Savage B.Mag Review

Savage B Mag

Savage B.Mag Review

How would you like a significant bump in rimfire performance for FREEEEE? Great pitch, right? The new Savage B.Mag and the 17 Winchester Super Magnum were released as brother and sister on that journey, and there have been a few stumbles along the way. The Savage B.Mag is a significantly new rifle developed by Savage. They bucked trend and came out with a brand new “cock on close” bolt, new rear lug lockup, new rotary mag, smooth new stock bottom, and more. If this rifle didn’t have the signature Savage Accutrigger, you might not even think it’s a Savage: it’s that different from their other rifles. With such a significant departure from norm, did they hit the mark?

Savage B.Mag Video Review

Savage B.Mag Bolt and Action

Let’s start with the action, since it’s fairly unique on its own. First, it’s cock-on-close, just like 303 SMLE’s found all over Canada. That means it’s a bit harder to close the bolt because you’re cocking the striker at the same time, but it’s a bit easier to open the bolt. Compare opening the bolt of an SMLE Mk III or IV vs a Mosin Nagant, and it’s easy to see the difference. The Savage B.Mag also features rear locking lugs. Rear locking lugs are generally weaker than forward locking lugs, but on a rimfire like this, they’ll take the pressure just fine.

Enough theory, how is the cock-on-close, rear lug B.Mag in action? Not great. The bolt snaps open, which will lightly hit your fingers against the scope. It’s also possible to lock the bolt down well rear of “true” lockup, which happened to me and several people who used the B.Mag, and which results in little nicks from the bolt hitting the stock. The bolt is firm when closing due to the cock on close action. Compared to the relatively slick as snot centerfire Axis, it isn’t a great experience. On the plus side, the side bolt release is a great improvement over the normal trigger-plus-side-lever dance of removing a bolt from a Savage 110.

Savage B.Mag Trigger/Safety

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this Accutrigger looks a bit different than the other versions I’ve seen. The one on this rifle had just a slight bit of creep, but was very light and otherwise crisp. Not perfect, but excellent for a rifle of this price. The safety was also solid: a straight-forward 2 position affair that clicked solidly in place. No complaints here.

B.Mag Magazine

The B.Mag magazine uses a combo of metal and plastic, which should give reliability in the spots that needs it and inexpensiveness in the spots that don’t. The result is just OK. I think the rim cutouts could use a little widening on the left side to make it easier to push the rounds around the mag (watch the video around 6:11, I explain it better.) I really like how the mag slips into the magwell and clicks positively in place. It can be quite hard to snap into place with the bolt forward, but is otherwise very easy and positive.

Savage B.Mag Disassembly

It’s not bad, but there is a hidden latch to remove the trigger guard and expose the action screws. Easier to just show in a video:

Savage B.Mag Stock

Here’s where I think Savage tried to fix what wasn’t broken. The B.Mag has a smooth bottom, with no action screws showing. It also has a slim profile. Yet, it feels like a cheap piece of crap. Maybe the stippling of the plastic could have been changed, maybe the style of plastic, but it just isn’t very confidence inspiring. It is very light, but I think most people would appreciate using an aftermarket stock for the Savage B.Mag.

Savage BMag with Boyds stock

Now we’re talking!

Most disconcerting: I, and many other new B.Mag owners on the internet have found that the factory stock bows like a rainbow internally and contacts the barrel near the midway mark. I’d guess that this is the main culprit in many of the accuracy complaints about the B.Mag, but there are a lot of theories out there right now.

Overall

Yep, I’m ending this review this quick. Overall, the rifle in its current state has one critical failing that I can’t abide by.

Savage B.Mag Accuracy Problems

This rifle gets 2-3″ groups at 100 yards. My 70 year old Mosin can do that. I need more from a varmint rifle. Maybe this has to do with stock contact with the barrel, maybe rifling/barrel problems, who really knows?? All I know is that internet forum users I respect have had to go through a lot of returns and work in bedding/accurizing to get these rifles to 1-1.5 MOA. Savage is renowned for their accuracy and quality, which separates them from Remington these days, so I expect more. I shouldn’t have to buy a new stock, pillar and bed it just to get a 17 rimfire to shoot 1.5″ at 100 yards. For the low price, I could live with the hinky bolt, plastic stock, and last round FTE’s. I can’t work with 2-3 MOA from a new round that should give you another 50 yards of usable varmint range, because that range is useless with that kind of accuracy.

Savage B.Mag Group on paper

2.08″ Savage B.Mag Group

2.18" group

2.18″ group

Savage B.Mag Accuracy

2.04″ group

Savage B.Mag Bad accuracy

The ugly: 3.733″ group

Now, what am I doing about it? I attempted to remove material from the stock to get a free float, and stiffen the forend to ensure loading up on the stock wouldn’t cause barrel contact. That didn’t give the results I wanted. I’ve recently mounted the rifle in a beautiful Boyd’s gun stock. That didn’t work. I guess I could pillar and bed the stock to the action, but that’s far beyond what anyone should have to do to get closer to MOA out of a newly produced varmint rifle.

Think I’m being too critical? For about $60 more, I picked up a Savage 93R17 BTVS that shot under 1 MOA at 100 yards and had a lovely bolt right from the factory. There were many other more inexpensive versions of the Savage 93R17 that would make the B.Mag look poorly put together in comparison.

Savage B.Mag
Date Published: 09/03/2014
How would you like a significant bump in rimfire performance for FREEEEE? Great pitch, right? The new Savage B.Mag and the 17 Winchester Super Magnum were released as brother and sister on that journey, and there have been a few stumbles along the way.
1.5 / 5 stars
  • karl

    I just got my bmag two weeks ago. And the same old song and dance I went out to sight it in around two inch. So I ordered a boyds stock hope this will do the job. It should be here in a day or two. I have 3 savage as of now hope they fix this soon.

  • AB1

    I just bought a Savage B-Mag XP in 17wsm this last week. It’s the cabela’s model with the heavy fluted barrel and the Bushnell caliber specific scope combo. I’ve put about 50 rounds in it and haven’t had one FTE. The first 10 I cleaned between every shot and rounds 10-20 I cleaned every second shot. It’s already sub MOA for me at 100 yards with more than a couple that went same hole. I still haven’t got it 100% dialed in but’s really close.

    I know it’s early but maybe Savage has fixed the issue with this rifle that I’ve read a lot about. My rifle also has the 1:8 RH twist which I’ve read is allegedly better for this caliber. I took a risk buying this with some of the reviews I’ve read but the ones with 2016 reviews seem to be considerably better than the 2014-2015 reviews.

    I love the idea of this round compared to the HMR and the higher energy and speed at the 200 yard mark which is where a lot of my shots are these days. I’ll post an update if something changes.

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