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Old 02-27-2012, 01:23 PM   #1
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Default Savage 10 FCP-SR and Vortex Viper PST 4x-16x FFP Mil/Mil Initial Review

Thought I would post a review of my initial impressions of the Savage 10 FCP-SR rifle and the Vortex Viper PST 4x-16x FFP Mil/Mil scope.

Let me start by saying I am a long time pistol guy, recent AR guy and complete noob when it comes to precision rifles. I read a lot online and have read several threads here as well as more than a few long nights on SnipersHide plus the mandatory Magpul AOTPR DVD's. I have been sniffing around the long range thing for awhile and quite frankly looking for an entry that made the most sense for me. So on to how I got what I got.....

This whole project kind of started on accident. I went to New Frontier Armory to check out the Nightforce scopes they have in stock with an eye towards picking one up for an AR I have and eventually moving it to a .308 to be named later. I noticed a bolt gun on the wall complete with a 10 round DBM already installed. This caught my eye and I as looked closer I saw a fluted, threaded barrel, installed scope rail, oversize bolt handle and a pretty cool looking desert digi-cam stock. Then I saw the price was less than what a 700 AAC and just bottom metal kit would be and I got real interested real quick.

A gentleman in the store saw me eyeing the rifle and we started talking about it. He explained about the value of the rife with all the features built in and mentioned he was pleased with the quality of the Savage rifles he has owned. He asked me if I was a member of this forum and I replied I was. He said "I'm Quickdraw" and I knew exactly who he was. The internets are pretty cool. We talked about the rifle a little and what very little hesitation I had about going Savage instead of Remington for my first precision rifle melted away.

Previous to seeing the rifle I had already decided on the Vortex Viper PST 4-16 FFP Mil/Mil scope NFA had in the case. The Nightforce scopes they had in stock were nice but I was set on a FFP Mil/Mil scope. Probably too much internet research but I figured if I am going to learn a system I might as well learn the one most seem to say is the best at the moment. The reviews I had read on the Vortex went from mediocre to good but the one constant was they have great customer service. Between that point and the fact that actually finding a scope with all the features I wanted at a price I could afford and it somehow actually being available for me to purchase it right this minute was too much to pass up. Plus for difference in price between the Vortex and a Nightforce F1 (which they didnt have in stock anyway) I could pick up the Savage and be off and running.

The NFA guys were great as always and got me ready to go and out the door with no problem. I went to a few other stores and picked up a Harris 9-13" bipod, rifle case and scope rings. Then it was home to put it all together. Overall I was very happy with how it was looking. Here is a shot of what I ended up with:

I took the new stick out to Desert Hills and zero'ed it at 100 yards with Federal 168 gr. Gold Medal Match and then banged away on some 300yd steel they have. I shot a few groups and was very happy with the result. Here are a couple of them:

I know they are not great groups but keep in mind they were shot by a guy who had up to that point never fired a bolt action centerfire rifle before. My bench technique was atrocious and its something that I am confident will improve along with the group size. Personally as a new long range guy I was very happy being able to tag one inch pasters from 100 yds before finishing the first box of ammo. The five shot group has 4 rounds in the one inch center and I'm pretty sure the one outside was on me. Accuracy wise I am very happy with the combo.

Went out a few days later with a friend and we were shooting head shots on a steel IPSC target at 300yds and ringing a steel plate at 630yds from the prone without much trouble. Low wind and great conditions no doubt helped but it convinced me that the gear probably wasn't going to hold me back any. Here is a shot of the rig and the range:

The first red triangle is the IPSC target at 300yds and the second is the plate at 630. Ranges were guestimated based on the mil holds we used to hit them and the ballistic tables from the "Shooter" program set up with the listed particulars for Federal GMM off their site. We used holdovers for everything and never moved the turrets off the 100 yard zero.

Overall impressions so far of the Savage 10 FCP-SR:

I am very pleased with it. Based on the features it comes with out of the box it fits what I wanted in a rifle perfectly. The one feature it doesnt have I want is an adjustable cheek piece. I fixed that with some closed cell foam and duct tape. It works great until my Karsten gets here. When you start adding up the features and comparing what it would cost in time and money to get an entry level Rem 700 to the same place it really becomes apparent how much of a value this rifle is if you want these features.

The Savage Accu-Trigger is awesome IMO. The action itself is not as smooth as the Rem 700's I have looked at but it is very solid and has a good feel to it at least to my untrained expectations. The stock is solid and seems to be serviceable for the long term unlike the Hogue rubber one that comes on the 700 AAC. Bottom line is that I was worried about going with anything other than a 700 for my first rifle. All those worries as of now are gone. Things may change as I am in the first steps of this thing but so far the Savage is one of the best firearms buying experiences I have had.

Overall impressions of the Vortex Viper PST 4x-16x FFP Mil/Mil

I am unqualified to report on how good this scope is or isnt in the grand scheme of things. I can say that so far it has done everything I want out of it. The price point to feature set ratio is perfect for me personally. Considering a Nightforce with similar features is more than double the cost and the fact I am easy on my gear and dont really need the robust build quality associated with the high end optics I feel the Vortex works well for me.

I don't use the optic for work and wont be humping it over mountains or through some hole in the middle east. I suspect I am like the vast majority of people who buy these scopes and rifles around this part of the country in that I will be shooting them at steel out to a max of 1000yards and more likely 800 and under. Theres a good chance I may try a precision rifle match or two and I feel like this rig will outshoot me to the point I don't have any equipment excuses.


So far I am happy with both of these products and feel that they will serve me well in whatever I want to do with them. After just a couple times out with this set up I really like the long range game. I think many times its easy for a new guy to get overwhelmed with all the choices and its easy to get intimidated by the thought of having to buy a $4000 rifle and $2000 scope just to play the game.

I have a long background in USPSA so I know that its always better to pay more for good gear up front than cheap out but I also learned that for most people good enough is good enough and its easy to spend $1000's looking for improvement when that money would have a much more profound impact were it spent on ammo and training. In this case that is the way I feel so far about both the rifle and the optic. They are good enough to get me started and chances are will take me pretty far if I want to continue down the path.

Thanks to Quickdraw for sharing his experience and knowledge. I hope to take you up on the offer of getting out and learning some things about this game.
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:31 PM   #2
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Great write up! I have the .223 version of the Savage with the same stock.

I would definitely take Quickdraw up on his offer!
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:05 PM   #3
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Great review! I enjoyed reading it.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:10 PM   #4
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Great review and a very nice Precision Rifle. That rig will take you a long way for years to come. Nice pictures to go along with your review also. A picture truely is worth a thousand words. I'm always up for time at the range, just let me know. You are just beginning to see the capabilities of your rifle. With a few basics it will shoot even better still. It should be a sub-1moa rifle easy.

It might be time for another Precision Rifle Get Together.

Last edited by Quickdraw; 02-28-2012 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:43 AM   #5
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Great review and thanks for sharing! I've recently taken much interest into precision rifles after having the opportunity to spend shooting time with fellow shooters' rifles. This Savage will now be on the watch list! Thanks for the helpful info!
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