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Thread: Are Savage Rifles Reliable in AK?

  1. #1

    Default Are Savage Rifles Reliable in AK?

    I have a pre AccuTrigger stainless Savage 116 in 30-06, that I'm thinking about re-barreling to 35 Whelen. Why? Because I can do it myself on the Savage, for fun and to learn. Also I've awakened to the possibilities of the 35 Whelen, and think a 225 AccuBond at some 2800 fps would be pretty mighty out to 400 yards. Unless I'm missing something, where has this round been all my life?

    But, are the utilitarian ugly Savage guns reliable in tough field conditions? Several years back I took a 116 Savage 338 up North for Muskox and Caribou and the Savage worked flawlessly. But was I just lucky?

    I know Savage guns are known for good accuracy. I also know the trigger pull is kind of poor. With that said, I've yet to warm up to the AccuTrigger. I just do not like them. However there is an aftermarket trigger available.

    But what about the firing pin and spring? Is the stock spring good enough? I believe there are aftermarket stronger springs for the Savage.

    I would end up with a Stainless 35 Whelen with a Match Grade barrel for a pretty low price! I could change the trigger and even have it stocked in an MPI. Would I end up with a reliable rifle?

  2. #2

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    Haven't bought a new one in about 10 years, but all I've ever owned have been as reliable and tough as a tire iron. Do the job their intended to do and take a licking.

  3. #3
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    It took me a long time to warm up to Savage. I bought my son one of the little youth 7-08 package guns in LH. A dang steal at $499 with a decent Nikon scope...especially compared to other LH youth guns (hardly any!).

    So far it's been fine but long term reliability is more about rifle maintenance than anything else. I'd not have any qualms about using one up here and a Whelen is pretty awesome.

    Accutrigger is pretty decent although it's a bit weird to me- it shoots fine and that's what matters.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  4. #4

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    Hodgeman, that 70-08 is a great deal! I'm wondering about the large firing pin spring in my 116 06 and have read Savages can misfire because of the stock spring binding inside the bolt, due to cold weather/oils/crud. I guess the solution is to install an aftermarket spring that is both stronger and smaller?

    But where does one stop? With a little research I've discovered there are quite a few Savage mods available now. Kind of amazing when one can read articles on how right out of the box, Savage rifles can nearly put them through the same hole!

  5. #5
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    I've got the 116 weather warrior in 338. Had it since 2006 and three moose, two bou and 5 deer she's worked great as long as I cleaned it normally. Great shooting, tough as nails, I Don't think twice about the accutrigger, even with gloves.

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    I've never heard of anyone having trouble with one that is properly maintained. But that is the key to reliable operation of anything mechanical isn't it?


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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabochris View Post
    ...due to cold weather/oils/crud.
    Sounds as though you read about someone buying a new spring to cover operator error. If the guy had been on the ball and off his hiney, there wouldn't be oils and crud in there. But it's sure a lot easier to blame a rifle than look in the mirror, isn't it?

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    I've got a SS Savage 116 in 30-06. Had it nearly 20 years. Pretty lax about cleaning it. As mentioned before, every time I go hunting it rains (every time), and every time I pull the trigger with a live round in the chamber and the safety off (both are key), the gun goes off. Every time. It is exactly as it came out of the box except for the scope mounted on top. I think you are over thinking things.

  9. #9
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The only currently produced bolt action I've known of to give trouble is the Browning a-bolt. Over the years friends and guides I've known personally have seen several of them rust up so badly on boat based hunts they were un-operable, and I've heard of two of the cast trigger guards breaking.

    While I have my own biases and preferences in bolt actions, I wouldn't pass up a Savage due to reliability concerns.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    I have a "pre-accu trigger" (whatever THAT is) Model 110. I don't beat it up, but i wouldn't hesitate to use it up here. Savage is the only nonWinchester gun would want to own. I'd 10 times rather take my Savage than some Remington or Marlin or import gun.

    Like brown bear said, takes a licking. Solid, dependable, AFFORBABLE, ACCURATE.

  11. #11
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    I have and hunt with my old savage 110E 30-06. It has claimed the lives of many blacktails, it's a bit fugly but has always worked as advertised. Savage is the only mass produced rifle maker that uses button rifled barrels that contributes to accuracy out of the box. Also for a modest amount of money and expertise you can easily change barrels to accept new calibers of same action length.

  12. #12

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    Oh great! I just received the older stainless 116 30-06, which the former owner neglected. Removed the action from the stock to clean and the trigger exploded into pieces. Put it back together at least 6 times, each time it comes apart! The small bolt release lever pin will not stay put in the trigger housing and I'll just send it to Savage.

    I may forget Savage for my 35 Whelen project as what I sort of expected actually happened- a gun with questionable reliability. If this happened on a hunt, my hunt would be over without a back-up gun. After assembling the trigger like a puzzle and figuring it out multiple times, I'm kind of turned-off. This trigger seems to be made of cheap stamped sheet metal and the way it functions- very rough!

    I bought this stainless 06 because the price was right and I wanted to re-barrel it to 35 Whelen. But after seeing just how cheap the trigger is I may abandon the project. On the other hand perhaps a new trigger group with an aftermarket trigger might be functional/reliable? But this seems a bad sign. I was attracted to the utilitarian look and ease of barrel swaps, but right now I've a bad taste in my mouth for Savage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabochris View Post
    right now I've a bad taste in my mouth for Savage.
    I'll take it off your hands. No questions asked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northwoods View Post
    I have and hunt with my old savage 110E 30-06. It has claimed the lives of many blacktails, it's a bit fugly but has always worked as advertised. Savage is the only mass produced rifle maker that uses button rifled barrels that contributes to accuracy out of the box. Also for a modest amount of money and expertise you can easily change barrels to accept new calibers of same action length.
    You could say that about most any brand and type. Most of them work fine most of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    I'll take it off your hands. No questions asked.
    Would you give him what he paid for it?

    SOTN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Would you give him what he paid for it?

    SOTN
    LOL, you know me all too well, don't you. LOL. I don't know what he paid for it, but since it's a POS basket case, with the trigger in pieces, I'm sure it has depreciated some. =)

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    I'll take it off your hands. No questions asked.
    Took the words out of my mouth...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabochris View Post
    Oh great! I just received the older stainless 116 30-06, which the former owner neglected. Removed the action from the stock to clean and the trigger exploded into pieces. Put it back together at least 6 times, each time it comes apart! The small bolt release lever pin will not stay put in the trigger housing and I'll just send it to Savage.

    I may forget Savage for my 35 Whelen project as what I sort of expected actually happened- a gun with questionable reliability. If this happened on a hunt, my hunt would be over without a back-up gun. After assembling the trigger like a puzzle and figuring it out multiple times, I'm kind of turned-off. This trigger seems to be made of cheap stamped sheet metal and the way it functions- very rough!

    I bought this stainless 06 because the price was right and I wanted to re-barrel it to 35 Whelen. But after seeing just how cheap the trigger is I may abandon the project. On the other hand perhaps a new trigger group with an aftermarket trigger might be functional/reliable? But this seems a bad sign. I was attracted to the utilitarian look and ease of barrel swaps, but right now I've a bad taste in my mouth for Savage.
    Yeah, your experience would make me wonder too.

    Even the best projects when carried through completion are often less than totally satisfactory. Why start with some doubts at the beginning?

    Perhaps another rifle for your 35 Whelen, or even another, different, newer Savage.

    With the Savage, or another savage, you will have a different barrel, and looks like a different trigger than the original.

    Savage Rifles aren't so cheap anymore. It usta be their attraction was price, so I spose one could easily get the idea they were cheaply made.

    The only one I had, was one I bought for my Nephew, who wanted a 270. I regretted buying it used from a Gun Show, because it LOOKED like a POS. It fired when I tested it with FLs, but that's bout all I can say.

    My testing was limited, and the scope that came with it was definitely crap.

    Smitty of the North
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  19. #19

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    My Savage has been utterly reliable, bang every time and puts the bullet exactly where I aimed it, through thousands of rounds and 24 years of use.

  20. #20
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    You're right, Smitty, the Savages were a price point oriented gun. (Heck, the Model 110-my gun-originally got it's name because it was supposed to sell for $110, which, int he 1930's I don't think was that cheap, but I digress.) Mine was a $329 "package" gun with an el cheapo scope (Simmons, if I recall), bought new at a gun show. But I'd disagree with the "cheaply built" assertion.

    Now, I will say that I have known or met many other Savage owners who were initially dissatisfied with their 110's until they put on an aftermarket, laminated stock and did glass bedding and trigger work. Mine (243) shot minute of angle out of the box, and after bedding and trigger work, 10 shot, one-hole groups that I could cover with my pinky finger. (My uncle had the same gun in 308. He put a laminated stock on his in addition to bedding and trigger and got the same results.)

    So, cheaply made or not, they perform.

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