Savage Model 110 Ultralite
Rifle|January - February 2021
A New Rifle with a PROOF Barrel
John Haviland

Savage has gained a lot of mileage out of its Model 110 rifle since it was first chambered in .30-06 and .270 Winchester, and introduced in 1958. In the years since, Savage has expanded the line to include Hunter, Tactical, Target, Long Range, Trophy and Varmint versions among other models chambered in a wide variety of cartridges. Moreover, the rifles have evolved over the years with improvements in the barrels, triggers, receiver bedding and wood and synthetic stocks.

The Ultralite is one of Savage’s newest Model 110s and includes many of those enhancements. The Ultralite I’ve been shooting is chambered in .270 Winchester. Its PROOF Research carbon-wrapped barrel is its most distinguishing feature and largely why the rifle weighs slightly lighter than 6 pounds out of the box.

To make the barrels, PROOF’s firearms division starts with heat-treated 416R stainless steel barrel blanks and turns them down, except at the breach and muzzle, to significantly reduce their contour and weight. The barrel is wrapped with a “high-strength, aerospace-grade carbon fiber impregnated with a proprietary matrix resin developed by our advanced composites division,” according to PROOF. Once a barrel is finished to its final profile, rifling is cut in the bore.

PROOF states its carbon fibers diffuse heat relatively quickly through the wall of a barrel and also along its length, resulting in a barrel that cools faster, maintains accuracy longer over a shooting session and provides longer barrel life.

The Savage Ultralite features a Sendero Light contour barrel that is 1.20 inches in diameter at the breach and tapers over its 22-inch length to .770 inch, with an approximate weight of 3 pounds. The muzzle is threaded to accept a brake or suppressor. The carbon fiber did rapidly dissipate heat from shooting a string of .270 cartridges. The barrel was only lukewarm to the touch after quickly firing 12 shots. You can almost light a cigar on a regular steel barrel after firing that many shots, and a similar allsteel barrel weighs about 2 additional pounds.

A look with a borescope into the barrel bore after shooting 70 rounds showed short streaks of copper fouling on the top of a few of the rifling grooves. The only noticeable powder fouling was at the front of the chamber throat. Fouling was so slight, the barrel probably only requires cleaning to maintain accuracy after firing perhaps 100 rounds. In fact, the last three bullets of those 70 shots landed in a .68-inch group at 100 yards.

There was not so much as a minor blemish the entire length of the bore. The metal grain flowed with the bore, a result of PROOF lapping the bore. PROOF’s price is $940 for a Savage pre-fit barrel chambered and ready to install in a Savage 110 action, so Savage’s retail price of $1,500 for an Ultralite rifle is quite reasonable.

The Model 110 action’s large ejection port is old-school. That wide opening provides plenty of space to drop a cartridge on top of the magazine, load the inserted magazine or clear a jam. The ejection port, and the wide cutout on the bottom for the magazine, leaves only a thin line of steel supporting the right side of the receiver. That may allow the receiver to flex some on firing, and perhaps degrade accuracy.

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