Alright, so I thought I’d write something… Preliminary review, before range time. I have not shot it yet or completely stripped it, everything else documented below.
You can open image in new tab to see a larger version of the photo (in post it’s reduced).
First, I think we need to establish a baseline. I have one or two 22’s as some of you may know, so I have a few to pick from to establish a baseline. I have nice blued steel and wood rifles and we could compare Savage A22R against those, however this is not a fair comparison. And a lot like comparing a roadster to a 4WD. Both are great and shit, depending on the situation.
In case of Savage A22R, this is a utilitarian, no thrills gun, so baseline should be similar. The best one in my opinion will be against Ruger American 22LR. In my case the ‘Compact’ model, little more compact (get it? Ha-ha), but very similar in every other regard. I think using Ruger is a very fair baseline to compare Savage against. They are certainly in the same price bracket (in Australia), similar materials and it’s (Ruger) a common enough rifle for people to know. Of course one is a bolt action and the other is not.
So, what do we have here:
Mr Dog doing his final QA, just after Lady Juststarting made a call on aesthetics.
Something to keep in mind, even though I really, love my Ruger American Compact and it’s my first preference over a much more expensive 22’s - it is a utilitarian budget rifle. Synthetic stock, cheap materials, machining is okay, but could be a lot better in high friction areas.
Now let’s see how Savage A22R stacks up against it.
No sights, comes with weaver mounts. I think it’s a lot better than sights.
Both are good, I have no issues with quality and machining I think Savage may be ahead.
Savage is blued, but it has this ‘duracoat’ type look to it, they feel similar, but the look is a bit different. Probably looks same-same to most people, but I can spot the difference. Ruger is what I would expect a budget blued steel to look like. Good, quality, but lacks depth (I like that on a practical/carry gun, I don’t cry when there’s a scratch). Savage - has this cheapish look to it, I can’t put my finger on it. Both feel the same, however, Savage is just that little bit behind.
Something to keep in mind, it is a personal preference. You could like it in reverse. For me, it is what it is.
Lite. Nothing else to add. In fact, the scope is what makes it feel a bit more sturdy.
It’s good thing in a sporter and what I was after, so expectation met.
Crisp, but! Holly fuck monkeys Savage is on the heavy side for a 22 for sure. Definitely usable, the rifle doesn’t shift, but comparing it against other 22s I have, it’s a lot heavier. In the Savage ‘sporter’ model that’s quite lite, heavy trigger is accentuated.
Trigger feel (i.e. How it feels on your fingertip):
Trigger boot… Eh, again, 100% personal preference. It has this ridge sort of feel that you’d find on some Browning and Tikka triggers. I have both, now I have 3, I am not fan of all of them, but again, this is 100% personal preference and I like how my Mosin trigger feels, so there you go. In dirty conditions and sweaty/dirty hands, this feel would probably be preferred. As it stands, I shoot a lot more than I hunt, so for my use case, meh.
Wife says Ruger looks better. I agree. Dog concurs.
Both stocks are polymer… Ruger is up there in quality land. You just have to pick one up and you will know what I mean, without any baseline. Just a good, solid, modern stock. Durable, very well made, etc. Everything you’d expect in a quality rifle designed for ongoing outdoor use. No marks, no gaps, no hollow sound when knocking on it. Enter the Savage A22R (which is weird, because I had Savage rifles before and they were closer to Ruger than A22R)! Somewhat opposite. There’s no ‘low quality’ things like machine marks and whatever, but it has this cheap plastic feel, hollow sounding. I don’t want to say flimsy, it’s certainly not, but it has a low quality, thin, toy kind of feel to it.
Note on action shroud:
Action shroud (think bolt shroud, but on action, since we don’t have a bolt-action here)
Plastic. I would have preferred that it was metal, but I can see why it has to be plastic. But I would prefer metal! There’s no equivalent on Ruger, but say an upmarket Tikka… Tikka had a plastic shroud too, with the exception of the latest precision model, so it’s less of a quality thing (again, I can see logic behind plastic), it more of an observation and preference.
Reason for plastic on Savage, (1) the way it snaps on; and (2) the way it comes off when scope is mounted. I would much rather not damage my scope than have it metal, but, also I’d prefer metal LOL.
What I actually don’t like is the takedown pin, mounted on the rear end of the guide rod for bolt rebound spring (internals). It’s plastic and I think it should be metal or have a metal insert. I feel about it being plastic, the same way Tikka fans feel about bolt shroud being plastic. It’s okay, I guess, like, totes, whatever, like, see if I care, it makes no functional or aesthetic difference, but seriously, what the fuck?!
It is tight.
I have not removed the trigger group yet, to have a closer look, but I am fairly certain that it will not wear in.
There’s a certain feel that gun parts have when you know it’s a matter of time for metal to polish itself. And then there’s another feel when you can feel spring tension. The later is the feel it has. I have a suspicion that it could be a stiff tension spring, rather than a ‘normal’ coil spring (which would be a lot easier to lighten). It could be a very small thick coil spring… I am going to reserve final option on this until I take it apart in detail and see what’s inside the trigger group.
Positive: dry firing it, yes, you can shoot it, yank it with a different finger and keep going. No issues. Tight, but I got used to it pretty quick. So, yes to both: tight and very usable.
Regardless, I want take the trigger group out to take a closer look. I know 110% how latch mechanism works (@sungazer, right on the money, mate), just from the sound. However, I am interested how the tension is adjusted. Will report on findings when I get to it.
Obviously one is a bolt action, the other is an adaptation of a semi-auto action. I read people complain about it being loud. I disagree. It sounds exactly like it’s supposed to sound. It’s not a bolt action and if you want to do it quietly, you can always guide the bolt into battery by hand to reduce noise. There is a spring that drives it into battery and that’s how this action works… No issues here. We are just not used to this types of actions Different is not bad, it’s just different.
Magazines are very similar for both rifles and both are excellent in my opinion. Of course, my opinion is based on Ruger, but looking at the Savage design, I dare say it feels a lot more solid. So for now I am going to give it benefit of the doubt and say that they are either the same or Savage could even be a little more solid. However, same, same, really. Both are pretty good.
Magazine release mechanism seems the same, however Ruger has magazine release mounted on the stock, while Savage has it mounted on the magazine itself. It’s a hinged release on top of a tension spring. Nothing special and I don’t see it wearing out or braking unless there’s a serious impact, in which case it’s just one of those things that could happen to anything and anyone.
So, what’s the go?
FOR NEW SHOOTERS:
If you are looking for your first rifle or/and a first 22LR - Savage A22R is not for you. It could be for you, I don’t know, I don’t care, I like all sort of weird shit, but really, I would recommend a good, quality bolt action to get a feel for what good quality feels like.
Don’t confuse reliability and accuracy with quality. I did (very quickly) strip the gun and it seems simple enough to be very reliable. The bolt locks in a multitude of positions (certain that it also relates to lever release action, specific to Australia), which means it will cycle most ammo just fine.
Accuracy - Savage makes good guns, I have owned Savage in the past, it shot very well, so (preliminary opinion) no issues there.
It just doesn’t have that feel you get from a good quality solid 22LR. Purely the feel and the look factor is lacking here. Reliability and accuracy I suspect is up there with everything else, but for a first gun, I recon you want everything in one package.
FOR ECCENTRIC TASTE SHOOTERS LIKE ME & EVERYONE WHO ALREADY HAS ‘A’ GUN:
Disregard above - I most certainly suggest getting a Savage A22R. I am sitting firmly in this camp, because I already have a, well, never mind, I have an addiction, that’s what I have. It’s quirky, it’s unique to Australia, it’s something different and pretty neat. I absolutely love it and have no regrets buying one. I don’t see an issue hunting with one and I see a huge fun factor in plinking with one.
Cool, cheap and cheerful 22LR for Australian market. Me likey
Please see my extended notes on the topic.