Savage bolt-action rifles enjoy a reputation for accuracy far exceeding their price. One of the primary reasons is the floating bolt-head, allowing the locking lugs a little flexibility when seating in the action recesses. In conventional bolt actions the bolt is a solid unit, and uneven locking-lug seating causes the action to flex during firing, reducing potential accuracy. The only way to remedy this fault is to lap the lugs against their recesses. This costs time and money. The Savage system bypasses any need to lap the lugs, only one of several reasons Savage rifles acquired their accuracy reputation.
The original Savage rifle with the floating bolt-head design appeared in the 1959 Gun Digest. Called the Model 110, it was an "affordable" hunting rifle chambered for the usual suspects including the .243, .270 and .308 Winchesters, plus the .30-06. Over the decades the rifle's reputation for accuracy grew, along with the number of model variations. Eventually demand rose for target versions, especially after the introduction of their superb Accu-Trigger.
Today Savage offers five target models: Bench Rest, F Class, F/TR, Long Range Precision and Palma. The test rifle was a Long Range Precision in the trendy new chambering of 6.5 Creedmoor. Some shooters publicly wonder why the 6.5 Creedmoor exists, since several 6.5mm rounds capable of approximately the same ballistics already exist, including the 6.5x55 "Swedish" Mauser and the .260 Remington, essentially a short-action version of the 6.5x55. The 6.5 Creedmoor has almost exactly the same powder capacity as the .260, around 2 grains less than the 6.5x55, so why bother?
Their skepticism of anything new is understandable, especially after being inflicted with 17 dozen new 7mm cartridges over the past few decades, most doing exactly the same things as several other 7mm cartridges. But because of that skepticism many shooters apparently haven't noticed the changes in bullets since the 6.5x55 appeared in 1891. Plus, there aren't 17 dozen 6.5mm cartridges, at least not in North America.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is designed around bullets with much higher ballistic coefficients, a trend started by the affordable availability of accurate laser rangefinders, beginning in the mid-1990s. Really knowing the range, down to the yard or meter, made longer-range shooting not just possible but truly precise. Consequently, shooters started realizing the advantages of high ballistic coefficient in bucking the wind and retaining velocity, whether shooting distant game or targets.
Increasing the ballistic coefficient of any bullet means making it longer at both ends, with an extremely pointed ogive and a boattail. The extended ogive of bullets like the Berger VLD (Very Low Drag), Hornady A-Max, Lapua Scenar and others caused minor problems.
Ever since the Remington 722 appeared in 1948, the magazines of "short-action" bolt rifles have been...