American Rifleman - August 2021 - 45

The author spent time with the
Impulse at FTW Ranch in Texas where
targets ranged from static bullseyes
to simulations of charging game.
THOUGHTFUL FEATURES
The fl ush-fi tting, polymer (the one we have is all-metal)
magazine in the Big Game and Hog Hunter models holds
three or four rounds, depending on the chambering, while
the Predator version features a 10-round metal AICS magazine
and one-piece bottom metal.
The bolt head, as well as the entire modular bolt system
down to the fi ring pin, can be fi eldstripped with no
tools. The cylindrical steel bolt's body is 1/2 " longer than
those of typical Savage 110 actions of the same action
length. The bolt handle and knob are separate pieces
from the bolt body, with the handle being inserted into a
pinion-type gear from either side of the receiver-that's
right, the rifl e can be confi gured for either left- or righthand
operation. Once the handle is removed, its angle
relative to the bolt axis can be set according to user preference
before reassembly without tools by merely depressing
the bolt-hole cap plunger button and then sliding
off the cap to release its lock on the bolt handle. As a
product of this pinion-gear design, the bolt can be kept
in four different positions for each side of the gun. The
bolt's removable handle also serves as a key to the rifl e; it
cannot be removed when a round is chambered. Without
it, the rifl e cannot be loaded or fi red.
Along with Savage's tang-mounted, two-position safety
and its centrally positioned magazine release lever, the
reversible bolt makes the Impulse adaptable for ambidextrous
use. The only exception is the fi xed, right-side ejection
port. Though the safety locks the bolt in the closed
position while on " safe, " a nifty bolt release button on the
rear of the receiver allows for one-handed opening of the
bolt-even if the action is cocked, locked and on safe.
The receiver itself features an integrally machined
Picatinny rail with 20 minutes of angle built in. For this,
I'd like to give Savage an award solely for making hunters',
shooters' and gunwriters' lives easier. It eliminates
the need for scope bases. Just buy Picatinny rings for
your scope, tighten them to the rail, and you're done.
Finally, the entire rifl e's metal is Cerakoted Hazel Green
on the Big Game model and fi nished matte black on the
Hog Hunter and Predator.
Thanks to the interchangeable bolt head, uniform
bolt thickness and the barrel extension being part of the
barrel, the Impulse is fully modular, and this is part of
its genius. While a long-action cartridge cannot be made
to fi t in a short-action Impulse, a long-action Impulse
can be converted to fi re a short-action chambering. For
example, if you buy an Impulse in .300 Win. Mag., you
can then buy a 6.5 mm Creedmoor barrel, bolt head and
magazine, and swap them out in minutes. Remember
AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG
about a decade ago when Thompson/Center's Encore Pro
Hunter $900 single-shot was all the rage because shooters
could swap chamberings? I'll take this new repeater
for $1,400, Alex. Thanks.
FIELD TEST
While at Texas' famed FTW Ranch, I fi red more than 500
rounds from all three Impulse models chambered in various
cartridges, but mainly .308 Win. and 6.5 mm Creedmoor.
The fi ve Impulses I fi red averaged sub-m.o.a. groups with
Hornady Match ELD-X ammunition, with excellent Zeiss optics
installed. But more impressive was the rifl es' speed, both in
terms of putting multiple shots on moving targets via FTW's
running-game course, but also upon charging papier-mache
elephants and buffalo. The times I shot would be impossible
with a Model 70. What's more, for long-range shooting,
the straight-pull action proved much more valuable than I'd
anticipated. You see, when shooting beyond 1,000 yards, the
spotter's wind call, as well as being able to see the bullet's
impact, is critical. When you fi re a round, you must note
your impact and then adjust your hold and/or your wind call
accordingly. But if it takes more than about fi ve seconds to
shoot a follow-up, there's a good chance the wind will have
shifted, at which time you must start the process anew. The
Impulse allowed me to get perfectly set on the rifl e, fi re, note
impact, then rack the bolt smoothly without disturbing my
sight picture so I could send another shot within seconds.
As another unanticipated bonus, the following day, I
noticed I was not nearly as sore as I normally am after lying
prone shooting a bolt gun all day-for two reasons. One, the
bolt takes less physical effort and less contorting of the shoulder
in order to work it. Secondly, the Impulse, with its modular
cheekpiece, buttpad and hefty weight, was a pussycat to
shoot. The only negative I can fi nd in the rifl e so far, however,
is that weight. It's a pound heavier than I'd prefer for most of
my hunting. But again, Savage says lighter models are on the
way. For hog hunting, the rifl e as-is, is perfect.
As if you can't tell already, I am an advocate of straightpull
bolt-actions. And I'm a fan of Savage rifl es for the value
they represent. While $1,400 is more expensive than we're
used to seeing from this purely American gunmaker, the
Impulse is packed with so many features-and is modular,
so it can evolve with you-that I don't view it as overpriced.
In fact, right now, if a friend wanted one bolt-action rifl e for
everything, from hog and deer hunting, to long-range target
shooting and even PRS-style (non-AR) competition, I'd point
him or her toward the Impulse. Why? Because I don't think
there's a better rifl e value on the market-here or across the
pond. And that's exactly why I bought one for myself.
AUGUST 2021
45
http://www.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

American Rifleman - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - August 2021

Contents
American Rifleman - August 2021 - Cover1
American Rifleman - August 2021 - Cover2
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 1
American Rifleman - August 2021 - Contents
American Rifleman - August 2021 - 3
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