A .338 Lapua for Under $1,700? Savage’s 110 BA Stealth Storms the Market — Full Review

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I am a firm believer that it should be within the reach of every person to own a ludicrously fast car, a stupidly powerful handgun and a magnum rifle that could take a T-rex off its feet at 1,000 yards.

Savage’s Model 110 BA Stealth chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum offers high-quality features at a reasonable price point.

In case you were wondering, I’m not referring to when you are 50 and having a midlife crisis. Out of the gate, with a reasonably grown-up job these goals should be an option. We all draw our power floor somewhere, be it a small Glock or a .454 Casull. I stopped at a .44 Magnum for handguns, but for my rifles I’m bolder. A  rifle chambered in .338 Lapua has been on my wish list for a long time, and Savage had made that wish attainable for people with normal salaries.

The .338 Lapua Magnum originated in the 1980s as a cartridge for military snipers. Its parent case is the .416 Rigby.

The .338 Lapua, like most European imports, has always been expensive. The average price for a rifle is around $6,000, with lower end ones around $4,000. That is well out of the acceptable limits of most working stiffs, me included. Couple that, with ammunition on average at $7 a round, and you have a very expensive hobby. Developed as a cartridge developed for military snipers during the 1980s, the .338 Lapua based upon the .416 Rigby parent case has always had a hefty price tag. Similar to a Rolex and a Porsche, it’s long been considered in civilian circles as a display of wealth to own, and you had to open your fruity European ammo box with a smug look and one pinkie in the air. The .338 Lapua was not for you, peasants. In the fine tradition of Detroit Muscle Cars decimating more expensive Supercars, Savage kicked that model in the teeth — with a steel toe.

Savage Brings the Heat

The author fired the Savage 110 BA Stealth out to 1,000 yards and it produced extremely accurate groups with the Federal 250-grain Gold Medal Match .338 Lapua.

The Savage 110 BA Stealth retails for $1,622 and has a street price closer to $1,200. Less expensive or cheap rarely translates to quality, but Savage is one of the most underrated of all the rifle manufactures. This rifle delivers and at a fraction of most magazine fed .338 Lapua competitors. The Savage AccuTrigger delivers all you need right out of the box. I’ve heard tactical Timmys’ poo-poo the AccuTrigger. The trigger on GunsAmerica’s test rifle broke at a clean 2½ pounds out of the box, and I didn’t bother adjusting it.

The AccuTrigger on the author’s test rifle broke at a crisp 2.5 pounds.

SPECS

  • Type: Bolt-action, detachable magazine
  • Cartridge: .338 Lapua ( 300 Win Mag also available.)
  • Barrel Length: 24 in.
  • Overall Length: 49 in.
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Stock: Aluminum chassis
  • Finish: Matte black
  • Twist: 1:9.3 in.
  • Capacity: 5+1 rds.
  • Safety: Selector switch
  • MSRP: $1,629

Most consumers don’t even realize the trigger is adjustable, it is so good at the factory setting. The crisp trigger aside, what matters the most in a rifle is the accuracy. Ergonomics are nice as are smooth bolts, and don’t forget aesthetics. (Yes, it looks like James Bond would shoot it.) In the end, accuracy is king. There are a lot of factors that results in a rifle being accurate. In that department, the Savage BA 110 Stealth crushed it out of the park.

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Range Time

The Savage 110 BA Stealth’s bolt broke in nicely as the author sent more lead downrange.

My zero group was a ½ inch at 100 meters, which is pretty good. Undoubtedly, ½ MOA is a nice starting place, and it is something very difficult to hold at range. I moved straight back to 1,100 meters, because this is a .338 Lapua after all — not a BB gun. I didn’t bother to ask what the truing range should be (1.2 Mach, which is a long ways for this caliber), I picked 1,100 because it was as far as I could reach without some serious hoop jumping. I trued my muzzle velocity on a steel target, then shot a paper group for GP. My Savage 110 printed a 4½-inch group on paper, in a 20 mph wind. Out of the box, it produced sub half MOA in high winds. I have been shooting long-range and testing rifles for a while, and that is the best group I have ever printed on paper at that range. Uncle Sugar spent a lot of taxpayer money making sure I could shoot. Before my internet commandos get all excited, it was a three-shot group. Remember, .338 is expensive, and when I went to check the target, I didn’t expect a group that tight. Wind, luck and all things considered: That is a damn tight shot group.

Fodder

The Savage Model 110 BA Stealth is magazine-fed and features five-plus-one round capacity.

What did I feed it to produce that performance? Glad you asked: Federal Gold Medal Match 250 grain. Gold Medal has been performing like a champ, and this .338 Lapua takes the cake. Federal puts a lot of quality control standards in the Gold Medal that are reflected in the price, but it absolutely delivers. Every bit of standard deviation and neck tension starts to really matter past 1,000 meters. For performance like this, it’s worth the price.

The Savage 110 BA Stealth produced a solid group at 1,000 yards.

For glass, I mounted a Bushnell DMR II 3.5x21X with the G3 reticle. Bushnell continues to be one of the best for the money, and this DMR proved no differently. The DMR II offers a locking windage knob, and a RevLimiter elevation stop.  Also new for this model, included is a removable ThrowHammer lever for rapid magnification adjustments. Clarity was still good at 1,100 meters on a relatively hot day, and the scope tracked correctly. Parallax adjustments were easy and functioned correctly. The G3 reticle is a pretty good compromise for those that don’t like a full Horus reticle. I prefer the H59, by a long shot. But it’s not for everyeon. The G3 is proved decent for using holdovers, but in my opinion, the H59 is better in the wind. The G3 offers half mil markings for windage on the primary crosshair, and full mils of windage on the sub tensions. Even with the elevation dialed on, a half a mil is a lot of space when you are trying to finesse a shot in gusting winds. The DMR II is available with either reticle. Bushnell has always delivered tough optics, and package for the price is fantastic. I know shooters that have $20,000 Accuracy International switch barrel packages that mount a Bushnell DMR or HDMR.

The Bushnell DMR II held up against the punishing recoil of the .338 Lapua. When shooting out past 1,000 yards, a scope level is essential.

The Accu-Tac bipod’s spike feet attachments allowed the author to front-load with ease. The Federal Gold Medal Match 250-grain load fed reliably.

Bipod Bidness

Also worth noting is the bipod you use. Currently, I’m in month four of Accu-Tac SR-5 bipod durability test, and they continue to impress me. For the first time, I swapped the rubber feet out for steel spikes, and the result was fantastic. The spikes make it very easy to load your bipod the same every time, which played a part in today’s adventure. The only issue, I had was that it snapped one of the M-LOK rails in half during the .338 test, but the rifle and bipod are fine. This was also the first time I tried out the spike feet for the Accu Tac, and they worked well in the field. It made loading the bipod easy. I am going to go ahead and fully recommend these for your shooting kit. Just make sure you take them off before you put your rifle back in the bag.

Lasting Impressions

The muzzlebrake performed its job and helped mitigate recoil.

Overall, the trigger and value of a .338 at the is price point is unreal. Savage has outdone themselves. However, there’s always room for improvement, increasing weight in the forend would increase cost and machine time but would improve the balance slightly. The buttstock bit my hand every time I shot. However, Savage considered shooters may want to swap it out. The modularity of the rifle makes swapping out the buttstock with ease. If you’re going to purchase and outfit it with Picatinny rails and a bipod, as I did for testing: A word to the wise, buy the aluminum version. In my first at bat to zero the rifle, I snapped one of the polymer ones in half.

The magazine fed flawlessly every time. After about one hundred rounds the bolt broke in and smoothed out. Most importantly, this rifle is accurate. It’ll put lead on target every time.  I’d call this the best buy in .338 Lapua that I have seen. The only reason I’m returning this rifle to Savage is that I am slated to review the Model 112 target version next month.

To learn more about the Savage 110 BA Stealth, click http://www.savagearms.com/firearms/model/110BAStealth.

To learn more about the Bushnell DMR II 3.5x21X, click http://bushnell.com/tactical/riflescopes/elite-tactical/dmr-ii-3-5-21x-50mm.

To learn more about Federal Gold Medal Match, click http://www.federalpremium.com/ammunition/rifle/family/gold-medal/gold-medal-sierra-matchking/gm338lm.

To purchase a Savage 110 BA Stealth on GunsAmerica, click https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=Savage%20110%20BA%20Stealth.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • TAW1159G July 5, 2017, 9:44 am

    Sooo…what you’re saying is the first time, was the first time you used the spiked feet on the bipod and it made loading the bipod easy. It was also the first time you used the spiked feet and it made loading the bipod easy? Did we get this straight? LOL! Other than a paragraph that was obviously interrupted by the wife or a beer, nice read. Sounds like a helluva value for sub 1/2 MOA. Sorry buddy, had to bust your balls! Looking forward to the 112 review.

  • Dale Bryan July 3, 2017, 6:31 pm

    Black shirt and Black Gun? Guess I’ll have to see one in person to see the gun!!

  • JCitizen July 3, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Good old Savage! I’ve been plucking out the eyeballs of varmints at 300 yards for 40 years with Savage rifles. Good price and unparalleled accuracy! It is about time they joined the “tac-cool” market.

  • Dan July 3, 2017, 9:17 am

    I own one of these. Have for 6 years one of the most accurate rifles I have ever owned I have a low end Bushnell scope with out a level, holds up nicely to the recoil. The top rail screws stripped out before the scope gave out . I reload the rounds myself which beings the cost down to about 2.50 per round.

  • jimmy james July 3, 2017, 7:55 am

    Had one of the earliest Savage 338LM’s. I bought it second hand at an estate sale along with a bunch of Hornady 338LM ammo. Best I could do was about a 12″ group at 100yds and the scope was at it’s windage limit on the factory rail mount. Actions screws were loose and when I tightened them up, the bolt would not rotate. I realize this is a totally different gun and I could have had a lemon but I’m snake bit on Savage 338LM’s.

  • M.R.D. July 3, 2017, 7:44 am

    Clay,
    Nice article own 6 Savage rifle WILL NOT BUY ANYTHING ELSE!!! Need a little advice: Are SWFA Scopes any good? Also any thoughts on FFP verses Second focal plane?
    Thanks,
    M

    • BOhio July 3, 2017, 12:31 pm

      Your questions have been asked/answered at least a thousand times before on various shooting forums over the past 15 years. Google the subjects, and start reading.

      To all readers, As to this rifle chambering, do yourself and more importantly the other people (if any) at the range and inform them you’re going to shoot the beast before you fire a round. Give them time to put in earplugs and earmuffs over. Double up. Every time. Or, if you like the prospect of permanent tinnitus and regular trips to the hearing aid store, then be reckless. But I’ve seen people (oft times women and children being good sports while big bad dad has his day at the range to show off a bit) cringe and crumple when these massive calibers with muzzle brakes cut loose. Be a responsible ambassador to the sport and your fellow man, and don’t shoot your louden-boomer until everybody knows you’re about to. And offer them earplugs and muffs (I ALWAYS bring extras) and tell them to get behind you. If you think “tough luck” for them, and fire for effect regardless, then you’re an @$$ and you can kiss mine. The shooting sports need proponents and supporters and spectators, not crying, hearing damaged family and friends.

    • JCitizen July 3, 2017, 2:59 pm

      SWFA scopes on my .50 cal rifles have served me well – that is all I can say about it. We did wonders on 1000 meter targets with them. I traded it to my buddy, and he says it is still driving tacks to this day.

      • MRD July 5, 2017, 7:42 am

        Thanks JCitizen I really appreciate your response.
        MRD

  • Wade Gillis July 3, 2017, 6:36 am

    You should do a video on different rounds and ballistics for different uses, 300 win mag/6.5 Creedmoor/308/30.06, etc… Would also love to see something for the layman on Horus vs. G3 and other reticles. As always, really enjoyed this review, still can’t afford the ammo but would love this rifle in 300 win mag, especially since they offer it in LH!!!

  • Eddy Beaty July 3, 2017, 6:33 am

    I like that.
    I have a 308 savage long range. 1000 yards. My next gun will b the 338.

  • Michael Sokolow July 1, 2017, 8:41 am

    110 fcp excellent too, cheap ammo at $2.00 per round , and a nice vortex puts them dead center for any one.

  • Michael Sokolow July 1, 2017, 8:38 am

    I’ve had the 110 fcp for over a year. Put a vortex scope on , so far at 200 yds, this rifle is just too easy for anyone to walk up to and hit dead center. Rounds started off at around $2.56 each, now I Get them for $2.00 each, PPU or a couple other low end brands , still accurate. If I get time, the next county over has a 500 yrd. range.

    • Randy Humphries July 3, 2017, 11:46 am

      Michael, you have the same sickness I have! I get to the range, take a few shots at 200, 300 yards. They’re all where they need to be and I’m like, now what? Where’s the challenge (that I can afford to step up to or the time??) For comparison, I had a commercial Mauser 98 action from FN chambered in 7mm Rem Mag with a JP howitzer muzzle break, custom bedded stock and even a recoil reducer embedded in the butt. I spent a LOT of money. It was okay to shoot. But it was never going to get sub MOA. I read these reviews a lot and constantly scan over the accuracy tests of new rifles. So so many of them say “And we got all the way down to a one inch grouping!” And I start laughing and plan my next day at the range just to gloat.

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