Savage Long Range Hunter Rifle Review
By John Johnston
The Savage LRH has been around several years, enough time to let Savage do some fine tuning to meet the needs and desires of the long range crowd. When they first came out, Savage sent a rifle for review. This rifle was in one of our favorite calibers for long distance, the 6.5x284. I kept the rifle for quite a while to see exactly what I could get in the way of accuracy out of the 6.5x284. Now usually I can find that sweet spot for the best accuracy and velocity. This takes a lot of trial and error with powders, bullets and overall lengths. The best accuracy I could achieve at one hundred yards was right around an inch. That may have been good twenty years ago but in today’s shooting world it is not quite good enough for me or most long range shooters. So after Savage tweaked a few things on the LRH, I was ready to give it another try.
Savage Long Range Hunter with the Nightforce SHV.
What a shooter looks for in a good long range rifle may be different with every shooter but I think there are a few standard requirements we all desire. The list includes: accuracy, in a good long range caliber, a long enough barrel to get the best velocities, a barrel heavy enough to keep vibrations and recoil down but light enough to carry on a hunt, a stock that is bedded with a free floating barrel and that is adjustable to allow the shooter to keep his or her eye in line with the scope, an action that is smooth and locks up tight and finally at a price that does not empty the piggy bank.
The aluminum bedding in this rifle is extensive.
The Savage LRH fits all the above requirements more or less. Let me start at the muzzle. The LRH comes from the factory with one of their muzzle brakes. These are unique in that they can be turned on or off to fit the situation. If you are at a public range, you may want to turn it off to be courteous to fellow shooters. A muzzle brake does reduce recoil but is very loud for the shooter and even worse for anyone in the area. The report of a magnum rifle both in noise and concussion can do damage to your ears. I have personally suffered from the effects. However, I still have a few rifles with brakes but I double up on hearing protection. The Savage brake is simple to use by turning the brake and lining up the holes to turn it on, and to close it just reverse the turn till all you see is metal. First thing shooters want to know is, “By using the brake does it affect accuracy?” The answer for this test rifle in .260 Remington is “Yes.” I found my groups with the brake on were approximately twenty-five percent larger. Since I am recoil sensitive I was hoping the muzzle brake reduced the recoil. Shooting some 140gr. bullets at close to maximum velocity I could not see any significant recoil difference with the brake on or off. Another point about the brake is, make sure it is in the off or closed position when you clean the barrel. If you do not, there is a good chance you can lock up the brake. If you happen to lock it up, it is quite a chore to unlock. To clean the brake Savage advises to just spray it with carburetor cleaner and not to lubricate it. However, this will leave it susceptible to rust.
The muzzle brake. Notice the slightly grey color due to a lack of oil on the finish after being cleaned with carburetor cleaner.
The barrel on this .260 is 26 inches long and tapers to a diameter of .74 inch at the muzzle. It has a 1 in 8 barrel twist. It is not totally free floating. The barrel is in contact with the stock for about an inch at the front. The remaining barrel is floated all the way to the action. It was easy to clean and did not show much copper fouling. The barrel is screwed into the action and tightened with a threaded sleeve instead of the old ugly barrel nut. This works so well other rifle manufacturers are using this method. The barrel can still be removed easily.