By: Warren Gray
Copyright © 2023
“The Model 110 has set the bar high for bolt-action rifles. Now, the adaptability
and performance that we see from our flagship, rifle line is available in a pistol
chassis system. Don’t let the 110 PCS’s diminutive size fool you – we’ve taken
this gun out past 500 yards with reliable, repeatable accuracy.”
— Jessica Treglia, senior brand manager for Savage Arms, December 2021.
There has always been a distinct, performance tradeoff between rifles, which offer significant power and range capability, and pistols, which are lightweight, mobile, and easy to handle. Sometimes a compromise is called for, something offering the best of both worlds. On Christmas week 2021, Savage Arms of Westfield, Massachusetts unveiled their stunning, new, Savage 110 PCS (Pistol Chassis System). Based upon the 110 Elite Precision, bolt-action, hunting rifle design, the pistol is chambered in .223 Remington, 6.5mm Creedmoor, .300 Blackout, .308 Winchester, or .350 Legend.
This powerful pistol features a 10.5-inch, medium-contour, 4140 carbon-steel, threaded barrel, a 10-round, AICS-style detachable, box magazine, and a Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) one-piece, machined-aluminum chassis, with a seven-inch, free-floating, modular forend. It also uses a rubberized pistol grip, and Savage’s famous AccuTrigger for a crisp, clean pull, adjustable from 2.5 to 6 pounds (the average setting is 3.4 pounds.) The gun is designed for right-handed shooters, with a left-hand bolt and right-side ejection of empty, brass cases. This arrangement helps right-handed shooters to keep their shooting hand gripped while they cycle the action. The aluminum chassis and spiral-fluted bolt help reduce total weight to a modest 5.62 pounds, with an overall length of just 21.75 inches.
Iron sights are not included with the 110 PCS, but there’s a Picatinny rail on top for attaching a variety of optics, and another, smaller rail at the back for attaching a stabilizing brace as desired.
Frank Melloni wrote on March 17, 2022, that the Savage 110 PCS is “a compact, pistol package that is perfect for enduring hunts…with an extra-rigid…barrel…threaded so that one can easily add their favorite sound or flash suppressor, or even a muzzle brake to tame things a bit…The AccuTrigger…among the best factory-installed triggers on the market…how light and crisp the break is, in a hunting platform, it’s the user adjustability that is invaluable.
“I prepared…by mounting a Nikon 2.5-8x-28mm pistol scope to the 110 PCS, as well as a TF 1913 pistol brace from SB Tactical…(which) folds towards the bolt side of the firearm, allowing it to be packed down quite easily…with a 10-shot average coming in at 2,187 fps…That is still more than 1,000 ft.-lbs. of energy at 500 yards, with a group that will be about half the size of an average buck’s vitals…not bad for a pistol!
“The Savage 110 PCS proved to be an outstanding performer, and changed the way I think about hunting pistols…Savage was able to bring its legendary precision to a firearm that is this compact and easy to haul…the perfect, all-terrain firearm…particularly useful when hunting from a tight, ground blind.”
In separate, Melloni noted that “When I fired the first round…All of that unburnt power made for a spectacular display, albeit a bit distracting. On a positive note, the recoil wasn’t half bad…I would recommend a flash suppressor…it is a bolt-action pistol that is capable of 500-yard accuracy, and can be (fitted) with…a high-quality suppressor…Most of my five-shot groups measured close to 1 MOA…it is certainly accurate enough for urban-sniper applications, with its compact size aiding in rapid deployment.
“The Savage 110 PCS is a perfect alternative for those who can’t shoulder a rifle, and want a firearm that doesn’t limit them down to pistol range. Its efficiency and accuracy make me comfortable with taking a shot beyond 300 yards, as I would be certain of the bullet’s placement and lethality. Lastly, its compact size makes it extraordinarily easy to transport, by simply strapping it to a tree stand or even packing it away in a modest-sized backpack for a longer trek.”
Reviewers from Guns.com attached a high-quality, Leupold VX-5 HD scope with a CDS-ZL dial system for range adjustments, and wrote that “While it was positioned as more of a tactical firearm, the 110 PCS has accuracy chops that would serve well on a hunt…We zeroed the scope for 100 yards, so we could go after wild boar that evening. With the no-nonsense, dial system, we just twisted up the yardage from 200 to 500 yards, and clanged those steel plates,” even hitting silhouette targets as far away as 700 yards.
A very interesting video, filmed by Guns America Digest during SHOT Show 2022 in January 2022, shows a suppressed Savage 110 PCS pistol in .300 BLK mounted upon a tripod at a Las Vegas, Nevada shooting range. With 220-grain, subsonic ammunition, the pistol was so quiet that the loudest noise anyone heard was the manual cycling of the metallic bolt between shots.
This raises possible, tactical applications of a compact, portable, almost-totally-silent weapon, firing extremely accurate rifle ammunition. The 110 PCS could be an ideal firearm for very quietly removing enemy sentries just before a daring, military raid, as was shown in the 1968 John Wayne, war movie, The Green Berets. And, it’s already chambered in the U.S. Special Operations Command’s latest sniper rifle cartridge, the 6.5mm Creedmoor.
It would also make a great, U.S. Air Force survival rifle for crews of larger aircraft, since fighter and bomber crews already have the brand-new, GAU-5A Aircrew Self-Defense Weapon (ASDW) in 5.56mm, with a 12.5-inch barrel. But aside from that, the Air Force really hasn’t issued aircrew survival rifles since the early 1960s (the ArmaLite AR-5/MA-1 in .22 Hornet was the latest, adopted in 1956), and certainly never one as powerful as any of the chamberings of the new, Savage pistol. I’ve owned handy M6 (.22 Hornet over .410, issued in 1954) and AR-7 (.22 LR, never issued to USAF) survival rifles in the past, both designed for Air Force use, but neither had the raw power of the various 110 PCS chamberings. Rugged, iron sights, a folding stock, and a flash hider would be strongly recommended for such a new, survival rifle.
For most of us, the more-practical use of the Savage 110 PCS is as an ultra-compact, hunting weapon that effectively bridges the gap between short-range, portable pistols and long-range, big-game rifles. With an MSRP of $999, it’s a bit pricey, but that’s the worthwhile cost of its surprising power, portability, and long-range accuracy.
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Warren Gray is a retired, U.S. Air Force intelligence officer with experience in joint special operations and counterterrorism, and is an NRA member. He served in Europe and the Middle East, earned Air Force and Navy parachutist wings, four college degrees, and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist Course, and the USAF Combat Targeting School. He is currently a published author, historian, and hunter. You may visit his website at: warrengray54.vistaprintdigital.com.