First Look: Savage Arms Impulse Straight Pull Rifle

First Look: Savage Arms Impulse Straight Pull Rifle

Savage Impulse Straight Pull 1

Does the Savage Arms Impulse Straight Pull Rifle have what it takes to nudge American shooters over to the style of rifle?

The pantheon of American firearms is vast and none too discriminating. That is, a tinker cooks up a bang stick, in all likelihood a niche of Yankees will sustain his efforts. Except, that is, the straight-pull rifle.

Quick and accurate as the style of rifle is, it hasn’t found fertile ground in the United States (blame the lever-action). Or at least not as fecund as Europe, where the flavor of long gun flourishes and is even celebrated, particularly the corners where driven game is the norm. In turn, statesiders interested in the unique fast-operating systems are forced to old-world gunmakers to scratch that particular itch. Not anymore.

Going out on a limb, Savage Arms is betting the time is right for a Yankee rendition of the rifle with the introduction of the Impulse Straight Pull. By no means is this the first crack by an American manufacturer at the style of rifle; Winchester turned them out more than a century ago—the obscure but legendary M1895 Lee Navy. But in the modern era, outside of straight-pull ARs, Savage is pretty much the only game in town. And has a leg up on its competitors from across the pond. Whereas a Blaser or Anschutz take a second mortgage to shoehorn into a safe, the Impulse leaves a little money in the shooter's pocket. Though, with its most affordable models coming in at $1,379, they still aren’t exactly bargain-rack ventures.

Impulse Straight Pull Big Game
Impulse Straight Pull Big Game

The Impulse Straight Pull is Savage’s first foray into the design and their engineers pull out all the stops, with the rifle boasting 13 patents. Of particular note is the locking apparatus. Dubbed the “Hexlock”, the rifle utilizes six hardened bearings to lock the bolt in place inside the receiver’s barrel extension. It’s a bit of a whack-a-mole system, where the bearings pop out and retract into the bolt head. One advantage of the system, it does away with the complex cams rotating bolt straight pulls rely on. Furthermore, Savage states it creates a more secure lockup. As the company describes it, “As pressure increases, Hexlock’s hold tightens, ensuring that there can be no rearward movement of the bolt. Once the round has left the barrel, the pressure subsides, and the action can safely open again with the straight pull of the bolt handle.”

Impulse Straight Pull Hog Hunter
Impulse Straight Pull Hog Hunter

Speed is another asset of the Impulse Straight Pull’s bearing system. Offering a true linear throw, with nothing to get hung up on, the rifle reduces split times and has the potential to improve accuracy after the first shot. To the latter facet, the Impulse is designed to cycle without a shooter losing his cheek weld, thus his eye is always on target.

Impulse Straight Pull Predator
Impulse Straight Pull Predator

Other notables on the rifle include an ambidextrous bolt handle, which is also cant adjustable. Additionally, the Impulse Straight Pull comes with all the “Accu” features Savage is famous for—AccuFit adjustable stock, AccuStock internal aluminum rail system and AccuTrigger adjustable trigger. Savage is offering up three models of the rifle—Big Game, Hog Hunter and Predator—tailoring it for a majority of North American hunting. And it's available in seven chamberings, including .22-250 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum and .300 WSM. The Hog Hunter and Predator variations of the Impulse $1,379, while the Big Game rings up at $1,449.

Priced competitive for the style of rifle, time will tell if Savage can turn the American shooter on the straight-pull rifle.

For more information on the Impulse Straight Pull Rifle, please visit

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Elwood Shelton is the Digital Editor for Gun Digest. He lives in Colorado and has provided coverage on a vast spectrum of topics for GD for more than a decade. Before that, he was an award-winning sports and outdoors reporter for a number of newspapers across the Rocky Mountains. His experience has consisted of covering the spread of chronic wasting disease into the Western Slope of Colorado to the state’s ranching for wildlife programs. His passion for shooting began at a young age, fostered on pheasant hunts with his father. Since then, he has become an accomplished handloader, long-range shooter and avid hunter—particularly mule deer and any low-down, dirty varmint that comes into his crosshairs. He is a regular contributor to Gun Digest Magazine and has contributed to various books on guns and shooting, most recently Lever-Actions: A Tribute to the All-American Rifle.


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