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 Savage 10FP folding choate, .308 Winchester - Hawke Sidewinder Tactical 6.5-20x
MaverickH1  [Member]
2/20/2012 11:11:47 PM
I have had my eye on the Savage 10FP Folding Choate model for quite some time. I refused to buy one without feeling the stock first, as it looks like it might have been a case of Savage trying to push a large number of options while sacrificing on the quality of them all to keep costs down. This seems to be a rare rifle, seemingly already out of production. Searching for the past 2 years or so on Gunbroker will show 3 or 4 of these rifles at a time. None of them near me in Southwest VA.

A few specs:
- Caliber .308 Win
- 20" free floating barrel
- 1:10 twist
- Internal box mag, 4+1 cap



It just so happens that I was travelling from VA to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for two weeks of work. And one of those rifles was supposedly in Plano, TX. After exchanging calls with the shop owner at Long Range Shooting Shop, I dropped into his "store" to give it a feel. I loved it. There is a little bit of play when it is in the locked position, and I am concerned that over time it will loosen more and more. I couldn't have asked for a smoother transaction with Lloyd. For example, he had never done a sale of a rifle to an out of state resident, and swore it couldn't be done. After I assured him that I didn't want him to do anything that would make him concerned about his FFL license and future trouble with the ATF, he said "well I'm 99% sure I can't, but I'll call a buddy of mine". The friend was apparently an FFL with a shop of his own for 20+ years. Sure enough, as soon as I found the information on the ATF website that it IS okay given certain conditions, the FFL was relaying the same information to Lloyd.

So long story short, I left that night with the rifle. Here are my initial thoughts on the rifle:

- As previously mentioned, the stock is a tad loose. At this point in time, I don't think it is a hinderence.
- The replaceable cheek pieces are a very nice touch. The rifle came with 3 different heights total (including the one on the gun)
- I've never cared much for the "Accutrigger", but as a user of HK pistols and AUG rifles, I am willing to put trigger feel aside in order to get function out of a firearm.
- The additional... I don't know what to call it... "foot" that unscrews from the bottom of the buttstock is a great feature to have on a rifle. Shooting today with it allowed very, very steady shots.
- It's got plenty of sling attachments on either side. The forward one rattles a bit. I don't have a sling for it yet.
- The thing I WANT to do to this rifle is thread the barrel for a suppressor. I will be looking into that. For now, that's the plan.
- The thing I HATE about this rifle is the internal box magazine. When I get it back home I will be looking into possibly modifiying that. I would prefer it to be a detachable box magazine rifle.

This is my first bolt gun. I shot them a lot growing up, the last .308 I shot was our very light Howa 1500 (I think) that I shot when I was 13 or so. It rocked my world. Part of me getting a .308 was my of saying "stop being a pussy".

Next up comes the scope. I was near SWFA, so I was determined to drop by there to pick up what I needed. However, their business hours are a strict M-F 9-5. Same hours I have to work. So, that wasn't going to be possible. Instead, I shopped and shopped and shopped on their site and tried to decide what I wanted in a scope. I wanted "adjustable on the fly" turrets for elevation and windage. I wanted a Mil-dot style scope. I wanted illumination. I wanted 10x or more. I was scared of getting a fixed magnification scope, because I had never gotten good with finding a groundhog 200 yards away with a 16x power scope. I wanted sunshade capability. I wanted a 30mm tube.

And on SWFA's Sample List (used stuff), I found the Hawke Sidewinder Tactical 6.5-20x. It's a scope made in China, designed by a British company that's been making good scopes for years, retails for $450, IIRC. There isn't much information out there about it, but most of the information I have found say "the turrets are kind of gimicky, but it's a great value optic". SWFA wanted $319.99 for a "like new" scope. It had everything I wanted, and got decent reviews. I jumped on it. I also purchased Burris XTR bases and rings for it.

It just so happened that I was given a room on the 15th floor of my hotel on the day this equipment arrived... so...







Playing with the scope (I still had no ammo, and the bolt was removed for those pictures, btw) I confirmed that the turrets seemed a bit off. By "off", I mean that they weren't concentric with their apparent axis of rotation, and the hash markings had enough slop between clicks that the lines wouldn't always line up. But other than that, the scope felt great. The parallax adjustments is easy, and it even came with a larger hand wheel that you can install to make that more precise if desired. Changing magnifications didn't require brute force like it does on some scopes. It was easy and smooth, with enough resistance to rotation that you knew o-rings were still there for water sealing. The rear of the optic adjusts as well to give maximum sharpness to the reticle. Illumination has 5 different levels of brightness in both red and green. "OFF" is located on both sides of the extremes of brightness, which is a nice bonus I think. The different levels of brightness offered an awesome range, you can use the brightest during the day with a dark target just fine, and the dimmest in near total darkness is not overwhelming. The reticle had no obvious "glare" using illumination, either. The picture shows a little because of movement of the camera. The scope comes with a 4" sunshade that screws onto the front of the scope, and it also comes with two lens covers that screw on to either side. Not my flavor of lens covers...

A few days later, I finally got to take the thing to the range. I only found .308 at a WalMart over the weekend, and had 150 grain and 180 grain to try out. I forgot the exact info on the cartridges. Both were soft point, I think the 150s were cheap Federals and the 180s were slightly more expensive Winchesters. Maybe Remingtons... I was under the impression the best round for the 1:10 twist in this rifle would probably be the 168 grain Federal Match with the Sierra boattail, but when I was at Cabela's with that ammo I wasn't sure if I was even going to be able to shoot the thing before I left, and a lady friend had me eager to leave Cabela's...

After driving around this part of TX for 2.5 days, I finally decided to go to a nearby public range at Uncle George's. When I walked in, I fully expected the elder couple to be what I had come to know as angry gun store owners that we have in VA. Much to my surprise, both of them were awesome. I BSed with both of them yesterday evening and this morning. That doesn't happen much for a young'n like myself... up north, anyway... I got the flip up covers there.



So I tried to do a proper cleaning and barrel break in... but it was so damn windy today that sand was all over the table. I did clean it 5 or 6 times in 40 rounds with a bore snake. No traces of sand got into the barrel that I can see...

In my excitement, I probably did something incorrectly... but it didn't seem to me that the turrets operated as they should. For example, once I was on paper at 15, and 50, I went to 100. When I was 2 inches low and an inch to the right... the scope SHOULD mean one click goes 1/4". Well... that wasn't exactly what happened. But at the end of the day, I decided to use the last 5 rounds (180 gr) at 100 yards to make my "mark" and have some sort of feedback on the accuracy of the system.



Final grouping, 100 yards out:



And an oddly relevant sign that I ran into...



Overall... I know this grasshopper has a long way to go. I think this rifle is a great starting point for me to get into precision rifles. I don't know if I will stick with it in the long run, because I've already got a case of "shaky hands". We'll see... up next is a bi-pod and a sling, then this puppy should be finished... for now...
MaverickH1  [Member]
2/20/2012 11:13:00 PM
- Reserved -
1IV  [Member]
2/20/2012 11:52:32 PM
Lol. Hell of a rifle. Neat.

When you get situated and have time try some rapid deployment groups.

Walk up to your shooting spot. Rifle folded and slung. Dump your pack and fold open rifle- shoot a five round group, get up and repeat that exercise out to 500yds... I want to see it perform as designed..


I hope you start reloading soon. Find it a load it loves.

Shoot the dog shit out of it!

P.s.
- last guy I saw shooting one had an Velcro elastic wrist wrap for boxing he spun around the folding mech to stiffin it.
FALex  [Member]
2/21/2012 8:42:36 AM
my buddy shoots this same rifle. I had concerns it may not lock up tight, but those concerns were quickly alleviated. I really like the rifle, it is a hammer. He had a brake installed on his barrel, great rifle.
MaverickH1  [Member]
2/27/2012 4:30:08 PM
Originally Posted By 1IV:
Lol. Hell of a rifle. Neat.

When you get situated and have time try some rapid deployment groups.

Walk up to your shooting spot. Rifle folded and slung. Dump your pack and fold open rifle- shoot a five round group, get up and repeat that exercise out to 500yds... I want to see it perform as designed..


I hope you start reloading soon. Find it a load it loves.

Shoot the dog shit out of it!

P.s.
- last guy I saw shooting one had an Velcro elastic wrist wrap for boxing he spun around the folding mech to stiffin it.


I will certainly have to do the rapid deployment groups. I was looking yesterday into what detachable magazine setup I'd want on the rifle... and I'm thinking along the lines of a Dragunov system or HK G3. But I don't even know what the interior of the rifle looks like at this point, so I can only speculate what would need to be modified to change it to a detachable mag gun.

Reloading will have to wait until I have a house. Hell... I just realized that my little POS gun locker is no longer big enough for my collection, and now I have to figure out which gun(s) I'll need to store at somebody else's house.