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View Full Version : Savage Stevens 200 Review/ Building The "Poor Mans Precision Rifle"



One Doomed Space Marine
06-10-2012, 03:21 PM
Well about 3 months ago I decided I wanted to get out of my primarily milsurp addiction and get a scoped precision rifle.
However, I wanted to build a set-up that wasn't going to destroy my bank account. I try to keep my shooting hobby to a very frugal limit.

So my requirements were:

1- The rifle had to be inexpensive.
2- The caliber had to be very inexpensive.
3- It had to be a bolt action.
4- It had to be very accurate.

I did much research on the topic.
Eventually after reading a lot of U.S. gun forums I settled on a Savage Stevens 200 in .223 Rem.

So I set out to find one in bare bones stock condition. I'm so damned cheap I even found a second hand brand new condition one vice paying retail.
Cost for the rifle with no optics $280.

I then wheeled and dealed a little and traded some old stuff I had kicking around for a used folding Harris bipod. Cost: $0
I then hit the EE for a used Bushnell Trophy 3 x 9-40 scope Cost: $80

Next the mount.
I picked up an EGW picatinny round back rail. Cost $30.00

The mount/rings I picked up in the states. Again, I got this item in a trade so total cost again: $0 However, I could have easily just bought two rings for about $40-$50.

Total cost to me: $390.00

I assembled the items to the rifle.

The result:

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc364/WesLeeBronson/Savage/P6100335.jpg

I took it out today to the bush. After driving off a track to my favourite less known spot. I paced out 100 meters. 140 steps with my stubby legs :D

I fired all shots from the prone using the bipod and nothing else.

Ammunition was old '82 bandolier Canadian surplus in average condition.

After a couple of wingers and the barrel heating up a little, the groupings started to dial in a bit.

The fit and finish of the rifle is great.
The trigger pull is very light.
The Stevens bolt is a little overcomplicated for my simple pragmatic tastes but the accuracy of the rifle more than overshadows this.
The action is very smooth and chambers rounds very easily.
However the single stack box magazine is a bit of a bitch to load. Especially with the optics on the rifle.
It's much easier to just chuck a loose cartridge into the breech and pick it up with the bolt one at a time.
The stock is not pretty, it's a hard durable polymer in a camo green. It's ugly, it's rugged and it works.

I shot 3 very impressive groups for such a cheap "out of the box" bare bones rifle.

Again all shots from 100 meters in the prone using the bipod.

Here is the first good 3 shot group aiming for dead center, the coin is a Canadian dime:

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc364/WesLeeBronson/Savage/P6100324.jpg

Another 3 shot aiming for the "8", again with a dime for reference:

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc364/WesLeeBronson/Savage/P6100330.jpg

This 5 round group was all 5 shots as fast as I could accurately shoot. I learned something important about my fundamental shooting abilities today, I actually shoot more accurately when I take less time to focus on my shots! :confused: Albeit I tend to apparently shoot high and left when I take less time lol:

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc364/WesLeeBronson/Savage/P6100332.jpg

In the end though, what I have found is that the Savage Stevens more than lived up to it's American reputation as being an incredibly accurate and extremely functional and reliable "out of the box" rifle for a very low cost.

I can only imagine what a trigger job, a heavy barrel and some quality, non surplus, or even hand loaded rounds could do, bedding the action or mounting some stupid expensive optics but again all that would defeat the purpose of my initial personal challenge of building the poor mans precision rifle.

All these factors has allowed me to personally rate this rifle as having incredible value for the price.
And all this considered has earned itself now the title of:
DISCOUNT SNIPER C1A1 :rockOn:

Some more pics of the ugly little discount rifle that could :D

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc364/WesLeeBronson/Savage/P6100336.jpg

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc364/WesLeeBronson/Savage/P6100334.jpg

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc364/WesLeeBronson/Savage/P6100338.jpg

And just for the heck of it and because I had it out today, a picture of my vintage minty Stevens 311A
12 ga which I use for BEAR DEFENSE when out in the deeper bush :D Oh, yeah that's right I said it!

http://i1208.photobucket.com/albums/cc364/WesLeeBronson/Savage/P6100326.jpg

Cheers!

blacksmithden
06-10-2012, 04:25 PM
They are an incredibly accurate rifle for the cost. I've got one in 300 win mag with a (I believe) 9x24x50 Bushnell on it. After an extensive load development, I got to the point where I was hitting 6" gongs 7 our of 10 times at 700 meters. The main problem is the pencil/hunting barrel heating up. Now....Even though it says Stevens on them, they're a standard Savage action. A short action in your case, and a long action in mine. The standard Savage barrel nut wrench fits them, so swaping barrels isn't a big deal.

In my case, a heavy barrel was going to run me about $500 and a Boyds stock that fits a Savage model 110 was around $129.00. The adjustable Timney target trigger was around $110. So all in, you're just over a grand, and you wind up with a darned nice heavy barrel custom target rifle.

mlehto
06-10-2012, 05:14 PM
2 best groups I have ever shot:

Stevens 200 in .223 at 100m......

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy291/mlehtovaara/IMG00120-20100530-1155.jpg

mlehto
06-10-2012, 05:15 PM
This was only a 3 shot gtoup, but I had to stop before making it any bigger. ;) LOL

http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy291/mlehtovaara/bestgroupyet.jpg

mlehto
06-10-2012, 05:17 PM
http://i801.photobucket.com/albums/yy291/mlehtovaara/IMG00107-20100503-2206.jpg

BrotherRockeye
06-10-2012, 06:18 PM
I'll +1 the cheapo sniper iron.
I swapped for an Axis in .223
put a Tasco 6-24x42 AO on it and piddled with the trigger and it shoots like crazy,even with cheapo factory ammo.
I threw a beer box up on the brush pile out back after bore-sighting the scope.
The box got rained on if yer wondering about the color...
I shot once to make a hole and then used the hole as my aiming point and shot 2 more.
The shots were standing using the door of my pickup as a rest.
This is what I got
http://img580.imageshack.us/img580/7774/axisgroupsmall.jpg

That's a dime...and a factory Remington FMJ
I'm looking for one in .243 now :D

One Doomed Space Marine
06-10-2012, 08:23 PM
Nice groups all!

Funny thing about the Savage rifles, my wife actually used to work at the factory in Lakefield building them for about 3 years.

She always said that the rifles that were returned most were the models with the "accu-trigger" as they would always break or go defective.

I don't know much about precision rifles as I'm usually a milsurp/iron sights kind of guy but apparently the accu-trigger was a real POS.

I specifically looked for a model to build on without it once I settled on a Savage model. Hence the older 200 model :D

Is there any truth to this?

BrotherRockeye
06-10-2012, 08:31 PM
I did some reading on that very thing and apparently the good ones are great...but they aren't all good!

I'm an old school "simple is best" type so a regular trigger is fine by me.

FlyingHigh
06-10-2012, 08:57 PM
very impressive for such a cheap gun. i've always thought about grabbing a Stevens 200 for a truck gun.

as for the accu trigger, i love the one on my Savage 93G .22WMR

lone-wolf
06-10-2012, 09:39 PM
The only thing I didn't like about the stevens was the lack of a detachable magazine - or even a floorplate.

Who did I sell it to? I forget, I have a horrible memory, but they were going to build it into a short barreled .300blackout(or whisper, whatever) rifle. Which sounds awesome to me.

One Doomed Space Marine
06-11-2012, 06:13 AM
The only thing I didn't like about the stevens was the lack of a detachable magazine - or even a floorplate.

Who did I sell it to? I forget, I have a horrible memory, but they were going to build it into a short barreled .300blackout(or whisper, whatever) rifle. Which sounds awesome to me.

Same here.
I even put it in the review as being one of the major flaws.
The single stack is a real pain to load especially with the optics on :(
I just throw single rounds in one at a time.

BrotherRockeye
06-11-2012, 08:57 AM
That's where the Edge/Axis are a step ahead with a detachable box mag.
The drawback is the 19 pound factory trigger,although it is very easy to improve on without replacing.

50calshooter
06-11-2012, 09:55 AM
This is a great thread,


Nice budget build for sure!

lone-wolf
06-11-2012, 09:58 AM
Are the new stevens 200 actually single stack?? As in, you have to slide the round front to back, under the feed lips?
The old ones are double stack.

One Doomed Space Marine
06-11-2012, 05:16 PM
Can't say for sure as I am new to the whole precision/factory commercial rifle world being a milsurp guy primarily.

I know the Stevens 200 is an older design, hence the lack of the accu-trigger.

The single stack non removable mag is a real pain lol

It honestly wouldn't be that bad if I didn't have the rail mount over the top though, I went that route because I was able to get the scope ring/base for "free" by trading things. But even if I chose a basic two piece ring set the scope would be much lower and it would still be in the way.

But compared to a detachable staggered box magazine, it's a major nuissance lol

blacksmithden
06-11-2012, 08:41 PM
Can't say for sure as I am new to the whole precision/factory commercial rifle world being a milsurp guy primarily.

I know the Stevens 200 is an older design, hence the lack of the accu-trigger.

The single stack non removable mag is a real pain lol

It honestly wouldn't be that bad if I didn't have the rail mount over the top though, I went that route because I was able to get the scope ring/base for "free" by trading things. But even if I chose a basic two piece ring set the scope would be much lower and it would still be in the way.

But compared to a detachable staggered box magazine, it's a major nuissance lol

Agreed. Mine is a staggered internal. If you screw up and load one cartridge in there a little cockeyed, you're going to be picking at it with the tip of your knife for a few minutes to get things moving again. A removable magazine would be a MAJOR plus on these guns.

M.T. Chambers
06-11-2012, 08:52 PM
Did you consider starting your build with a Rem.700? Many more quality upgrades avail. such as quality triggers, bolt upgrades, stocks etc.....I realize that initial cost is higher but over the years you might want to make some upgrades that are not avail. with Savage.

One Doomed Space Marine
06-12-2012, 01:56 PM
I had actually.
I especially prefer the M700's action over the Stevens.
But again, this is in no way my primary firearm interest. I'm a huge milsurp guy.
I just wanted the cheapest most efficient build I could produce so I would have at least one "precision"/more accurate rifle.
The results turned out beyond what I expected with the 200 so I am content.