The Affordable Long-Distance Champ

The Affordable Long-Distance Champ

Looking for a tack-driving bolt-action with 1/2 MOA tendencies right out of the box? Check out the new Savage BA10 Stealth.

by Patrick E. Kelley for ShootingDaily

The newly released Savage Arms BA10 Stealth in 6.5 Creedmoor is anything but stealthy. This rifle shows up in your face and ready to put bullets in little groups up close or where the real test is…way out there.

Let’s start at about half-way to way out there.

This AICS-compatible box magazine-fed turn-bolt is accurate. While many rifles may claim half-minute accuracy, the BA10 truly is, and it can prove it right out of the box. Check out these targets…

SA SL B-7
Here are five, five-shot groups taken at 450 yards with a factory fresh, out-of-the-box Savage Arms BA10 Stealth in 6.5 Creedmoor. The average of all 25 shots is 2.55 inches using Hornady 6.5 140-grain ELD Match ammunition. Out of the box with factory loads…impressive!

I would love to take credit for these groups, but knowing my long-range shooting skill set couldn’t match this rifle’s potential, I enlisted the help of my shooting buddy Bill. As an F-Class competitor, Bill knows how to poke holes in targets that are way out there. After a few settle-in shots behind the relatively lightweight (9.2 pounds) BA10, he began to do just that. The result is the quintet of five-group shots seen here. We must take the good with the bad, of course, but close examination reveals that this rifle wants to shoot 1/2 MOA or better.

SA SL B-3

With the Savage carrying a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,207, I thought it would be a good idea to match this rifle with a comparable scope. I chose one that, like the Stealth itself, has value well beyond its modest price—the Burris XTRII 5×25.

I tell people, “Don’t buy cheap scopes. Buy good glass and then put them in the best mounts.” You will break a scope someday, but a good mount will last through several scopes. Fortunately, the scope base that is part of the Savage BA10 package is made by the good guys at EGW, and the scope rings I chose were 34mm units from Xtreme Hardcore Gear.

This bolt gun’s chassis system is manufactured by MTD and is a solid, well-made unit. I popped the barreled action out of the stock before sending the first rounds downrange and noted the quality construction and precision machining.

Above are the three magazines I tested for this article. All worked perfectly. The tall mag on the left came with the rifle and is an MDT 10-rounder. The other two are 5-round mags from MagPul, and are also AICS compatible.
Above are the three magazines I tested for this article. All worked perfectly. The tall mag on the left came with the rifle and is an MDT 10-rounder. The other two are five-round mags from Magpul, and are also AICS compatible.

After observing my friend Bill shoot his 450-yard sessions with Hornady factory ammo (6.5CM, 140-grain ELD Match), I tried my hand at 300 yards with some Federal American Eagle 140 grain OTM (Open Tip Match). Even with me behind the incredibly predictable 22-ounce Savage AccuTrigger, sub-minute of angle groups were the norm.  Norm…that is not normal! Sub-MOA groups from a factory fresh rifle without any tuning or tweaking or even barrel break-in with off-the-shelf factory ammo? I think I am going to like this long-range game.

SA SL B-4

Savage has put its AccuTrigger front-and-center as a high-quality unit and this one did not disappoint. It broke clean and crisp at the factory-set 22 ounces. In keeping with the practical/tactical nature of this bolt gun, you’ll find an appropriately over-sized bolt handle, a comfortable Hogue pistol grip from which to trip that excellent trigger, and quick access to the magazine release latch.

Lest we leave anything out, Savage literature describes the BA10 with the following features: factory blueprinted Savage action, monolithic aluminum chassis machined from solid billet, M-LOK forend, one-piece EGW scope rail, Fab Defense GLR-SHOCK six-position buttstock with adjustable cheek piece, and 5/8×24 threaded muzzle with protector.

The muzzle is threaded 5/8″ x 24tpi and finished with an 11-degree target crown and thread protector—a handy addition to accommodate a suppressor or muzzle brake.
The muzzle is threaded 5/8″ x 24tpi and finished with an 11-degree target crown and thread protector—a handy addition to accommodate a suppressor or muzzle brake.

We covered most of this, but let me point out a nit-pick or two.

The EGW scope rail appears to be a flat rail, not a 20 or 30 MOA rail that is common in long-range circles. If you have enough elevation adjustment within your optic of choice, you might be alright, but give me a 20 MOA base any day.

Then there’s the buttstock. I don’t like it. It is okay for an AR, but this one lacks two elements that I want (need). First, the cheek rest sits too far back to get a proper eye relief. Second, the bottom of the buttstock ought to be flat for use with a rear bag.

Small nits to pick, but both are easily remedied.

SA SL B-6

The BA10 Stealth has proven itself to be accurate and reliable with a trigger that has me wishing every rifle I own were so-equipped. It does this right out of the box and it does it within the confines of a working man’s wallet. Ultimately, Savage Arms has assembled an excellent long-range tool that, in capable hands, shouldn’t have any problem running right alongside guns with price tags several times that of the Stealth’s street price.

Stealthy? Not a chance. This one screams, “I am a winner!”

 

SOURCE

Savage Arms

SA SL B-5

article copyright © 2016 ShootingDaily.com; promoted by Savage Arms




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