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Long Guns

Savage Model 10 Predator Hunter

by J. Guthrie   |  January 3rd, 2011 6

The “walking varminter” is a new class of rifle finding favor with those who pursue fuzzy nuisances on a regular basis. The new Predator Hunter from Savage Arms is a great addition to the category.


To enlarge this photo of the Savage Model 10 Predator Hunter, please click HERE

A new class of rifle is finding favor with those who pursue predators on a regular basis. The “walking varminter” is a cross between the precision varmint rifle with a serious bull barrel and a lightweight hunting rifle that is comfortable to carry all day. Savage Arms recently got in the game with the new Predator Hunter.

Savage introduced the rifle late last year after consulting with serious predator hunters. Carl Hildebrandt, a senior product engineer who has worked for Savage for 45 years, said he and a game call company representative walked around the plant picking and choosing parts for the new gun. The gun is built around a standard Model 10 action, synthetic stock, and the exceptional AccuTrigger. The oversized bolt handle came from Savage’s line of tactical rifles.

“He wanted a light gun, and I wanted a stiff barrel,” Hildebrandt said. “We settled on a barrel profile we developed for our .338 Winchester Magnum guns some years ago. It has a very aggressive taper but still has enough diameter for a target crown. We also used this profile in the ’70s on a .22-250 before heavy-profile barrels were popular.”


SPECIFICATIONS
Model: Model 10 Predator Hunter
Purpose: Varmints, small game
Manufacturer: Savage Arms
Action Type: Bolt-action
Operation: Turn-bolt
Magazine type and capacity: Blind; four rounds
Receiver Material: 4140 carbon steel
Caliber: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem.
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Rifling: 1:12 RH twist (.204, .22-250); 1:9 (.223)
Sights: None; drilled and tapped for scope mounts and comes with Weaver bases
Metal Finish: Mossy Oak Brush camo
Safety: 3-position thumb safety
Trigger Type: Adjustable AccuTrigger
Pull weight: 1.5 to 6 pounds
Stock: Synthetic
Stock finish: Mossy Oak Brush camo
Drop at heel: 1.881 inches
Drop at comb: 1.448 inches
Length of pull: 13.75 inches
Buttpad: Green rubber
Sling studs/swivels: Fixed studs
Weight, empty 7.25 pounds
Overall Length: 43 inches
Price: $691

The Predator Hunter’s barrel is 22 inches long. It measures 1.047 inches ahead of the locking nut and .740 inch at the muzzle. Savage turns all its barrels from a proprietary carbon-steel alloy stock and uses button rifling exclusively. The recessed, target-style crown does a great job protecting the barrel’s business end when it meets a pick-up’s gritty floorboard.

The Predator’s barrel has a 1:9 twist rate that stabilizes all but the longest and heaviest .223 bullets. My sample rifle, chambered for .223, had a sweet spot between 55 and 69 grains. Hornady’s 55-grain TAP was the most accurate load tested. Off the bench, the Predator routinely stacked five shots into 0.480 inch at 100 yards without letting the barrel cool between shots. Black Hills 69-grain MatchKing HP ammo also produced excellent results with five-shot groups, producing a 0.767-inch average.

The Model 10 action does not need an introduction; it has been around in one form or another since the 1950s. Machined from 4140 carbon steel, it is strong and dura
ble, and it will never be described as svelte. A four-cartridge, blind magazine feeds the action. Note that I was able to squeeze five rounds of .223 ammo into the review rifle’s magazine.The bolt release is located on the right side of the receiver bridge, and the three-position safety is positioned on the receiver’s tang behind the bolt.

The bolt, with twin opposing locking lugs, has a lot of parts. The bolt handle and front and rear baffles are castings. The bolt body is machined from tubing, and the bolt head is either machined from bar or contoured stock. A combination of several pins, ball detents, and the firing pin holds the assembly together. A plunger-style ejector sits at five o’clock on the boltface, and a massive claw extractor is built into the right locking lug. All the parts come together to provide positive extraction and ejection and a smooth ride through the receiver.


The Savage logo and name are imprinted on the rifle’s bolt. The front gas baffle prevents gases from a pierced primer from traveling down the bolt to the shooter’s face.

The AccuTrigger, the most marvelous factory fire control system ever devised, comes standard. On my sample Predator it was set at 2 pounds from the factory. It is adjustable with a provided tool once the action has been removed from the stock. It performed as well as expensive aftermarket units.


The medium-contour barrel measures over an inch thick at the barrel nut and tapers down to .740 inch at the muzzle. Its weight helps steady the rifle when shooting from field positions.

The stock is notable for what it does not have–a massive, heavy forend, aluminum bedding block, or other complicated, weight-increasing features. There are quick-detach studs for a bipod or sling. It is the standard synthetic stock found on other Savage hunting rifles, and it works great. The sample stock did rub the barrel ahead of the recoil lug, but that is easily remedied with fine sandpaper.

The Mossy Oak Brush camo has a polarizing quality–folks hate it or love it. It struck me as garish on the rifle rack but quickly proved itself effective in a wide range of habitat types. The dipped finish does offer an added layer of protection against nature’s ills and is easy to maintain. Simply wipe off the mud and blood with a damp rag. Over time, the finish will chip and scratch in places to reveal the original black finish–no big deal for a working gun.


The Predator Hunter preferred Hornady 55-grain TAP ammunition and consistently produced five-shot groups of well under an inch.

I paired my sample rifle with a Leupold VX III 4.5-14X 40mm Long Range scope equipped with side parallax adjustment and Boone & Crocket reticle. (I prefer the B&C reticle over the varmint reticle because it is thicker and easier to see in low light.) The pairing has served well and accounted for a dozen whitetails, several dozen hogs, and even a predator or two.


Shooting Marlin’s .17M2 Model 717M2
BULLET VELOCITY (fps) EXTREME SPREAD (fps) STANDARD DEVIATION (fps) 100-yard Accuracy (inches)
Black Hills 55-gr. PSP 3118 62 20 1.41
Hornady 55-gr. TAP FPD 3211 47 19 0.48
Remington Premier 55-gr. AccuTip V 3193 74 22 1.02
Black Hills 69-gr. MatchKing 2813 60 18 0.79
Remington Premier Match 69-gt. MatchKing 3000 57 16 1.05
Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups fired from a Caldwell Lead Sled DFT rifle rest at 100 yards. Velocity is the average of 10 rounds measured 10 feet from the gun’s muzzle

At 9 pounds, 8 ounces, the combination is not lightweight, but it’s not overpowering on long hikes. And the barrel’s weight helps settle the rifle when shooting from field positions, allowing an uncommon degree of field accuracy. In one impromptu range session, I dispatched five 16-ounce drink bottles with five shots at 300-plus yards from the top of a truck cab. The test was less than scientific, but it’s a great example of how well the rifle handled in the field. It is near perfect for shooting predators or varmints at extended ranges–the person behind the rifle is the only limiting factor.


The three-position safety is located on the receiver tang. The first position locks the action up, the second allows the bolt to cycle, and the third unlocks the sear, allowing the rifle to fire.

Savage is getting things right these days. The newest guns coming out of the plant, including the new F-Class competition rifle and the Long Range Precision Varminter, perform at levels that do not belie their economical price. The Predator
Hunter fits the mold; it’s a rifle that performs exceptionally at a fair price.

  • Tim

    The best rifle I have ever owned. 223, 4to12 cabelas scope , winchester white box, in any grain. One inch high at one hundred yards. three shot group, cover with a quarter. no recoil, great deer gun with pointed soft points. SAVAGE ROCKS

  • john pierce

    I love mine.Have shot some pretty small groups at 200 yards with the right load combo…Only thing I would change is the stock..Make it wider at the forend..

  • Mike

    I have this gun in .260 and have shot only ~50 rds through it so far and it's great. It's a little front heavy from the medium barrel and aluminim bedding, Im sure the fact that it's tapered helps too. I've managed multiple 1" to 1.25" groups at 200 yards with handloads, that accutrigger is awesome.

  • J.D.

    I HAVE ONE IN THE LAWAY AT A LOCAL DEALERSHIP . WILL HAVE IT OUT NEXT WEEK . CANT WAIT TO DIAL THE SCOPE IN . THEY SAY ITS ALREADY BORE SIGHTED SO IT SHOULDNT TAKE BUT A FEW RDS TO GET IT SET . I HAVE ALWAYS LIKED THE 223 AND 5.56 NATO RDS . . FIRED PLENTY OF THEM FROM MY M4 IN IRAQ . I PLAN TO BUY A 308 NEXT , IM GONNA PUT A BURRIS SCOPE ON IT FOR LONG RANGE TGTS . I USE A WINCHESTER 356 FOR LONG RANGE NOW BUT THE BARREL IS A LITTLE SHORT WHICH GIVES THE RD A LITTLE PLAY IN THE SHOT GROUP . BUT STILL A GREAT WEAPON FOR DEER OR ELK .

  • Fred

    Excellent rifle. I have been shooting for several years and this is the altimate when it comes to being accurate. Shot four praire dogs at 270 yards with Honaday 50 gr. v-max at 3200 fps. The accraca trigger is wonderful. Sighted in at 100 yards (four group shot covered with a dime) using a Sweet 223 scope with BDC out to 600 yards. Excellent scope and I highly recommend the Model 10 to anyone. Out in God's country Nebr. Happy hunting

  • Greg Boarhunter

    This is a great weapon for hunting hogs. You can get more hog hunting info at http://www.HuntWildPig.com

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