Zeroing a precision rifle can be a frustrating affair if you don’t take your time and do it right. Mounting a scope like the Zeiss Conquest needs to be done properly to having a set of their “permanent” rings was a real help. My shooting partner, Jack “Happy Jack” Yahle, a former member of the USMC Marksmanship Team in the 60s mounted/bore sighted the scope while I set up the range for testing. While my gun club has a 200-yard range, it was under construction at the time of my test, so I tested the gun for accuracy at 100 yards. In reality, this is the correct distance for law enforcement operations as the vast majority of precision rifle shots taken by American police officers are half that distance. The last set of statistics I saw presented by the National Tactical Officers Association placed the majority of shots between 50 and 75 yards with no rounds fired beyond 200. This being the case, 100 yards is the right range for a police rifle. I realize that military operations go well beyond this, but after testing the Model 10, I have no doubt that it will perform well at extended distances.
I do not consider myself a trained sniper, though I have attended a number of courses over the years. The reason for this was that I never deployed in this position, spending my entire SWAT career on an entry team. At the same time, I have great respect for those that adopt this specialized position as more goes into it than just shooting a few shots once in awhile. I also realize that the sniper does not always get to fire their shots from a prone position on a bipod as the terrain determines where the sniper’s “nest” will be located. For this reason, I like to test precision rifles from a bench rest, feeling they are more indicative of the chair, windowsill, pillar or curb, where the shot might be taken from.
I zeroed the Model 10 using the tried and true Federal 168-grain Sierra Match- King boat tail hollow point as it has been one of the most accurate loads in SWAT history, regardless of the rifle used. Once I was on target, I then tried a number of different bullet weights to see how they would do. I selected the loads tested due to their variance in weight as I was interested in how much the point of impact would be affected by this. I was using an 8-inch Birchwood Casey Dirty Bird target (similar in size to a human head) and found that the variance was enough that I could possibly miss the eye socket/nose region. Being the preferred target, it was reinforced in my head what my FBI Sniper Instructor told me years ago, “Know your rifle, your load and what it will do when the environment changes.” These are certainly words of wisdom.
I have come to like pistol grip stocks on long guns, something that I thought would never happen. I was trained many years ago on conventional rifle and shotgun stocks and I am a hard person to adopt change. But over the years, I have come to appreciate the pistol grip on long guns as they give me a continuity of feel between my Glock pistol, AR-15, pistol grip-equipped 870 and now this Savage Model 10. I like the way my finger depresses the trigger straight back versus the more upward direction of a conventional stock, giving me greater “feel” and thus control over the trigger itself. Some will disagree, but this is an individual decision and one that I have made over many years.
Another thing I liked about the Savage was the bolt handle with the generous “ball” at the end. When I trained with bolt guns in the past, I have spent a great deal of time learning how to efficiently manipulate the bolt so I could obtain the fastest shot possible. By “cupping” the ball in the palm of the hand, I have found that I can work the bolt through a series of hand turns that lift, pull back, push forward and turn down the bolt and with the short action on this Savage Model 10, I found that I could do this very quickly and efficiently. Sure, the bolt was a bit tight in the beginning, but many are. You just need to take time and “bring your rifle along.”
A gun like the Savage Model 10 BAS-K is like any other essential piece of kit, you take care of it and it will take care of you. This is one fine gun and I would feel very good about deploying with this weapon system. Savage has hit a homerun here and if you are in the market for a precision rifle, for whatever reason, this gun deserves a close look.