My thoughts on the Savage Edge

3 Aug

Over the next several years I’ll have enviable (although somewhat daunting) task of introducing my four kids – 2 boys and 2 girls – to hunting. Enviable because I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than to introduce them to one of my passions. Daunting because I’m faced with outfitting all of them with rifles, optics, and all the related gear!

So with that as a background, I have been especially interested in all the new entry level rifles that have come on the market in recent years. With prices in the $300-$400 range I could actually afford to buy each of my kids a new rifle and not be especially concerned when they scratch it or drop it (which they most certainly will). Then if and when they become more avid hunters and shooters, we could look for something more refined and with more bells and whistles. Well at least this is my plan at the moment.

The latest entry into the bargain rifle segment is the Savage Edge. The Edge features matte black steel, a synthetic stock, 22″ barrel, detachable box magazine and weighs 6 1/2 pounds.  It’s available in 8 popular calibers (short or long action) from .223 through 30-06 including two ideal youth deer chamberings: the .243 Win and 25-06. You also have your choice of black or camo stock and with or without a factory installed scope. MSRP ranges from $329 for the black rifle with no scope to $424 for the camo version with a 3-9 x 40 scope mounted and bore sighted. Visit the Savage Arms site for additional specs.

There have been a number of reviews of the Edge, both online and in print. All the reviews that I’ve seen show pretty impressive accuracy for any rifle, let alone one that retails for under $300! Wayne van Zwoll of Guns & Ammo reviewed an Edge in .243 Win:

As for accuracy, nine of the 11 loads delivered groups of 1¼ inches or less right away. Four of the nine held to a minute of angle or less. Two of those gave me ¾-inch knots. The top performers were Hornady’s 85-grain InterBond load and Winchester’s 100-grain boattail softpoint. Notably, the standard deviations for both were exceptionally low. Almost as impressive Federal’s 60-grain hollowpoint load and the 90-grain Swift Scirocco in Remington ammo. The Edge’s ability to shoot well with a wide range of bullet weights and types impressed me. Tossing out the worst group, I came up with an average for 10 disparate loads of about 1.1 inches at 100 yards. That’s almost exactly the measure of the group in the test target that came with this Edge—and quite a show for an economy rifle with a slim 22-inch barrel.

Dave Petzel posted his testing of the Edge in .308 Win in his Gun Nuts Blog yesterday. His rifle showed a definite preference for certain loads:

I got a .308 to shoot. It weighed 6 ¼ pounds, had a 22-inch barrel (all Edges do) that was notably rough, but despite this, shot well. To wit:

Federal Gold Medal 168-gr. Sierra Matchking: .888
Federal Vital-Shok 165-gr Sierra GameKing: .945
Remington 150-gr. Core-Lokt SP: 1.311
Winchester 147-gr. FMJ: 1.501
Winchester 150-gr. Silvertip: 1.963

Another common thread you’ll see in the reviews is a heavy trigger with a fair amount of creep. The Edge does not have the Savage Accu Trigger, and according to statements from Savage, it will not become an option on future Edge rifles. Perhaps Petzel said it best on his blog:

The wild hair is the trigger. It’s not the Accu-Trigger, but a much simpler and non-adjustable mechanism that, on my rifle, scaled 6 pounds 4 ounces and had unlimited creep. Pulling it was like hauling Rosie O’Donnell down a bad road. Savage advises that altering it will void the warranty on the rifle and result in an unsafe condition. It’s possible that I got a bad trigger and that the others are fine. If I were in the market for an Edge, I would try it in person and not buy it sight unseen.

Leave it to Petzel to work a Rosie O’Donnell reference into a gun review! But point well taken….  try the trigger before bringing the gun home from the shop.

I’ve had the opportunity to handle the new Edge rifle at several local gun shops and the ones I’ve looked at are on par in fit and finish with other entry level rifles.  I have not shot one yet so I don’t have any real world experience with the trigger and how it feels in relation to dragging Ms. O’Donnell down the street……

So will I be giving Savage Edge’s to the kids for Christmas this year? Maybe, stay tuned 🙂

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