Custom-Fit from a Factory Model?

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The “reinvented” Savage 110, with its ground-breaking AccuFit system, is going to change the way the industry defines “custom.” Check this out…

by the ShootingDaily staff; promoted by Savage Arms

It’s a truth most of us don’t want to admit, but the fact is unshakable—the accuracy potential of most firearms exceeds the skill level of most shooters.

That’s not a knock on us shooters, but an acknowledgement that biomechanics is usually the weak link in the accuracy chain. Everything we do or touch when shooting a rifle influences accuracy for the positive or the negative. Accuracy, of course, being defined as repeatable point-of-impact.

Fine-tuning the biomechanical and the mechanical to deliver maximum accuracy takes serious work.

A friend of ours is a former U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit gunsmith, and listening to him describe the process of developing a firearm to work with a specific team shooter really drives home the point. Countless hours are spent between the range and the machine shop, building the platform and cycling through the shoot, tweak, shoot, tweak process until the firearm and shooter operate as a seamless, elegant unit. Every little nuance adds up, and when it all comes together, the result is X-ring perfection (or as close to it as is humanly possible).

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Precise length-of-pull and cheek weld height are essential for wringing out the most accuracy possible from a rifle platform.

Unfortunately, few among us have the wherewithal to engage a qualified gunsmith/machinist to build a rifle customized to our every twitch. We either choose a firearm that “feels pretty good” and run with it, or we choose something based on feature preferences (caliber, action, weight, et cetera) and conform our shooting style to fit the gun, not the other way around. In either case, we’re likely never realizing the accuracy potential of our rifle because we don’t fully address the ergonomic factors.

For a rifle, the leading ergonomic or “fit” dynamics include the length-of-pull and the cheek weld height.

Length-of-pull is the distance measured from the trigger face to the end/center of the buttstock (or butt plate). Most rifle stocks are built with a 13.5-inch length-of-pull, which is about right for the average-sized shooter (whomever that is), but that is still only a rough average. When it comes to finding the length-of-pull that is correct for you, small increments (down to 1/4-inch) make a big difference in getting a rifle to fit properly, and a proper fit directly translates to improved accuracy because you are reducing or eliminating any unnatural contortions needed to make your body and shooting style conform to the rifle. Length-of-pull affects your sight picture (head and eye position), how the rifle mounts or swings to your shoulder, and your arm/wrist/trigger finger geometry, which can influence the all-important trigger pull. Those are a lot of variables based on a single measurement, so it’s easy to see why establishing a correct length-of-pull is so important if maximum accuracy is your goal (and isn’t it?).

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Select models in Savage’s revised Model 110 line feature the all-new AccuFit system. Interchangeable buttstock spacers and cheek risers allow you to customize the rifle’s length-of-pull and cheek weld height for optimal fit…with only a Phillips-head screwdriver!

Cheek weld is the point where your cheek contacts the top of the stock. The ideal cheek weld height is one where your dominant (shooting) eye is in comfortable, natural alignment with the sighting plane (open sights or scope) when your cheek rests against the stock. As with length-of-pull, the cheek weld height of most stocks is established for the “average” shooter. Too high or too low and you won’t be able to get a solid, natural mount on the rifle, which will throw off your geometry and result in less than optimal accuracy performance. This problem is further complicated by the optics and mounting system employed (high or low relative to the bore axis). Once again, small increments in cheek weld height can significantly impact fit and accuracy.

As stated earlier, the majority of us who shoot off-the-shelf rifles learn to conform to the rifle. If we do want a custom-fit to maximize our rifle’s accuracy potential, several hundred dollars and a trip to the gunsmith are usually required.

Well, not any more.

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Select Model 110 rifles feature soft-touch panels along the grip and fore end, providing no-slip retention even when wearing gloves.

This year, Savage Arms is introducing the new AccuFit system—a platform debuting on select rifles in the revised Model 110 bolt-action line. It’s a breakthrough concept for a regular-production firearm manufacturer in that this system allows the user to customize both the length-of-pull and cheek weld height with nothing more than a Phillips-head screwdriver.

The AccuFit system comes with four different-sized stock inserts that fit between the stock proper and the rubber butt pad. Each insert represents a 1/4-inch increment adjustment in length-of-pull, so this dimension can be extended or shortened to provide an ideal, custom fit in seconds.

Another advantage of the AccuFit system is that it’s not a one-and-done setup as is the case with most custom stocks. The modular insert approach means that as the seasons or shooting conditions change, the stock can be adjusted as needed. When transitioning from summer bench shooting to fall hunting, for example, the addition of bulkier clothing increases your length of pull and can put your head position too far back. By reconfiguring the stock inserts, the AccuFit stock allows you to maintain correct length of pull in all conditions.

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Fractions of an inch in both length-of-pull and cheek weld height can make a big difference in ergonomic performance.

For cheek weld height, AccuFit takes a similar approach to delivering the shooter a custom fit. Five comb risers are included, each providing a 1/8-inch height increment. As with the buttstock inserts, these comb risers can be swapped with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Select the size that gives optimal sight alignment with the rifle comfortably mounted and you’re done.

In addition to the ground-breaking AccuFit system, select rifles in the new Model 110 series utilize Savage’s AccuStock. Experienced shooters know that the first-step in accurizing a production rifle is to “bed” the action. Bedding typically uses an epoxy-based compound that provides a gapless mold between the action and the stock. Its purpose is to give the action a stable, uniform bearing surface that prevents the action from deforming or shifting under recoil stresses, as this can affect accuracy. A professional-looking, solid-performing bedding job is the purview of an experienced gunsmith. The AccuStock, however, utilizes a special aluminum bedding rail and a steel block (to engage the recoil lug) in the chassis structure to secure the action both at the action screws and along the sides of the action. It’s similar to a custom pillar- and glass-bedding job by a gunsmith, yet it’s stronger and comes direct from the factory.

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The AccuFit system’s adjustable length-of-pull makes transitioning from warm- to cold-weather shooting a breeze. No more stretching forward to get proper eye relief when wearing heavy clothing.

Taking the big-picture view, the new Model 110 line offers advantanges akin to having a customized and accurized rifle straight out of the box. All three conventional custom upgrades are addressed—fitment (via the AccuFit system), accurizing (via the AccuStock), and trigger customization (via the AccuTrigger). The AccuTrigger is, of course, a halo feature of many Savage rifles. It’s designed with a light sear engagement and a release mechanism to prevent unintentional discharge. This system allows the trigger pull weight to be easily custom-adjusted by the shooter—another operation that is traditionally relegated to a trained gunsmith.

We were fortunate to “pre-run” the new Savage Model 110 on a late-season elk hunt in Montana, and came away more that a little impressed. Once the length-of-pull and comb height were adjusted to our liking, the rifle felt as comfortable as a favorite pair of hunting boots. It underscored the fact that you never really know how poorly fitting some firearms are until you shoulder one that does fit like it should. Correct head position and eye relief were instantaneous upon shouldering the Model 110—even with our heavy winter clothing. The stock itself is quite svelte around the grip and fore end, making it a pleasure to handle with thick gloves.

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On the bench, the Model 110 held up its end of the bargain, delivering point-of-impact as consistently as our shooting skills allowed. We look forward to a full range session and 300-meter evaluation with this rifle in the near future. For now, though, the new Model 110 has our undivided attention.

Gunsmiths…be concerned.

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SOURCE

Savage Arms

article copyright © 2017 ShootingDaily.com; promoted by Savage Arms

Although Savage Arms is among our sponsors, the views expressed in this article are those of the author. ShootingDaily.com receives compensation from Savage Arms in various forms to help promote their products.