June 15, 2018
Last year Savage came out with two platforms of AR-type rifles: the standard .223/5.56mm-size MSR-15 and the bigger MSR-10. This report focuses on the MSR-10. The MSR-10 is offered chambered for .308 Winchester and the popular 6.5 Creedmoor. My rifle is the latter.
The MSR-10 in 6.5 Creedmoor is available in Hunter and Long Range versions. The one reported on here is the Long Range version, and it features a 22-inch fluted barrel with 5R rifling in a twist rate of 1:8. It comes complete with a four-port muzzle brake. The barrel has a Melonite QPQ finish, inside and out.
The rifle uses a direct impingement gas system with an adjustable gas block. There is a non-reciprocating charging handle on the left side of the receiver and the usual charging handle at the rear of the action. The upper receiver has a free-float M-LOK handguard and a full-length Picatinny top rail.
The lower receiver features a Blackhawk two-stage target trigger, a Blackhawk Knoxx pistol grip, and a fixed Magpul PRS Gen 3 buttstock. The buttstock is fully adjustable for length of pull (from 14.5 to 15.75 inches) and cheekpiece height via aluminum detent knobs, and it has M-LOK slots on the bottom for rear monopod mounting.
The receiver is hard-coat anodized in matte black, and the rifle comes with a polymer 10-round Magpul magazine. For convenience, I used a Magpul 20-round magazine during my shooting session.
The MSR-10 Long Range 6.5 Creedmoor rifle weighs 10 pounds and is 43.63 inches long. With scope, scope mount, and a fully loaded magazine, the rifle weighs just under 12 pounds according to my digital scale.
For my shooting session, I installed a Bushnell AR/6.5 Creedmoor 4.5-18X 40mm. You can read more about the scope in Steve Gash's "Quick Shot" on page 56. Also for my shooting session, I chose a selection of hunting and match ammunition ranging from Browning's 129-grain BXR load and Federal's 130-grain Berger OTM load through Hornady's A-Max, HSM's Berger VLD Hunting, and SIG SAUER's OTM loads, each with 140-grain bullets, to Winchester's Expedition Big Game Long Range 142-grain AccuBond LR loading.
I fired three, five-shot groups with each of the six factory loads from a sandbag benchrest at a distance of 100 yards. As you can see in the accompanying chart, the rifle's best average accuracy came with the SIG SAUER 140-grain OTM load. That load averaged 0.88 inch at 100 yards. All the other factory loads I fired in the MSR-10 averaged between 1.01 and 2.99 inches, and overall average accuracy for all loads was 1.46 inches. Obviously, this rifle prefers 140-grain bullets.
With an average velocity of 2,871 fps, the Browning 129-grain BXR load had the highest velocity. The HSM 140-grain Berger VLD Hunting ammo had the lowest velocity extreme spread and standard deviation.
Throughout my shooting, the rifle digested all ammo without a hiccup. The trigger pull was consistent, measuring 3 pounds, 8 ounces on my RCBS trigger pull scale.
The 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition doesn't produce a lot of recoil (the loads generated anywhere from 9.5 to 13.4 ft-lbs), and in the relatively heavy MSR-10 Long Range rifle it was hardly noticeable. Combine that with the gun's good accuracy with its preferred loads and you have an AR rifle that's really fun to shoot. I think it's perfectly suited to casual competition shooting and hunting deer from a stand.