Savage MSR 10 Hunter

By Mike Dickerson

A heavy-hitting AR-10 model optimized for hunting, from a firm known for turning out superbly accurate bolt-action rifles

Federal’s 150 gr. 308 Win. Fusion MSR round—fired out of the new Savage MSR 10 Hunter rifle—did an admirable job on Texas hogs.

At the beginning of 2017, Savage joined the ranks of traditional bolt-gun manufacturers who have added AR-platform rifles to their lineup, but the company has been making AR barrels for other manufacturers for quite some time now. That expertise is evident in the new offerings.

The MSR 10 Hunter, one of four new AR-platform rifles from Savage. Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win., the Hunter is well-named. It weighs just 7.8 pounds in the .308-chambered rifle sent to me for testing. That’s far less than many AR-10 platforms—and light enough for the rifle to earn serious consideration as an everyday hunting rifle.

Custom-forged receivers make the MSR 10 light in weight, compact and handy in close quarters. Controls are in the usual location and configuration and the MSR 10 model utilizes a Blackhawk AR Blaze trigger. The rifle is supplied with a 20-round Magpul P-Mag magazine. For testing, the author mounted a Bushnell Trophy Xtreme X30 2.5-10X scope in a 30 mm Weaver SPR tactical mount.

The rifle’s custom-forged 7075-T6 upper and lower receivers help reduce the rifle’s weight and give it a bit of a unique look in a package that’s compact and quite handy. The rifle sports a 16-1/8-inch fluted barrel, made of 4140 steel, with a 1:10 rate of twist. Rifling is of the increasingly popular 5R design, which I’ve found to be easier to clean and somewhat less prone to fouling. The barrel is protected with a Melonite QPQ finish, a type of nitrocarburizing case hardening that increases corrosion resistance. Receivers are matte black hardcoat anodized.

The MSR 10 is equipped with a free-floated Savage hexagonal M-Lok handguard. Both MSR 10 offerings—the Hunter and Long Range model—feature an adjustable gas block, which quickly and easily let you dial in the proper amount of gas (and in turn, bolt-velocity) for whatever load you happen to be shooting that day, and wether or not you’re running a sound suppressor.

Keeping components within the Vista Outdoor family of companies, the Hunter wears some upgraded furniture from Blackhawk, including a Blackhawk Knoxx Axiom carbine stock with multiple integrated QD sling mounts and a substantial butt pad that does a pretty good job of soaking up recoil. The rifle also has a Knoxx AR pistol grip, with a palm swell and textured surface. The grip angle seems just right for me, and I like the natural fit of this grip in my average-sized hand.

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