Savage Arms was awarded a nice contract to replace the No.8 Rifle, the UK’s military cadet rifle, in service today. The contract will earn Savage 6 million pounds or about $8.6 million and the replacement rifle is a modified Savage Mark II FVT. The No.8 Rifle has been in service for almost 70 years with the most recently-produced rifles dating back to 1953.
The modified FVT will be designated the L144 A1 Cadet Small Bore Target Rifle. Unlike the standard FVT, Savage’s entry-level bolt-action target rifle chambered for .22 Long Rifle, the L144 A1 is fit with a traditional hardwood stock, like the Enfield it’s replacing, instead of the basic synthetic stock that comes with the commercial product. Additionally, the L144 A1 is expected to be a single-shot version of the Mark II with a similar manual of arms as the No.8 Rifle.
Each rifle will come in its own Plano hard case along with a suite of accessories, including a standard sling and a single-point sling, adjustable competition sights with 10 interchangeable front sight inserts, a shooting rest, chamber flags, a handstop and of course, a manual reports Soldier Systems Daily. The new stocks will be adjustable to accommodate a wider range of cadet sizes.
The initial order is for 750 rifles and the UK will be buying 8,500 Savage rifles by the end of the contract next year, putting the price per unit at around 700 pounds or $1,000. A commercial FVT usually costs about $400 in the US and a little more in the UK, but that of course doesn’t include the deluxe stock, modified action, accessory package and custom hard case which easily accounts for the increased cost.
News that Savage landed the contract came as a surprise to some as many people in the UK expected the contract to go to a more Euro-centric manufacturer, but the Savage Mark II series has a proven track record as a hardy, accurate rifle at an attractive price point. Obviously the UK cadets are going to need rifles built to last that can be maintained and upgraded to suit the next few decades of service.
Cadets train on 25-yard ranges, explains the UK Shooting News, so the accuracy edge of say, an Anschutz rifle–not to mention, increased cost–isn’t strictly necessary. The cadet services need a rifle to fit the Enfield’s shoes and the Savage does that well.
The most common No.8 Rifle configuration is with a 23-inch barrel and simple iron sights. Built on a beefy receiver and heavy tapered barrel the No.8 weighs almost 9 pounds. The L144 A1 Cadet Small Bore Target Rifle is expected to have a 21-inch barrel and it will likely weigh around 7 pounds. With a synthetic stock the commercial FVT weighs even less at 6 pounds.
This is a good get for Savage Arms. It’s been a long time since the Savage brand has been associated with military contracts and this is a sound endorsement for the Mark II series and Savage in general.
To learn more about Savage Arms’ current line-up check out their website: http://www.savagearms.com/
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