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December 29, 2008

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Petzal: Some Savagery for the New Year

Savage Arms, which gave the shooting industry the leaping fantods when it introduced the Accu-Trigger, has just announced the Accu-Stock, which is just as radical. In stocks, as in other areas, the more rigid the better, and there are a couple of ways to achieve this. The first is used by High Tech, McMillan, and New Ultra Light Arms, who employ Kevlar and graphite, or reinforced fiberglass, to create a stiff stock. The materials themselves, when fused together, are more rigid than a rifle barrel, but such stocks are made largely by hand and are expensive.

The second approach is to use something limper, like polymer (which can be made fast and cheap) and strengthen the stock with an aluminum spine. The Accu-Stock is polymer, reinforced with an aluminum spine that runs from the action all the way down for fore-end. But there is more: Savage employs a wedge bolt to push the recoil lug back into the aluminum spine. This is not a new idea; Ruger has been doing it for decades but with a bedding screw that pulls down and back at a 45-degree angle. In addition, the Accu-Stock’s bedding cradle squeezes the action from all sides, fusing (or so claims Savage) the action and stock into one unit.

This runs counter to conventional stock-making wisdom which holds that all the pressure on an action should be downward, and that the only hard contact between action and stock should be on the rear face of the recoil lug and (optionally) at the tang. During the late 70s and early 80s, when synthetic stocks were just starting to be accepted, it was common to epoxy the entire action in place. I had three rifles that were so stocked and invariably broke the action free so I could get at the triggers. None of them shot one iota differently when they were held together only by the bedding screws.

But we shall see. The Savage Accu-Trigger has had a major effect on rifle design over the past decade, and Savage may be right about its new stock, too.


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Dave Petzal

To Jim and Bernie: The M-16 fiasco was created in part by McNamara's team of whiz kids who knew nothing about firearms and less about combat. The AR-15 was developed with ammo loaded with extruded powder, but at the time, the Army had tons and tons of ball powder that had been manufactured for M-1 carbine ammo, so the Whiz Kids, seeing a chance for some cost effectiveness, decreed that all M-16 ammo would be loaded with that.

The ball powder burned dirtier and also changed the cyclic rate of the M-16 from what Eugene Stoner had intended. The McNamara geniuses also refused to have the guns' chambers chrome-plated to resist corrosion (it cost extra).

As if this weren't enough, the Army did a piss-poor job of introducing the rifle to the troops in the field. There were no cleaning materials issued, and the rumor arose among the snuffies that the M-16 didn't have to be cleaned. When the inevitable jams and malfunctions occurred, it was discovered that a lubricant called Dri-Slide would free up the action for a while, except when the gun got hot enough, the Dri-Slide would ignite.

If you read Hal Moore's "We Were Soldiers Once..." it is filled with references to broken and jammed M-16s. None of which made it into the movie, of course.

The McNamara team went on to greater successes in government and business. The soldiers who got their handiwork died.


Ouch. Firefighters and soldiers all have a saying; "Never forget that the gear you are staking your life on was supplied by the low bidder." Amen.


If ever an MBA thesis needs to be written, the theory that, good managers can manage anything, should be addressed. The idea is that someone who successfuly runs an airline, can work the same magic with an auto manufacturer. Truth is, you have to possess product knowledge. McNamara's team knew nothing about either guns or combat. They knew management theories, accounting principles and little else. I doubt that, with respect to firearms, they even knew the right questions to ask. When you are in the dark, as were they, you test, then you retest, then you test the test. Apparently, testing, at that time, wasn't cost effective.
That's a helluva thought for the families that lost loved ones during that conflict.

Dr. Ralph

You know it Shaky... my Ruger#1 will only shoot groups less than 2" with one cartridge, and that's on a good day. Needless to say that particular load is no longer available, but it's killed four deer this year.

Another day in the woods another sad tale. Namvet buddy comes over yesterday and says "we have to go to Cheatham WMA there's a deer there with rubs two feet long four feet up in the air on trees four inches in diameter." You sure it ain't a giraffe is what I'm thinking. Five AM and there they are! Biggest baddest tore up trees I've ever seen in thirty years of looking. Get out my Knight & Hale doe estrus (Bass Pro's been out of Tinks) and sprinkle it on a few rubs and find a nice tree to set up my stand. Take it off my back, lean the #1 against a tree and start to take the stand apart thinking to myself "man that Knight & Hale stuff really stinks it smelled up the whole woods". About the time I clang two metal parts together I hear the loudest snort I've ever heard and see a deer that made Hugebuck look like a little girl headed towards the Grand Ole Opry at warp 3... Next time I use that stuff I'll open the bottle after I'm on stand. It worked too fast. Another day, another deer smarter than old Homeless Ralph.

Gators rule! Manning threepeat! Go Vandy... first bowl since 1982. Extremely apropos song for the day and season I've had under my name. Run Run Rudolph...

Dr. Ralph

P.S. Namvet buddy threw his M-16 away and carried an M1 M2 whatever had the selector switch carbine through two tours of duty.

Jim in Mo

Dr. R, I've owned a .30 cal carbine for the civillian market, it was either a Ruger or Marlin lever action. To long ago to remember, just regrets of allowing it to go.
But to the point, I've read that as a cartrige that little .30 110gr. carbine round is pretty bad ass in a revolver. Ruger used to chamber it in their Blackhawk.


Dear Dr. Ralph, Eyeball, Jess and Shakey, Thanks for your comments regarding the model 24. It seems a lot of people like these old combo guns and I do plan to check out that sling attachment from Uncle Mike (I have one of his holsters for my Ruger MK II). I can shoot that model 24 nearly as well with iron sights as I can my scoped Ruger 10/22. I saw the recent version of thge model 24, it seems to be offered only with synthetic stocks now and a different sort of latch for the breech. I am certain that the new combo guns shoot as nicely as the old ones but I like the walnut stock and the tang mounted breech latch on mine. I think the new latch is mounted forward of the trigger guard and it isn't as handy. Anyway plastic stocks have no soul (imho), I wouldn't be suprised if the recent version is clunkier than the old one. Mostly I use mine for teaching kids to shoot and for the pleasure of plinking. People like 'em so much it is no wonder they can be hard to find.


all of this is fine. but how much of it is really necessary for a hunting rifle? the differences in accuracy you are talking about are really not going to mean much to an animal who's vitals are bigger than a dinner plate, where most shots are less than 100 yards. maybe it is because i live, and hunt in michigan, not out west where shots are usually much longer. maybe because i am old enough to know better than to jump on every claim to fame that comes along. but i used to practice at 300 yards. and my box stock remington 700 300 win mag proved very capable of shooting well within the vitals at that distance. if i had a rifle that was shooting 4" groups @ 100 yards, of course, i would seek a remedy. that does not mean dumping the rifle without trying to fix it first. but as long as the groups are less than 2" @ 100 yards, i will be in no hurry to buy the latest and greatest anything. at this point, i am looking to only add one more rifle to my collection. it will be a semi-auto. i am on the fence between a "little black rifle" or something like a remington 7400 243. the latter would probably be more usefull to me, but there is something fun about 30 rounds without stopping. i really have enough hunting rifles. maybe i should just go for a fun gun. time, will tell.


eyeball, and Shaky, it's a wonder that Savage hasn't brought the M24 back, as a lightweight, maybe in SS and w/ syn stock....that would sell like hotcakes..but in .22 and .410 as well as 20, (just for weight of ammo...) I'd buy another in a heartbeat! And with the old thumb break on top, where it belonged! That was THE BEST all around and survival gun, EVER! And give us a decent scope base that is strong enough to hold zero when firing the shotgun..but keep the iron sights on it as well..with a folding rear.

Rocky MtnHunter

No doubt Savagemakesa quality firerm, but they hae no resale value in my neck of the woods. If its not Remington, Winchester, forget it. CAn find many Savage ll0, etc. for lessthan 300.00 and appear in good condition. But, will never know till tried atthe range. My hate goes off to MArlin on their new MArlin XL7, a great gun, shoots well and with the fluted bolt, it's slick as a cat'sA--. Topped wih a good scope,should be good for any game up to a huge Elk, of which I think a 270 ( what I bought) is a tad light. But never owned a 270 and wanted a Mulie, lope gun. My Classic Custon Rem 700 in 25-06 is my go to gun, but for Elk out west, the 700 30-06 CDL using l80 gr. Scricco's can't be beat. I've shot at 9 animals with this gun and all 9 went down at the shot, and one shot was 345 yds. Its topped with Nikon Monarch( as all my rifles except the B/P and its got the Dusk to Dawn 3 x 9 x 40 with 6" eye relief) and does a good job.Killed a 9 point Monster at l70 yds this season and 2 other smaller bucks at over l00 yds. Savage needs to trim the grip a tad,as feels like the old axe i use to use. The MArlin XL7 was to light for me, so I added l l/2 lb of lead to the butt end, now the gun stays glued to my shoulder and little recoil. A 5 to 6 lb gun is too light for large game hunting, ok for varmints, but then I go to my Marlin 22 mag.If had to sell all of my guns but one, I would keep the 30-06, as some many different loads available for it. Shoot-un-straight and often, the Old Gunslinger

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