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Flat Shooter: Savage Arms Model 12 Long Range Precision Review

by David Fortier   |  February 10th, 2013 3

Savage Arms’ Model 12 Long Range Precision rifle is capable of competing in F-Class, tactical matches or taking varmints at long range.

I have long been a fan of cartridges topped with .26-inch bullets. Military classics such as the 6.5 Arisaka, 6.5 Carcano and 6.5×55 Swede all pique my interest. I love the 6.5x38mm Grendel mated to an AR-15. Plus I have a great deal of respect for the .260 Rem.

So it was no surprise that when the 6.5mm Creedmoor was introduced I took note. It seemed like an interesting cartridge with great potential if it was mated to a quality rifle. So I was excited when Savage Arms selected it as one of three cartridges offered in the Model 12 Long Range Precision rifle. This rifle/cartridge combination appeared capable of providing impressive performance at a reasonable price.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the origins of this flat-shooting cartridge. The 6.5mm Creedmoor actually began with a conversation between Hornady Senior Ballistician Dave Emary and National High Power Champion Dennis DeMille at the National Matches. They were simply bench-racing about the ideal match cartridge.

DeMille’s requirements consisted of match-grade accuracy, a high ballistic coefficient projectile, long barrel and brass life, moderate chamber pressure, low recoil, ability to feed from a short action and to be readily available and affordable.

Emary took these requirements and used them to develop a new cartridge. The end goal was to provide the accuracy and exterior ballistics to be competitive at the top level of High Power Long Range competition using factory ammunition or easily produced handloads.

Emary selected a 6.5mm diameter due to the wide selection of .264-inch diameter match projectiles with high ballistic coefficients. These are not only very efficient, but provide light recoil.

The end result from Emary’s work was a new 6.5mm cartridge called the Creedmoor that Hornady introduced in 2007. The basis for the Creedmoor is Hornady’s earlier .30 TC cartridge developed for Thompson/Center. It has a base diameter of .470 inches, a case length of 1.920 inches and an overall length of 2.820 inches.

This allows it to fit into a short action rifle as well as an AR-10 type semi-auto. Hornady initially introduced two loads in this caliber: 120-grain A-MAX at 2,910 fps and a heavier 140-grain A-MAX at 2710 fps from a 24-inch barrel. The 120-grain A-MAX has an advertised ballistic coefficient of .465, while the longer 140 comes in at a much more impressive .585. Since its introduction Hornady has introduced two new hunting loads: 129-grain SST Superformance at 2,950 fps and a 120-grain GMX Superformance at a blistering 3,010 fps.

Savage Arms took this long reaching cartridge and built an impressive heavy barrel multipurpose rifle around it, the Model 12 Long Range Precision. This model is interesting, as it would be equally at home competing in an F-Class match, zapping varmints or flattening LaRues in a tactical match.
Built on Savage’s enclosed tubular action, it’s currently offered in three calibers: .243 Win, .260 Rem. and 6.5mm Creedmoor. The enclosed action is stiffer than Savage’s traditional open sporting receiver and has an ejection port on the right-hand side.

It starts life as a piece of steel round stock. This is then cut to length, bored and shaped in a number of steps before the various slots and holes are cut, drilled and tapped. After it’s fully machined, the front and rear of the receiver are induction heat treated.

Riding inside the action is a beefy bolt with dual opposed locking lugs. Bolt lift is 90 degrees and an oversize bolt handle is fitted. This is easier to grasp, especially with gloves, and provides additional leverage.

A large bolt release, in the form of a spring-loaded lever, is mounted on the right side of the action. The three-position tang mounted safety allows the rifle to be unloaded with the safety engaged. Feed is from a squat detachable steel central-feed box magazine. Capacity is four rounds plus one in the chamber.

Fitted to the bottom of the action is Savage’s Red Target AccuTrigger. Unlike the standard AccuTrigger, the Red Target model can be adjusted all the way down to 6 ounces. Best of all, this trigger design provides a crisp release with no creep along the way. Bolted to the top of the receiver is a beefy Farrell scope base. Measuring 6 inches long, this one-piece steel base features Mil Std 1913 cross slots.

Mated to the front of the receiver is a 26-inch long heavy chrome moly match barrel. Savage bolt action rifles have a reputation for being accurate, and it’s largely due to the barrel quality. Made in-house at Savage Arms’ Westfield, Mass., plant, each barrel starts its life as a piece of 20-foot stock.

Barrels are then cut to length, bores are drilled and then finished to their final dimensions in a three-step process. Once this is done, they are button rifled, forming the rifling in one quick pass. After this, the heavy barrel blank is turned down to its final dimensions, crowned, and checked for straightness.

The chamber is then cut in a five-step process by automated equipment. After the exterior is polished and the finish applied it’s ready to be fitted. Savage’s LRP comes with a deeply recessed target crown and a 1:8 twist to handle a wide range of bullet weights. Barrel diameter tapered from approximately 1.25 inch at the chamber to 1 inch at the muzzle. To drop some weight, five 15.5-inch long flutes are cut into it.

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