The sun was hot overhead in Abilene, Texas, but that didn’t stop a group of gun writers from spending three days under the Lone Star State’s open sky. A few of us came from around the country to try out several new products, including Savage Arms’ new lineup of rifles for 2017. Those products included several variations of the company’s new Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) and bolt-action models. One of the latter that I particularly liked: the new Model 10 GRS in 6.5 Creedmoor.
Because of the number of people trying out the various products at the standard ranges and from the tops of sandy cliffs where improvised shooting positions were explored, we didn’t get extensive time with the individual products. However, we did have enough experience with them to get an idea of what we liked, and I was fortunate enough to have Savage Arms send out the 10 GRS for a follow-up review.
Located in the law enforcement portion of Savage’s website, the Model 10 GRS is essentially an FCP-SR with a significant twist. The main difference is the Berserk stock from GRS Riflestocks, which changes the profile and feel from a traditional stock to one fitted to the individual user. In fact, the stock is essentially the one thing that separates the Model 10 GRS from the standard FCP-SR model. But when you consider all that it offers, the change is bigger than it seems.
GRS Riflestocks originally had a similar stock made of laminate. But the company kept receiving requests from shooters asking for a more durable version, so GRS responded with the Berserk model. It is made of glass-reinforced Durathan, and it offers pillar bedding that’s 65-percent glass. Both the grip and forend have rubber texturing for a secure purchase on the rifle even during wet conditions.
The stock also offers flush-cup sling mounts with push-button, quick-detachable sling loops like those found on many tactical rifles today. An impressive feature on the GRS Berserk stock is the Speed Lock system at the butt, which allows users to easily adjust the length of pull and comb height. The user simply pushes in on the corresponding button and either pushes or pulls the part until the appropriate length is found. This is a fast and simple way to adjust the stock, even for beginning shooters. The length of pull is adjustable from 13 to 14.5 inches. Also, the buttpad is made of a soft synthetic material that goes a long way toward mitigating recoil. Additionally, there is another sling mount under the forend for the attachment of a bipod.
For me, the most distinguishing feature of the Model 10 GRS stock is the grip. It is quite simply the best- feeling grip I have ever used on a rifle. It is ergonomically designed for the hand to settle in comfortably, and is built with a slight offset to account for the angle of the wrist. You simply have to handle the Berserk stock to understand just how comfortable and ergonomic it is.
With its 24-inch barrel, the Model 10 GRS comes in at 44 inches long overall. The barrel is fluted for increased stiffness and accuracy. It also has 5/8×24 threading to accept a sound suppressor or other muzzle devices. The rifle weighs 9.2 pounds before a scope or ammo is added, and thanks to the stock, the Model 10 GRS is definitely a capable rifle for precision shooting. Because of its weight, it seems more suited to firing from a prone position. For long-range hunting, such as for pronghorns or other critters, size and weight won’t be as much of a consideration for wide open spaces where maneuverability through brush or dense woods isn’t a factor.
The Long-Range 6.5
As mentioned, my test rifle came chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, which has to be the breakthrough round for 2017. Almost every rifle manufacturer has introduced one style of rifle or another to fire this increasingly popular cartridge. Introduced in 2008, the 6.5 Creedmoor was designed as a long-distance target round to expand upon the consistency and performance of 6mm loads and to provide reliable information to reloaders that would make it easier to replicate the formula.
The performance of the relatively new round exceeds the range of the reliable .308 Winchester and improves upon its accuracy as well. It was conceived by Dennis Demille, a national High-Power champion and Dave Emary, a Hornady engineer, after discussing wildcat rounds being used at a competition. And though the 6.5 Creedmoor was initially designed as a target round, it started gaining traction as a hunting cartridge once it became more popular on the precision shooting circuit.
Because of its high sectional density for better penetration and its higher ballistic coefficient for excellent accuracy, it became a definite must-have for the hunting crowd. Despite having a diameter smaller than the .308 Winchester, the 6.5 Creedmoor has been used to successfully take down large game, including mountain goats and even elk. These characteristics, especially accuracy, also translate to an exceptional load than can be used by law enforcement during incidents where precision shooting is required.
In short, the 6.5 Creedmoor has surged in popularity over the past few years because of its versatility. As noted by many in the industry, it is a “do-it-all” round. It has effectively crossed over into different niches in the shooting world, proving effective in most types of shooting. And it doesn’t look like that demand is going to taper off anytime soon.
Going To Work
For accuracy testing, I used the Savage Model 10 GRS with a Bushnell 4.5-18x44mm LRTSi scope, which provided an excellent sight picture with great light transmission. And for those times when things start to get a bit dark, the new G3 illuminated reticle can step in and get you back on target.
The brightness setting for the illuminated reticle is integrated into the side-focus parallax knob on the left side. The higher the number, the brighter the setting. To power off, the knob can be turned to a dot between the numbers to stay close to the last setting. Additionally, the LRTSi’s ThrowHammer lever gives the user an assist in zooming quickly when needed. The turrets are adjustable in mils, with 10 mils of adjustment per revolution.
Federal Premium provided several loads for the range session, including 120-grain Trophy Copper, 130-grain Gold Medal Berger, 140-grain Fusion SP and 140-grain American Eagle OTM rounds. All of the accuracy testing was done at 100 yards from a bench using a bag for support.
From shot one, the first thing I noticed was the lack of recoil from the 10 GRS, especially in comparison to a couple of my own .308s, which I also had on hand. It almost felt like the recoil I experience while shooting 5.56mm ARs—almost. It was close but had just a hair more felt recoil.
Just like Savage’s other popular rifles, the Model 10 GRS came with the company’s excellent user-adjustable AccuTrigger. Out of the box, the trigger pull on the sample I received was just 2.3 pounds. I felt this was plenty light for what I was going to be shooting and did not engage in any tinkering with the trigger.
Considering the rifle was new and the barrel not thoroughly broken in—and with myself at the helm—I thought the accuracy was excellent. Surprisingly, the American Eagle 140-grain OTM rounds turned in one of the better groups at 0.75 inches. The best single group, however, came with Federal’s 130-grain Gold Medal Berger load, registering at just 0.5 inches. The Berger load also took the best average group size at 0.91 inches. I will confess that a better, more experienced rifleman could wring out even better accuracy if given time with the 10 GRS.
The rifle’s action was very smooth, as was the adjustable trigger. Describing the trigger break as light and crisp would be an understatement. There was little to no creep, and the trigger offered the “surprise” effect when it broke. In short, the trigger was superb by any account.
As mentioned, the stock and grip were extremely comfortable to shoot with. It’s hard to imagine a company designing a stock any more ergonomic than the Berserk model. The Speed Lock adjustment system for the comb height and length of pull was immensely helpful, allowing me to perfectly tailor the stock’s dimensions to my needs.
Admittedly, I’ve shot more Savage rifles in the past few years than I have during the entirety of my life. I have quickly come to appreciate both the features and the value that Savage products offer. The outstanding AccuTrigger and inherent accuracy are both benefits that many have long known about, and with which I have become increasingly impressed.
Taking the FCP-SR rifle another step forward with the inclusion of the GRS Berserk stock only increases the comfort and utility of the package. Though the addition of the stock increases the price of the package to $1,449, it turns the rifle into a more versatile tool. This new iteration offers a platform for not only law enforcement use, but also for competition and long-range hunting as well. It’s essentially a go-to tool for just about every task.
For whatever reason, the blend of features on the 6.5 Creedmoor Savage 10 GRS made it one of the easiest rifles for me to shoot very well straight out of the box. Coupled with the Bushnell LRTSi scope, which provided excellent image quality and rock-solid performance, it is a fantastic value for those who expect the very best in a precision rifle. For anyone in the market but not wanting to bust the bank, the Savage 10 GRS will go a long way in exceeding your expectations.
Savage Model 10 GRS Specs
|Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
|Barrel: 24 inches
|OA Length: 44 inches
|Weight: 9.2 pounds (empty)
|Stock: GRS Berserk
|Finish: Matte black
Savage Model 10 GRS Performance
|Federal 120 Trophy Copper
|Federal 130 Gold Medal Berger
|Federal 140 American Eagle OTM
|Federal 140 Fusion SP
*Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 100 yards.
For more information, visit savagearms.com.