Savage 111 Long Range Hunter 338 Lapua Review

Savage 111 LRH in 338 Lapua Review

I first handled one of these bad boys at the Edmonton Hunt Fest and I was in love. So light, so handy, and chambered in the monstrous 338 Lapua Magnum. 338 Lapua is starting to gain factory acceptance in long range hunting rifles. My latest copy of the Cabelas catalog features 338 Lapua in the Weatherby Mark V ($1949), Weatherby TRR ($2499), Remington 700 XCRII ($2049), Savage 110 FCP HS Precision ($1399) and Savage 110 BA ($2049).This beauty clocks in at a more attainableĀ $1099 from Frontier Firearms. The name is as long as the barrel; the Savage 111 Long Range Hunter 338 Lapua.

Why 338 Lapua?

This is a great question and one that you should really ask yourself before buying one of these. While the lowly 308 Winchester has an effective range of about 800 meters, this beast is good to go until around 1600 meters. All that extra capability comes with lots of downsides: loads of recoil or if you have a good muzzle brake, a deafening shot that absolutely requires hearing protection every time it’s used. And then there’s ammunition costs. A box of Hornady rounds in 338 Lapua will set you back $90. With taxes, that’s right around $5 every shot. Reloading for the 338 Lapua is an absolute must if you want to get trigger happy at the range, but even there things are expensive. Dies are more expensive, brass is much more expensive, and you need to charge the cases with big helpings of powder. Not only is this all a pain in the ass, it’s almost entirely unnecessary. The 338 Remington Ultra Mag (RUM) does almost everything the 338 Lapua does in cheaper rifles with much cheaper ammo, but good luck finding one. All that factory support and purported domestic supply doesn’t help if you don’t have a rifle or ammo to feed it. From combing Wholesale Sports and Cabelas, I didn’t find a single 338 RUM. I did find 338 Lapua’s from Savage and Remington. So it might be a dead caliber. After that, you’ve got the much slower 338 Winchester Magnum. A decent round, still very reasonable, but not nearly in the class of the Lapua. So to recap, if you’re doing long range target practice or hunting out past 1000 meters, (which for hunting is extremely unpractical) then 338 Lapua is your round of choice.

Build Quality

This is the first Savage I’ve handled with the new “AccuStock” and I like it. It beds the action in an aluminum skeleton within the composite stock, and bears the recoil lug against aluminum, also reducing flex and inaccuracy. The finish itself has changed as well. Instead of plain plastic, its got a soft grippy feel. This rifle comes pre-equiped with a 10MOA base that will let you squeeze even more distance out of your chosen scope. Though, I did find that the rail was a bit long up front, to the point that it prevented me from mounting my scope as far back as I wanted to. The fantastic accutrigger comes along for the ride and an effective muzzle brake finishes things off up front.

Accuracy

I’m still mucking around with loads, but I’m getting consistent 1-1.5 MOA groups. Bullet supply locally here isn’t the best, so I’m ordering in some others to try.

**Edit July 1013** I’ve found that my rifle loves the 250 grain Sierra Gamekings and is turning in .7″ 3 shot groups fairly consistently.

Summary

I think what you need to realize before buying one of these rifles is that it’s very much tied to the round: 338 Lapua Magnum, a round that has barely any factory acceptance, which was designed to increase effective best scenario range out to 1600 yards. I hunt in the west, and none of the areas I hunt have distances even close to that. A more reasonable round like 300WM, 30-06, or 7mm rem mag will still do the job within 800 yards. But this round isn’t about being reasonable, it’s an extreme performer. The next (and last) round up from 338 lapua with any factory acceptance is the 50BMG and Safari-sized rounds, though you have little chance of finding any them at your average hunting supply store. So as far as hunting goes, this rifle and round is an extreme overperformer to the point where you’re wasting a lot of powder, money, and dealing with a deafening roar everytime you pull the trigger. But if you want the biggest, baddest rifle in camp, this is a damn good starting point.

Savage 111 Long Range Hunter 338 Lapua

Reviewed by Adriel Michaud on Jul 23, 2012

An inexpensive way to get into an expensive to fire round
An absolute dream to shoot and not too bad to carry
Rating:4.5

 

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  • Fubar

    I just bought one of these big boys, and it sure does live up to what I thought a BIG gun would be. I love this thing!

  • http://www.huntinggearguy.com/ Adriel

    Make sure to wear hearing protection when you’re out with it. I took a pot shot at a coyote the other week and my ears rang for a few days afterwards. I’m using a set of electronic ear muffs so I can still mostly hear what’s going on around me.

  • James.G

    OK – an chance you can update the review with range findings? Doesn’t make sense to me, reviewing a rifle without range time is like reviewing a car without driving, or reviewing a restaurant without tasting the food.

  • http://www.huntinggearguy.com/ Adriel

    This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I kept screwing around with different loads and bullets pretty much right up until hunting season. Long story short, I’m getting 1 MOA on the dot with 300 grn Bergers and Retumbo for powder. I’d love to try out some of the 300 grain Sierras but I can’t find any supply locally. That all said, 1 MOA is decent for medium range shooting and I did get the chance to take longer shots this year. The platform is decently solid (not as solid as the 110BA, but a lot lighter) and a pleasure to shoot from, but pretty impractical for hunting. The requirement for hearing protection was annoying, the length and weight of the barrel made it slip back when slung over my shoulder, and the clip is a bit loud when jostled. But for shooting from 1 ridge where I could hunker down and take long range shots this year, it felt perfect. After hunting, me and a few buds practiced out at 500 yards and the 111 LRH felt so secure compared to a typical hunting rifle. Can’t wait to mess around with more loads and get it under 1 MOA so that I can take it out at 1000 yards.

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  • Darrell D

    What scope would you recommend with this gun?

  • http://www.huntinggearguy.com/ Adriel

    For testing purposes, I’ve got a 10×40 Bushnell Elite on it. If you’re going to do long range hunting, you might want something variable with a higher top end. Sightron SIII’s are really popular out here, otherwise Nighforce or US Optics.

  • Blacktical

    What height 34mm rings would you recommend for this rifle with a Bushnell 3.5-21×50 G2DMR scope?

    Also, will I need a new base or is the included base fine? I know the scope itself has 120 MOA worth of elevation adjustments but want to make sure I have enough to reach out past 1000 yards.

  • http://www.huntinggearguy.com/ Adriel

    Depends on eye relief and how far forward on the gun you are comfortable shooting from. The included base rail gives some flexibility on mounting locations, but it also limits how far back or how low you can mount the scope. I found the front part of the rail interfered with how far back I could mount several of my scopes. You can see in the pictures that I have the scope mounted as far back as it will go and that the rail is the limiting factor. That all said, the DMR gives a bit more eye relief, so you might be fine. I have high rings on mine.

  • cinnreds18

    Ok bought this gun almost a year ago. This is my fav gun in my cabinet. This thing performs flawlessly. I have sighted mine in at multiple fixed yardage’s 100 250 500 800 925.
    even though this cal has a heavy yaw effect under 250 yards my 338 hand loads Norma brass US869 fed primers nosler 300gr ballistic tip still scores a .89 (best group) avg 1.00 at 100 yards same at 250 COLD BORE! keep in mind mags are HIGH about 110 each. U need good glass good rings and alot of thread locker (blue or purple) these are fantastic hunting cold bore shooters not as good sustained shooting like the savage 110. Last recommendation something I did ,I changed my accu stock to a MacMillan a5 and its the best as long as your not hunting with them there a bit heavy otherwise keep the accustock they work fine

  • cinnreds18

    Bushnell elite…. I second that. That scope is one of the best scoped on the market or the cash

  • http://www.huntinggearguy.com/ Adriel

    Did you have to do any fitting to get the A5 to accept the Savage LRH? I didn’t know they made one for the 111 LRH in 338 Lapua.

  • Mick Showtime Brayshaw

    Is the rail that comes with the 338 flat or inclined?

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