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 ($1549 in the US). This rifle is $1599 in Canada, and about $1100 in the US. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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