In the April 2012 issue, Gun Tests magazine tested three semi-automatic rimfire rifles that showed promise of being more than just plinkers. They were the $325 Savage Arms model 64 TR SR V No. 45200 22 LR, CZ-USA’s $465 model 512, and the $595 Remington 597 TVP. Following is an excerpt from that test, used with permission:
To test for baseline accuracy we fired each rifle from the 50-yard line utilizing benchrest support. For optics, we chose low-power variable power scopes with circle-X reticles for rapid target acquisition. Test ammunition consisted of three high-velocity rounds topped with 40-grain bullets. Both our CCI Mini Mag and AR Tactical rounds were copper plated. Federal’s new Auto Match fired a solid lead slug with a smooth gleaming finish.
What we found were three very good rifles. Each one deserved an A rating, in our view, with downgrades that may or may not apply, according to the individual. By the end of our range days, the only job left was to accurately describe each gun in print so that our readers could choose which rifle would best meet their needs or suits one’s tastes. Here’s more on the Savage Arms model 64 TR SR V
Savage Model 64 TR SR V No. 45200 22 LR, $325
Our Savage rifle varied a little bit from the SKU shown on the website by the addition of a heavy “Varmint” barrel. If the tactical-style wood stock with textured black coating wasn’t bad-boy enough, the barrel was shorter than the other guns in our test and threaded to make room for a suppressor. The threads were covered by a screw-on protector that showed a checkered surface. Suppressors are not silencers for the nefarious, as Hollywood would have you to believe. As pointed out by the Texas State Rifle Association in a recent email, “The benefits associated with suppressor use include increased accuracy due to reduced recoil and muzzle blast, protection from hearing damage and reduced noise pollution.”
The barrel was fluted along its 16.5-inch length. Without a “can” in place, the fore end appeared to be a little long, covering all but the final 6 inches of barrel. It was thinned below the area of the receiver but returned to full width for greater stability. Savage made good use of the extra-long fore end by adding a second sling stud that can be used to mount a bipod. The high-quality 5.9-inch-long Picatinny rail mounted atop the receiver more than made up for the lack of supplied sights.
The buttstock was wide, with the comb extending in a straight line directly below the bore. Comb profile was symmetrical, making the 64 TR SR V comfortable to mount for both left-handed and right-handed shooters. The stock was backed by a rubber buttpad that, given the caliber, probably wasn’t necessary. But its soft, checkered surface did promote a superior weld at the shoulder. The pistol grip was deep and generous filling the shooter’s hand. We found it easy to pull the stock into the shoulder without any sign of strain or cramping of the wrist.
The safety lever was located on the right-hand side of the action on the same line but well behind the bolt lever. A sizable red bead rather than merely a dish filled with red paint was highly visible when the gun was off-Safe. The lever could not be reached without leaving our shooting grip. The bolt handle was a roller-style unit, and pushing the roller inward at the rear of its stroke locked it open. By its length and listing on the www.SavageArms.com website, we expected the magazine to hold 10 rounds. But eight rounds were all we could load into the rigid steel-bodied magazine with sealed base pad. We also expected to seat the magazine by pushing it directly upwards into the receiver. Instead, the trick was to use the forward surface of the magazine body to push the release lever forward and then insert the magazine. After a couple of tries, this method became natural and we didn’t give it another thought. However, the lips of the magazine tried to bite our fingers as we loaded each round.
Stripping the Model 64 rifle was straightforward in that it began by separating the barreled action from the stock. Removing the receiver from the barrel required putting the action in a padded vise. Then remove the magazine housing, front stud, and barrel clamp, followed by taking away the receiver and the ejector. The cocking handle can now be removed, and the bolt slid forward free of the receiver. The owner’s manual only describes reassembly as following reverse order. There was but one picture supplied, so we might recommend taking a series of digital photographs during takedown.
Our Model 64 did not come with the Savage AccuTrigger. The first time we pressed the trigger it felt a little hard. Not rough at all, but stiff. After just a few rounds, the trigger felt much better. From then on there was a little bit of takeup and a hard break. By the end of our tests, the 64 seemed to be enjoying rapid fire as much as we were.
Standing and shooting at the Varmint Village was a real pleasure. Easy to handle and point, it was tough to miss. Our primary test rounds were all high velocity. When we tried some standard velocity rounds, the bolt slowed enough to cause a malfunction. We checked our notes and realized that we had failed to spray the bolt with Rem Oil before beginning the session, as we had done with the other rifles. We sprayed a light coat of Rem Oil on the bolt and had no further stoppages.
From the bench we learned that our Savage showed a clear preference for copper-plated rather than solid lead slugs. The Federal Auto Mag produced groups in the 1-inch range, which certainly is not bad. But the remaining test rounds, which were copper plated, were superior. Firing the CCI Mini Mag ammunition, our Savage tied for the smallest overall group measuring about 0.50 inches across.
Our final destination in testing the Savage rifle was Tactical Firearms, Texas’ largest Class III dealer (www.TacticalFirearms.us). By the time you read this Tactical Firearms in Katy, Texas, will be home to the most advanced indoor shooting complex in the United States. We visited the shop to have our Savage rifle fit with a SilencerCo 22 Sparrow suppressor ($400, plus a one-time licensing fee of $200 that, according to Tactical Firearms can be applied in any state). Firing Fiocchi subsonic ammunition without any hint of malfunction, the 22 Sparrow was efficient enough so that the sound of the bullets hitting the backstop was actually louder than the report of each round.
Our Team Said: Whereas the shorter barrel did subtract velocity, the prospect of adding a suppressor makes this a viable small-varmint rifle. It’s the opposite of adding a compensator, which makes the gun louder. With its sniper-style stock and low price, we found this rifle hard to resist.