LESS ACTION, MORE SPEED!
American Outdoor Guide|October 2021
SAVAGE’S NEW STRAIGHT-PULL BOLT ACTION ALLOWS FOR FASTER FOLLOW-UP SHOTS.
Paul Rackley

The bolt-action rifle comes from an amazing design that combines strength and accuracy. In addition, pretty much any caliber can be used in a bolt-action rifle—all the way up to a .50 BMG—making the bolt action the preferred rifle for long-range shooters and many hunters.

The only problem with bolt-action rifles is that they’re slow to cycle, requiring four separate motions to place a new round in the chamber: Lift up, pull back, push forward and push down. This doesn’t take long, especially for trained shooters, but these motions can take sights off target and reduce follow-up shot speed, regardless of a shooter’s skill.

However, Savage is trying to change this with a straight-pull bolt-action rifle called the Impulse.

Straight-Pulls Aren’t New

Straight-pull rifles have been popular in Europe for years, but these types of actions have never really gained popularity in the United States. The reasons for this have mostly been due to strength of action and accuracy. There have, however, been some examples used in the United States over the years, including one that was the official rifle of the Navy and Marines for a short period: the Lee Rifle Model of 1895 (M1895).

Straight-pull actions have had problems in the past, particularly with the more powerful loads preferred by American shooters. In addition, these rifles weren’t generally the most accurate—or at least they haven’t been in the past.

Savage has fixed both these problems with a hexlock locking mechanism. This system consists of six steel bearings in a ring around the bolt head. A plunger inside the bolt body presses the bearings out, locking them into the barrel extension, putting the rifle into battery.

Savage Reinvents the Straight-Pull

What’s truly interesting about this system is that the pressure pushing out on the bearings makes the action hold even tighter, increasing the strength to handle larger calibers. Now, releasing that pressure involves cycling the bolt, which, of course, doesn’t require the typical four-step process. To eject the spent case and insert a fresh cartridge, one simply has to pull the bolt handle toward the rear and then push it forward. Cycling this action is much faster than in standard bolt actions.

To create this speed and accuracy, Savage placed 13 patent-pending parts on the Impulse, showing that this company doesn’t believe that luck has anything to do with the success of its firearms. It also makes the Impulse a very revolutionary design, at least in theory. Of course, most shooters care more about features, function and accuracy. This, typically, is where Savage really shines.

Savage began the creation of the Impulse with an AccuStock chassis, which includes a barrel lock nut that allows for accurate headspacing, along with the use of lighter materials in the receiver. The company then button-rifled the barrels and added the AccuTrigger—one of the best user-adjustable factory triggers on the market.

All this goes together to create a rifle with sub-MOA possibilities in the right hands, particularly when the proper fit is ensured. For this, Savage included AccuFit. This basically means the Impulse comes with everything needed to adjust fit for both length of pull and cheek placement. Proper fit helps accuracy, and the AccuFit system provides adjustment for more than just those who are particularly tall or short; in fact, it allows proper fit for pretty much everyone.

SAVAGE ARMS IMPULSE PREDATOR

Specifications

• Chambering: 6.5 Creedmoor (tested), .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., .308 Win.

• Action: Straight-pull bolt-action rifle

• Receiver: Aluminum, black matte finish

• Stock: AccuStock, synthetic, Mossy Oak Terra Gila Camo, matte finish

• Overall length: 41.25 inches

• Barrel length: 20 inches

• Length of pull: 12.75–13.75 inches

• Weight: 8.75 pounds

• Magazine: 10-round detachable

MSRP: $1,379 SavageArms.com

Other features standard on the Impulse include an integral Picatinny rail for mounting optics, an ambidextrous, two-position safety and a threaded barrel for adding brakes or suppressors.

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