I’ve been a precision rifle junkie for over two decades now, and having been part of the community all these years I’ve seen a few things come and go. There has a been a great deal of equipment presented by a plethora of manufacturers, and today we are going to revisit a couple of those. Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO) has been a big name in the industry for some time, manufacturing rifle chassis, and rifle systems. Savage Arms is another big name in the shooting sports that has been well known for making all kinds of firearms, but particularly as it relates to today’s subject. Savage is well known for making affordable precision for those that have perhaps a tighter budget. The rifle we are discussing today is a combination of the above two companies, it is a Savage Model 10 6.5 creedmoor rifle combined with APO’s Saber chassis system.
Ashbury Precision Ordnance
APO is an international manufacturer and broker of firearms and their accessories, offering high performance shooting equipment. I was made aware of APO years ago when I began to see more and more of their rifles and chassis systems show up in forums, competition circles, marketing material and elsewhere. My initial impression back then was that APO’s designs were specifically focused on shooting performance, by that I mean their rifles and chassis were built quite robust. Rigid and perhaps even overbuilt is one way you could describe them, for static accurate shooting, this is not a bad approach. But for fast moving competitive shooting styles it could be perhaps a little less ideal.
In recent years APO has all but disappeared from the places I remember seeing them so often before. So much in fact I wondered if they had moved on to another market. These are of course only one man’s opinions, and perhaps I am simply less observant than most.
I bought my first Savage decades ago, I was already deep into the dark art of rifling and even had custom rifles built prior. But that old Savage 10FP just hit right, and I had to have it. It quickly because my favorite due mainly to its flat-out performance, I would make some of the best shots of my career with that rifle because of the consistent use and familiarity.
This is a common thread among Savage shooters, in my opinion, despite the lower cost of Savage barreled-actions they frequently punch above their weight. This has led to a cult-like following by many who have had the same experience I did. On many occasions I watched as my little Savage outshot rifles two and three times the cost (possibly due to the shooters skill). Today’s subject is a direct descendant of my old 10FP, the Savage model 110 being a more modern version of the same design.
When I first opened the box I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew it was going to be an APO/Savage combination but of what generation I wondered. As I lifted it from the box my curiosity remained, as it appeared to be of a slightly older model.
The complete rifle was quite long, the twenty-six inch fluted Creedmoor barrel was tipped at the end with a three-prong suppressor mount. The large diameter M-Lok handguard filled my support hand , and the AR-15 styled pistol grip granted easy access to the trigger. The folding buttstock reminded me of times past, the stock was adjustable and mounted to an AR buffertube. The Savage action had the longer bolt handle and knob typically seen on the long-range models. It also featured Savage’s famous Accu-Trigger, and a tang-mounted safety. I ran the bolt a few times with the rifle shouldered, and everything felt right in the world. The rifle is fed by AI pattern box magazines, this rifle came with a Magpul version which was easily removed by the large mag-catch in front of the trigger-guard.
Everything looked right, so it was time to prep this rifle for the range. I would need just a few things to see how this rifle would perform, mainly a rifle scope and a bipod. I decided to put my US Optics FDN25X on the rifle, mainly because it was close and available. I installed a Magpul sling stud in the front of the handguard so I could install a Harris SL bipod. Once I had those two items installed on the rifle, I again tested everything for compatibility and found something I wasn’t prepared for. Even after mounting my scope as far back as I could on the scope rail, the length of pull was so long I couldn’t even get a good position to see through the scope. Despite all the adjustments on the buttstock it was incapable of getting any shorter than it already was. This was going to be trouble as I simply couldn’t shoot it as it, I could have mounted the scope differently or, or another scope but it wouldn’t have completely solved the problem. I ended up having to swap out the buttstock for a shorter collapsable type, not exactly my first choice but it would work to get the rifle on the range.
On the range
It was time to get this rifle on the range and see what it would do. I prefer testing rifles in the open country of the Rocky Mountains or the wide open deserts nearby, it allows for long-range testing and there nobody there to bother you.
Once I had this rifle on the firing line with a target setup at one-hundred yards, it was finally time to feed it. I loaded a few rounds of Hornady Match 140 grain ammunition. I’d boresighted the rifle previously, so I was expecting it to be on paper. I fired a few shots, and while they went where I expected them to on paper, there was another unexpected predicament. The ejector didn’t seem to be working on the rifle, it would pull the spent cases from the chamber, but would drop them shortly thereafter leaving me no choice but to finger the case out of the way. While this was an unfortunate and unpleasant development, it’s not a big deal either. The ejector spring is an easy repair to make, which I would have done if I’d had the parts. But without them I just moved forward with my testing.
The rifle shot ok, I would have liked it to shoot better for sure though. Groups averaged under MOA but barely, and a rifle like this should be shooting 1/2 MOA all day long.
The more I shot the rifle the more familiar I became with its functions, the rifle fed like a dream, especially with that long bolt handle to give more leverage. The low friction of the Magpul magazine were surely also to thank for it. The 6.5CM is not a big recoiling rifle, but competition rifles are typically built for as little recoil as possible and this rifle could have used a better brake towards that end.
The chassis of the rifle was a bit cumbersome for me, it folds to reduce the overall size of the rifle which is nice. But my complaints are more regarding use, the magazine well seemed entirely too narrow. I required significantly more focus when reloading than other rifle chassis I’ve used.
Pros & Cons
-Solid and very robust design
-Compatible with popular designs and accessories
-Folding stock for reduced transport
-Accu Trigger feels good as always
-Extended bolt handle for extra leverage
-Buttstock was too long, couldn’t go short enough
-Magwell was finicky
-Accuracy had degraded to sub-par