Range Report: Savage Model 93 .22 Magnum Rifle By: Bob Campbell

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Savage Model 93 .22 WMR with colored wood stock

The .22 Magnum cartridge was a bright and interesting addition to the rimfire world in 1959. The cartridge is a rimfire but a modern one. Unlike the .22 LR with its soft lead heel-based bullet, the .22 Magnum uses a jacketed bullet crimped in place. This makes for a stronger cartridge that is less subject to damage during the feed cycle or when carried in the pocket.

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The .22 Magnum offers an edge in killing power over the .22 Long Rifle on small game and stretches the rimfire to larger game and varmints such as groundhogs, foxes, and even coyotes. Hollow point loads expand well. If hunting for pelts, an FMJ option is available.

Savage Model 93 Minimalist, left profile
This is the Savage Model 93 Minimalist version.

I grew up hunting with the .22 LR and only deployed the .22 Magnum later in life. I have always been interested in the cartridge but used it primarily in handguns. The bolt-action rifle illustrated is similar to the hunting rifles I grew up with. The Savage 93 is offered in several versions. My rifle is probably the plainest model with a black synthetic stock and iron sights.

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Savage Model 93 Features

This is a bolt-action rifle with a two-position safety. The safety is either on or off, there is no mid position as on more expensive rifles. The rifle feeds from a detachable 5-round magazine. The overall length is 40 inches, and the rifle weighs a little over five pounds.

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The 21-inch barrel is nicely balanced. The rife features the famous Savage Accu Trigger. The stock is plain but fits most shooters well. There is checkering located on the semi pistol grip and on the forend. If the rifle were a hard kicker, and it certainly isn’t, the stock would need a recoil pad.

For a rifle that cost less than $300, the Model 92 is well put together and operates smoothly. The receiver is the standard tubular type used in most modern bolt-action rimfire rifles. The bolt is smooth enough with a bolt throw that is fast and easily handled.

You don’t need much bolt travel with a .22 Magnum cartridge. The constant diameter bolt is rather simple in design. The bolt handle is only slightly curved. The handle isn’t checkered, but you don’t need that much leverage on a .22 rimfire, magnum or not. The bolt features dual extractors.

Savage Model 93 .22 Win Mag rifle with black synthetic stock, right profile
The author’s test gun is as plain as it gets.

For routine cleaning, the bolt is easily removed. Be certain the magazine is removed first. This is accomplished by pressing the magazine release.

Work the bolt to the rear and visually inspect the chamber to be certain it is empty. Move the safety forward while pressing the trigger fully to the rear. The bolt is pulled from the rear of the receiver. To replace the bolt simply press the trigger down as you slide the bolt in place.

While this is an inexpensive rifle, when I was hunting with rifles as a young man, I could not have had the AccuTrigger at any price. This is a great addition to any rifle, and I am glad to see that Savage has included the AccuTrigger — even in the inexpensive Model 93.

Savage Model 93 .22 WMR rifle in camo with riflesccope
This camo setup is rare but a very nice-looking setup.

Take-up is minimal with virtually no creep in the action. As it left the factory, the AccuTrigger broke an even three pounds and one ounce. I have not found the need to adjust the trigger.

The stamped steel magazine holds five .22 Magnum cartridges. To insert a loaded magazine, tip the front lip into the magazine well first, and then angle the rear in. Be certain the magazine is locked in place to ensure feed reliability.

upset .22 Win Mag bullet fragments and plastic insert
The .22 Magnum offers excellent utility for popping pests with the right load.

Occasionally, a box magazine needs a little tuning to feed properly. The Savage fed well. If your example does not, and the cartridge is feeding too quickly, close the feed ramps a little in a vise. If the bullet nose hits the feed ramp, open the feed lips again — a very little increment. If the magazine is dropped on the feed lips and damaged, it is easily repaired.

Accuracy Results

The rifle is supplied with useful iron sights. Even at this point — I am at Social Security age — I do not wear eyeglasses, save for reading. I grew up hunting with iron sights and enjoy them. To a point, and that point is 25 yards with a rimfire.

Fifty yards is a long stretch with iron sights when firing at small game. Just the same, firing from a solid benchrest at 50 yards provided some useful results. I adjusted the ladder sight up about three notches at 50 yards. Good muscle control is needed in not moving the rifle, and this is probably as important as the sight picture.

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Locking the rifle tightly into an MTM K-Zone rest helped. I fired a good selection of ammunition in the rifle, as I had on hand a good bit of .22 Magnum ammunition, and I enjoy firing the rifle. Here are some of my results. Groups were measured in inches.

Loading

Velocity (FPS)

3-Shot Group – 25 Yards

3-Shot Group – 50 Yards

Hornady V Max 30-grain 2,300 .8 2.5
CCI Mini Mag 40-grain 1,899 .5 2.4
Winchester FMJ 40-grain 1,876 .9 2.3
Speer Gold Dot 40-grain 1,960 1.0 2.1
Hornady Critical Defense 45-grain 1,799 .5 1.95

I would say the rifle will easily stay in two inches, or a little less, at 50 yards with good ammunition, but it really needs optics at this range.

I conducted some water testing to gauge penetration and expansion. Coyotes are tough, stringy animals. You need a load with a good balance of expansion.

Load

Penetration

Expansion

Hornady Critical Defense 45-grain 16 inches .36 inch
CCI Maxi Mag 40-grain 13 inches .38 inch
Hornady V Max 30-grain 7.5 inches .40 inch

With small game, less penetration is desirable. The Critical Defense is among a very few .22 Magnum loads designed for personal defense. For bigger varmints, it looks good. As an all-around flat-shooting load in the standard weight, the CCI 40-grain bullet looks good. The V Max is a great pest popper. Shot placement is critical, especially with predators versus varmints.

Specifications: Savage Model 93

Action: Bolt Rate of twist (in): 1 in 16
Barrel color: Blued Receiver color: Blued
Barrel finish: Matte Finish: Matte
Barrel length (in)/(cm): 21 / 53.340 Receiver material: Carbon steel
Barrel material: Carbon steel Type: Rimfire
Caliber: .22 WMR Front sights: Metal
Magazine capacity: 5 Rear sights: Metal
Hand: Right Stock color: Black
Length of pull (in)/(cm): 13.9 / 35.306 Stock Finish: Matte
Magazine: Detachable, box Stock Material: Synthetic
Overall length (in)/(cm): 39.5 / 100.330 Weight (lb)/(kg): 5 / 2.27
Savage Model 93 Specifications

Final Thoughts

During the firing tests, the Savage Model 93 proved accurate and reliable. It is quite useful in my neck of the woods. I would probably add an optic if I were to get serious about hunting with the rifle. However, it certainly is accurate enough for most uses to 25 yards or so. With a quality optic and a flat-shooting load, I think it would be a fine 100-yard varmint gun.

What’s your favorite .22 WMR rifle? How does it stack up against the Savage Model 93? Have you shot the Savage AccuTrigger? How do you feel the trigger compares to its competition? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • feed lips on a magazine
  • Bolt on a Savage Model 93 rifle in the rear/open position
  • ladder adjustable rear sight on a Savage rifle
  • thumb safety showing the red dot for fire
  • Magazine catch on the Savage Model 93
  • .22 Win Mag magazine for the Savage Model 93 rifle
  • blade-type trigger for the Savage AccuTrigger action
  • Savage Model 93 action, including AccuTrigger
  • Savage Model 93 .22 Win Mag rifle with black synthetic stock, right profile
  • upset .22 Win Mag bullet fragments and plastic insert
  • Savage Model 93 .22 WMR rifle in camo with riflesccope
  • Savage Model 93 with colored wood stock, right profile
  • Savage Model 93 Minimalist, left profile
  • Savage Model 93 .22 WMR with colored wood stock
  • Savage Model 93 .22 Win. Mag. with riflescope, right profile