2022 is already shaping up to be an interesting year. Savage, the company with a reputation for affordable and accurate rifles, has introduced not one but two completely different handguns. Though the Stance in 9mm is interesting, it’s the Savage 110 PCS that has hunters taking a second look. While not promoted as a hunting gun per se, Savage’s re-entry into the bolt-action handgun market must be considered a legitimate option.
Guns.com recently had the opportunity to send some rounds downrange – from 50 to well over 500 yards – with the new 110 PCS, and the results were surprising.
First Glance at Savage’s New Handgun
While sharing a hunt with some Savage folks and chasing whitetails in Oklahoma, the company’s RJ Contorno revealed a surprise on the first night of the camp. We were all shooting Savage Impulse straight-pull rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor, and all the ammo piled on the tables was Federal Fusion in that caliber. Yet, he insisted he had something really different that we’d all want to shoot. And boy, was he correct.
When he pulled not one but two 110 PCS handguns from his gun luggage, the oohs and aahs began.
Many years have passed since Savage pulled their bolt-action Striker hunting handgun from the market. In 2021, they announced the new gun and already had some test prototypes of the 110 PCS ready for us to try. Though that may not seem like big news to many, it was for a room full of gun geeks and passionate hunters. If we tagged out on deer, could we use the handguns to pursue hogs? We just had to have more details.
So, What Is the 110 PCS?
That three-letter-moniker stands for Precision Chassis System. The 110 PCS is built around the proven Model 110 rifle’s factory blueprinted action. It is then nestled into a one-piece aluminum MDT chassis. There’s a left-hand bolt with a right-hand eject, just like the earlier Striker models. The PCS, however, makes some modern aesthetic and practical additions.
There’s a spiral-fluted bolt, 0-MOA rail, user-adjustable AccuTrigger, and threaded barrel. The guns are fed by a dropbox AICS magazine and use an ambidextrous mag release. It can be further customized with almost any AR-15 pistol grips or by using the Picatinny rail at the rear of the chassis and the free-floating modular forend with M-LOK slots.
Since all we had at camp was 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition, we knew Savage must have opted for some longer-range, hunting-friendly chamberings. Indeed, they did. In addition to the Creedmoor, the initial launch will include .223 Remington, .300 AAC Blackout, .308 Winchester, and .350 Legend.
What Is the Market for the 110 PCS?
Though the gun has only recently been publicly announced by the company, buzz has been circulating amongst shooting clubs, online forums, gun shops, and the like. The debate goes something as follows: Is the 110 PCS a hunting gun? No, it’s a tactical gun. Is the barrel too long for a tactical gun? No, but it’s too short for a hunting handgun. Why didn’t they offer XYZ caliber?
Let’s face it. No gun will ever please every group of shooters. While we spent some trigger time behind the 110 PCS, we’re waiting until we get our own T&E handgun in for a couple of weeks of serious time on the range, examining the build, and breaking down the details as well. What we can tell you immediately, however, is that the 110 PCS shoots.
On the Range
The Oklahoma hunt was hosted at Mossy Oak’s Canadian River Hilton, and those folks also have a stellar distance shooting range. We were ready to roll with the Savage Impulse rifles topped with Leupold VX-5 HD optics with the CDS-ZL dial system, and every shooter rang the 1,000-yard steel with ease. The handguns, however, were a late addition to the event that Contorno was able to snag off the production line at Savage.
There wasn’t time to prepare them with scopes, so he mounted up what we had in camp. One of the 110 PCSs received the same VX-5 rifle scope we were using on the rifles. Deciding we should also try out a handgun optic, an older Leupold straight power was wrangled up from somewhere at camp. Some long-range handguns work better with rifle scopes, while others feel more comfortable with pistol optics. The choice turned out to be a personal one based on how shooters like to hold and position themselves behind the gun. More on that when we get our test gun.
After our hunting party rang steel from 200-1,000 yards, all those who hadn’t yet tagged out on a buck headed off to the woods. That left Contorno and I to get some time behind the PCSs. We were loving the Leupold CDS-ZL system. We zeroed the scope for 100 yards so we could go after wild boars that evening. With the no-nonsense dial system, we just twisted up the yardage from 200 to 500 yards and clanged those steel plates.
The 110 PCS is indeed a shooter. When we ran out of elevation adjustment before the 700-yard mark, Contorno would hold over the target, and I’d make the calls while observing through the spotting scope (questionable as that might be given my lack of practice). The first shot was considerably low and the wind was throwing us several changes downrange. The second shot showed perfect windage and slipped just below the 12x12-inch plate. Clang! His third shot was perfect, as was the fourth. Great shooting, no doubt, but also a sweet gun.
On the Hunt
With the gun zeroed and confidence running high, we set off for the hunting blinds around dusk hoping to test the 110 PCS on nuisance hogs roaming the vast ranch. Nearly every hunter had seen the pigs at some point while chasing trophy bucks. Yet, when we each sat in blinds waiting on the toothy hogs, they were elusive. Though neither Contorno nor I ever got to harvest an animal with the handguns, I can say I’m more than intrigued at the possibilities.
There’s little doubt the gun would have done its job with ease. Could the PCS have a longer barrel for hunting? Sure. Is it comfortable to use and maneuverable in a small hunting blind? To that, I would give a resounding, yes. We have many more questions to ask and answers to find once we spend even more time with the gun. Stay tuned. It should be telling, though, that we’re eagerly looking forward to the arrival of the 110 PCS.