member

    Nice review, thanks. Good to hear they shoot as well on real life as they do on the Internet.
  6. tdf88

    tdf88 Member

    I got mine for $519 out the door about a week ago. Really have not tested it yet just some magtech nato. I'm gonna try and get out this week and see what it will do.
  7. Eleanor416Rigby

    Eleanor416Rigby Well-Known Member

    Super Late Reply

    Sorry guys for a super late reply to questions about the stock fiber glassing. I've been bogged down with finishing law school, and have not logged on here in months.

    About what I used and how well it works: (CAVEAT: This is the first time I've used fiber glass for anything, so if I describe something obviously stupid, remember that I was only trying to salvage an otherwise crappy stock that I would have replaced if the fiber glass didn't salvage it.)

    I used Bondo brand and cut strips of the cloth which I overlapped going lengthwise and crosswise. Probably two or three layers of cloth at any given point, with the layers applied in succession. The result after that was stiffer, but not absolutely rigid. It's rigid enough as long as I don't try to use a sling or other method to wedge the stock into stability. The bad part was that the overlapping layers of cloth/resin applications resulted in a very rough finish. Several rounds of sanding and applying more resin and sanding again resulted in STILL really rough-looking finish. The fore grip is probably .25 inch thicker on each side, so that it grips better and sits better on a rest.

    Then I got the angle grinder and smoothed out the really high humps. Then several more rounds of sanding and applying more resin and sanding again. Some poo-brown paint on top of that and it resembles a really old wood stock with heavy handling marks. I think it looks lovably ugly as hell. Props to all you guys who make fiberglass look mirror smooth.

    Bottom line, if I couldn't find the right deal on a hardwood stocked rifle, I'd do it again, but I would do it better.

    First, I'd imbed threaded rods in the Tupperware stock to make it more rigid. Then, I'd use only length-wise layers of cloth to make the pre-finished result more uniform.
  8. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    I have a "package" Savage 30-06 that I like alot, it came with a really nice recoil pad and shoots pretty little groups all day long at the range, but I did take off the toy Bushnell scope and topped it with a Leopold VXII and Reaper one piece rings/mounts.

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