Savage Arms trotted out a whole new stable of rifles in 2017. Among them is the B—meaning bolt action—Series 17 FV-SR, chambered in 17 HMR. We took it for a spin, curious to see if the company’s rimfire rifles perform as well as its big-bore models that have earned some real estate in my gun safe.
The B17 FV has an entirely synthetic stock, all in black. Its traditional hunting rifle shape is accentuated by sculpted lines that give the appearance of a separate comb and buttpad. Other lines on the stock are placed to enhance grip. It’s lightly textured all over. Traditionalists may frown at the modern material and updated design, but I rather like it. It’s an easy-clean, almost scratchproof surface, and I tend to get my stuff scratched and dirty. So, in my opinion, it’s a winner.
The “SR” part of the name indicates the addition of a Picatinny rail and threaded barrel to the FV design.
The safety is Savage’s customary ambi design, a thumb-operated slider just behind the bolt, with the “fire” position clearly exposing red. The bolt is nicely textured, and the trigger guard has plenty of room for a gloved finger. Just forward of the trigger guard, in the bottom of the receiver, a 10-round rotary magazine seats flush with the stock. Those accustomed to Ruger 10/22 operation will find magazine loading and removal to be virtually identical.
Savage has raised the bar for stock rifles with its Acu-Trigger, which is included on this rifle. For those unfamiliar, it’s a single-stage, user-adjustable trigger with a safety block akin to that on a Glock pistol. Though I’ve never felt the need to adjust an Acu-Trigger, the option is there.
The blued barrel features a 1-in-9 twist. The business end is threaded, and covered with a secure, but easily removed, protector. Unloaded, the B17 FV-SR weighs six pounds. It’s 39 inches long.
What this rifle doesn’t have is iron sights. There are two drilled and tapped holes for scope rings or a rail. Bushnell and Savage Arms are both subsidiaries of Vista Outdoors. Bushnell supplied its 3-12x 40mm model, quite a snazzy add-on for this modest caliber. It really is deserving of a review of its own, with its crystal-clear field of view and customizable zero elevation and windage turrets, meaning the zero I set on the scope matches the -0- marks on the turrets. It has parallax adjustment, too.
Three brands of ammunition were supplied for the test. Sent downrange were CCI’s 17-grain Varmint Tip, specially made for this gun, Federal Premium’s 17-grain V-Shok with a Hornady polymer-tip bullet, and CCI’s 16-grain TNT Green lead-free load. We fired groups at 25 and 50 yards, with 50 representing the accuracy test. Testing was done with and without a suppressor, in this case a Gemtech model.
Every brand produced a tighter group with the suppressor attached. Federal Premium V-Shok edged out the specialized A17 Varmint Tip load by a small margin. Both delivered consistently tight groups, with the V-Shok being especially impressive. Our accuracy test may have been confounded to some degree by gusting winds, but this performance was consistent on two different days at 25 and 50 yards, so it’s probably a reliable conclusion. Bringing up the rear was TNT Green, though its 2.2-inch, five-shot groups are still sufficiently accurate for all but small rodents at 50 yards.
Bolt operation and loading/ejection was consistently good. The magazine does require a firm push to seat when the bolt is closed and the mag is full, but that is to be expected.
Supporting the setup during this test was a Blackhawk Sportster Pivot Bipod, which was easy to mount onto the sling swivel. This shorter model of several in the product line works just like the big ones, with legs that spring out quickly when released, and the option to cant the rifle at will or keep it laterally fixed.
The B17 FV, or FV-SR, would make a rewarding move-up rifle for the young marksman who has mastered iron sights and shooting fundamentals. It’ll basically perform as well as the trigger-presser does. It’s also a great choice for farm and ranch use, where a red dot rather than a magnifying scope may make more sense for closer-range engagements. New shooters, too, can go from learning the basics to exercising the building blocks of long-range precision marksmanship on this rifle, sans the expense and recoil of centerfire setups.
Are you a fan of the .17 HMR? How about Savage’s Acu-Trigger? Have you spent any range time with the Savage B17 FV? Share your answers in the comment section.
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