I was out on the range today with Master shooter Steve Sager, and pistol champ and photographer Gail Pepin, to get some pictures of Savage Model 110-series rifles for the upcoming Backwoods Home story commemorating that popular firearm’s 50th Anniversary. So it shouldn’t be a total waste, Steve took the opportunity to verify the zero of his Model 10 heavy barrel .308.
All that was handy to use as a bench was an old, weathered picnic table that was ready for the fire pit. Accustomed to shooting from a proper concrete shooting bench, Steve centered himself on the table and proceeded to squeeze three shots into the target 100 yards away. The group measured 0.95” center to center. Minute of angle with the first group out of the gate: the sort of precision we’ve both come to expect from the 110 family of Savage bolt rifles.
As he stood up from the table, Steve commented on how wobbly it was. The table was also sagging enough in the center that he couldn’t get the rear sandbag rest under the stock, so he just put the fore-end on the front bag. For the circumstances, it was damn fine shooting.
My turn was next. Observing the inhospitable conditions Steve had found at the center of the table, I moved to the far end and set up directly over the wooden crossbeam legs. This proved much more solid.Because the end was higher than the center of the sagging table, I was able to align with the target in such a way that I could put the V-shaped rear rest under the toe (lower rear edge) of the stock, and still use the front sandbag so long as I put it atop a plastic cartridge box. With my support hand on the forward bag to help it keep its relationship to the fore-end, I fired my three.
They went into 3/8ths of an inch.
Now, this doesn’t mean I out-shot Steve. Quite the reverse, I think. With the rifle wobbling on the weak mid-section of the old table, Steve had needed much more finesse and timing and trigger control to put three shots under an inch. With the gun in a much more stable position when my turn came, shooting a group twice as tight was actually easier. I’ve shot a lot with Steve, and I’ve come to believe he’s actually the better marksman.
Mas, left, & Steve retrieve the 100-yd target.
…he still ends up with a sub-one inch group. Ammo is his own handloads, with 147 grain full metal jacket boat-tail bullet. All photos by Gail Pepin.
Mas is on far right edge of bench; X-beam support directly below rifle is more stable. This location also puts him higher, at an angle where he can use additional sandbag under buttstock, while support hand is free to stabilize fore-end against forward sandbag…
…and the result is this 3/8″ group at 100 yards, same Savage Model 10 rifle with Leupold 3-9X scope and same ammo, with 2 bullets in same (larger) hole. Getting the most solid rest makes a world of difference!