Savage Model 110 Engage XP: Mediocre and Modest
Reviewed and Written By Corey Surma
In hunting and fishing it is hard not to want the best, or at least stretch a dollar and keep in mind use, longevity and overall quality.
As I look back on my first rifle purchase I would be lying if I did not invest two to three months looking at prices, brands, calibers, cost of ammunition and of course, optics. Being the son of a bow hunter and living in the area of the province with no rifle season, I have grown to only bow hunting tactics. In only a handful of rifle hunts I have managed to harvester one buck, at about 50 yards with a .308. Even with a muzzle-loader my gun hunting has been minimal.
Searching online for info and asking a few good rifle hunters and veterans helped improve my knowledge. More importantly, they reminded me mediocre is better than most and will still get the job done while remaining enjoyable! I looked at rifles with and without scopes and ultimately chose the latter. Having grown up with a .30-30 Savage/Stevens bolt action from the 50’s era could make me bias but that said Savage is a good brand with lots of options including many rifle combo’s with or without scopes included.
I landed on a Savage Arms Company in a 7mm-08 Caliber from the Model 110 lineup. A Savage 110 Engage XP with Bushnell Engage 3-9×40 scope. The Model 110 Savage has been around for an eternity and that helped add in my decision. The gun is modernized with things like Savage brand Accufit Stock, premium Bushnell scope with Weaver grand slam rings, floating bolt head, 22″ Sporter barrel, and Savage famous Accutrigger. This model is chambered in 9 varieties from the following 243, 270, 300 magnum 300 wsm 30-06, 308, 7mm mag, 7mm-08, 6.5 Creedmoor.
Having held, and looked at online all the many competitors of the Savage in my price range (750 dollars with or without optics). I had settled on the 7mm-08 from the outset so the list of available manufacturers was shortened for me. I settled on the Savage and headed off to make my purchase.
After purchasing the gun, I took it out to my local range for sighting it in. The Bushnell sight had been bore sighted from factory but was still needing adjustments. It took roughly 15 rounds to sight in close and a few small adjustments to finish the box of 20 140gr Hornady Amercian Whitetails ammo. The last three shots had it dialed right in and I was happy with the results.
Not doing a lot of bench shooting in my life or a lot of centrefire shooting might have something to do with the time it took getting it bang on but you live and you learn. At the end of the 20 rounds I was grinning ear-to-ear as I was surrounded by three experienced rifle hunters who gave me the nod of approval. Overall my experience would leave me thinking this modest build of a firearm is exactly what the doctor ordered, 4 out of 5 so to speak.
Pro: I love the reticle of this Bushnell scope!
Con: synthetic stocks aren’t my favourite and hard to have lots of expectations with synthetic regardless.
Harvester Pro-Tip: Go out, shop around, invest time in asking veterans, gun enthusiasts, fellow hunters, then invest the money in something you’re excited about. Most of all be happy with your choice and always keep quality and value in mind if you’re on a fixed budget. I know, I tried, and am waiting to give this new purchase, a new adventure, with new surroundings.
Hope to update this article in the future with pictures of a harvest, big or small. Just remember in a world where most people can only afford mediocre don’t worry about making a purchase on a cheaper rifle, bow or muzzleloader. A modest weapon in the skilled hands of its owner, often is just as successful.