With its new carbon fibre-wrapped stainless-steel barrel and Melonite-finished skeletonised action, this lightweight offering from Savage Arms is anything but lightweight in performance, says Bruce Potts
Verdict on the Savage 110 Ultralite rifle
Savage always produces rifles that are aimed at real hunters who want performance over aesthetics — and that’s not me being rude, it’s a compliment. Its AccuTrigger two-stage safety design is now seen on many other rifles, or clones of it — the barrel-securing nut that doubles as a head space adjuster so critical to great accuracy has always been a big selling point.
Now, Savage has teamed up with Proof Research — the US-based composite barrel and rifle company — as modern-day hunters are demanding ultra performance from even lighter and more advanced rifles. The Savage 110 Ultralite rifle on test is one such rifle, designed to be lightweight for the comfort of hunters on the move.
The Ultralite achieves its weight of under 6lb with the new carbon fibre-wrapped stainless-steel barrel and Melonite-finished skeletonised action. And correct handling is accomplished by Savage’s AccuFit system, where the synthetic stock can be adjusted for length of pull and comb height.
All in all, Savage’s Ultralite is an excellent lightweight, weather-proof and ultra-modern hunting rifle. It will appeal both to stalkers who have to carry their rifles and kit across the hills all day or to those younger shooters who find a normal rifle too heavy.
Need to know
- Manufacturer Savage Arms
- Model Ultralite
- Action Bolt action
- Overall length 42.15in
- Barrel length 22in, carbon fibre-wrapped stainless steel
- Length of pull 13.75in
- Weight 5.8lb
- Finish Black matt carbon fibre
- Calibre .308 Win
- Stock Matt grey synthetic Sporter
- Magazine Detachable, four shot
- Scope mounts Weaver bases supplied
- Trigger AccuTrigger, adjustable
- Importer Edgar Brothers, tel 01625 613177
Savage 110 Ultralite rifle in depth
The modern look is not to everyone’s taste but technology moves on; my eldest son, Jake, really liked its look. Regardless, aesthetics are not everything, and, from past experience, Savage rifles always shoot well.
The whole design from the start is unified to achieve lightness. This begins with the action, a factory blueprinted unit, so all parts are selected to fit perfectly and are made from lightweight stainless steel.
The action is built on the much-loved Savage Arms Model 110 action, now engineered with some weight-saving attributes such as a spiral-fluted bolt with eight deep flutes that are blacked to contrast with the polished bolt body.
You also have a skeletonised receiver to save weight, with four deep scallops to the left side of the action and two to the rear of the action. This achieves a rifle weighing only 5.8lb. There is a really good Melonite finish to the action, which is very weather and scratch resistant.
The AccuTrigger offers a ‘trigger in trigger’ design for safe shooting that stops a rifle firing if it is snagged in bushes or dropped. It has a light, crisp and adjustable weight of 1.5lb to 4lb.
A detachable magazine of four rounds is made from a polymer body and metal top to lessen wear and has a built-in release catch that is really easy to access.
The real eye-catcher is the Proof Research carbon fibre-wrapped barrel. Basically, there is a thin stainless-steel barrel for strength, which is then wrapped with carbon fibre to reduce weight yet retain barrel rigidity in the interests of accuracy. It has cut rifling of 1-in-10in twist, with five grooves allowing bullet weights up to 200-gr to stabilise with accuracy, and has a 5/8-24 pitch threaded muzzle for sound moderator fitment.
Calibre choice is typically American, but this .308 Win will be popular in the UK.
Finally, the AccuFit stock is a grey Sporter synthetic design combining weather resistance and light weight. It also features adjustable comb height and length of pull by exchanging the replacement or inserts provided for a perfect fit.
With the pheasants all in the pens when I tried out this Savage, we thought we would test with some standard deer loads, and also some new Winchester .308 subsonic ammunition. This turns your .308 deer rifle into a fox rifle with a low muzzle report that is very quiet when fitted with a sound moderator.
The Ultralite came fitted with the Bushnell 6-24x Nitro scope, which, in truth, was a bit large and compromised the lightweight credentials of this rifle, but provided excellent optics.
Hornady SST 150-gr factory loads achieved 2,835fps and 2,678ft/lb energy, and three shot groups hovered at 1in at 100 yards.
The lighter Sako 123-gr Gamehead is a nice load, and we had 2,909fps for 2,312ft/lb energy and sub-inch groups. It proved very consistent.
Winchester’s new .308 subsonic 185-gr soft nose and hollowpoint design was very quiet with the moderator fitted. It achieved 1.25in groups at a velocity of 1,042fps for 446ft/lb energy, so is not deer legal, only vermin and foxes.
The best reload was with the Sierra Pro Hunter 125-gr and 42.5 grains of RL10X powder for a fast 3,011fps and 2,517ft/lb, producing 0.85in groups.
Zeroed at 100 yards with Winchester subs, I was 3.4in high at 50 yards due to the curved trajectory, but there were no problems with the first focal plane mapping reticle of the Bushnell and its extra aiming points. You also have to choose a safe backdrop or elevated position because the 185-gr bullets pass straight through a fox — and head shots only, remember.
We positioned ourselves on a ridge looking down on a newly constructed pen, and it was not long before the first fox came to investigate at 10am. At 55 yards, he dropped his head and the Ultralite humanely stopped him with no more noise than the bullet impact.
A very lightweight, compact, well-designed and well-thought-through rifle that doubles as a good woodland or hill gun for deer and, if loaded correctly, for foxes. The carbon-wrapped barrel was accurate and the AccuFit stock will appeal to some.
Star Rating 3.95 out of 5
Precise and safe AccuTrigger as usual
Consistent with factory loads and improved with reloads
Lightweight and many adjustments, but a bit plasticky
Very lightweight, living up to its name
Carbon wrap technology costs
- Overall score
Savage has another hit
“This ultra-modern rifle will appeal to both stalkers and to younger shooters”