Teaching a kid to shoot can be as exciting as learning it all over again yourself, and the Savage Rascal is a great platform on which to start.
The Rascal carries an MSRP of $174 and comes in all of these colors, including natural wood like the one was saw at Media Day at the Range back in January.
Whether wood or plastic, all of the Rascals employ the same plastic feed ramp. We had no failures with several types of ammo.
The most surprising thing about the gun is that it comes with a full blown Savage AccuTrigger, and breaks clean and crisp at just over 2 and half pounds.
Shooting at 50 yards we had to open this group up over more than ten shots to get it to not be a ragged hole. The flyers are of course shooter error.
If you are used to click adjustable AR peep sights, you will not be pleased at having to adjust the Rascal with just thumbwheels and eyeballing. This is the rear peep, and it came set down on its lever touching the frame. For proper zero it has to be slightly above that, just enough to make it difficult. But with a little finesse, it sighted in just fine.
It took me only six shots to zero the Rascal at 25 yards. I later had to re-zero it because I didn’t tighten the thumbscrews down tight enough and they loosened, so beware of this and tighten them down good.
Teaching a child the fundamentals of shooting and gun safety is best kept simple. Many of today’s top shooters cut their teeth as a young child on a single shot .22 bolt action. And if you ask any of them, “would you have preferred something cooler, with more shots” they will answer you in the negative. When you have only one shot at a time to concentrate on, you shoot one shot at a time, and you concentrate. That makes for great shooters, and that is why Savage brought this nifty little single shot rifle called the Rascal, to market. We first saw this gun at Media Day at the Range the day before SHOT Show 2012, and now we finally got a chance to really shoot one. Nice little gun! And at an MSRP of $174, just about anyone can teach their child or grandchild the fundamentals of good shooting for pennies a round.
Our Rascal came in red plastic, not wood like the one we saw at range day, and in a poll of my 9 year old twin boys and 7 year old daughter, they preferred the red, and wanted to know what other colors it comes in. The wooden gun actually has a plastic feed ramp like the plastic guns, so there is no difference in the guns outside the actual finish itself. Our test gun weighs 42.7 ounces, is 30 5/8ths inches overall, and the length of pull is 11 1/2 inches to the front of the Savage AccuTrigger lever. With the takeup on the AccuTrigger, the actual trigger pull breaks cleanly at 2 pounds, 10 ounces consistently.
You might ask yourself, why on earth would Savage make an inexpensive gun like the Rascal with an AccuTrigger? The inexpensive deer rifle Axis line doesn’t even have one, and we tested those guns at well under 1MOA, so they aren’t cheap guns. I think the answer lies in the purpose of the Rascal itself. Most of the gun is indeed made of inexpensive parts, the fitting for the buttpad and grip cap aren’t the cleanest in the world, but this gun was made to be a learning tool. They could have made the Rascal with a cheap, heavy, scratchy trigger if the goal was to just make a cheap .22 for the kid market, but you can tell that instead, a lot of thought went into the Rascal to both keep the price down, yet provide a great learning platform. The AccuTrigger on the Rascal is really sweet. If a child is going to get excited about shooting, the best way to do that is to excel at shooting, and the Rascal is meant to provide the tools to do just that.
The only criticism you could make on the Rascal is the sights. But like the trigger, they were clearly chosen for reason. The cheapest sights you can put on a rifle is a standard V notch leaf spring type. It is basically one bent piece of blued steel. Savage elected instead to put a peep sight on the Rascal, and they did so in a low cost manner, but it is quite serviceable. If you don’t know the difference, a peep sight is the ideal iron sight for any firearm. Your eye naturally centers the front sight in the aperture of the peep, so you don’t have to line anything up to duplicate your shots. You can just concentrate on the front sight picture, and trust your eye to naturally center it in the aperture.
The peep sight on the Rascal adjusts with lock screws. For elevation, the whole sight is on a lever that pivots, and you tighten the sight at the correct height with a thumb screw. The windage also has a thumb screw, but like the elevation, there are also no clicks. You just eyeball and feel for your adjustments based on where you are shooting on the target. At first I thought this would be a mess, trying to position the sight exactly right while adjusting the thumb screw, but it wasn’t so bad. The zeroing target is here in the pictures, and as you can see, it took six shots to get it zeroed in a 25 yards. I don’t know that the coarseness of the adjustment would allow an exact zero at 100 yards, but if it is possible it would definitely take some doing. Maybe leave the thumb screw tight, and use the plastic back of a screwdriver to tap the sight into position, while maintaining tension shot to shot. That is how I would try to do it.
The elevation screw does have a slot for screwdriver, and I quickly learned that you need to tighten this very well if you expect the rifle to stay zeroed. If I have one complaint with the gun it is that the windage screw doesn’t have a slot for a screwdriver, and I strongly suggested using pliers to tighten it over a piece of thin leather to protect the finish. With a lot of shooting they will come loose if they aren’t really tight, and that is the last thing you want to deal with when you are out shooting with a child. Zero this gun before you take the kid out shooting, and make sure she is all locked down. It may even be worth LockTite’ing it, with the removable kind.
Savage is the world leader in out of the box accurate guns, and this Canadian made Rascal is a tack driver as expected. At 25 yards there was nothing but a small ragged hole, and to get anything even resembling a group we had to back up to 50 yards and make the group over 10 shots. Even offhand, chipmonks and crows had better watch their step out to 100 yards easily with the Rascal, and you can see here how dangerous it was for these vegetable cans. We tried several types of ammo in it, and the gun never failed, and always ejected forward right.
And to address the concerns of the PC sheeple out there, this rifle is indeed called the “Rascal,” which, is a decidedly male word in common usage. Think “Leave it to Beaver.” We have had quite a few PC comments about excluding young girl shooters in our SHOT Show article on this gun, because we called it a “boys rifle,” which is exactly the way Savage billed it, with clearly no bias against you buying it for a young girl. You would never know it from the liberal PC media and all of the parrots who think they have to buy into all the PC nonsense, but it is really ok to still call a gun a Rascal, and even a “boys rifle,” yet assume that it will be bought for excited little girl shooters as well as excited little boy shooters. Yes, they make it in pink, but not all girls like everything in pink. I do not believe there is a red blooded American kid under 12 that would not be tickled to get this gun, regardless of what anyone calls it, or pretty much what color it is. There is no Hello Kitty version of the Rascal yet, but I was thinking maybe there should be, and maybe they should call it “Whiskers” or something, just for giggles.
Whether you are buying the Rascal for a little girl, a little boy, or even as a backyard squirrel gun, Savage made a lot of good choices in building this gun and it will serve you well. In a .22 rifle there are a lot of reasons to own a semi-auto, a levergun, and even a pump action gallery gun. But for a new young shooter who is best to concentrate on the fundamentals of shooting, and the importance of every shot, a single shot bolt gun is probably the best teaching tool. The Savage Rascal was clearly created just for this, and they did a good job. Tighten down the sights good, and zero it first, and you will not only make a child very happy, you will be creating memories and shooting skills that can last a lifetime.