Monday, August 30, 2021

Review - Savage 110 Scout Rifle - Evaluation Review


I picked up my 110 Scout in March of this year.  I then chose and mounted the “furniture” and did a preliminary range trip to zero it.  That, and the purpose of choosing this particular rifle and it’s “job” were covered in my post -  ” Review – The Savage 110 Scout Rifle in 308”.    Since that time I’ve spent time becoming comfortable with it and coming up with a course of fire to fully evaluate the 110 Scout for its real job – that of a Designated Marksman.

Let’s work through my overall impressions first.  This is probably the “lightest” shooting .308 I’ve ever handled.  Much of that is due to its weight – 9.72 pounds.  That’s well over LtCol Cooper’s desired weight of 6.6 to 7.7 pounds for a Scout Rifle.  And to Savage’s “AccuStock” with an adjustable comb and a “plush” butt plate adds to its ability to reduce the recoil of the 110.  The trigger breaks consistently and cleanly at 3.5 pounds.  While it’s adjustable, I’ve left it at its factory setting.

I installed the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32 Scout scope, a forward mounted, low power variable optic.  While I did notice the oft complained about blurring on full power along the outer edges of the image, it did not affect the effectiveness of the optic at all.  The longer eye relief enhances the ability of the shooter to keep both eyes open to evaluate their immediate surrounds while still being able to quickly and accurately engage a threat.

The bolt was smooth and easy to run and the top mounted safety immediately below the rear of the bolt was simple to operate and allows quick confirmation of the condition of the rifle.

I’ve employed VTAC slings for a number of years and it felt “at home” to me on this rifle.  While most Scout rifles seem to be carried either American or African carry, I carry it slung over my head and with my support side arm through the sling.  My reasoning is that should you need to transition to a sidearm you can simply “drop” the Scout and get on with business.  If a person would choose American or African carry you would either have to engage a threat dominant side only or you would literally have to drop the rifle.  Neither represent a good choice in my opinion.

Next has been simply sending “rounds down range” and getting familiar with “running the gun”.  It has operated flawlessly though admittedly I am just nudging 500 rounds.  Not too high a volume but enough for me to begin to get a feel for the 110 overall.  Frankly, I like it!  It just feels nice in my hand, on my shoulder and it’s just satisfying to experience its accuracy and how it runs.


I’m not much for putting holes in paper.  My only exception is my 50 yard “working” target to work on my fundamental shooting skills with my .22 trainer, a Ruger Precision in .22 long rifle.  A box of quality .22 ammunition is always part of a range trip with a goal of around 150 rounds per month.  My main argument for this is that if a shooter can’t shoot a ½ inch-ish group consistently (5 rounds on each 2 inch target) then why waste a $1.50 round for your .308?  Master and maintain the fundamentals and then send a couple 20 rounds boxes of quality .308 downrange per month to maintain the skillset with your .308 – be it a scout rifle or a precision rifle.  Obviously that dynamic can change by going all in on reloading . . . but you can get a tremendous amount of good work done with a good .22 long rifle.  For range work I shoot either Eley Club or Winchester T22 with good results.


The use of a .22 trainer is, in my opinion, a great use of time while you continue to refine your position, your use of bags, your use of various support, your standard positions, how you grip your rifle, where you position your trigger finger, your trigger press and follow through.  All the little things that go into making an accurate shot.


But, but . . . does all that work transition to a larger caliber rifle?


The only way to resolve that is to, again, do the work on the range. 


I put together a 40-round course of fire to evaluate just where I am shooting wise with my rifles.  I do this against a LETarget’s SEB target and my primary distance is 50 yards.  Why?? Because a study of police involved engagements by LEO Snipers found that the average distance of their shots was 51 yards.  I did push this COF out to 100 yards as well, I’ll discuss that separately in a bit.  So the following is my recommended COF.

Evaluation Course of Fire

1:  5 Rounds - #1

2:  5 Rounds - #2

3:  6 Rounds - #3 Accelerated Pairs

4:  5 Rounds – Head

5:  15 Rounds – Failure Drill x5

6:  4 Rounds - #4

Total Rounds = 40


The limited round count is simply because of expense.  Obviously reloading can greatly reduce these costs yet to simply work on raw mechanics it’s very hard to beat $11 for a 50-round box of Eley Club ammunition.  That allows me to get considerably more range time while keeping my costs down – provided that the skills transfer from the .22 Trainer to the 110 Scout.  Do they?



While I varied the mix just a tad you can see that for 40 rounds, I was down zero.  In my scoring approach you need to be within a defined target element or touching the element’s outline.  This specific target was my very first “formal” range trip with the Scout 110.  Honestly, I was quite pleased.


Again, due to simply the cost of ammunition, I have also integrated a .223 “trainer” into my rotation in the form of a Ruger American Rifle – Predator in .223.  For both the Savage and the Ruger I am fond of PMCs X-TAC round in .308, 147GR and .223 62gr.  I push that rifle out of 100 yards regularly and the following target with the above COF yielded a range trip score of 90%.  I find it’s a nice intermediate step up between the .22 and the .308.  I use the same SEB target for the .223 that I do for the .308.


So . . . how did it go with the Ruger Predator in .223?

All of the rounds went to their desired location with the exception of 4 rounds of the head shots.  So, dropping 4 rounds yields a 90% - right at where I want to be.

So how does this 50 yard work with the .22 trainer, the 50 yard work with the Savage Scout 110 and the 100 yard work with the Ruger Predator in .223 translate to 100 yard work with the Savage 110 Scout Rifle?  Let's take a look.

The first 5 rounds went into #1.  The Cold Bore shot and its follow-up are labeled.  I do this on each and every trip.  All 5 rounds fell within a 3 ½ “ circle at 100 yards.  After that, the misses are strictly on me.  I threw two on #2, two on the Accelerated Pairs box - #3 and then five on the head box.  The most difficult rounds on the head were five from the Failure Drill (two rounds high center mass, one head shot) though a photo taken between the original five to the head and the Failure Drill show that I missed three of the first five and two from the Failure Drill.  Total misses – 10 for a score of 75%.  80% is passing from my POV so not real good for my first 100 yard range trip.  Heavy sigh.


However, as an evaluation of the rifle, I am afraid I need to split the “fault” at about 1% rifle and 99% shooter which I find is typically the case.  The accelerated pairs and the Failure Drill took their toll which comes down to continued work on my gun handling skills regarding the Savage 110 Scout Rifle.


That said, since the data would indicate that the majority of the work that would be done by a Designated Marksman happens at around 50 yards, the first 50 yard target would indicate that the Savage 110 Scout is more than capable of getting the job done should the need arise if it’s in the hands of a trained officer.


Am I satisfied with this rifle?  Absolutely.  As I said earlier it’s the “lightest” shooting .308 I’ve encountered.  Its trigger is VERY nice and when combined with the Vortex Cross Fire II LPVO it makes a potent package.  Does it fit my parameters as a rifle for a Designated Marksman for Law Enforcement – again, I find that a firm “Yes!”.  A post from that particular POV is upcoming.


Final lesson – there is simply no substitute for range work – realistic, consistent and rigorous range work.  I’ll roll my methods into my DM post that I am slogging through right now.  But, it doesn’t do any good to take coursework, learn a skill and then simply assume that since you “did it” once, you can do it on demand when the need is great.  Do the work.  Every month.  And, score yourself against a consistent Course of Fire so you can pick up any deficiencies that may arise and get them corrected.


Simply put . . . Do The Work.