I know what you’re thinking.
“Another .308 bolt action hunting rifle? Thanks, but I already have three (or eight). Where are your reviews on the Ruger Precision Rifle?”
I get it. I do. In the firearms industry, bolt action rifles are a dime a dozen. But stick with me here. The Savage 11/111 Hog Hunter isn’t your average .308. Savage Arms has developed a rifle that includes all the goodies at an affordable price, and, in my opinion, is among the best bang-for-your-buck rifles on the market.
Manufacturer: Savage Arms
Model: 11/111 Hog Hunter
Action: bolt-action, center-fire rifle
Caliber: .308 Win.
Magazine: four-round-capacity, closed-box magazine
Barrel: 20” medium-contour
Muzzle: 5/8×24 threads
Stock: green composite
Trigger: Accutrigger; Adjustable – 1.5lbs – 6lbs
Sights: drilled-and-tapped receiver, LPA-adjustable rear, post front
Overall Length: 40.5”
Weight: 7 lbs., 4 ozs.
Twist: 1:9” RH
Accessories: owner’s manual, lock, thread protector
The Ultimate Pig Slayer
The Hog Hunter is in Savage Arms’ “Specialty Series,” a line of 17 hunting-specific models that includes the Predator Hunter, the Lightweight Hunter, the Long Range Hunter, and the Bear Hunter. The Hog Hunter’s action has its roots in the famous (and now ubiquitous) Savage Model 110 action. The Model 110 was invented by Nicolas Brewer in 1958, and in 2007 became America’s oldest bolt action rifle in continuous production. Savage has been making powerful, economical, and reliable rifles for over 100 years, and the Hog Hunter continues the company’s impressive legacy.
The 11/111 Hog Hunter’s popularity has been driven in part by the growing prevalence of feral pigs in the United States. Hunters have been looking for a short-barreled, accurate, versatile rifle to handle their destructive herds of bacon, and they found it in the Hog Hunter. While a semi-automatic AR-15 might harvest a greater number of porkers, this rifle—available in .223, .308, and 338 Federal—will definitely get the job done.
But what drew me to the rifle was the huge number of features not included in your run-of-the-mill .308, such as…
- Threaded, Medium-Contour Barrel
If I had to choose one word to describe this gun, it would be “versatile.” Yes, it’ll harvest as many pigs as you want, but the “medium-contour” barrel also means you can range it out past the capabilities of many lighter-barreled hunting rifles. Slap an aftermarket stock on this gun, and you’ve got yourself a respectable long(ish) range shooter. At the same time, the short(ish) length of the barrel (20”) means it’s handy in dense brush or a tree stand. The medium contour is also slightly lighter than a standard bull barrel, which means it won’t be such a beast to carry on an all-day hunt.
The barrel also comes pre-threaded in 5/8×24 and is absolutely itching to be suppressed. That 20” barrel means it won’t be overly long with a suppressor attached, and the thread specs will fit most .30-caliber muzzle brakes. Though the kick is forgiving compared to other .308 rifles, a muzzle brake wouldn’t hurt for a day at the range.
- Iron Sights
The rear sight is notched and the front sight is a simple gold dot. They aren’t extremely visible in low light, but they’ll get the job done. The rear sight is also adjustable for windage and elevation, which allows you to range out the irons without having to guess holdover. Both windage and elevation include dots for determining how far you’ve moved the sight in either direction.
Savage also put a lot of thought into the placement of the sights on the barrel. I was initially concerned that I wouldn’t be able to use the iron sights with a rail attached. I also wasn’t sure if the irons would impede the sight picture of the scope. Neither turned out to be the case, as the iron sights sit high enough to use with a rail attached and far enough forward to avoid impeding scope picture. You might run into problems if you want to use a sun shade, but the irons are also easy to remove if you decide to go in that direction.
Many of Savage’s rifles now include their patented AccuTrigger, and this rifle is no exception. Admittedly, I haven’t used a huge number of aftermarket triggers, so I can’t give you an informed opinion in that direction. I have, however, used my fair share of stock triggers, and the AccuTrigger is light years ahead of what usually comes with a hunting rifle. The pull is smooth, and the break is nice and crisp.
The trigger is adjustable from 1.5 lbs to 6 lbs, which is light enough for all you match shooter types and heavy enough for anyone concerned about accidental discharge. Though even at its lightest setting, the AccuTrigger features the “Accurelease,” a safety mechanism designed to minimize the chances of accidental discharge if the gun is dropped. The silver fin within the trigger must be completely depressed in order for the gun to fire. As you can see in the pictures, the Accurelease also acts as a cocking indicator—if the silver fin is forward, the gun is cocked and ready to fire as long as a round is in the chamber.
The Savage Hog Hunter is more than just bells and whistles. The thing can shoot, even without the benefit of a bench and a rest.
Savage bills this gun as a hunting rifle, so I wanted to test its accuracy in the field rather than from a bench. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never killed a pig from a gun rest, and a hunting rifle won’t do me any good if it can’t shoot small groups from a bipod. This rifle can do exactly that, and I have no doubt a more experienced rifleman could shoot even smaller groups.
I conducted the test from the prone position at 100 yards using a Caldwell XLA bipod and a Primary Arms 4-14X44mm R-Grid Reticle scope (check back to GunsAmerica soon for the scope review). I mounted the optic using Primary Arms’ “low” scope rings and an Evolution Gun Works 20 MOA rail (the gun doesn’t include a rail). I couldn’t tell you where the cheek rest came from, but it worked for my purposes.
If you’re at all familiar with these accessories (or you clicked the links), you’ve probably noticed a trend. It’s true—I don’t think getting good performance out of your firearms should cost you an arm and a leg. Notice I said, “good.” If you’re a match shooter, have at it. Squeeze every last millimeter of accuracy out of your $500 scope mount. The rest of us will be over here trying to figure out how to shoot a respectable group and fund the next family vacation.
The good news is that this set up shoots a respectable group. As you can see from the data table, I was able to get sub-MOA accuracy with all but one of the rounds I tested. I shot five to six three-round groups with each load, and the 150 grain PMC X-TAC performed by far the best. I also took it out to 200 yards and shot at a 6” gong, which I had no trouble hitting consistently.
Round selection is important with this gun. If my limited testing is any indication, the 20” barrel has a hard time with heavier-grained bullets, so you’ll want to try several different brands and bullet weights before taking the gun on your next hunt.
That being said, I was quite pleased with the gun’s performance. I am by no means a professional rifleman, and I think a super-solid bench rest would bring the group sizes down even more. But, again, this isn’t a target rifle—it’s a hunting rifle, and even my largest groups would have brought down whatever four-legged critter I put in the sights.
By now you probably think I’m on the payroll over at Savage. I do like the gun, but I’m not blind to its faults. The stock, for example, is basically glorified Tupperware. The stock’s forend and the barrel can be squeezed together, and the machine work is a bit rough. The stock is lightweight, which is nice, but it’s low quality. I plan to purchase an aftermarket stock like this one once I locate the necessary funds.
The gun is also a bit heavy. That’s the trade-off for the medium-contour barrel, but it’s something you should keep in mind before purchasing. The initial 7.25 pounds wasn’t bad, but once I added the scope and bipod the gun weighed in at a hefty 11 pounds.
Finally, the action could be a bit smoother out of the box. I’m sure this will improve with time, but some rounds were tough to extract.
Savage really did a nice job with this rifle. If you’re looking for a solid hunter that won’t break the bank, check it out. The long list of features combined with solid accuracy and a nice price point make the Hog Hunter an excellent choice for anyone in the market for a new rifle. Savage has been making quality firearms for a long time, and they didn’t change their tune with this gun. It might look like your average .308, but trust me—it isn’t.
You can find one on GunsAmerica for a good deal less than the $595 MSRP