First Range Report – Savage Model 10 FCP-SR and Primary Arms 4-14 ACSS FFP Illuminated ACSS-HUD-DMR-308

Years ago I used to have a very, very accurate Remington 700 Sendero in .300 Win Mag.  I sold it some years ago and replaced it with a Savage 10 with the 4-14 ACSS scope in 7.62 NATO.  While I miss the long range accuracy of that .300 Win, I’ve not been disappointed with the Savage.

Two weeks ago I took it to a square indoor range and put 30 rounds down the tube to see what kind of groups I might expect without making any adjustments to the rifle or glass.  The only ammo I had on had was some Fiocchi 165gr Sierra HPBT Game King, which is a great hunting round.  I’m fond of the 165gr as a general purpose  bullet as it performs very well out to about 700m, and the Game King is designed as a purposeful hollow point.

I was ok with the results; best group, once it was sighted in, was just about an inch at 50m; so 2 inches at 100 is fine for hunting, however, my projected application for the Savage is to distract and disrupt a ‘zombie apocalypse’ against my neighborhood.

As I hadn’t shot this rifle, admittedly, I did things backwards.  All I did to prep it was to patch the barrel and check the optics for solid mounting.  After I shot it and came home, I took it completely apart, cleaned it, and then used a torque driver to tighten the action screws to the recommended inch pound setting from Savage.

I went back to a square outdoor range with 3 different brands of ammunition in two weights:  168 & 175gr – two with Sierra HPBT Matchking projectiles and one set with Berger projectiles.

All shots from the bench, cool to warm barrel, no cleaning between groups, 100 meters, temperature around 80f, partly cloudy, humidity about 75%.

Suffice it to say that the results, with much higher quality ammunition and having the rifle prepped made quite the difference!

This is the result:

Berger Match Grade 308 Winchester Ammo 175 Grain Open Tip Match Tactical 

This was the most accurate (and most expensive) rounds used in my Inherent Accuracy Test, Phase 1.  As you can see, it’s pretty good ammo.  The small squares are 1/4 inch X 1/4 inch, and this is a really good just under or at 1/2 inch group.  The Berger rounds use the best of everything, to include Lapua brass, match projectiles, special power blends, and match primers.  It shows.  But they’re spendy.  Between $1.30 and $1.50 a round, depending on where you get them, and that doesn’t include shipping!  Add another .40 to .60 a round after shipping.  Sometimes you can get free shipping if you buy lots of 200 rounds.  That may come later for me if I choose these as my primary, but even so, they’re expensive!  That’s about $30 a box or more.

Next up is Federal Gold Medal 308 Winchester 175gr Sierra HPBT Match King.  This group was just over a half inch but under 3/4’s of an inch.  The price point difference between this and the Berger is significant, at about $7 a box cheaper than the Berger.  The Federal rounds are also top quality, with the same Sierra bullet, ‘virgin’ brass (so described by Federal) proprietary powder mix, and really consistent primers.

The Federal is less expensive by quite a bit, ranging from .92 to $1.70 per round (this price had a free shipping note so long as you purchase 200 rounds).  The range is a lot wider, but at the least expensive end, adding shipping to the cost makes it about $1.50 or so a round, or $25 a box, and with the eye of a coupon shopper, you can probably get these for less than $20 a box, shipped.

Last, but certainly not least, as the ammo is MOA capable, is Fiocchi’s submission to the 175gr match market.  Titled, ‘Fiocchi Exacta Rifle Match,’ it’s performance was acceptable, though a bit disappointment as it is about the same price as the Federal, which performed clearly better in this test.

I have some IMI 175gr BTHP SMK OTM Razor Core Match coming, so this portion of the test won’t be complete until that gets expended.

After the 175gr performance comparison is complete, I’m going to do 168 gr as well, same brands (except Berger, as they don’t make 168’s), same conditions as much as possible.  I’m including the 168’s as potential ‘go to’ ammo as I was weaned on them back in the day, and I wouldn’t fee right not giving them a chance.

Stay tuned.

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25 thoughts on “First Range Report – Savage Model 10 FCP-SR and Primary Arms 4-14 ACSS FFP Illuminated ACSS-HUD-DMR-308

  1. Defensive Training Group Post author

    Yes, agree hand loading is a good way to get ‘the’ load for any particular rifle. Provided, of course, time is available. My schedule doesn’t allow me to use my loading set up, as I really put a lot of detail into the process. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. anonymous

    Savage 110’s have a reputation for great accuracy at a low cost firearm. Your review seems to be adding to it – nice shooting !

  3. Elmo

    Cool! As the owner of a highly accurate Savage that I built myself ( Shilen 26″ barrel) I hope you’ll be shooting at distance, too. My rifle doesn’t seem to be hitting it’s stride accuracy wise ’til it gets out beyond 300 yards.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with your 100 yard groups, they’re all excellent. It’s just that your 600 yard groups could very well blow your mind.
    Also, don’t discount Hornady bullets. They’re relatively inexpensive and can be as or more accurate than anything else available. They’re all I shoot with my Savage.
    Happy shooting!

  4. Liberty4Ever

    Very nice, but how large are your FIVE shot groups? 🙂

    It’s amazing how accurate even low priced bolt action rifles can be lately. The state of the art is considerably improved. Savage makes some very nice rifles, with great value at every price point.

    I enjoy reloading as much as I enjoy shooting. I need to do more of both.

    I’d second Elmo’s suggestion to try Hornady bullets. I use them for most of my rifle reloading and they’re excellent and generally less expensive.

  5. Georgiaboy61

    DTG, congrats on your new Savage. Savage Arms is renowned for making affordable firearms which out-shoot competitors costing two or even three times more at retail.

    Your Primary Arms 4-14×44 HUD-DMR FFP scope has the superb ACSS reticle; why not give it a load calibrated to it? Dmitri – the guy over at PA who did the development of the reticle – designed it around 150-grain M80 Ball, and 168-grain and 175-grain BTHP OTM projectiles. If memory serves, Primary Arms used a MV range of 2650-2700 fps for the 168-grain, and 2600-2650 for the 175-grain load, but confirm that with their literature.

    The reticle is graduated out to 1,000 yards, so if you want to use 168-grain loads out past 800-850yds. (the distance at which the projectile starts to enter the transonic zone in many AOs), you’ll have to hold over a bit. Whereas, with the 175-grain loads, you are good-to-go out to 1,000 with a cartridge which matches the ACSS BDC very closely. If you can find M80 NATO Ball which meets your accuracy requirements, the reticle can handle that also.

    Federal’s Gold Medal Match SMK BTHP factory loads are mentioned specifically in the instruction booklet for the optic, if memory serves, in the section on zeroing. If you are looking for a high-quality but somewhat more-economical alternative to the pricey Federal and Berger loads, consider Prvi Partisan’s match loads in .308. They perform very well, and are cheaper than many of their competitors. Their 175-grain load clocks in around 2590-2600 fps, and their 168-grain BTHP clocks in around 2610 fps. Depending on your rifle, conditions in your area, etc. of course.

    Hornady’s match loads are known for being excellent, and they can often be had for decent prices. Their 168- and 178-grain BTHP Match loads would be their analog to Federal’s 168- and 175-grain loads. Their new ELD-M and ELD-X lines are great but may not work as well with the ACSS reticle, since they shoot considerably flatter than their older counterparts.

  6. Uncle

    Have you thought about trying the Sierra TMKs? I’ve heard of excellent results with the 155gr in 308. Black Hills is the only company I know of with a factory load though.

  7. Historian

    For both monetary and accuracy reasons, I load my own LR chow. It has taken me many years to learn enough to turn out really good ammo (RGA), (defined as runouts less than 0.002″ at the tip, ES less than 20 fps, and SDs less than 7 for 10 shots) and if I had the money I’d have been better off to simply buy RGA. But I did not, and do not, have the wherewithall to spend $1.50 a pop for rifle chow, so I have been loading my own for over 40 years.

    Also, when handloading, having the ability to vary seating depth and use different profile projectiles can turn a 2″ rifle into a tack driver. My current .308 LR stick I got from a guy who admitted that the reason he was selling the rifle was that he could not get 5 shot groups much under 2″ with Federal 168 grain GMM. I routinely get 10 shot groups at 100 yards well under an inch, and 4″ or less at 500 yards. It took me a while to find the load it likes, but it shoots very well now.

    Have heard many good things about Berger bullets since they first came out, but have never tried them. I guess I am a bit stuck in my ways. After reading Brian Lisk’s various works, and anecdotal data from other long range shooters, I may, but right now my preferred projectiles for .308 are the Hornady 168 BTHP, the Sierra 175 BTHP, the Lapua 175 BTHP, which appears to be virtually identical in dimension to the Sierra, and somewhat more accurate in my LR .308 stick. I routinely group 10 shots into 3 1/2-4″ at 500 yards with the Hornady and the Lapua, with ES less than 20 and SDs around 6 or 7. I may try the 168 or 178 grain ELD-X but have not done so.

    For distances inside 500 yards, the 168 Amax, now discontinued, groups 2/3 MOA but past that distance the tip melting problem starts to spoil the groups, and when you get to about 850, the tip problem combined with trans-sonic instability makes the Amax useless for long range. It is, however, deadly on white-tailed deer, although not classed as a game bullet.

    WRT brass, I have tried once-fired M118-LR, and also tried Lapua. Lapua is simply better brass. Tougher, much more consistent in weight, much less difference in case wall thickness, much less variance in neck thickness ( I do not neck turn Lapua,) primer pockets all uniform, and flash holes need no deburring. It saves me about 4 hours or more in prep time from M118-LR for 100 rounds. Just not neck turning is about 2 hours of tedium avoided. Once properly sorted and prepped, the M118 performs about as well as the Lapua, but with more issues WRT runout and ‘banana’ cases. I lose about 20% of the M118 cases to those issues. The price was right, at 20 cents a case, but the M118 is work to prep to the same standards as Lapua.

    For powder in the 308, I like the Hodgdon Extreme line, notably H4895; lots of folks swear by Varget, but my groups are so good with H4895 that I see no reason to change. I’m told that some of the new IMR powders have the same tech, but, again, I see no reason to change. Not having to worry about or adjust for differing MV depending on ammo temp is a plus, in my book, yet another reason to load my own.

    I use Federal Gold Medal match primers, and I test each lot with a proven load for ES and SD.

    Anyway, I’ve run on far too long; I hope this is helpful to you and your readers!
    With regard to all who seek the Light,
    Historian

  8. Defensive Training Group Post author

    Next testing phase is the 168’s from various manufacturers. I’ve even thought of trying the Berger 155gr just to see what they do. They do about 3K FPS out of the barrel, so they’re really flat shooting according to the documentation. Don’t know yet if I will.

    Good info on the various types and how the scope was designed. Thanks!

  9. ensitue

    My $400 Savage 110 sporter is wickedly accurate, it out shoots my Rem700 SD by a mile even though the glass was 1/3 the cost. Being a 270W it shoots insanely flat as well

  10. Defensive Training Group Post author

    I will be increasing the groups to 5 in the near future. 🙂 This first phase was simply and inherent accuracy test. Notice no real aiming points on the targets, so I wasn’t after zero or repeat-ability in the shots. Have a couple more sessions ahead of me on inherent accuracy with different weight/brand rounds, and then we’ll go full bore on how she performs with more rounds per group and higher barrel temps.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Liberty4Ever

    I was just teasing you about the three shot groups. I do understand that some people shoot 50 three shot groups, post their best half inch group and don’t show us the typical 1.5″ groups or the worst case real world 3″ groups, but this is clearly not what you were doing. There’s not much point in shooting five shot groups when ammo is $1.50 a round and you’re learning how the rifle performs. There’s nothing at all wrong with posting a half inch group and stating that almost all groups were under an inch.

    My long range guns are mostly bolt action rifles, but I just finished putting together a sweet Aero Precision 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10. My eyes are getting worse by the day so I have an 8-32X56 scope in the hope of compensating somewhat for presbyopia. I can’t wait to load some break-in rounds and head to the range. I have a Savage .338 bolt action that I still haven’t shot. I need to get out more!

  12. Defensive Training Group Post author

    Hey, I understand – I’m good with shooters razzing each other; it’s what we do! 🙂 No offense taken in the slightest!! Thanks for coming back, though. Would like to see your results from the 6.5. I’m open to posting your results with both that and your Savage .338.

  13. Pat OConnor

    I have almost the same rifle. Federal and Hornady 168-Match are nearly identical MOA, but I haven’t clocked them.
    If you should be so inclined, take a peek at the Mag Tech (CBC “Sniper”) Ammo.
    It’s typically 1/3rd less in cost, behaves very well in my Savage 10, and for most of us, 500 yards and in would be plenty of work space.
    It lists a Sierra 168 gr. BTHP, and I clocked it over the weekend at 2726.
    I’m not a great shooter, but did manage 4/9 at 760 yards during the same class.
    For practice, or breaking in a new barrel, it would lessen the financial hit allowing for more training.
    Last time I ordered it, it was $259 for 400 rounds and free shipping.
    Be Safe
    Cheers

  14. Pat OConnor

    Correction:
    Please pardon my pre-coffee dyslexia…
    The muzzle velocity of the Mag Tech 168 gr. was 2627… Not 2726.
    I apologize for that.
    Pat

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