The company catalog describes the new Models 14 and 114 American Classics as the “beauties” of the Savage line, a claim not likely to be challenged by anyone seeing these latest centerfire bolt rifles to bear the Savage name.
Like other Savage rifles that have appeared under various model designations, the Model 14/114 (Model 14 being the short-action version and Model 114 having a longer receiver for calibers ranging from .270 through .300 Win. Mag.) is based on the tried-and-true Model 110 series dating back to the 1950s.
WHAT WE LIKED
Great Magazine Design: Unlike most other detachable box magazines, which position the cartridges in either a staggered formation or one on top of the other, the new Savage box is a combination of both. Though the cartridges are positioned in a right-left-right formation, the topmost cartridge is centered with the bolt and chamber, avoiding the angular and sometimes troublesome feeding of some staggered magazines. While single loading during our accuracy test, we discovered that when a cartridge was simply dropped into the opened action it aligned itself perfectly for in-line feeding, a very convenient feature. Also, the magazine box is unusually easy to remove and insert, with an oversize release button that is accessible even when you’re wearing heavy gloves. The rifle deserves extra points for having one of the best detachable magazine designs ever.
Nice Styling: The styling and finish of the Model 14/114 is much better than would be expected of a rifle in its price range–better, in fact, than that of some rifles costing twice as much. Stylistically, the stock is pure classic, with a straight comb and traditional grip geometry. Stock furniture in cludes a black forend tip, a grip cap, detachable swivel studs and rubber buttpad.
The barrel is free-floated with about a 1/16 -inch gap in the barrel channel and inletting around the action and barrel nut that can best be described as casual. However, the bedding of the action is quite good, with even contact from front to rear.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
Checkering: The machine-cut checkering on the forearm is about 18 lines to the inch, sharply cut in a classic wraparound point pattern. The grip panels are somewhat less appealing, with a pattern no doubt dictated by the limitations of an automated check ering machine. To be fair, however, these are criticisms that would normally be justified only for firearms costing several times as much as this one.
Bolt Handle: A more reasonable criticism is the plain looking ball-peen-shaped bolt handle, which could easily be restyled to a graceful form to match the rifle’s classic styling.
WHY YOU’LL WANT ONE
Very Accurate: Accuracy testing at the bench was done with the Accu-Trigger at its delivered pull weight of 3 pounds 4 ounces, though it can be easily adjusted to a lighter pull.
Though the most common rate of twist for the .243 is 1 in 10 inches, our sample had a 1-in-9-inch twist, which in theory would enhance the accuracy of heavier bullets (though at the cost of accuracy with lighter loads). This, however, was not confirmed by accuracy tests at 100 yards, in which 5-shot groups with Winchester Supreme 100-grain Power Point loads averaged 1.719 inches. The Supreme load with 95-grain Ballistic Silver tips averaged 1.397 inches, and the fast-stepping 55-grain Ballistic Silvertips, at 3,910 fps, averaged 1.174 inches.
Great Value: In terms of both appearance and perfor mance, Savage’s new American Classic establishes what may very well be a new standard for dollar value in hunting rifles.
BY THE NUMBERS
Model: Model 14
Type: Bolt-action rifle
Caliber: .243 Win.
Mag. Capacity: 4+1
Weight: 7 lb. 4 oz.
Barrel Length: 22 1/8 in.
Rate of Twist: 1 in 9 in.
Overall Length: 42 in.
Length of Pull: 13½ in.
Trigger Pull: 3 lb. 4 oz.
Bore Finish: 4 (out of 5)
Web Site: savagearms.com
How It Shot
Average Group Size: 1.430 inches*
Smallest Group: 1.053 inches with 55-gr. bullets
Ammo Used: Winchester 100-, 95- and 55-gr. loads
*12 five-shot groups at 100 yards with three bullet weights