The new Savage 110 Classic brings an elevated level of versatility to the traditional wood-stocked hunting rifle.
How The Savage 110 Classic's Stock Makes It A Modern Classic:
- Combines the customizability of a polymer stock with the classic look of walnut.
- Push-button controlled adjustable stock lets you tailor LOP and comb height.
- Each has 1.5 inches of play.
- Button tension can be increased or decreased with an Allen key.
When polymer rifle stocks first emerged in the 1980s, they were viewed with skepticism and disdain by many hunters. It was argued that injection-molded plastic would never have the look and feel of traditional walnut. After all, wood-stocked guns have been serving hunters since the dawn of rifledom, and traditionalists saw no reason to change.
As it turns out, polymer stocks do have some very real advantages over wood stocks: Polymers are tough, inexpensive and, perhaps most importantly, they make it very easy to customize a rifle to fit the shooter.
Customizability + Classic Style
Savage’s new 110 Classic bolt-action rifle manages to combine the customizability of a polymer stock with the classic look of walnut. At first glance, this rifle looks like a traditional wood-stocked rifle; a gun that will appeal to the traditionalist. Closer examination reveals that the walnut stock can be quickly adjusted to perfectly fit any shooter.
The principle that Savage uses to accomplish this is similar to what high-end shotgun companies have been doing with competition guns for years: Competitive shotgun shooting demands exact gun fit; and, decades ago, that required shooters to go through the difficult and expensive process of having the stock adjusted.
Many modern competition shotguns have walnut stocks with adjustable comb heights and lengths of pull that allow the gun to be quickly customized to properly fit any shooter. Savage borrowed that technology and transitioned it to the rifle market. The new 110 Classic’s stock has two buttons on the right side of the stock that allow a shooter to adjust both comb height and length of pull by up to 1.5 inches. When the front button is depressed, the comb is released and can be raised, and three steel posts keep the comb secure and properly aligned. The center has cutouts that lock in place, and there are five adjustment points, each of which offers roughly a quarter-inch of adjustment.
The rear button controls length of pull in the same manner. Button tension can be adjusted using an Allen key. The adjustment buttons measure almost an inch wide, so they’re easy to locate and operate without taking your eyes off the target. And, the walnut stock has an oil finish that looks good and helps protect the wood.
Features and Details
In addition to its clever stock design, the Savage 110 Classic is a very versatile and well-built hunting rifle. It employs Savage’s proven dual-lug push-feed action with plunger-type ejector, and it also comes with the company’s user-adjustable AccuTrigger, which features a blade design to prevent impact discharges.
The carbon-steel action and barrel feature a non-glare matte-black finish, and the sporter-profile barrel comes in lengths of 22 inches for standard calibers and 24 inches for magnums. All 110 Classic rifles come with a 9/16-28 threaded muzzle and include a thread protector. Other key features include a removable metal box magazine that holds four rounds (three in magnum calibers) and sling studs.
Learn More About Savage Arms:
- Savage AccuFit: Putting Accuracy Within Reach Of Every Shooter
- Savage Introduces Prairie Hunter In .224 Valkyrie
- Savage 110 High Country Ready For The Backwoods
- MSR 10 Hunter: The Savage Way To Take Game
The 110 Classic weighs in at around 8.1 pounds, which is fine for most hunting applications. Overall length for standard calibers ranges from 41.25 to 42.75 inches, depending upon length-of-pull adjustments, and the controls are easy to operate. There’s a three-position, tang-mounted safety that allows you to load and unload the rifle with the safety engaged, and the magazine release button is located at the front of the magazine well. Removing the bolt requires depressing a button on the front of the trigger guard and pulling the trigger.
The 110 Classic is available in eight calibers ranging from .243 Winchester to .300 Win. Mag., all of which carry an MSRP of $999.
Expectations Met… and Exceeded
The 110 Classic I tested was chambered in .243 Winchester. I topped the rifle with a Trijicon AccuPoint 2.5-12.5x42mm scope. Removing the bolt for bore sighting or cleaning requires lowering the comb so the rear portion of the bolt doesn’t strike the stock. Once this was done, I reinserted the bolt and adjusted the comb height so that my eye was naturally aligned with the scope.
The 110 Classic’s stock allows the shooter to adjust length of pull from roughly 12.5 to 14 inches, and because I have rather long arms, the rifle fit me best with maximum length of pull. Most other walnut stocks are built to fit the “average” shooter, so having the ability to customize the 110’s fit is a worthwhile feature. There’s no need to readjust your shooting position to make up for a stock that’s too short or too long, and the Savage allows the shooter to adopt a more natural shooting position. This increases comfort and also helps mitigate recoil.
Savage has a stellar reputation for accuracy—thanks, in part, to its use of a barrel nut that allows for perfect headspacing.
The 110 Classic not only lived up to those high expectations, it exceeded them, producing sub-MOA groups with all three of the .243 Winchester loads tested (Federal’s Barnes TSX 85-grain, Nosler AccuBond 90-grain and the new Berger Hybrid Hunter 95-grain). All three of the loads were extremely consistent, with group sizes ranging from .68 inch to 1.08 inches at 100 yards. Every load tested averaged under an inch, making this the most accurate Savage rifle I’ve tested. Impressive!
Recoil isn’t much of a factor with a .243, but the 8-pound (10.1 pounds loaded and scoped) Savage 110 proved to be very easy to shoot. I have little doubt that the custom-fit stock improved accuracy.
The 110 Classic features an American-style flat comb. When elevated, the rear portion of the comb rises above the line of the stock. As a result, it’s important to ensure no portion of your face is behind the elevated portion of the stock so the force of the rifle’s recoil doesn’t rake across your cheek (a mistake I made … just once).
The AccuTrigger revolutionized bolt-action rifle production, and because it’s user-adjustable from 1.5 to 6 pounds, you can customize trigger pull weight. The test rifle came set at 2.5 pounds, which is just about perfect for my taste; however, if you want to adjust the trigger pull weight, it’s a simple process: Simply remove the action from the stock, and the trigger weight control screw can be adjusted clockwise or counterclockwise for a lighter or heavier pull.
The adjustable stock and comb allow the shooter to get more comfortable when shooting from the bench, but this adjustability also helps when shooting from field positions. Prone shooting is popular because it affords the shooter maximum stability while hunting, but your ability to quickly and efficiently get into a prone position is compromised by the dimensions of your stock: If length of pull is too long, you’ll be reaching too short, and you’ll have to fire from a compacted position, which inhibits a relaxed, comfortable shot. The adjustable comb is also a benefit when shooting prone, because in really awkward positions (steep uphill, steep downhill, uneven terrain), the comb can compensate for unusual head positioning.
Having the proper length of pull allows for faster shooting from kneeling or standing positions, and you can adjust it to compensate for heavy clothing. Normally, I shoot a rifle with a 14-inch length of pull, but in really cold conditions for which I’m wearing bulky clothes, having the option to shorten the rifle’s length to accommodate extra layers is a benefit.
There’s nothing particularly fancy about the 110 Classic rifle, but it is a good-looking and well-executed gun. The walnut stock is rather plain, but the oil finish adds a touch of class. Wood-to-metal fit is pretty good throughout. The pistol grip is comfortably angled with a palm swell that allows for a firm hold on the gun, and the rounded fore arm is equipped with a finger groove. Both the fore arm and pistol grip feature Savage’s signature checkering with interrupting parallel lines.
The action is fairly smooth, and the magazine fits neatly into the rifle without a lot of fiddling. The lone reliability issue came when a single cartridge popped free of the magazine— the rear portion riding atop the closing bolt, which caused obvious chambering issues. Aside from that, the gun performed well.
Savage is breaking ground with the addition of an adjustable walnut stock, and I like the design. Sure, companies offer plastic spacers that allow you to manipulate length of pull, but the push-button design on the 110 Classic eliminates the need to remove the recoil pad when adjusting length of pull. The design certainly makes perfect sense when two or more hunters share a rifle, because, with just a few simple adjustments, a single gun can fit mom, dad and any kids in your house.
The new 110 Classic offers traditionalists a wood-stocked rifle that doesn’t forfeit the versatility of a polymer stock. At $999, the Classic isn’t exactly a budget rifle, but it does shoot extraordinarily well. And, it’s one of the few guns that can instantly fit anyone who fires it.
The article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
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