The Savage Model 11: Is It the Best Gun a Hunter Can Buy?
The Savage Model 11 is one of the best rifles a hunter can buy.
It’s accurate, reliable, and very well-balanced.
Are there any downsides?
Let’s find out!
The Model 11 has a short bolt-action. Both the action and the chrome-moly steel barrel have a matte black finish, with a Damascus-jeweled bolt.
It also features a black synthetic stock, which isn’t the most aesthetically-pleasing, but functional and properly proportioned with the rest of the gun.
The barrel is free-floated from the receiver ring to the muzzle and features a smooth, uniform button rifling with a 10” twist. This helps you maintain a constant zero on your target.
It also features a 1” recoil pad that’s very effective at absorbing felt recoil. It’s very soft and makes shooting comfortable.
The only thing I wish was different? The fore-end.
It’s pretty flexible, so magnum loads can pack quite a punch. Some even have enough force to make the stock flex!
Keep this in mind if you like to shoot heavier loads.
While the Model 11 comes in a variety of cartridges, I’ll be reviewing the Model 11 Trophy Hunter XP here.
It’s chambered in 7mm-08 round, and even comes in a youth option!
You can expect nothing less than shockingly great accuracy from the Savage Model 11.
This is thanks to several factors, including the standard, bore-sighted Bushnell 3-9x 40mm Trophy scope.
Instead of wasting time looking for the best Ruger 10/22 scope, go with the Model 11 Trophy Hunter XP. It already comes standard with a high-quality optic!
The scope comes pre-mounted in Weaver-style top mount rings and Weaver bases. The DOA 600 CF reticle is incredibly useful for hunting, as it can be applied to a wide variety of factory and handloads.
The open reticle features four dots on the vertical crosshair, right below the horizontal crosshair, that let you easily view different long-range aiming points.
The specific ranges aren’t specified, because the reticle can be adjusted depending on the ammo you’re using.
Each dot on the reticle includes thin lines, varying in length, with small hash marks near the end to use as reference points.
The scope also includes a second focal plane reticle, which lets you calibrate the spaces between the dots based on the load you’re using. All you have to do is increase or decrease the power while comparing the hash marks with your trajectory!
The detachable box magazine can hold either four standard rounds or three magnum rounds.
While it can handle magnum loads, the heavy recoil can negatively impact the accuracy. This isn’t a problem with other kinds of loads, just something to keep in mind.
I’ve used mostly factory loads in my Model 11 so far, and my average grouping has been just slightly over 1”. It’s especially accurate for long-range shots!
There’s not much to speak of in terms of reliability, because so far, I haven’t experienced any issues whatsoever!
The Model 11 has proven itself to be 100% functional so far. No issues with feeding, ejecting, or firing!
The Model 11 is incredibly well-balanced, and features molded checkering on the fore-end and pistol grip.
The checkering is very well done and comfortable, offering a solid gripping surface. The panels of checkering are even divided with smooth bars, which both increase comfortability and increase the aesthetic appearance!
The downside here?
The design of the bolt release button.
The button itself works fine, but it is a bit cumbersome to use.
To release the bolt, raise the bolt handle to cock the rifle (after you’ve made sure it’s unloaded and the safety is off).
Then, you’ll need to simultaneously pull the trigger back and push the bolt release button, located in front of the trigger guard.
The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to use your middle finger to pull the trigger and your index finger to press the bolt release.
To replace the bolt, you’ll need to again push the trigger and release button at the same time, then reinsert the bolt.
The Model 11 Trophy Hunter XP includes Savage’s AccuTrigger, which has an average pull of just over 4 lbs.
It’s user-adjustable with an included tool, but I haven’t felt the need to adjust mine so far. It breaks very crisply, and is already very light!
There’s also a three-position safety included on the tang. The back and middle positions are the “safe” positions.
When pulled all the way back, the bolt will be locked. If it’s pulled to the middle position, the bolt can be cycled, but it’s still technically on “safe.”
If you push the safety all the way forward, a red dot indicates that the safety is off and the gun’s ready to fire!
Weighing in at just 7.6 lbs with the scope attached, the Model 11 is a shockingly lightweight option for hunters.
It’s easy to carry on a long trek through the woods, and even light enough for female shooters to use.
It’s a little bit longer than the Mini 14 at 42.5” long overall, with the barrel accounting for 22” of that.
It’s a pretty large rifle, so you’ll probably want to invest in a gun safe that can accommodate it if you don’t already have one.
Despite its length, it’s still a lightweight option that’s comfortable for extended carry.
Despite what you might think, this rifle is available at a shockingly low price!
With the Trophy Hunter XP model available at an MSRP of $684, you can usually find used models for less than $500.
It’s truly one of the best hunting rifles under $1000.
The Model 11 is incredibly accurate, lightweight, and well-balanced.
With a wide variety of cartridge types available, it’s one of the most versatile hunting rifles on the market today!
Combine all this with the low price, and there’s really no reason not to invest in the Model 11!
Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.