Gun Review: Savage 110 BA: A Factory Sniper Rifle for Law Enforcement
By Steve Tracy
Arthur Savage opened Savage Arms in 1894. He was approached by Chief Lame Deer in 1919 about the purchase of Model 99 lever action rifles for his Indian reservation. A deal was made that pleased the Chief, so he gave the gift of his Indian head logo to the company, which is still used today.
Modern Savage rifles from the Westfield, Mass. manufacturer are known for their accuracy. Hunters and long-distance target shooters are well versed with the quality offered by Savage Arms. The recent addition of a purpose-built sniper rifle for law enforcement use will make Savage a well-known brand in our police community as well.
Unique Features Contribute to Accuracy
Five unique features set Savage rifles apart from other bolt action makers. First is its button rifled barrel that is hand inspected and straightened. This results in consistent bore diameter and rate of twist.
Next is the floating bolt head, which adjusts itself for a perfect engagement to the rear of a loaded cartridge without the need for expensive hand-lapped locking lugs. The two-piece bolt head provides repeatable precision alignment of each cartridge in the gun’s chamber.
Headspace control is maintained between the barrel and the action with Savage’s third unique feature, the lock nut that provides for zero tolerance. This screwed-down lock nut allows Savage to produce a tight-barrel-to-action fit at less cost than more labor-intensive methods.
Accustock technology secures the action to the stock by a rigid rail system that is permanently embedded in the stock. This system engages the stock three dimensionally along its entire length instead of the traditional method of utilizing just two screws. It’s the fourth way that Savage rifles achieve their notable accuracy.
The final contributing factor to a Savage’s inherent accuracy is its Accutrigger. A tab inside the face of the trigger is called the Accurelease. It functions as a safety that prevents a light trigger pull from accidentally discharging if the rifle is dropped or jarred while loaded. The rifle can only be fired by pulling the trigger deliberately. The Accutrigger is shooter adjustable down to a 1.5-pound pull.
Three Caliber Choices for the Ultimate Sniper Rifle
Savage Arms currently offers 10 different models in their Law Enforcement Series for various police purposes. Savage has been travelling the country to showcase their wares at local ranges so the opportunity to shoot their newest gun was great. The model 110 BA is the top-of-the-line sniper rifle, available in .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua while the Model 10 BA is chambered for the shorter action
The 110 BA is a huge rifle. It’s not made to be carried over mountainous terrain like a hunting rifle and it doesn’t fold up for backpack carry on a hiking trip. The 110 BA is 4 feet, 2.5 inches long with a fluted, heavy target, 26-inch barrel
and a recessed target crown. The unloaded rifle weighs 15.75 pounds without a scope and rings. It is meant to be stored in a hard case, transported by vehicle to an incident scene, and then deployed by a trained sniper.
Aimed downrange on a shooting table, the Savage sniper rifle was like a big jungle cat waiting to pounce, ready to unleash tensed muscles and attack its target at any distance. The 110 BA was equipped with a Harris bipod mounted under its forearm and a quality, high-powered Nikon Monarch scope secured to its top Picatinny rail.
The stock is all aluminum and sports a Magpul PRS2 butt with large, quick adjustable knobs for regulating length of pull and cheek weld height. It also has a generous rubber recoil pad to absorb recoil. The entire gun is finished in matte black and there are rails on the top and bottom as well as to the left and right for accessories.
Once the butt pad was properly adjusted, the five-round box magazine was loaded with Hornady.300 Win Mag 150-grain Superformance ammunition. The bolt handle is gigantic, more akin to a muscle car’s gearshift knob. Working the bolt while wearing gloves would be effortless. The throw is long to accommodate the length of the .300 Win Mag round, but chambering and ejection were positive and flawless. A three-position safety moves fore and aft and is located on the grip tang.
The grip is large, ergonomically contoured, and has a base to support the edge of the shooting hand. The grip places the trigger finger in the ideal location for a consistent press. The forward-mounted side rails are high enough to still permit a proper purchase for an offhand grasp on the smooth forearm area to prevent flayed flesh from sharp-edged rails.
The Accutrigger is shooter adjustable from 6 pounds down to 1.5 pounds. The trigger on the 110 BA was very light, crisp and exhibited no over travel. The interaction of a human being with the trigger is a variable out of the rifle maker’s control. The best way to allow for the melding of tissue to steel, so that it permits the mechanicals of the rifle to shine, is through an outstanding trigger pull. The Savage 110 BA provides such a trigger pull.
The rifle’s entire design is modular, enabling its operator to customize it to mission-specific situations. Aftermarket grips, stocks, and accessories can be added to tailor the gun for particular situations.
When the trigger is pulled, recoil of the .300 Win Mag is managed by the large muzzle brake, the rifle’s weight, the grip, and the recoil pad. Muzzle blast is not directed at the shooter, but the sideways gust will blow a toupee, baseball cap, or both off an observer’s head if he’s standing off to the side.
The target was a mere 100 yards away, child’s play for a sniper rifle like the 110 BA, and the second shot went straight through the first shot’s hole. The Savage is capable of sub half-moa at ranges 10 or more times the test firing distance. The superb trigger pull provided by the Accutrigger system helps to minimize human error out of the rifle’s equation. The ability to adjust the gun to an individual shooter with the Magpul stock makes the gun fit anyone. The Savage 110 BA makes long-distance accuracy seem effortless for any shooter.
An Excellent Option for Police Sniper Use
A superb quality scope and rings are necessary to take advantage of the inherent accuracy of a sniper rifle like the Savage 110 BA. Excellent optics don’t come cheap and can cost as much as the rifle itself. The Savage 110 BA’s suggested retail price of $2,394.00 is on par with similar sniper rifles from other U.S. manufacturers and considerably less than custom guns that cost two or three times as much.
Savage Arms is a traditional American firearms manufacturer that has entered the arena of extreme long-range sniper rifles for law enforcement use. The New York State Police Response Team utilizes the Savage Law Enforcement Series as their official precision rifle. The Savage 110 BA is a serious contender for police departments and specialized units considering a long-range sniper rifle. PM