Savage Model 93R17 Classic .17 HMR Rifle
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
For 2007 Savage introduced their upscale Classic bolt action rimfire rifles. These fine rifles are Savage's entry in the adult rimfire sweepstakes, and they make suitable companions for the Savage Classic Centerfire rifles. The latter have reaped high praise from Guns and Shooting Online reviewers and readers alike.
The specific model reviewed here is the 93R17 Classic, chambered for the .17 HMR cartridge. This handsome rifle's stock incorporates a Monte Carlo comb and a medium pistol grip, generous areas of cut checkering (including a large wrap-around panel on the forend), detachable sling swivel studs, black forend tip, grip cap with a gold Savage medallion, and a black rubber butt pad. The stock finish appears to be a semi-gloss lacquer.
The highly polished and deeply blued barreled action perfectly complements this stock. It is supplied without sights, but with two-piece Weaver type scope bases already mounted. Our first impression of this Savage Classic rimfire is that it was intended to compete head to head with any of the other medium priced adult rimfire rifles, such as the Ruger 77/17RM, CZ 452/453 American, Browning T-Bolt, Remington 504, and even the likes of the Kimber Hunter and Anschutz 1517 D Classic. It's that nice.
Included with the rifle was a gunlock, Instruction Manual, One Year Limited Warrantee, Savage Arms catalog, Accu-Trigger literature and adjustment tool, disposable earplugs, and some safety literature. The rifle had been checked (and initialed by "CF") for safety, function fired, and the trigger set to 2 lbs. 13 ounces. A 100 yard target showing a 3-shot group measuring 0.8" fired with Hornady ammo using the 20 grain XTP bullet was included, also initialed by CF. That is a complete package!
Here are some basic specifications for the 93R17 rifle:
All Model 93R17 rifles share the same basic Savage 93 action. This rear locking, cock on opening design features dual extractors, a fixed blade ejector, and a cocking indicator. The bolt locks closed when a square lug at the root of the bolt handle is turned down into a deep notch in the tubular receiver. Bolt rotation is approximately 90 degrees. The bolt is removed for cleaning or other purposes by simply pulling the trigger all the way rearward and sliding out the bolt. Cartridges are fed from a removable, sheet steel, 5-round box magazine with a red plastic follower. The easy to use, two-position safety (push forward for "fire") is located immediately behind the bolt handle at the right rear of the action. The simple Savage 93 action has been around for some time and has proven to be both reliable and accurate.
The bottom iron and the trigger guard are blued steel. Both are properly inletted into the stock and secured by hex head screws, a big improvement over earlier Savage Model 93 rifles. Savage is constantly improving their rifles, and it shows.
When we checked we found that the user adjustable Accu-Trigger on our sample rifle had been bottomed out at its lightest setting. It measured 2 pounds 13 ounces on Savage's scale, and 3 pounds even on our RCBS Premium trigger pull gauge, and we left it at the minimum setting. An Accu-Trigger adjustment tool and instructions are supplied with the rifle. The trigger release is clean and crisp with no creep, a definite asset to accurate bullet placement. We wish that all rimfire rifles came with triggers this good.
A Sightron SII 3-9x36mm AO Rimfire Target scope was mounted in Millett rings for test firing the Savage Classic. This is an excellent scope for the purpose. It features fully multi-coated optics, accurate 1/4 MOA adjustments, a fine crosshair reticle, and a matte black finish. The view through this scope is sharp and clear, and contributed to the pleasure of paper punching with the 93R17 Classic rifle. The Classic's Monte Carlo comb positions the eye correctly for using a telescopic sight.
Our Savage Classic rifle is, of course, chambered for the .17 HMR cartridge. We have previously written so much about this round that it would be redundant to repeat it all here. Suffice to say that the .17 HMR is the highest velocity, flattest shooting, and most accurate rimfire small game and varmint cartridge in the world. In fact, in our experience, it is the most accurate factory loaded cartridge in the world, period. Typical factory loaded .17 HMR ammunition spits out a 17 grain varmint bullet at catalog muzzle velocity of around 2550 fps from a rifle barrel (and actually averages faster, judging by our chronograph testing).
Our shooting was done at the Izaak Walton gun range south of Eugene, Oregon. This outdoor facility offers target stands at 25, 50, 100 and 200 yards, and solid bench rests from which to shoot. We fired all recorded groups with the rifle nestled in a Caldwell Lead Sled rest weighted with a 25 pound bag of lead shot.
The shooting for this review was accomplished over a couple of cool winter days with highs in the low 50's (F) and mostly sunny skies. There was practically no wind.
After first bore sighting the rifle and getting bullets into the "X" ring at 25 yards, we moved back to 100 yards and adjusted the scope to put subsequent rounds pretty much to the point of aim at that distance. Then we got down to shooting 5-shot, 100 yard groups for record using Champion Score Keeper targets. Chuck Hawks, Bob Fleck and Rocky Hays (all of whom are on the Guns and Shooting Online masthead) did the shooting chores.
The barrel was allowed to cool between shooters, but not between shot strings. It never seemed to get excessively warm despite a considerable amount of shooting.
Five brands of ammunition were used: CCI (17 grain TNT bullet), Winchester Supreme (17 grain V-MAX bullet), Federal Premium (17 grain V-MAX bullet), Hornady Varmint Express (17 grain V-MAX bullet), and Remington Premier Gold Box (17 grain AccuTip-V bullet). This is all high quality ammunition, capable of delivering MOA groups at 100 yards in many rifles. But we also know that all rifles are individuals. Here are the shooting results.
AVERAGE GROUP SIZE FOR ALL AMMUNITION = 1.31"
A tip of the hat to Rocky, who shot the smallest single group. The Savage 93R17 Classic functioned perfectly throughout our testing. There were no malfunctions of any kind. We were all impressed by the smoothness of the action, trigger, safety, magazine release, and overall operation. It's a very satisfying rifle to shoot.
Everyone on the Guns and Shooting Online staff appreciated the aesthetics of the Savage 93R17 Classic rifle. The classic stock feels good in the hands, proving to be entirely functional at the range and even better when carried in the field. This rifle is ideal in weight and balance for an adult hunter seeking small game.
The adult bolt action rimfire rifle market has become highly competitive, with several fine rifles now available in what we would consider the medium price range. These are not inexpensive rifles, but they are not budget busters, either. Even considering the tough competition, the Savage Arms 93R17 Classic got universal "thumbs-up" ratings from our reviewers. It is very competitive with rifles costing considerably more, and must be considered a "best buy" among .17 HMR hunting rifles.
RIFLE REVIEW SUMMARY
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