The Savage Law Enforcement Series 10FP Tactical Rifle
By Barr Soltis
Autumn in Pennsylvania represents a dramatic change in climate. Leaves change from green to a magnificent array of colors that eventually drop to the ground as nature prepares for winter. The bears scramble for their last bits of sustenance before hibernation and the deer are in the rut.
It is also my favorite time of year. The cool crisp air invigorates me and makes me feel alive. This is when grilling ends and chilling begins. It is time to break out your sweat shirts and those dusty comfort food recipes that will be best appreciated in the months to come: chili, chicken and sausage gumbo, roast turkey with gravy and, of course, macaroni and cheese.
Fall also represents another mark on the calendar, hunting season! I enjoying hunting and I consider this as the prime time of year to take to the woods. More often than not, I say that I am taking my rifle for "a walk in the woods," to hunt. Occasionally, I am sidetracked by the beauty of nature.
My real passion, however, is informal bench rest target shooting, primarily because I can go to the range whenever I have time, weather permitting. Besides that, I have hooked up with a small group of dedicated target shooters who really know their stuff and have provided me with some valuable advice over the years.
What I wanted was an accurate but affordable (read Savage) dedicated, scoped, center fire target rifle chambered in either .223 Remington or .308 Winchester for shooting at 100-200 yard ranges and possibly more if the opportunity arises. The Savage line tenders a wide variety of rifles and their Law Enforcement (LE) series is no exception. The LE series offers both short and long action rifles chambered in .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, .25-06 Remington and .300 Winchester Magnum.
The LE series Model 10FP is what I consider an entry-level tactical rifle with an MSRP of $719. There are more costly models with variety of premium stocks and configurations that significantly increase the price. There is even a “package” rifle (the 10FPXP HS Precision) that comes equipped with a Leupold® 3.5-10x40mm black matte scope and a hard case, but with a MSRP of $2539 the expense of this rifle was beyond my means. Bench rest target shooting is just a hobby for me; if I had the means or if someone else was paying for it, this would be my first choice.
If you are buying a hunting rifle or a target rifle, getting the best bang for the buck (no pun intended) is the name of the game. This is why I bought the Savage 10FP. This rifle is chambered in .308 Winchester and weighs 8.5 pounds. It comes with a 24” heavy, free-floating, button-rifled barrel and has an oversized bolt handle mounted on a black synthetic stock that is dual pillar bedded. It is also equipped with Savage's legendary AccuTrigger.
Here are some basic specifications of the Model 10FP.
Immediately after purchasing my 10FP, I mounted a Sightron 36 power target scope and bought a stash of Nosler brass and Nosler match bullets. After loading 40 rounds and a trip to the range, my initial trials at the range proved very promising, but then something went very wrong.
Suddenly, my rifle failed to eject spent cartridges. I then noticed that my last two cases were missing their primers. I turned my rifle over, shook it a few times, and the primers dropped to the table. Upon further inspection, it was determined that the ejector plunger was jammed, crushed by the ejector spring. Blown primers are not a good thing. Luckily, a friend of mine was able to repair the damage using factory Savage parts.
Holding Nosler bullets in high esteem and assuming that their brass was of equal quality (It usually is! -Ed.), I immediately blamed the primers that I was using. Then I tried Remington and CCI primers, but few of them pressed into the Nosler brass with determination. In fact, some of the primers completely failed to seat into the pocket and actually fell out into my hand. Clearly, I had a brass problem, not a primer problem.
This is the perfect opportunity to illuminate one of several important factors to remember when hand loading ammunition: always use a hand-held priming device such as the Lee Auto-Primer. I should have noticed the difference in the force required to seat the primers. I did not, a huge error on my part and one that I will never forget!
Back to the 10FP. The Savage 10FP is exceptional in most every way, including its modest retail price tag. From the action to the barrel, not to mention its inherent out-of-the-box accuracy, the overall value of this rifle is exceptional. I have even had good accuracy with inexpensive 150 grain .308 bullets pulled from European ammunition that I use primarily in my 7.5x55 Swiss K31. It should come as no surprise that the 10FP really shines when loaded with competition bullets.
A few weeks ago, I loaded up some 168 grain Sierra MatchKings behind 43 grains of IMR 4064 using CCI #200 large rifle primers and was able to shoot a .442 inch, 5-shot group at 100 yards. The rifle was stabilized on the bench rest with Caldwell’s “The Rock” with ProtekTor front and rear bags that I focused on .5 inch neon red color coding labels at 100 yards. At a mere 100 yards, you may view it only as “respectable,” but for me I consider it good shooting.
If you are looking for a highly accurate out-of-the-box rifle, you should seriously consider the Savage 10FP. Although I stated earlier that this was the “entry-level” LE series rifle, which it is, it performs like a top dollar tactical rifle at a fraction of the price. I am sure that in skilled hands this rifle could perform better than my skill will allow, an excellent recommendation for any rifle.
Note: Several full length reviews of Savage centerfire rifles can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2008 by Barr Soltis. All rights reserved.