Testing the Savage 110 Predator: The Perfect Rock Chuck Gun

Earlier this year, with rock chuck season coming up (AKA the yellow-bellied marmot), I decided I needed a speed demon caliber in a sweet rifle to enjoy the hunt. After a bunch of looking around, I chose the Savage 110 predator in .204 Ruger. A few reasons that I was attracted to this rifle include a reasonable price tag, AccuStock system, and the notorious accuracy that Savage has to offer out of the box. Once it arrived, I put the 110 Predator through the abuse of several hunts followed by my typical tests for rifle reviews.

The Savage 110 Predator is feature packed with user adjustability being the ultimate result.

Initial Impression

After looking the rifle over, I was very impressed with what I saw and felt. The rifle was hefty… and I mean really hefty. The bull barrel that this gun comes with adds a lot to it, but the advantage is that you can shoot all day and not see a change in accuracy. The stock felt good to me out of the box, but with the option to change the cheek riser and length of pull (LOP from here on out) I rearranged the stock so that it fit me perfectly. The detachable magazine seemed like it could be advantageous because I could acquire multiple and keep them all loaded up for quick top offs when shooting varmints. The trigger had no take-up and very little overtravel. It came set at a factory 2 pounds and 2-ounce pull weight measured using my Wheeler Engineering trigger pull gauge.

Here, you can see the AccuStock system inside of the 110 Predator. This aluminum block runs the length of the action, supporting it and then into the forend, keeping the stock rigid for the best accuracy.

The bolt handle is an over-sized tactical style and it was very comfortable to manipulate. Another thing I noticed in my initial inspection is that the bolt does not have the full length of travel that the standard short action would. This gun is on a short action, but because the .204 Ruger does not need the whole length due to its small size, there is a spacer that is in-between the floating bolt face and bolt body. This spacer hits against the bolt stop prematurely compared to the standard short action’s bolt, resulting in a shorter bolt operation. I was very happy with this small detail because I knew that this would make the action much quicker to work and I would not be as likely to short stroke the bolt because I know the I will pick up a cartridge as soon as I hit the bolt stop. When I was completed with my initial inspection, I was left with the opinion that the rifle was everything I had hoped it would be.

The bolt release is located in front of the trigger guard and must be pressed in at the same time as the trigger is depressed in order to remove the bolt.

Noteworthy Features

One of the coolest and most useful features of the Savage 110 Predator is the user adjustable stock. As I mentioned, the stock fit me well out of the box, but after changing the comb for a higher comb height, as well as shortening the LOP a bit, this rifle fits me like it was made custom for my body because… well, at that point it was. The other part I love about the 110 Predator’s stock is the AccuStock system integrated inside. This aluminum chassis system provides a solid base for the rifle action and ensures a rigid forend, leading to better accuracy.

The options for the AccuStock are such that this gun has the potential to fit any body type or user preference.

The second feature that makes this rifle unique is the threaded barrel. Manufacturers are catching on that the consumers like to add muzzle attachments, so threaded barrels are becoming more common. The muzzle on the 110 Predator is threaded 1/2X28 TPI which allows the use of suppressors, muzzle brakes or whatever you may want to add. With the growing interest in suppressors, this is a feature that I look for in every firearm.

The muzzle is threaded 1/2×28 for use of the most common muzzle devices.

The last item that I want to address specifically is the trigger. Savage’s AccuTrigger system is not a new one, but it remains a fantastic one. If you are not familiar with how they work, these triggers have a safety blade in the center of the trigger that must be depressed fully at the time of pulling the trigger for the gun to fire. This is a safety mechanism that there are split opinions on, but it is one that I have a positive opinion of. The trigger itself is user adjustable with an included tool. All you have to do is pull the stock off and access the trigger spring and then you can increase or decrease the tension of this spring.

The spring in the back is where you use the supplied tool to lessen or increase the trigger weight.

Accuracy Testing

I chose to install a Bushnell Forge 4.5-27×50 for the purpose of testing this rifle. The high magnification range of the Forge helped me while accuracy testing because it allowed for a higher level of precision on my end. This is a pretty amazing scope for many different applications. This optic provides 20 MOA of elevation per rotation of the turret and a max of 60 MOA on windage and elevation. The turrets are of the locking variety and all you have to do to unlock them is lift the turret about 1/8″ and then dial and push it back down to lock the turret again. This is a feature that I love to have because it is very easy to lose your zero inadvertently otherwise. This optic is outfitted with a zero stop that was very easy to set and had a solid bottom. While using it on varmint hunts, I was happy to find that the glass is extremely crisp with no edge distortion or halos around objects. The high-quality glass coupled with accurate tracking, tactical style turrets, and a first focal plane reticle really allowed me to be effective with my shots and enjoy using the gun. With an MSRP of only $949.99, you get a lot for what you pay.

The turrets on the Bushnell Forge are easy to read and operate. Overall, I was very pleased with this rifle scope for the use on the Savage 110 Predator

The 2-pound trigger weight really made shooting groups with the 110 Predator a pleasant experience. Because it is a .204 Ruger and a semi-heavy gun, recoil was minimal. I fired 4 different 3 round groups with Federal Premium 40 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip ammunition and saw an average of 0.89 MOA. The results of my testing are shown below.

Hunt Results

I headed out to a particularly heavily populated spot in Idaho in order to shoot some rock chucks with the Savage 110 Predator. This area sees winds upward of 20 MPH commonly and the need to shoot beyond 100 yards is also common. I set out on a particularly windy, stormy day and was shooting rock chucks at ranges between 200 and 400 yards. Throughout this distance, hits on target with the speedy .204 Ruger were spectacular, to say the least. While firing magazine after magazine through the gun, the point of impact never seemed to change, even with the barrel becoming too hot to touch. By the end of the day, I had to hold a ridiculous amount of wind drift as wind speeds approached 40 MPH. But I was still not missing many shots: a testament to the rifle’s accuracy.

We collected a couple of the rock chucks that didn’t fall down into the rocks to pose.

I lent the rifle to a friend of mine the next week while hunting rock chuck yet again. He is a very large dude, standing at a whopping 6′ 10″ tall and has hands to match. He had a bit of trouble with the accutrigger: pressing the trigger before depressing the blade which resulted in the gun not firing (as the safety mechanism is designed). I never saw this happen again, so I am sure that it was his inexperience with the trigger design and large fingers that may have caused this. This is the only problem that I observed in the field and I don’t think that I can even call it a problem.

Specifications

  • 8.69 pounds
  • synthetic stock with Mossy Oak Terra camo
  • calibers available: 22-250, 204 Ruger, 223 Rem, 243 Win, 260 Rem, 308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor
  • 4 round magazine capacity
  • AccuStock
  • AccuTrigger
  • AccuFit
  • detachable box mag
  • floating bolt head
  • 12.75-13.75″ length of pull
  • 24″ Barrel length
  • 1/2×28 threaded muzzle
  • fluted barrel
  • 44″ overall length
  • MSRP $910.00
The detachable box magazine is released with the lever in front of the mag. The magazine holds 4 freedom seeds at a time.

Final Verdict

The Savage 110 Predator lives up to my high expectations of any Savage rifle. This rifle is feature packed, including the threaded muzzle, fluted barrel, detachable magazines, AccuStock, AccuTrigger, and AccuFit systems, floating bolt face, oversized bolt knob, and many many more. Also, the accuracy results of my testing were what I was hoping to see. This aspect of a varmint rifle is especially important because the most common targets are extremely small. With the Bushnell Nitro, I had the ability to dial for long-range shots which the rifle is capable of. The caliber choice of .204 Ruger was exactly what I was needing for my application and the rifle fit me perfectly after configuring it to my liking. This is a rifle system that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in it.

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About the author: Riley Baxter is an avid and experienced hunter, shooter, outdoorsman, and he’s worked in the backcountry guiding for an outfitter. He also get’s a lot of enjoyment out of building or customizing his firearms and equipment. Check out Riley’s Instagram @Shooter300

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Joseph Powell July 29, 2019, 9:08 pm

    I bought a savage 110 tactical 6.5 Creedmoor at a 100 yards its is hits hole for hole with my hand loads don’t know what it would hold on factory ammo I have never had a gun that shoot’s like it

  • Chris July 13, 2019, 11:45 pm

    Probably meant “famously”

  • Bret July 12, 2019, 8:52 am

    “the notorious accuracy that Savage has to offer out of the box”

    Pretty sure notorious isn’t what you really meant

    • Bill July 7, 2020, 1:11 pm

      I too, had heard of the Savage rifle’s inherent accuracy out of the box. I had read of the flat shooting .204 Ruger round. So combining the two, I thought, would be an extremely accurate rifle. I go through wat some describe as an, “anal” break-in procedure on any new firearm I purchase. I had issues with getting the bore clean with the Savage. I sent a letter to the company and then the rifle to them. The rifle was returned to me with a, “test” target that they seemed proud of. Their rifle, their shooter, their choice of ammunition, their facility. 100 yard, 10 shot group measured one and one quarter inch from the outside shot to the outside shot. I was not impressed with the accuracy of this modern day rifle before, or after from Savage. Maybe mine was just a bad one, but it has been for sale ever since.

  • Thomas July 9, 2019, 9:41 pm

    Isn’t this America? That is reason enough for me.

  • Joseph Frechette July 9, 2019, 4:51 pm

    Why is a 10 pound plus rifle and scope needed for a 204?

  • Ricky Price July 9, 2019, 9:48 am

    I have a custom 204. They are shooters. Hand loads would make that Savage shoot smaller groups.

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