Savage 93R17 BTVS .17 HMR rifle review.
I have always been a sucker for a good thumbhole stock and enjoy using the smaller calibre rifles for their ease of shooting, light recoil and level of performance that is more than sufficient for an evening’s rabbit foray.
The Savage name has always stood for good quality at a fair price, but some models had that utilitarian look which wasn’t as appealling. Not so with the new 93R17 model – you can see the pedigree yet appreciate the refinements, giving the shooter the complete package.
You now have a stainless-steel version of the older design, encompassing a really well-proportioned thumbhole, laminated stock and AccuTrigger system.
Love them or hate them, laminated stock materials are a real asset in terms of weather resistance and prevent ingress of debris from any arduous stalk.
This model is finished in an alternating dark and pale brown wood layer that is pleasing on the eye and finished in a satin lacquer, which is a touch slippy, but the generous semi-beaver tail style fore-end and thumbhole allows an adequate grip in use.
The rear section of the butt has 13.5in length of pull, which is standard, though a little short for me, and is finished with a solid ½in black recoil pad.
The comb is a good height and comes straight back from the receiver and hence is relatively high, but is long enough to accommodate any head position for correct scope-eye alignment. This is further enhanced by a right-hand rolled-over cheekpiece and comfortably positioned hole for the thumb access.
Savage has stayed with the tried-and-tested BVSSTB action a basic tubular form with near mid-mounted bolt handle. The 7.25in action is made of stainless steel with a polished finish that is not too garish as to spook your game.
The bolt handle is sited forward of the trigger common with this design but posed no problems as, though the bolt knob was small with no knurling, it lifted easily and cleared a mounted scope’s eyepiece with no fouling.
The action is finished with separate Weaver-style scope bases in silver to match the action, which are included with the rifle.
Trigger and safety
The safety catch is at the side of the action and is operated best with a little stretching from your right shooting finger in a sliding fashion.
In the foremost position a red dot appears and means the rifle can be fired, and in its rearmost setting the rifle is safe. This blocks the trigger but allows the bolt still to function if a cartridge needs to be removed speedily.
The trigger unit is the well thought of AccuTrigger model, that has a clean, crisp and predictable trigger let-off coupled with a foolproof safety feature. The trigger can be adjusted from 1.5lb to 6lb weight by the shooter, as a unique safety bar or interrupt system ensures only a safe let-off, no matter how much the trigger is adjusted.
The magazine and barrel
The magazine is a five-shot detachable unit that, despite having a meagre payload, is stainless-steel in construction. The in-line feed functioned without incident but, as with all Savage rimfires, the magazine release and retention is awkward, which is being kind.
The barrel is also stainless steel, having a nicely polished finish with a varmint/heavy profile. There is the characteristic Savage step to the barrel profile; from the receiver there is a straight taper of 4in, followed by a 90° step down to the remaining barrel length, of which the total is 20.75in.
With a moderator fitted, the total overall length is not too long, though personally I would take a further 4in at least off the barrel length. Best of all is that the rifle comes threaded and proofed for moderator use, which saves you at least £100 and is good to see.
Testing in the field
With an overall length, without a moderator, of 39.75in and weighing 6lb without the scope, the Savage is a trim, handy HMR rifle, despite its full-bore looks.
I tried Remington, Federal and CCI 17-grains, which shot similarly at 2,560fps, 2,533fps and 2,578fps respectively and the heavier 20-grain CCI Game Point shot 2,301fps velocity and 235ft/lb energy with a 0.45in group.
Siting the target at 100 yards the Savage shot good sub-inch groups with the Hornady still best at 0.75in spread and the Remingtons very similar.
It has a great thumbhole-designed stock that is as good as it looks, with a hard, weather-resistant finish.
The AccuTrigger lifts the Savage above many of its competitors in terms of refinements and the accuracy was up there with the best of them.
Being threaded and proofed makes it perfect for the UK market and the price of £505 is a fair deal considering the features you are buying, even with that odd magazine release.
More information available from Garlands.
Telephone 01827 383300.