Solid Gold: The Savage 114 Classic .270 Rifle
The tested rifle is the new-for-2006 Savage Model 114 Classic in caliber .270 Winchester. This is the Monte Carlo comb and cheek-piece version of Savage's classic series.
Building on the success of the Savage "American Classic," this is the long action example fitted with a hinged floor plate for quick internal magazine unloading. The stock design positions your face in the proper, slightly elevated position for scope use. As such, no iron sights are provided. When you snap the rifle to your shoulder, you instantly are looking through your scope. This is the way it should be.
As with all the Savage Classic models, expect high polish bluing, a laser-etched bolt, and the Savage logo grip cap finishing off a black tipped American walnut stock with cut checkering.
As supplied from the factory, the Savage AccuTrigger breaks at a repeatable 2 lbs. 9 ounces, with no take-up, sand, or grit. It is a beautiful trigger right out of the box.
Millett has a new "Weaver-style" Savage steel base set that I installed. While steel, it is skeletonized on the mating portions to eliminate superfluous weight. They work just great, also allowing the mounting of shorter (and automatically lighter) scopes.
I find the standard length of pull a bit too short on most hunting rifles for my personal liking, so after the first range session I installed a Limbsaver pre-fit recoil pad in place of the supplied rubber butt plate. The Limbsaver fits as well as you could ask for with a pre-fit pad. There is no way I could consider this rifle a hard kicker, but the addition of the Limbsaver pad makes it hard to believe you are shooting a high-powered big game rifle, even with "High-Energy" loads.
To finish off the rifle, I mounted a Kahles Helia CL "Multi-Zero" 3-9 x 42mm side focus scope. This scope is so innovative and remarkable that it is reviewed in detail elsewhere on the Product Review Page. The scope was secured to the bases with my perennial favorite rings, matte Warne steel Maxima QR, medium height. Even though sunset was around 8:00 PM, I found myself shooting 'till well after 9, if that tells you anything.
Savage did an exemplary job with the Weatherby style stock comb. It not only looks good, but the comb has a slight downward slope to it. This causes it to fall away from your face during the recoil pulse rather than push up into it, just as Roy Weatherby intended.
The hinged floor plate for the four round internal box magazine snaps closed firmly. The release lever fits flush at the rear of the magazine well, secure and snag-free.
A wide variety of factory ammo was fired. You've heard that "every rifle is an individual," which is certainly true in large measure. Yet, this .270 Savage Classic is perhaps the most 'ammo-insensitive' rifle I've ever tested. No factory load shot worse than 1 MOA @ 100 yards.
Though I certainly haven't run everything through this rifle that is available, it did astonishingly well with Winchester 140 grain AccuBond cartridges (#S270CT, 2950 fps MV, static BC of .472). Despite the heat and high humidity (94%, yuck) it managed three shot groups at 102 yards averaging less than one half inch with a couple of lucky groups just under one quarter of one inch. As far as I'm concerned, this is fabulous accuracy in an unmodified hunting rifle with factory hunting ammunition.
Frankly, I don't know how Savage manages it. Apparently their continued close attention to precise chamber dimensions, free-bore, and head-spacing has paid off. The metallurgy is different for button-rifled barrels than for cut rifling. The secret recipe that Savage uses is likely in CEO Ron Coburn's underground vault, surrounded by a moat with alligators. Exactly how Savage has done it they likely aren't telling, and I sure don't blame them. There is no disputing the results, however, and they are remarkable, even stunning.
The Savage 114 exhibits refined balance and excellent handling. As a further bonus, the Savage 114 Classic averages from 3/8 to a full pound lighter than most competitive models.
Savage also happens to lighten your wallet less than anything remotely comparable. We've heard the "you get what you pay for" dogma parroted again and again when there is nothing left to say. Maybe I should stop buying things on sale because, of course, "You get what you pay for!"
You sure don't automatically get what you pay for; price is just a number you pay; value is what you get. Savage Classics are a glistening example of that. Right now, I can't think of a more appealing bolt-action rifle to own, shoot, and hunt with than this sterling model right here. Savage has achieved a rare blend of overall build quality, pride of ownership, performance, and tremendous value in one package. The Savage Model 114 Classic is a beauty. When you try one for yourself, you'll see exactly what I mean.
Copyright 2006, 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.