Who Doesn’t Make ARs? Not Savage (any more)

Well, not Savage any more. Numerous leaks of sales information online (the models are shown on several jobber and distributor sites already) makes it clear that new “Savage MSRs” are coming, including an AR-15 called the “MSR-15” and an AR-10 called, you guessed it, the MSR-10. Street price will run from around $700 to nearly $2,000.

All are direct-impingement operating system and there is a lot of use of Blackhawk! parts, which helps the Massachusetts company meet its price points. But surprises include non-reciprocating side charging handles on the AR-10s and a 6.5 Creedmoor chambering.

Savage MSR-15 Patrol

Specific models include the entry-level MSR-15 Patrol, the mid-length gas-system MSR-15 Recon, and MSR-10s in Hunter (carbine barrel) and Long Range (20″ rifle) trim.

Savage MSR-15 Recon

Brand MFG Part Nº UPC Model family Model Caliber Barrel Length Magazine List Price Street Price (est)
Savage 22900 0-11356-22900-7 MSR 15 Patrol .223 Wylde 16.125 30RD $852.00 $700.00
Savage 22901 0-11356-22901-4 MSR 15 Recon .223 Wylde 16.125 30RD $999.00 $800.00
Savage 22902 0-11356-22902-1 MSR 10 Hunter .308 Win 16.125 20RD $1,459.00 $1,300.00
Savage 22903 0-11356-22903-8 MSR 10 Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor 17 20RD $1,459.00 $1,300.00
Savage 22904 0-11356-22904-5 MSR 10 Long Range .308 Win 20 20RD $1,999.00 $1,850.00
Savage 22905 0-11356-22905- MSR 10 Long Range 6.5 Creedmoor 20 20RD $1,999.00 $1,850.00

Savage MSR-10 Hunter Creedmoor (.308 appears identical). Note that the image shows a conventional charging handle, although the specs and description promise a side charger.

All these models feature Blackhawk! parts, with the Patrol including “Flip-Up rear sight, M-LOK handguard, Pistol grip, 6-Position buttstock, & Blaze trigger” from the accessory maker. at the other extreme, the Long Range (for which we do not have a photo) uses the Magpul Precision Rifle Stock (PRS) Gen 3, and an M-LOK  but does retain the Blackhawk! Blaze 2-stage trigger. All the AR-10, er, MSR-10, variants, come without sights.

Barrels are finished with QPQ Melonite. At least initially, you can get any color you want, so long as it is black. Expect to see this new Savage tribe introduced at next month’s SHOT Show. A lot of SHOT new products are leaking or being teased now that Christmas is over. (The Firearm Blog is a good place to watch for them).


36 thoughts on “Who Doesn’t Make ARs? Not Savage (any more)

  1. John M.

    Between Springfield and Savage, I don’t know how the firearms industry will be able to handle all this innovation.

    -John M.

    1. BillC

      Well, as long as it functions better and has better QC than Ruger AR556, I guess it that could be something :-/

    1. Hognose Post author

      Bugger. Will fix.

      Update – fixed, except it’s in an image filename too. Leaving it there, where only the bots will know.

  2. BillC

    Oh God, Blackhawk! parts and Melonite. Really reaching for the low-information consumer crowd. Good thing that market is untapped /sarc/

    1. Sommerbiwak

      Nothing wrong with melonite. And much less hassle than working with chrome salts for the manufacturer.

      The Black hawk! furniture at least looks different from GI standard and is probably the same price for Savage as generic GI furniture from the open market. *shrug*

      They should offer naked versions like colt does with their OEM series rifles so the buyer or a gun shop can put on their own furniture of choice.

      The side charging MSR-10 is actually interesting as I think the first mass produced complete rifle of this type. The MSR-15 seems superflous.

      Do the lower receivers come with the savage indian chieftain head logo?

      1. BillC

        Melonite is still ~relatively~ new in the barrel world, at least as we know it for ARs. It has shown to be promising; however, it still hasn’t really been adopted by the known “duty use” (not just big name) makers, yet. Without getting into the duty use/hobby use, barrel debates, yes, melonite is cheaper; hence why they are being pushed hard by bargain brands. Not really saying this is a bad thing, depending on use, it’s just that it’s going to take a longer time and quantifiable data before I say, “YEAH! Melonite!” People who buy this won’t even have a clue what melonite is, or why it is done. All that’s going to happen is while they are at the store, they are going to read Melonite, send a text to their “gun guy” buddy that reads, “Savage Assault Rifle? Melonite?”. Their reply is just going to be “G2G, buy it!!!!1!”.

        As for Blackhawk! They were, are, and always be a big joke. Surprised this thing doesn’t come with some sort of AR15 Serpa holster.

        I’m very critical until proven otherwise when it comes to “new” ARs. The market is already full of bargain rifles that, for the most part, aren’t even good enough. They are fine when Uncle Eddie only puts 200 rounds through it a year, but they choke when pushed even mildly hard. Thing is, the internet gets awashed with comments on how they are the bee’s knees because 10,000+ people only put a box PMC or Blazer through it at 25 yards and call it the greatest thing since sliced bread because they got it for $550 at Academy. Then it turns into my XX bargain rifle is just as good as, if not better than, your rifle that costs 2x+ even though your rifle was actually put together by somebody who gave a damn. I know, I got sidetracked and I just took out my frustration with a whole other concept on this rifle. But seriously, Blackhawk! from a factory rifle?

        1. rocketguy

          Blackhawk on a factory rifle…well, both Savage and Blackhawk are owned by Vista. They parts are basically free and you can sell them as an upgrade to the average dude.

        2. Sommerbiwak

          blackhawk! and savage are owned by the same parent holding iirc. that is why they use these I think. the furniture looks better than some of the toy quality pseudo GI furniture some rifles come with. Though I wouldnt buy it myself. It is ugly imho.

          Apart from Glocks I am not aware of any major issuing of nitride hardened barrels and pistol pressures are well below rifle pressures and stresses. And engine parts and other machine parts have been nitrided for decades. I would roughly put it bare steel<stainless<nitrided<nitrided stainless< chrome lined barrels <super alloys ("stellite"). But that also depends on the specific steel alloy used and the quality of craftsmanship of course. Oh and the actual employment of course for e.g. if fully automatic fire is to be applied often. But from a material science/chemistry background I dont see much downside for nitride hardened barrels. Yes barrel life will be probably lower than properly applied chrome, but not by much and is cheaper and better for the environment and workplace safety.

          the ar-15 serpa made me laugh! now i want one for shit and giggles LOL

  3. Boat Guy

    I know I’m being petty but that exclamation point at the end of Blackhawk REALLY annoys me; least you didn’t go all caps. I was an early buyer/supporter of Bh and my first three-day packs became the test bed for what became a unit-purchase (I sent three back before we finally had one that would do the job). Maybe Noelle became a victim of his own success, maybe the usual ego thing developed but while their quality did improve, their “customer service” became nearly adverserial. They went from “break it, we DARE you!” to “You BROKE it!!!”
    I still use their kydex mag pouches but that’s about it.

    1. jim h

      ive never really had much luck with any of their “ballistic nylon” stuff, as it seemed like the sewn in threads always gave way just past the box stitching. it was usually easier to get new stuff than to deal with their customer “service” which I guess was the point.

      I never understood the exclamation point either.

      1. Boat Guy

        I persisted until I got one of their packs that was well-made and still have it. I’ve not gone back for 20 years now except for the kydex pouches.
        I went to SOTech for web gear, bags etc.
        Full Disclosure; the guy who founded SOTech Jimm Cragg was one of our reservists. I like him and I like his gear.

    2. rocketguy

      ATK (now Vista) happened to Blackhawk…yeah, can’t bring myself to use the ! DeYoung seems to be really good at riding a company’s good name to higher profits while riding said good name into the dirt. I had access to their stuff at pretty deep discounts a few years back. General consensus was that it was decent stuff at our pricing but we would never pay MSRP/retail.

      I’ve had nothing but good customer service, though – a pack was replaced no questions asked and, according to UPS, there’s a replacement for my weapon light with a hinky switch due to arrive tomorrow.

  4. jim h

    I love the savage bolt actions. some of the best bolts produced, especially at that price point. very little fiddling involved to make ’em real shooters, excepting the Tupperware stocks, which are a fault of all entry level bolt guns. I do hope they continue the quality ive seen out of them in these new ARs…but I worry that the production of a new rifle to an already flooded market will drop their QC on the bolts.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I don’t know. I agree that the Savage is a really really good buy in a bolt. Someone (magazine) did a comparison of a Savage police sniper and the then-latest Steyr SSG about four years or so ago. The Steyr was a little more accurate, but not enough to practically matter — the Savage was still headshot good any any imaginable police sniper range. The cost difference would buy a lot of range time even if it had to be OT for the snipers.

      1. jim h

        I know the big euro makes tend to like hammer forged barrels as opposed to button, point, and broach cuts, so the accuracy may have just been as simple as that. (btw, Hog, can you do an article on how the different types of rifling came into being?)

        I love the barrel nut concept savage uses. be interesting if they found some way to marry that into one of their ARs down the line…

        1. whomever

          “I love the barrel nut concept savage uses. be interesting if they found some way to marry that into one of their ARs down the line…”

          Are there any ARs that don’t use a similar barrel nut?

          1. jim h

            very true, good catch, forgive me. I meant more the innovative thinking than the actual nut itself. the use of the barrel nut, then the new trigger design (now copied by a bunch of other rifle makers), then the action block on the newer stocks. thinking around a problem rather than having an expensive rifle that needs to go to a smith to work correctly every time you open the box.

        2. Hognose Post author

          That’d be a great article. I’ve been thinking of one on finishes, but rifling is interesting.

          Hammer forged was a German invention, the first US use was by TRW on the M14 contract. Most industrial CHF barrel machines are made by an Austrian firm today.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I think I left it too late to register, again.

      Yes, indeed. “Media registration for SHOT Show is now CLOSED. We appreciate your interest in attending the show, but we have reached the number of journalists that can be reasonably and fairly accommodated at SHOT Show.” Bugger. I gotta figure out when they open this, because with my experience doing trade shows (when I was an aviation journo) I’d have to do better than some of the people who are you-tubin’ it.

      1. Steve M.

        Weaponsman coverage of SHOT Show would be fantastic! Please do! The Youtuber coverage over the last few years has become….eh,… annoying, or at least that is the way it seems to me. A few photos, detailed written description, and expected release date is really what I am looking for. The whole “a video does it better” idea is bunk.

        1. jim h

          seconded! it’d be nice to get a realistic view or opinion of useful/practical vs. shiny junk.

        2. Sommerbiwak

          I think it is the fault of using a video portal like you tube. A slide show with photos and text does not really cut it in that medium, although it often would be much better to transport information than some dood mumbling into his tactibeard and bad camera work showing same dood shooting at dirt. :-(

          1. looserounds.com

            I have yet to figure out a show coverage method I like. I still just use a mix of video coverage and photos.

            Looserounds wont be at SHOT this year either unless I can find a proxy before it starts this year.

  5. looserounds.com

    It is gonna be interesting at the end of 2017 when we see all the company failures from these new “innovative” AR pattern riflers coming out.

    Then on top of that the damage done to the quality makers after they have to try to lower prices and cut corners to stay in the market because of this flood of low priced garbage being shilled out by some of the bigger name, companies who have no real experience with AR15 type rifles as well as the smaller snake oil garage makers

    1. John M.

      C’mon DG: the AR-15 only went to production in 1959. I don’t think we’ve wrung out all the possible innovations in the sub-$1000 part of the market yet. Surely we’ll have this thing dialed in if we give it another 57 years!

      -John M.

  6. Docduracoat

    What is wrong with a Ruger 556?
    Seems like an inexpensive entry level AR
    A few of our o.r. Techs bought one and another bought a Smith and Wesson Sport 2
    They seem equivalent with minor differences
    Neither Ruger example I shot has had any problems shooting Wolf Gold at 100 yards at a range


    If they want to demonstrate real innovation I reckon Savage should start making a range of 1911 pistols.

    As for their rifles, well, I bought a Savage .17 HMR for small game hunting a few years ago. It was well made and reliable, but not nearly as accurate as I’d expected from the youtube hype.

    I replaced it with an Anschutz 1717 based on the Model 54 Match Action and fitted with some nice Zeiss glass, and the accuracy is now more than satisfactory.

  8. Eric Smiley

    Hey Hognose!, could you write an article on the use of the side charger. I was talking to a couple friends that have AR’s built that way, and other then the cool factor and one telling me it was really quiet for when “operating a can” (WTF). There seemed to be no real necessity. Both of them never served, so when I started talking about the lack of a dust cover and charging handle and asking general questions like that, they just started making jokes. I didnt push to much because Im totally clueless here. Ive used the A2 (203) in DS and the M4 in 08 while in Iraq The firefights I was in my M203 and the M4 never let me down, of course being an infantryman if your not sleeping, your cleaning so it was always in good shape. I see the reliability of a side-charging AR getting you in trouble from a combat point of view. Thanks

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