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Big Boar Buster: Going Hog Wild with the New Savage MSR 10 Long Range .308

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The author had the chance to take down some wild boar in Texas with the new Savage MSR 10 Long Range in .308.

Editor’s Note: Aritcle written by Jeff Johnston. Feral pigs are a non-native, crop-rooting nuisance that competes with native game animals for resources, and so state game and fish departments nationwide have declared open season on them. In South Texas where they are most numerous the best way to hunt them is either by helicopter or just as Texans do with whitetail deer, in box blinds overlooking corn feeders. Trouble is, pigs have better memories than your high-bred Labrador, and if you shoot at them over a feeder you’ll be lucky to see any survivors for several days thereafter. So, if your goal is to exterminate as many pigs as possible, your best bet is to shoot as many as you can very quickly. That’s a task best suited to an autoloading rifle. I also prefer something more powerful than a .223 Remington, and that’s why I chose Savage’s new MSR 10 Long Range for a recent Texas hog hunt.

The MSR 10 Long Range is available in .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor and is designed to deliver precision long-range power. Image courtesy of manufacturer.

Savage was certainly tardy to the MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle) market, but that delay has given the 123-year-old company some advantages. First, its executives could determine if the black rifle market was more than a trend—which, as of 2017 with over 10-million MSRs in the hands of civilians, it’s safe to say that it is. Secondly, the delay gave its engineers ample time to study traditional AR-15/7.62 AR designs so it could improve upon it where feasible. Lastly, it allowed for Savage’s sister brands under the Vista Outdoor umbrella to develop high-end parts and accessories for anything it rolled out.

One of the most notable features of the MSR 10 is the left-side charging handle that allows you to charge the rifle more easily with a large scope installed. Image courtesy of manufacturer.

Currently, Savage offers four MSRs (“Modern Savage Rifles” under its own nomenclature protocols) that, like its vaunted bolt actions, are worthy of the Indian-head logo that has come to symbolize accuracy and value. All four models are designed to offer boutique-manufacturer-type features but at a mass-manufactured price. What follows are my observations of the MSR 10 Long Range after spending time afield with it.

The author was impressed by the performance of the rifle, although he did note that it was no lightweight at nearly 10 pounds.

SPECS

  • Chambering: .308 Win./6.5 Creedmoor
  • Barrel: 20/22 inches
  • OA Length: 41.5/43.5 inches
  • Weight: 9.75/10 pounds
  • Stock: Magpul PRS Gen 3
  • Sights: None
  • Action: Direct gas impingement semi-auto w/ rifle-length-plus gas system
  • Finish: Melonite QPQ matte black
  • Capacity: 10-round P-Mag
  • MSRP: $2,284

Hands On

The MSR 10 Long Range is a roughly 10-pound, direct-gas-impingement rifle chambered either in .308 Winchester or 6.5 Creedmoor. The Creedmoor is an interesting offering for a 7.62mm AR rifle because this short-action round in a 140-grain bullet offers nearly double the energy of a 55-grain 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem at the muzzle and only around 350 ft.-lbs. less than a 150-grain bullet from a .308 Win. However, thanks to the 6.5’s superior ballistic coefficient, it beats the pants off a .308 in terms of drop, wind drift and energy after 500 yards. And it does so with significantly less recoil to the shooter. Still, it’s tough to beat a .308 Win. for normal hunting ranges, and so this venerable round is what I chose for pigs that almost certainly would be taken inside 200 yards.

The author liked the ability to charge the rifle with the side-charging handle, along with the traditional AR-pattern top-mounted charging system.

The MSR 10 Long Range is, by design, no lightweight. It features a heavy, 20-inch, 4140 steel barrel mated to a robust 7075-T6 forged aluminum receiver. Its free-floated barrel features 5R rifling that’s touted to resist fouling thanks to grooves that are flared slightly outward and therefore do not wedge lead and copper in them like traditional 90-degree-cut grooves. It is topped off with an effective muzzle brake. Its forward assist button is handy for hunters who wish to keep noise to a minimum by lowering the bolt home gently then using the button to make sure the round is pushed fully into battery. The entire firearm is finished in a Melonite QPQ (quench, polish, quench) process that fortifies its metal against corrosion while lending it a matte-black sheen.

The barrel of the MSR 10 Long Range is free floated and topped off with an effective muzzle brake.

Additionally, the Long Range’s machined aluminum “M-Lok” handguard is attached directly to the rifle’s receiver via four bolts rather than via its barrel assembly. This lends two advantages: First, it allows the barrel to be truly free-floated and, secondly, it ensures that any optic placed forward of the receiver on the rifle’s Picatinny rail will remain accurate.

Inside the fore-end is a gas system that Savage touts as “rifle-length-plus” so it can be customized for various loads. It can be tuned via an A-frame-style gas block that can be accessed by a slot cut into the handguard. I had no problems with feeding, cycling or ejecting during the course of testing and hunting with the Long Range, even with a suppressor attached to its threaded barrel. Both MSR 10 models utilize Magpul-pattern magazines and come with one 10-round Magpul P-Mag.

The receiver of the Long Range has one feature that is very unique: In addition to its standard bolt charging handle found on its rear, it also features a non-reciprocating charging handle on its left side. It was engineered because designers felt that, given the rifle’s intended purpose, shooters would almost certainly install a full-sized riflescope on the gun’s rail. And as any shooter knows who has tried it, the ocular lens of most riflescopes extends rearward beyond the charging handle thereby making it difficult to operate. The side charging handle remedies this problem and gives Savage’s Long Range a marked advantage over standard 7.62mm ARs. I also find it easier to operate due to the added leverage it provides. Negatively, it also increases the Long Range’s cost, and that is likely one reason Savage opted not to feature it on all its other MSRs.

When sighting in the rifle, the author discovered that it was fully capable of sub-MOA performance.

I was admiring this feature when a lone wild hog entered my line of vision and began sucking up corn like a Hoover vacuum. It was 105 yards away and broadside, so I eased into position and thumbed the rifle’s AR-style safety to fire. Methodically I began the trigger press until the rifle lurched and an empty brass case rattled to a standstill on the carpeted floor of the blind. When I found the pig in the scope again, it lay on its side kicking futilely in the dirt before quickly succumbing to a bullet that cleanly passed through both shoulders. Rather than exiting the blind to recover it just then, however, I waited for more. In doing so I was given time to reflect on the shot.

First, the shot was accurate; The bullet struck exactly where I had aimed. Through testing I’d later learn that the rifle printed sub-moa groups with every type of Federal ammo I tried. I also recalled that the trigger was lighter than many rifles in this .308 “battle rifle” category. For this, Savage tapped its sister company Blackhawk to provide a two-stage trigger that’s coated in a nickel/boron material to lend slickness. While company reps tout the trigger as being match-like at 2.5 pounds, I found it a couple pounds over that mark, but still decent for a hunting trigger.

The author hunted from a blind in Texas and was able to take down two hogs on his day out.

I also noted the rifle’s full-length buttstock placed my eye in the perfect position with the scope. Savage spared no expenses by opting for Magpul’s excellent PRS Gen 3 buttstock that uses quick-locking levers to adjust its LOP and comb height dimensions. It enhances accuracy by promoting a perfect, rigid junction between gun and shooter. It’s costly, but vital for long-range performance. Accuracy is also enhanced thanks to Savage’s longstanding expertise in building rifles for the mass market.

The rifle comes with a Magpul PRS Gen 3 stock that is fully adjustable and extremely stable.

“As opposed to just building to tolerances, we hand-assemble everything and check critical dimensions such as headspace at the factory,” texted Savage Communications Manager JJ Reich as I sat waiting in the blind and writing this story.

The .308 chambering of the rifle made short work of the author’s quarry.

Our communications were cut short, however, by another boar that made the fatal mistake of beelining to the feeder just before dark. Another muffled crack from the black rifle put him down like a 175-pound slab of bacon.

The Savage rifle features an enlarged trigger guard more forgiving of gloved hands.

While this particular Texas hunt did not require sustained semi-auto fire for the elimination of hogs en mass, Savage’s MSR 10 Long Range would have been up to the task had it been.

For more information, visit https://www.savagearms.com/firearms/model/msr10longrange.

To purchase a Savage MSR series rifle on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=Savage%20MSR.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • terry massey May 23, 2017, 8:06 pm

    i hunt them with a howitzer from 5 miles out…that way they are precooked and in pieces so all you have to do is throw them in a bag….instant jerky…….come on….a 308 ???? its a pig not a rhino….some people have more money than brains.

  • LBear65 May 23, 2017, 5:55 pm

    I’m a Hog hunter and use a Browning, lever action, 308, with a Leupold Mark 8 scope. I try and shoot them 1″ below the ear which will drop them immediately, no suffering. I like this rifle and setup but almost feel the 308 is a little too much power for the way I like to hunt. There are a lot of rifles out there that are cheaper than my setup and are probably more accurate. I’m just an old school kinda guy.

  • JOHN T. FOX May 23, 2017, 5:45 pm

    AT THE 2012 NRA CONVENTION I REPEATED WHAT I TOLD THEM AT THE 2007 CONVENTION “YOU NEED TO PRODUCE SEMI-AUTO FIREARMS” THEY MADE THE BEST SEMI-AUTO .22 LR THAT I EVER OWNED, THE 987?
    NOW IT APPEARS THAT THEY ARE DOING SO. SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD GUN AND IN THE RIGHT CALIBERS. I CAN’T SWALLOW THAT PRICE THOUGH. AN SKS WILL GET THE JOB DONE, JUST SHOOT 122 GR FMJ ROUND. THE BEST SHOT TO TAKE (IF THEY ARE FACING YOU) IS IN THE THROAT OR NECK/SPINE. THEY DROP LIKE A ROCK. BEST PLACE TO SHOOT A DEER TO IS IN THE THROAT (WHEN FACING YOU). THE SLUG TAKES OUT THE WINDPIPE AND THE CNS. THEY DROP LIKE A ROCK!

  • Bigbiscuit May 23, 2017, 5:10 pm

    Hey all,
    I’ve shot .308 a long time but new to my MegaMAten with a Vortex big scope and all the furniture and nice custom trigger. I grew up shooting Mule Deer and Antelope and field rats in eastern Montana with a Remington .243 and then a .308 with a 4 power scope… lots of times beyond 200yds and several past 400 ( not with the .308). I also have a nice .300 AAC unblooded, but got it for pigs….live now in south central Kansas….can the .300 blackout take a good hog? I know a heart shot from an old .308 at 426 on an Elk will….

  • Dave Hicks May 22, 2017, 10:47 pm

    Great article. I live in north Arkansas in the Ozarks and we have a serious wild hog problem. I carry a AR 15 in 223 and it does work.I also have a 308. Keep after those hogs,they are very destructive to crops and costly to farmers and ranchers.

  • BRASS May 22, 2017, 8:46 pm

    Sounds like a great gun if a little pricey. Add a decent low light or night vision scope, green laser, infrared light and other accessories for night hunting, which comprises the bulk of feral hog hunting I’m told and the buyer is easily over $5,000. Hog hunting which should be affordable for all to help alleviate the hog crises has become a pricey ‘gentleman’s only’ sport.
    When only the well heeled can afford it, it ceases to be true sport and for the farmer that needs all the help he can get, it limits the help he can get. Big corporate farms and landowners are increasingly charging hunters to hunt wild hogs on their land, as if it was an amusement park safari by invitation. Good business if you can get it.

  • Jake May 22, 2017, 4:24 pm

    When will a mere mortal be able to buy one of these? They’ve been pounding the drum for months but no MSR 10’s available anywhere yet that I have been able to find.
    I would like to see a longer barrel option too. A big, fat 24-26″ w/o a flash suppressor would be peachy for us old bench lizards.

  • Mike Watkins May 22, 2017, 1:36 pm

    I’ve been building AR15’s for about 15 years. In the last 3 years or so, several companies have been coming out with reasonably priced components for .308 and other larger caliber AR’s. EXCEPT for that left-side charging handle, I think a rifle nearly identical to this can be built for under $1100. And that would be without the advantage of being able to buy components at less than retail. Not sure how the price tag on this is justified.

    But guys richer than me, feel free to spend your bucks however you want.

    • KurtW May 25, 2017, 9:27 am

      We will, if we want to, because we can.

      Things like this are WHY we took the risks we did, developed the expertise we did, started the companies we did, spent the extra years in school, etc.

      If you can’t (afford it), don’t play “Victim”, or think we didn’t earn it. Think of it as Incentive.
      FWIW, we’re typically still value-conscious – we’re just less-restricted in our options, by design.

  • ROBERT May 22, 2017, 12:10 pm

    What model Bushnell scope did you use on this rifle?

    • Dale Kayser May 22, 2017, 1:41 pm

      I found a Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9 x 40 BDC scope at Wally World – $100 on sale. Zero’d at 100 yards, reticles give me 207, 306, 389, 507 and 610 yards at the bottom post. Federal 150 grain Copper (yes, California) Power Shock HP. I use the Nikon Spot-On app on my cell phone – it’s Sweet!

  • Dale Kayser May 22, 2017, 11:53 am

    $2300? Savage makes a great .308: 11/111 Hog Hunter with their great AccuTrigger. 20″ Carbon Steel barrel, threaded – .750″ Diameter. I added a Nikon Buckmasters II BDC Scope, Harris style bipod, sling, $12 flash hider and I’m looking at $700 for a sweet unit – 1″ groups all day at 100 yards. Not pretty, but neither are the hogs.

  • John Severson May 22, 2017, 11:16 am

    Very interesting. Nicely set up. I have an MP10 and have been happy with the performance, but I had to add a Geissele trigger and free float that the Savage comes with from the factory. The adjustable gas block could be handy, although the author didn’t mention any excessive gas blowback while using the suppressor.

  • Chinchilla Bug May 22, 2017, 11:11 am

    George, tell me I was dreaming everytime I had my semiautomatic M1A National Match on the 1000yd range at Quantico. I dreamt those holes in the targets too.

  • Robert May 22, 2017, 10:52 am

    I wonder how this rifle compares to the Armalite Supersass on 7.62….anybody?

  • Scott May 22, 2017, 10:07 am

    Don’t get out much, do you, George?

  • George May 22, 2017, 8:44 am

    $2300.00 dollars for a Colt AR-15 is silly. A 20-22 inch barrel is not a long range rifle, at best 250 yards. The semi-automatic function erases any long range accuracy from the rifle. This is a Colt chambered for .308 which you can also do with your Colt by changing the “Upper”.

    Sincerely

    George

    • Alan May 22, 2017, 9:30 am

      Really George????
      I do ranges FAR greater than 250 yards with an EIGHTEEN inch barrel! In both 5.56 and 7.62.
      And I have a handbuilt 5.56 that does fine on prairie dogs at 400 yards, so I’m questioning your knowledge of accuracy in self loaders.
      Not much of a rifleman George??
      Yes, I use a bolt, but that’s when things get out to 600 yards and beyond.

    • Mike May 22, 2017, 10:09 am

      Wow George! I would pay to watch you load 308 mags into your colt ar-15 lower. Did you not read the part about it being sub moa? That’s impressive.

    • Brandon May 22, 2017, 10:16 am

      You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. There are no commonalities between the uppers/lowers of 5.56 and .308 rifles.

      • Joe Pac May 22, 2017, 2:55 pm

        I just wanted to say that a sub MOA with and auto-loader is a big statement. I would like to hear the results of a bench-vise situation and the ammo specs that produced the Sub MOA. It would be nice to know if a video exists of this test.

    • Bill May 22, 2017, 3:58 pm

      George, he’s not shooting a 30-30, it’s an ar-10 in .308 win. And they are capable of 1000 yard matches with great accuracy. Besides it’s a Savage not a Colt.

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