Letter Re: Comment on Savage

Mr. C,

I’ve enjoyed your reviews and was interested in your recent Savage rifle review. While Savage has some things going for its offerings, one big weakness (well, two– the other is their denial of the first) is their built-in magazine in the Savage M11. Two sharp runners are presented when the bolt comes back. To load cartridges, the cartridge must be precisely placed between the two runners and pressed down to enter the magazine. The runners are sharp and fairly inflexible, but the real issue on loading is if the loader misses the runners and the cartridge goes past the entry point to the magazine, it lodges in the left side of the receiver between the runners and the left side of the receiver. Since most rifles are scoped, a low-lying scope or rail is over the receiver opening and that prevents easy access to the lodged cartridge. Solution: turn the rifle on its side and shake the cartridge loose, possibly dropping it into snow, mud, grass, et cetera. Now figure your fingers are large, cold, or numb and you can see that precise manipulation is problematic.

I wrote Savage about this glaring weakness in their rifle and got back the standard blah blah about how we tested it and it’s wonderful since our paid testers said so. Ruger (M77), Winchester (M70), and many other working rifles have Mauser type followers but not Savage, and I wondered if they have learned anything that improves this problem with the rifle you just tested.