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Thread: Quick Review: Savage A22 LR

  1. #1
    Member viper's Avatar
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    Quick Review: Savage A22 LR

    I purchased this rifle 4 months ago and as promised I said I would post a quick review and thoughts of the Rifle.
    Attachment 101931
    Living in Central Otago is a rabbit hunters paradise with constant high numbers and most land owners more than happy to give access to responsible shooters who can bowl some rabbits for them.
    I tend to get out every weekend and often during summer after work with the long evenings here allowing shooting nearly till 10 pm.
    One thing that does test a rifle down here is the sheer amount of ammo that passes through it and weaknesses in the rifle system are soon exposed , more on this later.
    I have been here now coming up 4 yrs and have gone through 3 rifles. First was my Unique that just deserved better than being a workhorse.
    Next came a JW 15, one of the older ones with an off centre bore, however despite this it shot very well but I just got sick of cranking the bolt and being a leftie it didn't work well for spotlighting.
    It was time for a new tool for the job. It really came down to three.
    Marlin 725
    Ruger 10 / 22
    Savage A22

    I didn't like the feel of the Marlin and a friend had a shocker of a 10 / 22 that put me off for life ( nearly ) So the Savage it was.
    Now there are three models in the "A" series and they do vary in one important area. Both the A17 and A22 mag feature a new delayed blow back system to cope with the more powerful cartridges. Savage even developed special ammo for the A17 to go with the rifle and achieve optimal performance. This delayed system is not shared with the 22LR version that runs a more conventional set up.
    The receivers are steel not alloy and the barrels are threaded into the receiver not pinned . This in theory should provide a good accurate base. On top of this it runs a 10 shot rotary mag and the accutrigger system.
    The stock is a polymer / plastic that does the job fine, light weight with raised areas for grip and a pleasing shape. One of the features that I really like is you pop off the dust cover at the back of the receiver and you can
    remover all the workings of the action and clean the rifle from the breech end, it's quick ans easy and shows some thought has gone into the design.

    My rifle shipped with out open sights but with Weaver bases. Mine had also had the barrel shortened and threaded, by who despite being a new rifle I don't know .
    The rifle has done maybe 1500 - 2000 rds of both sub sonic and super and overall it is a reliable performer with few jams , maybe two or three every 100 - 150 rounds.
    The action keeps on going even when very dirty which is what I need down here in a workhorse.
    Accuracy was good but not great . I would get 1 inch groups at 50 yrds which made for easy 100 yrd plus kills. Best kill was 168yrds . Although it's no tack driver its very consistent .
    The stock was good in the field and light weight made carrying comfortable and the flush fitting mag means no sharp points digging into forearms etc.
    The accutrigger was adjusted down to it's lowest point and it is nothing great , a little creep and gritty but acceptable and functional.

    Now the bad stuff . The Magazine was a problem for me from day one. It's a two piece construction where one half is alloy and the other plastic . It also has a plastic clip that once you push it up into the mag well it snaps into place.
    It is sloppy and fits badly , I had it fall out twice and the clip feels very cheap and flimsy . I know they have had problems with these clips breaking off in the States.
    It is hard to load and requires a certain technique that I never really got hold off despite well over 1500 rds.
    After about 1000 rounds it started to malfunction with losing all rotary tension to feed the next bullet. Drop the mag out and shake it , drop it , bang it and it would just be a internally loose rattling piece of shit.
    Only way I could get it going again was insert a knife blade and depress it and wiggle till it suddenly unstuck itself. As time and rounds went on the problem got worse and worse .
    Eventually it stopped working altogether and I had to open it up. The internals revealed some design issues . The mag internally was filthy with the action blowing a lot of spent powder back into the mag.
    At the end of a long afternoon hunt my loading fingers would be black from powder on the mag face. Next problem is the plastic ammo rotor, there is a plastic tang that hits a stop point once all rounds are fired. This was not straight and showing weakness . The mag is a mongrel to put back together also and despite the big clean it still played up and two weeks later the before mentioned plastic tang snapped off making the mag totally inoperable and the rifle redundant till another replacement mag was obtained. Not impressed.
    So the rifle has being traded and gone as I cannot afford the unreliability with and volume of shooting to be done.
    Overall I like the rifle and I may just have been unlucky with a faulty mag . For a shooter who isn't out doing a huge volume it would make an excellent choice. Apart from the mag it showed some design thought and flair.

    Accuracy 7 / 10
    Ergonomics 9 / 10
    Fit and Finish 6 / 10
    Reliability ( mag aside ) 8 / 10 and maybe the jams I did have were still caused by poor feeding from the mag.

    It would have been a winner but let down by poor mag design and poor materials in the mag.

  2. #2
    Member viper's Avatar
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    Name:  Graphic1.JPG
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Size:  34.9 KB

  3. #3
    Almost literate. veitnamcam's Avatar
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    What to replace it with then?
    Volquartsen ?
    "Hunting and fishing" fucking over licenced firearms owners since ages ago.

  4. #4
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    Good review Viper, thanks for that. Great to get an opinion that is based on real world, long term use, rather than a US gun writer that shoots at the range followed by a quick squirrel hunt...
    What have u replaced it with?
    Do u know if the B series bolt-actions use the same mag?
    "The generalist hunter and angler is a well-fed mofo" - Steven Rinella

  5. #5
    Member viper's Avatar
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    Happy New Year guys. I would presume they do share the same Mag but I don't know that for a fact.
    My mag may have been one in thousand and just a lemon. Saying that I still didn't like it's design , function , fit to rifle and materials.
    The biggest compliment I can give the rifle is if the mag worked would I still have it..... 100% yes

    Replacement that's a story in itself and I spoke to everyone from a mate who's a gunsmith to professional rabbit shooters .
    One answer kept coming out and it wasn't really the one I wanted to hear....

    Ruger 10 / 22 every time:
    My mates was a shocker, literally couldn't hit a 10 ltr paint tub at 30 yards more than 4 out of ten shots.
    I hate the barrel band also, freakin ugly.
    Anyway the boys at my local H&F really looked after me as the Savage was still under warranty plus they knew I was gutted and I am a regular .
    I brought a Ruger 10 / 22 stainless Houge stock version . I must admit the fit and finish is way ahead of the Savage but I had very low expectations.
    Gundoc lives 20 mins away and told me to bring it round before I used it and he would work his dark arts of tweaking the Ruger as he's done 100s over the years. Thanks again mate, your a bloody legend.

    Seems this Ruger is a very accurate example , the group is during sighting in at 50 yards with an old Burris 2-7 scope over some towels shoved into shopping bags I had in the back of the car.
    5mm group at 50 ....fuck me I am more than happy and the trigger has being tweaked more since then.Name:  measured group.JPG
Views: 163
Size:  332.9 KB
    veitnamcam, Micky Duck and Fawls like this.

  6. #6
    Member Tommy's Avatar
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    Marlin 795 in a boyds stock, feels fantastic compared the plastic stock. Much better cheek feel, length of pull nicer etc etc. The marlin mags are also compatible with the Lightning Grip mag loader, and replacement/extra mags are $40-50.

    Name:  IMG_9521.JPG
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    Identify your target beyond all doubt

  7. #7
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    Getting powder in the mag happens on the ruger too. BUT a way more robust and reliable mag and they can be cleaned.
    What ever was happening to your mates rifle is a bit strange, although there are bad ones in every model of everything ever made.
    Did gundoc have any suggestions? If your mate got rid of it. its a moot point anyway.
    always been happy with mine and at a glance yours shoots as good as mine ever did and maybe a whisker better. @Tommy that looks nice

  8. #8
    Valued Member 7mm Rem Mag's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear the Savage wasn't up to the mark @viper, I think you are on the right track with the ruger 10/22 they are a great work horse. @Tommy that riffle does look very nice
    When hunting think safety first

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the review @viper I had a suggestion since you didn't want a Ruger 10/22 but upon reading thru the thread you've already bought one. Was gonna say the T/C R22 which is basically a 10/22 copy, may of been an option for you.

    Better action, stock, barrel, charging handle, last round bolt hold open, has fiber-optic sights, pic rail. Basically all the upgrades people do to a 10/22 minus the huge cost of doing it.
    veitnamcam and The bomb like this.

  10. #10
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    @viper the 10/22 will be perfect for your situation. I know a bunch of professional pest guys in Otago and to a man they use rugers for their 22. That one of yours is shooting really well, good stuff.
    "The generalist hunter and angler is a well-fed mofo" - Steven Rinella

  11. #11
    Member viper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch View Post
    Thanks for the review @viper I had a suggestion since you didn't want a Ruger 10/22 but upon reading thru the thread you've already bought one. Was gonna say the T/C R22 which is basically a 10/22 copy, may of been an option for you.

    Better action, stock, barrel, charging handle, last round bolt hold open, has fiber-optic sights, pic rail. Basically all the upgrades people do to a 10/22 minus the huge cost of doing it.
    I hear ya @Sasquatch but as of yet they are still relatively new and unproven. They do have many features that would be regarded as an upgrade on a 10 / 22 but I needed something proven this time and around these parts the Ruger 10/22 is the workhorse of choice

  12. #12
    A Better Lover Than A Shooter Ultimitsu's Avatar
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    what i take from the review:

    convrntional action,
    meh accuracy,
    meh trigger,
    meh stock,
    not 100% reliable,
    bad mag,

    As a 2017 product i cannot see any reason to buy it
    mudgripz, Tommy and viper like this.

  13. #13
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    Good to read the in-depth review Viper. Yep the Savage has rather average ratings overseas and your experience bears this out.

    Good to see your 10/22 shooting well. Gundoc has obviously sorted out the model's issues - usually centering round loose barrel fitting, sloppy chambers, and inconsistent rifling. I would just suggest be wee bit wary of single good groups, and 3 shot groups - too easy to pop an occasional good one. Whenever I'm bench testing a 22 its always 5 shots and four consecutive groups to get the exact story for a rifle's accuracy.

    Some words of warning here - the ruger is a nice little carbine but has always been let down by inaccuracy. It's no myth. From bench testing round 100 sporter standard barrel 22LRs, the ruger 10/22 proved the least accurate make and model. We owned 5-6 of them and benched more, old models and new, standard through to highly modified - and only the highly modified model shot well. It had only one genuine ruger part left. Best of the standard 10/22s averaged 1.04" over set of 5 shot groups at 50 meters - most around 1.5". That's not acceptable. 1 MOA or approx 0.5" groups at 50m is the standard for accurate hunting out to 100m, and there are plenty of other 22s that will do it. When shooting heavily - over 1000 bunnies a night at times - we discarded the rugers and went to other makes. Simply not sharp enough from 60 to 100m - though we may well have kept them if we'd had gundocs mod available.

    The 10/22 is the most popular 22 on the planet for aftermarket modding, and if you want to spend the coin you can have an absolutely delightful little rifle. Green Mountain/Whistlepig/Kidd/Volquartsen etc parts can transform it into a very sharp little unit. Nice options there - but be prepared to spend 2-3 times the price of a stock 10/22. After some fairly comprehensive testing we dropped the rugers and went with marlin semis - much better accuracy. From testing about 12 marlin semi models, all could touch 0.5" or better at 50m, averaging close to that. To my huge surprise off the bench the best of the 100 sporter 22s at 50m were two marlin 60s - stock standard and with rather crappy triggers. One averaged 0.29" for 4 x five shot groups at 50, and another averaged 0.39". That's astonishing for a cheap entry level 22LR. Best stock 22LR at 100m was a Norinco EM332 which averaged 0.6" for consecutive groups.

    So if you want an efficient and accurate 22 semi out to 100 meters, the best we found is the Marlin 60 or 795. Basic entry level rifles only, and need the Mcarbo trigger spring mod ($50-60), but sooner or later every hunter starts to prize accuracy and these simple wee semis deliver it. Tommy's 795 in a Boyds stock makes a sweet option. If you do want a 10/22 and can get Gundoc to do his mods, that offers another excellent semi option.

  14. #14
    Member viper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimitsu View Post
    what i take from the review:

    convrntional action,
    meh accuracy,
    meh trigger,
    meh stock,
    not 100% reliable,
    bad mag,

    As a 2017 product i cannot see any reason to buy it
    Fair call for sure and with other options out there to compete and choose from I can't recommend it either.
    Simply not up to standard.

  15. #15
    Member viper's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feed back Mudgripz, up till now I had no time for the 10 / 22 but I seem to have got a shooter in this one so it will do the job nicely.
    I know small groups are nice but I hunt and I am not interested in punching paper and tiny groups and although you could argue that small groups leads to better hunting accuracy how much do you really need .
    Early days but the rifle is looking hopeful at this point.
    WallyR likes this.

 

 

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