Rifleshooter.com reviews the Savage Model 10 FCP-SR
I never owned a Savage rifle. I’ve read reviews and heard other shooters sing their praise. With over 20 years in the sport, I decided to was time to join the club. I headed to a local dealer and purchased a new Savage Model 10 FCP-SR off the shelf. (PLEASE LIKE RIFLESHOOTER.COM ON FACEBOOK)
The Savage Model 10 FCP-SR is offered as part of Savages’s law enforcement series of rifles. The Model 10 is a short action version of the long action Savage Model 110. The Model 110 was designed by Nicholas Brewer in 1958 and has been in continuous production since.
Chambered in 308 Winchester, the 10 FCP-SR is available with either a 1:10″ twist carbon steel 20″ or 24″ fluted barrel (the test rifle is 20″). The muzzle end of the free floated barrel is threaded 5/8″-24 for a suppressor or muzzle brake (SR= Suppressor Ready). I’ve read some complaints about the muzzle threads on savage rifles being too loose. I measured the test rifle with a set of 2A ring gauges. The threads were correct and in specification.
Savage provides an over-sized bolt handle on this model. My first impression was it looked pretty bulky, however, it was a joy to operate. Note the checkering on the injection molded stock.
Savage rifles are head spaced with a barrel nut system allowing for easy removal and replacement of barrels, as well as the ability to fine tune headspace. This is different (and less expensive to produce) than most other rifles, which have a barrel tenon and fixed headspace. The Savage system has been borrowed by some gun smiths and barrel makers in what is known as a REMage conversion– a barrel nut system adopted for Remington 700 rifles (click here for more info on REMage conversions). The Model 10 uses a smooth barrel nut, shown above. Other savage rifles will have grooved nuts to accept a spanner wrench. The test rifle had its head space set at 1.631″+ from the factory. This is .001″ over minimum SAMMI specification.
Savage’s Accutrigger (above). Note the blade in the center, this is known as the Accurelease. According to Savage, “the Accurelease will prevent accidental discharge by ‘locking’ the trigger when used properly, maintained and serviced regularly. In this event, the bolt must be recocked in order to reset the sear”. The Accutrigger is surprisingly light for a mass produced rifle. The test rifle’s trigger measured 1 pound 14.3 ounces over the average of 5 pulls. While the trigger isn’t particularly crisp, it is one of the best mass produced triggers I’ve encountered.
The Model 10 FCP-SR is equipped with Savage’s Accustock, an injection molded plastic stock with a traditional pistol grip and rubber recoil pad. The stock has three QD sling studs, two on the forearm and one in the rear. This allows the use of a sling and bipod at the same time.
An aluminum core is housed inside the injection molded plastic of the Accustock (above). The action screws run through this bedding block.
The rifle is fed with a steel and plastic detachable 10 round magazine. The magazine worked well, however, I felt it had a fairly cheap look and feel to it. I would rather have an AICS style system.
On a positive note, the magazine was easier to load than an AICS style. During range use, the magazine fed well, with no instances of binding.
The magazine is released from the rifle by a small tab located to its front. I found it difficult to use, especially in cold weather with numb hands resulting in reduced dexterity. The tab is a low profile and requires firm pressure to use. This might be good for a hunting rifle, where you have plenty of time to load and unload, and loss of the magazine could be detrimental to your trip. For law enforcement or tactical use, it seemed poorly designed making magazine changes unnecessarily onerous. Seating with a loaded magazine on a closed bolt was difficult.
A tang mounted 3-position safety is located directly behind the bolt. This allows easy access with either hand. In its rear most position, the bolt is locked and rifle won’t fire (Full Safe), in the middle position the bolt can be manipulated without firing the rifle (Mid Safe), when the safety is off, the bolt can be manipulated and rifle fired (Off). The bolt release lever is located on the right side of the receiver, forward of the bolt handle.
The Model 10FCP-SR comes from the factory with an aluminum rail installed on the receiver.
For testing and evaluation, I added the following accessories from Brownells:
I ran two dry patches through the bore, mounted the optics and headed to the range with 168 and 175 grain Federal Gold medal Ammunition.
All shooting was conducted prone, from a bipod with a rear bag. The scope was set at 22X. I fired one round at 50 yards to confirm my bore sight and 1 round at 100 yards to obtain a rough zero. I then fired four, 5-shot groups of 168 grain Federal Gold Medal, followed by three, 5-shot groups of 175 grain Federal Gold Medal.
Muzzle velocity data was gather with a MagnetoSpeed V3 barrel mounted ballistic chronograph. Temperature was 30F.
The rifle didn’t shoot as well as I had hoped. In the photograph above, groups #1-4 are the 168 grain Federal Gold Medal (168 GM). Groups #5-7 are the 175 grain Gold Medal (175 GM). Group sizes ranged from .924″ (.883 MOA) to 2.432″ (2.323 MOA). Average group size was 1.717 MOA. I was a little shocked at how large they were. I checked the action, scope and mount screws to ensure they were properly torqued and they were.
Wanting to see if the rifle would shoot better, I worked up handloads with 155, 190 and 200 grain Sierra MatchKings over IMR 4064 powder and once fired Federal Gold Medal brass. Temperature was 54F. Results are shown below.
Groups 1, 2 and 3 are 190 grain SMKs (above, top row). Groups 4, 5 and 6 are 155 grain SMKs (above, middle). Groups 7, 8, 9, and 10 are 200 grain SMKs (above, bottom row). The 155 SMKs didn’t shoot well, however, I didn’t think they would. Normally the 155 SMK needs to be pushed much faster than the speeds this 20″ barrel generated.
The best group achieved during testing was with the 190 grain SMK, .790″ (.754MOA).
A summary of the groups can be found in the table below. Please see disclaimer below regarding load information displayed in table:
WARNING: The loads shown are for informational purposes only. They are only safe in the rifle shown and may not be safe in yours. Consult appropriate load manuals prior to developing your own handloads. Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
Overall it appears this Savage 10 FCP-SR is capable of shooting sub MOA, however averages just under 2MOA (1.743MOA) as configured from the factory. I was a little concerned by my findings so I started asking other Savage owners about how their guns shot. I was told by a few I respect, that the guns are finicky with ammo and you need to take your time to work up the proper load. My testing clearly shows this is the case for my rifle. Note: Group 16, should be .754 MOA, not .745- transcription error.
During testing I fired 119 rounds of high quality factory ammunition as well as match grade reloads. I had experienced approximately 20 failures to eject, shown in the photograph above. Searching online, it seems this is a frequently encountered, and easily resolved, spring replacement issue. I called Savage and they offered to send replacement extractor and ejector assemblies. They did send the replacement ejector assembly, but forgot to send the extractor assembly. I have another call into them.
I had some reservations about the Accustock during my testing, so, before I packed up the rifle and headed home I swapped it out for an Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) LSS chassis system.
The rest of the gun was untouched. Loading up some 168 grain Federal Gold Medal, the difference in performance of the Savage Model 10FCP-SR with the chassis versus factory stock was telling…
The MDT LSS clearly improved performance of the Model 10 FCP-SR. Note: I’ll be posting a complete review of the LSS chassis shortly.
- The Savage 10 FCP-SR is a light, compact rifle with a smooth bolt, light trigger and capable of MOA precision.
- I know Savage produces some extremely accurate off-the-shelf rifles, this wasn’t one of them. However, as shown above, with proper handloads sub 3/4 MOA accuracy is possible. Note: Savage seems to change model characteristics more than other manufacturers. My friend has a similar model that is a couple years old, his barrel has a thicker contour (.850″ diameter at the muzzle, versus .750″ on this rifle) and shoots better.
- While the over-sized bolt handle appears bulky, it worked very well.
- The tang mounted 3-position safety is easy to access and use, it also allows the action to be cycled without taking the rifle off of safe.
- I don’t care for the magazine or magazine system. The magazine is proprietary, difficult to change and the release is hard to access.
- The thick recoil pad on the Accustock did an excellent job mitigating recoil.
- The Accustock stock could use improvement and doesn’t seem to provide a solid foundation for accuracy and has a cheap feel.
- Anecdotal reports of the rifle being finicky with ammunition seem to be correct. The rifle is capable of sub MOA accuracy with the proper load selection.
- Accuracy of the system improves significantly (groups sizes decrease 27-58% depending on load) when placed in the MDT LSS chassis system. To learn more about MDT, click here.
- Savage customer service is responsive. I didn’t call as a writer, I called as a gun owner and they mailed out the replacement extractor and ejector parts immediately.
- For a street price around $600, so you get a serviceable rifle, with features typically found on more expensive rifles.
- I would like to see a Model 10 offered without the barrel fluting or Accustock. It would be a good base for a budget custom rifle, especially when paired with the MDT LSS chassis.
To learn more about the Savage 10 FCP-SR, click here.
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