Savage Model 12 LRP: Off-The-Shelf Precision
When I saw the Savage LRP on the shelf of a local sporting goods store, I knew it would come home with me. It wasn’t hard to guess what LRP stood for. Its heavy barrel chambered in 260 Remington, beefy action, and target trigger hinted at long range precision.
That was four years ago. My sales receipt shows I paid $889.99 for the Savage LRP (Long Range Precision), a fraction of what my custom 260 Remington cost to build. It seemed like an incredible value, and I hoped my first impressions of the rifle would prove to be accurate.
I’ve owned a few Savage rifles over the years. My first elk, a young six-point bull, was shot with a Savage 110 chambered in 30’06. I bought it secondhand at a pawn shop in 1992 for $200, complete with a Leupold 4x scope. I also own a superbly accurate Model 10 Predator Hunter chambered in 22-250. My daughter’s first shots were fired from a Savage Cub and my son spends hours plinking steel plates with a .22 Rimfire Mark II TR.
The common characteristics shared by these rifles are accuracy, reliability, and value. The LRP has proven to have them as well.
The Savage LRP is built around the Model 12 Target action and comes standard with the target version of the Savage Accutrigger.
Savage advertises these actions to be factory blueprinted. The Model 12 Target action used for the LRP is a center-feed short action, with the familiar Savage floating bolt head. The bolt handle has an oversized round knob that’s easy to run when you’re in a hurry or wearing gloves. It uses a side bolt release and a two-position tang safety.
The target version of the Savage Accutrigger is user-adjustable down to a pull weight of six ounces. I found that when I adjusted mine to less than a pound, the sear was prone to disengage when running the bolt fast. The Accurelease blade prevented discharge, but the bolt had to be carefully cocked again to shoot the rifle. With a pull weight of 20 ounces, I ended up with complete reliability and a clean, crisp trigger break. Most of my precision rifle builds use Jewell triggers set at 24 ounces. While the Accutrigger doesn’t really compare to the break of a Jewell, it’s not bad for a mass-produced, inherently safe trigger assembly.
The LRP’s action is bolted to a H-S Precision stock. It uses a full-length aluminum bedding block to ensure consistent contact with the action. The fit between stock, action, and bottom metal is excellent. Mine features a sporter-style, slim pistol grip and a wide fore end. The current Savage catalog shows a more vertical grip for prone shooting. Some shooters claim to be able to “tune” accuracy by adjusting the torque of the action screws. My rifle showed similar precision from 40-65 in-lbs. I leave the screws torqued at 65 in-lbs.
Savage has a reputation for accurate barrels. They claim to have perfected the button-rifling process and promise consistent bore diameters and twist rates.
The 26” barrel tapers to one inch at the muzzle, with 15 inches of light fluting. It’s no lightweight–my LRP pegs the scale at 15 pounds, 10 ounces when fully equipped. A quick check with a cleaning rod showed the barrel twists one revolution in eight inches. A 1-8” twist rate is the standard for a 260 Remington firing 140-grain bullets, and handles the lighter pills as well.
The carbon steel barrel has been low-maintenance and not dependent on cleaning to shoot well. My shooting log shows it’s been 612 shots since the last patch was pushed through.
This is one of those factory rifles whose magazine length accommodates the chamber. It’s internal capacity of 3.010” allows high-B.C. bullets to be seated to contact the barrel’s rifling and feed from the magazine. For example, the 140-grain Berger Hybrid has a COAL of 2.947” when seated to the lands in this barrel. The new Nosler RDF touches the rifling at 2.910”. Compared to the typical AI-style magazine with a capacity of 2.840”, the Savage mag has room to spare.
The LRP has provided excellent precision with a variety of bullets from Berger, Hornady, and Sierra.
Five-shot groups measuring less than .75 MOA were common during initial load development. Some loads consistently grouped less than .5 MOA. I spent those early days shooting 140-grain bullets seated in Remington brass at 2800 to 2850 fps. Hybrids, VLDs, AMAX, and SMKs all shot well. Seating bullets .010”-.020” off the lands yielded the best results. Hogdon’s H4350 consistently produced the tightest groups and highest velocity, but H4831sc wasn’t far behind.
I spent the last eight months testing the Berger 130-grain AR Hybrid in the LRP. The Hybrids performed very well seated .010” off the lands. In fact, some of the groups fired with this bullet in the LRP have rivaled the best loads from my custom rifles chambered in 260 Remington. Here’s a short VIDEO I put together showing some shooting with the 130s. With a muzzle velocity of 3020 fps, the 130s have held sub-MOA accuracy to 1400 yards. For more info on the test results of the Berger 130 AR Hybrid, click HERE.
As I’m finishing this review, the LRP is seeing some action hunting ground squirrels with the new Hornady 130 ELD-M. Initial results are promising, with precision and velocity matching the 130-grain Berger. I’ve also switched over to Lapua brass. The Savage 260 Remington chamber has a “no-turn” neck dimension, so running the thicker brass isn’t a problem.
Savage uses its own detachable box magazine (DBM) and bottom metal for the LRP. There are aftermarket options available to increase capacity.
The factory magazine allows for a 3.010” Cartridge Overall Length (COAL), feeds from the center position, and holds four staggered rounds. It seats flush with the bottom of the stock. The magazine release is a short, knurled lever at the front of the bottom metal that can be operated with gloves on. To load the rifle, simply insert the rear of the mag first, then snap the front into place. The magazine and release have proven to be robust and completely reliable.
Aftermarket bottom metal assemblies that use standard AI-style magazines are available, but I chose a different route. Darkeagle Custom manufactures 10-round capacity magazines for the Savage LRP that require no modifications to the bottom metal.
Darkeagle incorporates a machined aluminum box extension with the factory magazine that only adds two inches to its depth. They also machine their own aluminum follower and add a custom coil spring. Building on the foundation of a factory magazine retains the benefit of a long COAL. The magazine has been completely reliable. A little tweaking of the feed lips was necessary to keep the 10th round in place at first, and loading a full magazine under a closed bolt is not recommended. The owner of Darkeagle Custom, Dan Shumway, sends a signed note describing how to get the most out of their magazines. It was a real pleasure dealing with him, and I highly recommend this magazine for LRP shooters. Check them out HERE.
To get the most out of its long-range capabilities, I mounted a Nightforce 20 MOA steel rail to the LRP’s receiver.
A Nightforce 5.5-22×56 NXS sits on top, mounted in medium-height Xtreme Hardcore Gear Force Recon rings. These rings have a built-in ACD, six-screw caps, and are very well made. The NXS can dial up 85 MOA from a 100-yard zero with this setup.
The straight comb of the H-S Precision stock is too low for a scope with a large objective lens. To obtain a good cheek weld with the Nightforce, I used a Defensive Edge cheek riser. The DE cheek riser is easy to install, and once adjusted, the two cross-bolts lock down tight. Check them out HERE.
This combination has worked very well for everything from 100-yard target work, to long range coyote and varmint hunting.