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A couple of years ago, I was looking for a 308 or 30-06 I could use...

to hunt and target shoot. I searched different forums and websites for months and wound up seeing a lot of positive information on the Savage 10FP in .308.

I was pretty sure I wanted a rifle that was heavy enough to absorb the recoil from the heavy loads I was going to run through it. When you sit behind a rifle and send 100 to 150 rounds downrange in a day, you want a gun that will absorb some of the recoil so your shoulder is not mush the next day.

I was also pretty sure I wanted a rifle with a bull barrel. I was not really sure why I wanted the bull barrel, other than they just looked neat. I did not need any type of iron sights as I had no intention of shooting this rifle at the 25- or 50-yard targets, other than to sight-in the scope I was going to mount to it.

See, I wanted a gun that would “dot the i” at 100 yards and produce less than MOA groups at 200 and 300 yards. For those who don’t know what MOA is in relation to shooting, it is placing the bullet inside a 1-inch group at 100 yards, 2 inches at 200 yards, 3 inches at 300 yards, and so on.

Most decent rifles will do that, but I wanted better. I wanted less than 1/2 inch at 200 yards, and from there I figured I could work up loads for the 100-yard, 300-yard and farther shots.

So, after some careful consideration and a little research, I decided on the Savage 10 FP in .308. So, the search for a great price began, and after several days of looking for the best price, I had my new Savage 10FP in .308.

After I got my new rifle, I needed a scope. Choosing the right scope can be mind-boggling because there are so many different makes and models. But, I’d had some experience with scoped rifles and was pretty certain I wanted a scope with the Mil-Dot reticle.

The reason for this is that I was not always going to be shooting at the exact same distance or always in calm, no-wind conditions, and with the Mil-Dot reticle, you can make adjustments for distance and wind using the dots as opposed to having to guess or move the reticles each time you shoot at a different distance or in windy condition.

See, with mil-dot scopes you have dots running vertically and horizontally on the crosshairs that allow you to use these dots to adjust for distance and wind. Say you had your rifle sighted in at 100 yards in calm (no or light-wind conditions) and you went shooting and your target was 200 yards away and it was blowing 15 mph. If you had a scope that did not have some sort of mil-dot reticle, you would have to guess as to where to put the crosshairs in order to hit the target.

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Now, if you had a Mil-Dot scope, and you had put in the range time, you would know what dot on the vertical line and what dot on the horizontal line to put on your target. This is why I like Mil-Dot scopes on rifles that will be shot at different ranges and in different wind conditions.

When it comes to scopes, I guess I’m cheap, frugal, thrifty, or whatever, but I have a hard time paying a lot of money for a scope when I can get a real good one for not a lot of money. But, the first thing I knew is that I wanted a Mil-Dot like this, and from there I would look at brands and price. After much research, I came up with a Brunton 6-24X50.

The numbers 6-24 mean that 6 is the starting magnification and 24 is the maximum power magnification. Fifty (50) denotes the objective size. Objective size is important for two reasons: the bigger the lens (the number), the stronger the magnification, and a larger objective will allow more light to enter the scope, giving the shooter a brighter, clearer picture. If you plan to shoot in low-light conditions, be sure to get a scope with the largest objective.

Well, I’ve got my rifle, scope and mounts, and now I’m ready to mount the scope. With a few simple tools, this is not too tough. Once the scope is on, remove the bolt, look through the barrel at a point on the wall, and then adjust the scope’s crosshairs to get real close to the spot on the wall. Your rifle is now bore-sighted, and your scope should be close to being on target. Some fine-tuning will still be needed, but you are close.

Okay, now I’m ready to shoot. I have my new gun, have my scope mounted, and have swung by the local bullet place and picked up some factory And, most importantly, for the past week I have researched my reloading manuals (and I have several of them) for the best loads in this rifle. The only problem with that is, they didn’t give me the best loads for this rifle.

So, to the drawing board I went. I reloaded several loads using several brands of bullets, cases and powder for my new toy so I would be ready for the big day at the range.

I started out with the least expensive loads to get the scope and rifle working as one (sight-in the scope).

Now I was ready for testing the different loads to find the perfect one at 200 yards. This is the distance I wanted to start with this rifle and then adjust up or down from there.

After a day of shooting, I found two loads that were acceptable that would place the bullet under 1/2 inch at 200 yards with a 10- to 12-mph cross wind. I also found several real good hunting and target loads for this gun at 100 to 200 yards. I had picked the right rifle for what I wanted to do.

To date, I have put about 400 rounds through this rifle and I am extremely happy with the way it shoots and shoulders. I have yet to hunt with it, but will in the very near future. I did add one thing to the rifle that made my shoulder feel better. I added a Limb Saver slip-on recoil pad over the hard rubber pad the rifle came with – and what a difference this has made to the felt recoil!

I really like the Savage AccuTrigger, as it is adjustable. This is a great feature, and if you ever shoot a rifle that has this, you will want it on all of them. The stock is black synthetic with positive checkering, and the barrel is a bull barrel with a matte finish. The rifle is dual pillar bedded, which contributes to its great accuracy.

It also comes with 4-round internal box magazine, swivel stud for bipod, and a very easy-to-use, oversized bolt handle. The bolt is solid and locks up tight when a new round is chambered. Overall, I would have to rate this rifle as follows:

Accuracy: Very Good

Looks: Very Good

Dependability: Very Good

Easy to Clean: Very Good

Price: Very Good

The .308 is pretty much an all-around cartridge for North America. I think (with the right round) it can harvest deer-like animals in Africa.

The military makes accurate shots to 1,200 yards with this cartridge, so we should be able to take deer at 200 to 400 yards with no problem, as long as we put in our range time to be sure the bullet hits where the crosshairs are pointing.

Check out www.shootingwithjim.com for the reload info on this and other guns as I shoot them.

(Shootingwithjim.com does not endorse anyone reloading ammo, and if you do, follow all safety instructions on the powder, bullets, equipment and reload manuals. All loads shown on the site were prepared by someone with years of reloading experience and follows all safety precautions to the letter. All of the loads on the site were fired in modern guns that were safe to shoot. Because shootingwithjim.com and its affiliates have no control over individual loading practices and/or components used, no responsibility is assumed by shootingwithjim.com or its affiliates in the use of this data. The information is to be used at the sole discretion of the user and the user assumes all risk.)

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Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”