Savage Model 110 Classic
Rifle|May - June 2020
Adjustability and Accuracy Combined
John Haviland

Through the good and bad times of the last 62 years, the foundation of Savage Arms has depended on its Model 110 bolt action. The rifle was first offered in 1958 chambered in .30-06 and .270 Winchester, and the following year in a short action chambered in the .243 and .308 Winchesters. Over the years, the Model 110 has expanded to include, among others, Hunter, Tactical, Target, Long Range, Trophy and Varmint models chambered in a wide variety of cartridges. A check of the Savage catalog shows the vast majority of those rifles feature a synthetic stock.

The new 110 Classic is for shooters who prefer a traditional rifle made with a walnut stock and steel. The Classic’s stock is eye-catching with its satin finish, checkering panels on both sides of the forearm and grip, tight wood-to-metal fit around the receiver, steel magazine/trigger guard frame and a straight comb. With a push of a button, the Classic’s stock is adjustable for length of pull and comb height.

The Classic I’ve shot over the last couple of months was chambered in .243 Winchester. The rifle accurately shot a variety of factory and handloaded cartridges. No matter if its barrel was clean, dirty or hot or cold, the rifle typically placed three bullets well inside an inch at 100 yards. In fact, the rifle shot so well, I’d still like it if it only had the appeal of a weathered fence post.

The first time shooting the rifle required firing a couple of shots at 25 yards to align its Leica scope, and a couple more shots to fine-tune elevation and windage adjustments at 100 yards. The first three 65-grain BXV bullets from Browning Predator & Varmint .243 factory loads practically formed one hole at 100 yards. I shot a mix of 30-some other cartridges to further acquaint myself with the rifle. To see if the Leica scope had retained its setting, I fired two more bullets from the Browning cartridges at the same target as the first three bullets.

The five-shot group measured .57 inch. Additional shooting showed the rifle shot other loads just as well.

Several features of the rifle helped it shoot so accurately; its heavy barrel, light trigger pull and stock bedding. Surely the Classic’s weight helps steady it while shooting from the support of a bench. The Classic weighed just over 8 pounds as it came from the factory box. Weight increased to 10 pounds, 4 ounces with the addition of a Leica 4-16x 56mm Magnus scope in steel Burris Signature Zee rings clamped to Tasco aluminum bases.

The Classic’s 22-inch barrel is rather thick, tapering little from in front of the receiver to .75 inch at the muzzle. The barrel is freefloated with a sizable gap between it and the stock’s barrel channel.

A Lyman Digital Borescope revealed crosswise tooling on the top of the rifling lands and grooves the length of the bore. Copper fouling, built up by firing 40-some shots, smeared the edges and tops of the lands. Everything written about rifle accuracy states that such a barrel could never shoot accurately, but this one does.

Accuracy might be helped by the heat treatment Savage barrels receive to relieve metal stress and keep them straight when they heat up from uninterrupted shooting. The large barrel nut that locks the barrel to the receiver also provides extra stiffness to the barreled action.

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