Savage Arms Model 110: Nicholas Brewer's Legacy

posted on August 3, 2022
Two Savage Arms Model 110 bolt-action rifle, wood stock, machined chassis

In 1956, Savage Arms launched an ambitious project—creating a new bolt-action rifle built for longevity and reliability, one the company could offer at an affordable price. Add the requirement that it also needed to be accurate, and designer Nicolas Brewer faced with a formidable task.

Two years later his work was complete, and the company’s Model 110 appeared. It fulfilled the requirements with dexterity, proved to be an instant hit and the popularity continues to this day. It is currently offered in 38 variants—each in a dizzying array of chamberings and configurations.

The year it was introduced though, its was only available in .30-‘06 Sprg.  and .270 Win. MSRP was 109.75, according to American Rifleman’s early review of the first models to hit the market (reprinted here on our website). The article concludes, “When fired with 110-, 150-, and 180-gr. ammunition the Model 110 rifle exhibited good accuracy, with no functioning difficulties. The spring-type ejector proved to be efficient and threw empty cases to the right at a proper ejection angle to clear low-mounted scopes. Quality of finish on both wood and metal parts is excellent. We can make no significant criticism of this well-designed and well-made arm.”

Throughout the years the rifle has built an enviable reputation for accuracy right out of the box—a feat made possible by the unusual design of the Model 110 action. Some purists expressed disgust at its cosmetic invasion of American walnut stocks, at first anyway, but they quickly discovered it was a critical component in a painstakingly precise system that trimmed expensive production time.

In grossly oversimplified terms, a barrel nut threads onto the chambered side of the barrel during assembly. The threaded shank then goes into the round Savage receiver. With a headspace gauge inserted, the bolt closes. Then the barrel turns into the receiver until proper headspace is achieved (contact with the gauge). The final step is to tighten the barrel nut to lock everything into place. On the majority of today’s models it’s a challenge to detect any cosmetic difference, although it’s easier to locate that spanner access point on versions with wood furniture.

It was a time- and cost-saving approach, but the advantages at the firing line are undeniable. The fact the receiver was machined from a single bar of steel was a price trimming decision, too, although the kind of strength and longevity it provides is another asset. The Model 110 action also brought three-position safeties and left-handed rifles into the mainstream. In addition, the 110s bolt design provided a replaceable, twin-lug floating head that not only allowed for better lockup of chambered cartridges, it paved the way for out-of-family cartridge conversions to be completed on a DIY basis.

The design has improved dramatically through the years, though. Select models now wear the company’s AccuFit system, including the famed AccuTrigger and AccuStock. Long-lasting and rugged polymer stocks are available—some in camo—receiver-mounted rails, threaded barrels, some are southpaw friendly and much more.

For enthusiasts who prefer long distance there’s even a Model 110 Elite Precision (above)—available in both left- and right-hand versions—that wears a Modular Driven Technologies stock. Its aluminum chassis ensures longevity with minimal maintenance, and it comes with a full-length Arca rail. Owners can easily tune the AccuTrigger for let-off weights between 1 lb., 8 ozs. and 4 lbs., and the cheekpiece, recoil pad and pistol grip are adjustable. It’s a versatile setup, available in .223 Rem., 6 mm Creedmoor, 6.5 mm Creedmoor, .300 PRC, .300 Win. Mag., .308 Win. or .338 Lapua Mag., your choice. MSRP runs from $1,999 to $2,199, depending on chambering.

If a more tradition stock better fits your pursuit and the budget’s tight, the Model 110 XP Hunter comes in at $709, the lowest MSRP in the line. It arrives with a 3-9x40 mm Vortex Crossfire riflescope and is available in 20 chamberings. The .450 Bushmaster model will set you back another C note.

Savage also has a wood-stocked version available (seen above). It comes in at $1,099.

The versatility of the Model 110, named for its original MSRP rounded up to the next dollar, shows in its longevity. It’s the inherent accuracy and innovation that make it a classic, but the manner in which Savage Arms continues to improve the rifle—without abandoning that original budget-friendly mission—is what keeps it at or near the top in popularity.


Confederate battle flag shown with the 48-shot Virginia Pacificator repeating rifle along with patent drawing overlay top left
Confederate battle flag shown with the 48-shot Virginia Pacificator repeating rifle along with patent drawing overlay top left

Virginia Pacificator: "The Greatest Gun Of The Age"

If Lorenzo Sibert, whose gun had the enormous capacity of 48 shots without reloading, had gotten into production, those gallant Southrons who claimed they could "whup th' Yankees with cawnstalks" might have done just that in the first year of the war with the "Pacificator."

Buck Knives Reopens Factory Store

Family-owned for more than 120 years, Buck Knives is celebrating the grand re-opening of its 1,600-sq.-ft. factory outlet store located in Post Falls, Idaho.

Preview: Burris SpeedBead Vent Rib Mount

Burris has added to its SpeedBead line of shotgun red-dot mounts with the recent release of its Vent Rib Mount.

Single-Actions For Home Defense

For more than 100 years the single-action revolver held the top spot as the go-to home-defense arm, only to be supplanted by modern semi-automatics, but the single-action, though a vestige of yesteryear, remains a viable tool for defensive use in and around the home.

New For 2024: Wilson Combat EDC X9 2.0

After introducing the double-stack EDC X9 in 2016, Wilson Combat is revisiting the concept with its EDC X9 2.0 model.

Preview: Traveler’s Guide To The Firearm Laws Of The Fifty States 2024 Edition

Lawyer J. Scott Kappas’ Traveler’s Guide To The Firearm Laws Of The Fifty States has notable updates for 2024, including more than 100 changes from the 2023 edition.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.