A look through the Savage catalog reveals no less than 80-some bolt-action, centerfire rifle variations, along with more than 20 "package" guns that come with a pre-mounted scope. That kind of variety is on par with the lineup of any firearms manufacturer in the industry, and it's better than many. To top it off, Savage became one of the few gunmakers to offer a scout-style rifle in its current line when it put the Model 10FCM Scout back into production after a four-year hiatus.
Though Col. Jeff Cooper conceived the idea of the scout rifle for tactical use, hunters have discovered a good deal of its features are beneficial in the field. A short, handy, bolt-action rifle chambered in a caliber adequate for big game is perfectly suited for the tight spots. Add a low-power, forward-mounted optic—along with a set of backup sights in case the scope gets banged around—and a scout rifle makes a lot of sense for situations where the going may get rough. Finally, a detachable box magazine allows you to conveniently carry ammo loaded in a spare. Should the need arise for more firepower, reloading is as simple as changing out the magazines.
As its name suggests, the Model 10FCM Scout is based on Savage's Model 10 action. The bolt has opposing, dual-locking lugs, a spring-loaded extractor and a plunger-type ejector built into the recessed bolt face. While the bolt body is left in the white and polished, its handle is blued and features a cocking knob with deep checkering on its upper surface. The action is mated to a 20-inch barrel, and the works are pillar-bedded in a black, synthetic stock. A three-position safety resides on the tang, and the Model 10FCM's AccuTrigger is adjustable from 1 1/2 to 6 pounds.
Savage gave the Model 10FCM Scout several definitive features of the scout-type rifle, but also added its own characteristics to the gun. Mounted on the rear receiver bridge is a Williams peep sight (2.) to provide a backup sighting system if the optic should fail or during nasty weather. A four-round, detachable box magazine (1.) is convenient and makes the rifle quick to reload. The two-lug bolt (3.) is a staple of the Model 10 action, which functioned without a hitch during testing. A tang-mounted, three-position safety (4.) is easy to reach with the thumb.
Chambered in .308 Winchester, the Model 10FCM's magazine holds four rounds in a staggered formation but feeds them from the center. Its metal baseplate fits flush with the bottom of the stock, and it snaps in place with a positive click. A rounded lever in front of the magazine well releases the magazine when pressed to the rear.
Included with the rifle is a 6 1/2-inch long Weaver-style rail from B-Square that mounts to the forward portion of the receiver via two screws, with a third securing it to the barrel. This leaves room on the rear receiver bridge for an adjustable Williams peep sight. The .120-inch aperture aligns quickly with the ramped front sight having a brass bead. There is no need to remove the optics rail to use the iron sights.
For testing, I mounted a Leupold FX-II 2.5x28 mm Scout scope in Leupold QRW rings. The Model 10FCM performed well with several brands of ammunition, but the best groups came from 168-grain Winchester Ballistic Silvertips. The average for five, five-shot groups at 100 yards was slightly less than 1 1/4 inches. The rifle may be able to shoot better than that, but I doubt I can with 2.5X magnification.
Feeding and extraction were flawless throughout my testing, but the amount of pressure required to lift and cock the bolt was a bit heavy and certainly slowed down target acquisition during rapid offhand firing. While the AccuTrigger's factory-set pull weight of 1 1/2 pounds was nice at the bench, I think I would add a pound or two to it before I took it in the woods hunting. Weighing 7 pounds with the Leupold on board, the Model 10FCM was tough on my shoulder, and the hard rubber recoil pad didn't do much to alleviate the thump.
Scout rifle connoisseurs may gripe about the absence of a third sling swivel stud, stripper clip guide and magazine cutoff, but I can live without them. And although the Model 10FCM doesn't come with an integral bipod, there are several compact, collapsible models that easily attach to the front sling swivel stud.
Savage has built a reputation on value, and it continues with the Model 10FCM Scout. Not only is the gun a very workable scout rifle, one that would be perfect for hunting in thick brush or heavy timber, it also carries the most reasonable price tag for rifles of its kind.