Savage Mark II-BV Accu-Trigger Rifle

By Randy Wakeman

Savage Model 14
Illustration courtesy of Savage Arms.

It has been over forty years since I've started enjoying .22 rimfires. The first .22 repeater I spent a lot of time with was a Marlin Model 56 Levermatic equipped with a clip magazine, and an old Weaver 4X scope. That rifle and a High Standard .22 semi-auto pistol constituted my .22 "arsenal" for many years.

Growing up on a farm, they saw a lot of use from plinking to shooting crows, rabbits, and barnyard pigeons. I was astonished at what that a .22 could do, perhaps because I am so easily astonished?

Nevertheless, the qualities that have endeared .22 rimfires since that time remain the same. They are just plain fun, cheap to feed, and tremendously useful for pest control, target practice, training new shooters, and so forth. There is more fun and utility contained in a decent .22 rimfire and a brick of .22 long rifle ammo than you can easily find elsewhere.

Over the years, dozens of rimfire rifles have come and gone around here, but their universal appeal remains. Most of them have been lever guns and semi-autos, for the bolt actions have been too pricey, in large measure, for my tastes. High price removes part of the reason that rimfires appeal to me: "bang for the buck." All too often, the reasonably priced bolt guns I've used have suffered from horrid triggers, poor fit and finish, and accuracy that is less than stellar.

As supplied, the Savage Mark II-BV's Accu-Trigger broke at a crisp, clean 3 lbs. with no grit and no take-up. To compare, I used my Lyman electronic trigger gauge on a few other .22's. My factory Marlin 39A lever action broke at a bit over 5 lbs., my factory Ruger 10/22 broke at over 6 lbs. No other .22 I own has a trigger comparable with this Savage, including a Colt Diamondback revolver in single-action mode.

At his year's SHOT Show, Savage CEO Ron Coburn allowed me to try a couple of the new Accu-Trigger rimfire Savages supplied as they came from the factory. They were superb, as is this one. The function of the rimfire Accu-Trigger is the same as the acclaimed Savage center-fire Accu-Trigger. Savage had to redesign the trigger to properly fit their rimfires, tooling up for the downsized components. I'm delighted that they did and you will be as well. It is a fabulous trigger, and elevates the Savage rimfires to a whole new level. This is a very wise move on Savage's part.

The Mark II's heavy barrel has a beautifully machined recessed semi-target crown. The rifle weighs about 7-1/4 lbs., and the laminated stock is very attractive featuring functional cut checkering. Savage's metal finish is striking, showing no tooling marks at all. Savage metalwork and bluing continues to impress, just as on their very attractive "American Classic" centerfire rifles. It is a job well done on this .22.

Cosmetically, it is an attractive rifle with one exception, that being the poorly done plastic trigger guard. It has a nasty mold line, and is totally out of place on this otherwise handsome bolt-action rifle. A metal trigger guard needs to be substituted, and it can't be too soon.

The accuracy of the Savage Mark II-BV is no less then astonishing. This is absolutely the most accurate .22 rimfire I've ever fired. The test target supplied by Savage with this rifle was fired on May 1, 2006, with Federal Gold Medal 40 gr. target ammo. It measures an incredible .400 inches at 100 yards.

The Savage Mark II BV comes with aluminum Weaver style bases installed. The supplied bases measured undersize in width at .811 inch. Warne and Weaver standard bases on hand measured about .020 in. wider, at approx. .831 inch. No standard rings clamped on them properly, so lacking affection for aluminum bases in general, they quickly went into the trash. Warne #826M steel bases are close to the same thickness, and work fine. I opted for a pair of higher Weaver Grand Slam S45 steel bases, and mounted a Guns and Shooting Online favored scope, the Sightron SII 3-9x36mm AO with Warne Maxima "low" steel rings. It is a sexy looking scope and looks right at home on the Savage Mark II-BV, as you can see in the photo.

Mark II-BV with Sightron scope
Photo by Randy Wakeman.

The Savage Mark II-BV has a 5-round metal detachable box magazine. My understanding is that the 10-round Savage rimfire clip magazines also work in this rifle. I'm waiting for a few extra magazines to come in, so I'll update this review in the future as required.

My standard .22 range fodder is Federal 36 grain hollow point ammunition that I purchase in 550 round cartons. It has done a good job for bulk ammo, accounting for a couple of hundred rabbits. It appears to be similar (if not identical) to the Federal load #730, billed as a 1255 fps round. Out of the Savage Mark II, the velocities ranged from 1202 fps to 1242 fps through my chronographs. You can expect match ammo to have extreme spreads less than one third of that 40 fps range.

We set up at 40 yards, with breezy 10-17 mph range conditions. The first three shots were all touching, low and to the left. The Sightron did exactly what we told it to do, and we were centered in no time. Five shot groups averaged less than one half inch.

My seventy-six year old (almost senior citizen) father happened to be in the area, and gave the Savage a try: his first three shots were touching, the fourth opening up his group to less than one half inch. Dad's next three consecutive 5 shot groups were all right at one half inch as well.

I could do no better, the Savage shot sub-half inch groups all afternoon. Naturally, with more consistent ammo and better field conditions the group size can naturally be shrunk. This is fabulously good out of the box accuracy as far as I'm concerned: a nickel completely covered most of the groups.

The Savage Mark II-BV was 100% reliable. No matter what I did, there were no failures to feed, no failures to extract, no failures to positively eject. The brass was all positively, crisply dented. The safety is a dream to get on and off, as smooth as can be. The magazine locks into place with an audible click leaving no doubt that the magazine is in battery. The rimfire AccuTrigger on this rifle is nothing short of remarkable; no grit or creep. It is a delight to use.

You'll not find a better performing .22 long rifle repeater for the money. In fact, I'm not sure that you can find a significantly better .22 bolt action rifle at any price. A decade ago, if you had told me that Savage Arms was developing into one of America's finest rifle manufacturers, I would have looked confused. Even more confused than normal, that is.

Right now, based on the performance of their American Classic centerfire, their heavy-barrel varmint rifles, their revolutionary 10ML-II muzzleloader, and now this AccuTrigger enhanced Mark II-BV. I would be hard pressed to say that Savage is not one of America's finest. Savage product just keeps getting better, with the company focusing on modern manufacturing techniques, investing in the talent of their own people and their own facilities.

The Savage Mark II BV is a standout rifle. I can't imagine anyone who will not thoroughly enjoy it. This .22 is highly recommended for anyone and everyone.

Back to the Rimfire Page

Copyright 2006, 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.