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Field Test: Savage Arms 110 KLYM (and Impulse KLYM)

Two new lightweight rifles—and new suppressors—from Savage Arms are put to the test on pronghorn in northern New Mexico.

Field Test: Savage Arms 110 KLYM (and Impulse KLYM)

Savage’s Impulse KLYM, like previous Impulse rifles, features a straight-pull bolt-action design that allows for rapid cycling and follow-up shots. (Photo courtesy of Savage Arms)

More and more hunters—especially those whose pursuits take them deep into the backcountry or require long hikes to a stand—are beginning to appreciate the advantages of having a lightweight hunting rifle. A lighter rifle simply carries easier, whether strapped to a pack, slung over the shoulder or held in the hand. For those wanting to attach a powerful optic, a suppressor or other accessories, starting with a lightweight gun also helps keep the finished rifle from becoming a brick you reluctantly tote afield.

New materials have made building lightweight rifles easier and many manufacturers are taking advantage of this. There are now tons of accurate hunting rifles that weigh in at, or under, seven pounds, with a number even dipping down below six pounds, and a handful hitting right around five. Most of these feature carbon-fiber elements, either on the barrel, the stock or both.

Two of the latest new rifles falling into this lightweight category are the 110 KLYM and Impulse KLYM from Savage Arms. Both utilize extremely lightweight carbon-fiber components. Namely, the rifles feature an exclusive threaded carbon fiber-wrapped stainless-steel cut barrel from PROOF Research and a custom carbon-fiber stock and forend from Fine Ballistic Tools (FBT).

pronghorn hunting
The open plains, rolling hills and volcanic fields of northeastern New Mexico were an interesting backdrop for a pronghorn hunt and served as an excellent testing ground for Savage’s new KLYM series rifles and AccuCan suppressors. (Photo courtesy of Savage Arms)

While these two new rifles officially launched this fall (Nov. 28), I was fortunate enough to hunt pronghorns with the Savage 110 KLYM—and handle the Impulse KLYM—back in August. Hunting with Kennedy Hunting Services, Inc. (kennedyhuntingservices.com), in northeastern New Mexico, I was able to take my best pronghorn buck to date with the 110 KLYM paired with Savage’s AccuCan suppressor, which also just recently came out.

I’ve been patiently waiting on my hands for the debut of the rifles and suppressors ever since, so that I could talk about them. Below, I’ll discuss the two new rifles and suppressors and highlight some of my experiences with them, particularly the 110 KLYM.

LIGHT AND AGILE

The focal point of any gun deemed a lightweight rifle is, of course, its weight, and this can be a delicate balancing act. Savage’s 110 KLYM has a listed weight (sans optic) of between 5.9 and 6.1 pounds, depending on caliber. The Impulse KLYM’s weight is listed at 6.6 or 6.7 pounds, again, depending on caliber.

Both are perfectly fine in this regard. They’re light enough to be comfortable to carry for extended periods, yet they’re not so lightweight that recoil with standard hunting cartridges becomes severe. Some of those rifles closer to five pounds can be thumpers; they can also seemingly float a bit too much in the hand when you’re trying to hold steady on a target. I feel the 110 KLYM and Impulse KLYM occupy a goldilocks zone between being too light and too heavy.

Both rifles have their carbon-fiber components to thank for their wispy weights. The FBT custom carbon-fiber stock and forend are a joy to hold. At its rear is a thumbhole stock with a palm swell and a single button that adjusts comb height. At its front is a slim forend that easily nestles into the support hand.

In the middle is what Savage refers to as an "additive manufactured center section." In laymen’s terms, this basically means 3D printing has been used to build a precise shape—in this case, the center piece of the stock—one layer at a time. The stock and forend also have two sling studs, which I made use of on my hunt, and the rifle comes with the popular MagnaSwitch system installed.

Drew Warden with pronghorn
The author put the new Savage Arms 110 KLYM and AccuCan AC30 to the test in northeastern New Mexico. He managed to tag his best-ever pronghorn buck in the process. (Photo courtesy of Savage Arms)

The carbon fiber-wrapped stainless-steel barrel, meanwhile, is threaded 5/8x24 to accommodate suppressors or other muzzle devices, and in fact comes equipped with an Omniport muzzle brake. During our hunt, we obviously removed this, instead opting for one of Savage’s new AccuCan suppressors (in my case, the AC30). PROOF Research is renowned for its barrels, particularly its carbon-fiber ones, and the barrel on the 110 KLYM I hunted with worked flawlessly. While we didn’t conduct official accuracy testing during the hunt, informal groups appeared to be around an inch or so at 100 yards, though I imagine the rifle is capable of sub-MOA accuracy. Two of us also used the 110 KLYM to tag a couple of pronghorn bucks, neither of which required a second shot or ran more than 60 yards.

Recommended


During my hunt, I certainly appreciated the savings in weight afforded by the 110 KLYM’s carbon-fiber pieces. At one point, I actually had to sprint uphill about 100 yards across an open section of grass to reach a tree line and cut off the pronghorn I’d ultimately shoot. He’d initially seen us approaching and taken off, but once the trees blocked his line of sight, we made a beeline to get a shot opportunity. Hunting—or rather running—at an elevation above 8,000 feet, I especially valued how light the 110 KLYM felt in my hand.

When it came time to hop on the shooting sticks, the FBT custom carbon-fiber stock’s thumbhole design and palm swell also felt perfectly natural in the hand. While I had to pause momentarily to get my breathing under control a little and really concentrate on steadying the lightweight rifle on target, I have no doubt that the stock’s ergonomics helped me squeeze off an accurate shot.

hunter looking through binoculars
Both the 110 KLYM (shown here) and the Impulse KLYM are lightweight guns perfect for long stalks on animals whether you’re hunting mountainous backcountry or the open plains. (Photo courtesy of Tony Jenniges)
TIME-PROVEN FEATURES

Another component that played into my success was the 110 KLYM’s excellent trigger, which broke cleanly and crisply when I needed it to do so. The unit itself is Savage’s well-respected AccuTrigger, which hunters have been using for over two decades now. User adjustable from 1.5 to 4 pounds, it’s just a great trigger with predictable take-up and a nice break.

Maybe even more important is the fact that the 110 KLYM, as its name suggests, utilizes Savage’s time-tested factory blueprinted Model 110 action. While tweaks and changes to the design have occurred over its more than 60-year lifespan, the Model 110 has been in production in some form since the late 1950s, and shooters have come to trust its capabilities.

savage hunting rifle
Both new Savage rifles incorporate the crisp, time-tested AccuTrigger, which is user-adjustable from 1.5 to 4 pounds. (Photo by Drew Warden)

The 110 KLYM uses a dependable, detachable box magazine. Capacity varies between two and four rounds depending on caliber. During my time with the rifle, both when sighting in and while hunting, this magazine was utterly reliable, and I had no issues with feeding or magazine retention.

Savage Impulse KLYM
The Savage Impulse KLYM’s straight-pull action is incredibly fast to operate. There’s no lifting up of the bolt handle, and you don’t have to take your eye off your scope to work it. (Photo by Drew Warden)

The bolt itself is diamond-fluted and coated with a Blackout Cerakote finish, and the lightweight stainless-steel receiver wears this same finish. The bolt handle is threaded (5/16x24) and features a carbon-fiber bolt knob that’s stylish, effective at further reducing weight and easy to grasp and operate. The rifle has a three-position tang safety as well, and this also proved simple to use in the field.

While the Savage 110 KLYM’s receiver is drilled and tapped for mounting optics, to make things even easier, it incorporates a built-in one-piece 20 MOA picatinny rail. We had no trouble getting dialed in ahead of our hunt in New Mexico, thanks in no small part to how easy it was to mount our riflescopes (Vortex Optics’ Razor HD LHT 3-15x42).

savage hunting rifle with scope
Both the 110 KLYM (shown here) and the Impulse KLYM feature an included 20 MOA rail, which makes mounting optics super easy. (Photo by Drew Warden)

The 110 KLYM’s lightweight stock and forend and carbon-fiber barrel helped me move quickly and effectively in New Mexico’s high plains and put me in a position to take an excellent pronghorn. The rifle’s dependable 110 action and AccuTrigger, combined with Vortex’s Razor HD LHT 3-15x42 scope, helped me put an accurate shot on that buck at a little over 200 yards. And Hornady’s Precision Hunter load with its 143-grain ELD-X bullet did the rest, providing a flat trajectory and exceptional terminal performance on target.

hunting rifle butt stock
Both rifles sport a comfortable, lightweight carbon fiber thumbhole buttstock with a one-button adjustable comb. (Photo by Drew Warden)
STRAIGHT SCOOP

While I can’t speak specifically to the Impulse KLYM as much since I used the 110 KLYM on my hunt, I can talk more generally about the Impulse, as I’ve also successfully taken a whitetail buck with the Impulse Predator rifle a few years back. Although much of features are similar to the 110 KLYM—both use the FBT carbon-fiber stock/forend, threaded PROOF Research carbon-fiber barrel with Omniport muzzle brake and AccuTrigger—there are some key differences between the two.

The biggest one is that the Impulse KLYM relies on Savage’s groundbreaking straight-pull bolt-action design, which the company introduced back in 2021. Utilizing a bolt head with six stainless-steel ball bearings in the bolt head—part of a system Savage refers to as Hexlock—the Impulse action allows the user to pull straight back and push straight forward to eject a spent cartridge and chamber a new one. Straight-pull bolt-action rifles are quite popular overseas, but they’ve historically been less common in the U.S., and, indeed, if Savage’s Impulse isn’t the only American-designed and manufactured straight-pull rifle, it’s certainly the most prevalent.

If you remember not to try to lift up on the bolt, the Impulse offers one of the fastest follow-up shots on any hunting rifle, short of a semi-auto. I remembered this from my own experiences with the Impulse Predator on my earlier Oklahoma whitetail hunt, but I was reacquainted with this fact when I handled the new Impulse KLYM in New Mexico. Casey Diefenbach, Savage’s Director of Retail, actually hunted with the Impulse KLYM and took a nice buck, but I still had plenty of opportunities to play with the rifle in camp.

One really cool thing about the Impulse KLYM—and the Impulse more generally—which also distinguishes it from the 110 KLYM, is that the bolt itself is ambidextrous. With minimal tools (a pen or a punch to depress a button on one side of the bolt handle), you can swap it from right-handed to left-handed operation, and back again. The bolt handle is also threaded (5/16x24) and multi-positional, so you can lock it in at a variety of angles depending on what feels comfortable for you. As with the 110 KLYM, the Impulse KLYM features a carbon-fiber bolt knob.

savage-3i2a7909
The 110 KLYM (shown here) has a three-position tang safety, whereas the Impulse KLYM’s is a two-position tang design. (Photo by Drew Warden)

Instead of a three-position tang safety, the Impulse KLYM sports a two-position model in the same location. It also uses an aluminum receiver instead of stainless steel, but it does still have the integral one-piece 20 MOA rail for easily mounting a riflescope.

Both rifles are excellent options for any hunter looking for a lightweight rifle that performs at a high level. The 110 KLYM has a slight edge in weight, but the ambidextrous nature of the Impulse KLYM and its rapid cycling are attractive features as well. Either one will serve hunters well.

savage-3i2a7865
The Savage Arms 110 KLYM paired with a Vortex Optics Razor HD LHT 3-15x42 scope and Hornady Precision Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor ammo proved devastating on New Mexico’s pronghorns. (Photo by Drew Warden)

The two new Savage Arms rifles are available in six popular hunting calibers—6.5 Creedmoor (which I used), .308 Winchester, 6.5 PRC, 7mm PRC, .300 Win. Mag., and .300 WSM. The 110 KLYM is available for $2,699, while the Impulse KLYM runs a little higher at $3,299. For more info on these two new rifles, check out the specifications or visit the Savage Arms website (savagearms.com).

savage field test
Mounting a riflescope and getting dialed in is super easy with the Savage 110 KLYM’s built-in one-piece 20 MOA top rail (the Impulse KLYM also has a 20 MOA rail). (Photo by Drew Warden)
SWEET SUPPRESSORS

In recent years, more and more states are now allowing hunters to use suppressors while in the field. This is a great thing, as suppressors reduce noise, muzzle flash and recoil, and help hunters deliver more accurate shots while protecting their hearing.

I’ve shot suppressors at the range before and have always enjoyed the experience, but this pronghorn hunt in New Mexico was the first time I’d ever hunted with one. And using Savage’s AccuCan (AC30) on this hunt proved to be a real treat.

When I delivered the fatal shot on my pronghorn buck, there was no deafening, concussive blast and recoil seemed even less than usual with the already soft-shooting 6.5 Creedmoor. I was able to maintain my sight picture on the target, and I could even hear the Hornady ELD-X’s impact on the pronghorn because of how quiet the shot was.

The AC30 is just one of three models recently introduced in the launch of Savage’s new AccuCan suppressor line. The other two are the AC338 and AC22. As you might guess, the model numbers coincide to maximum allowable calibers. The AC338 handles everything up to .338 Lapua Magnum, the AC30 tackles anything up to .300 PRC and .300 Win. Mag., and the AC22 covers .22 LR, .22 WMR and .17 HMR.

suppressors
All AccuCan suppressors feature Savage’s MonoKore design. Each suppressor is field-serviceable, easily assembling/disassembling into three pieces. The AC22 is even easier to disassemble for cleaning. (Photo by Drew Warden)

The AC30 that I used weighs under a pound (10.8 ounces), while the AC22 weighs a scant 3.5 ounces. However, even the AC338 comes in at just over a pound (18.5 ounces). In fact, according to Savage, the AccuCan series, machined from a combination of 7075-T6 aluminum and a titanium alloy (6Al-4V Ti), are some of the lightest suppressors on the market, featuring unmatched strength-to-weight ratios.

The AccuCan suppressors all feature a MonoKore design and are field serviceable with an easy-to-assemble/disassemble three-piece design. All you need to take them apart for maintenance are a 1-inch wrench or socket (for the mount) and a 1 1/4-inch wrench or socket (for the tube). This straightforward assembly/disassembly and cleaning process makes these suppressors a great option for any shooter or hunter.

While the AC22 is full-auto rated for .22 LR (semi-auto only for .22 WMR and .17 HMR), the AC30 and AC338 must be used at a controlled rate of fire (no more than one round every second for up to 20 rounds before cooling to ambient temperature). For most hunters, this will hardly be a problem, though, as we don’t tend to fire that quickly in such a short amount of time. It certainly wasn’t an issue during our hunt in New Mexico.

Overall, I found the AC30 to be a perfect companion in the field. Its sub-1-pound weight added very little to the already lightweight 110 KLYM, and its noise reduction capabilities (134.7 dB for 6.5 Creedmoor out of an 18-inch barrel) meant my ears weren’t ringing after a shot. That said, I can see the AC338 and AC22 being equally effective in their various niches as well.

For more info on these new suppressors, check out the specifications or visit the Savage Arms website (savagearms.com).

Savage Arms 110 KLYM
The new Savage Arms 110 KLYM (shown here) and Impulse KLYM sport lightweight carbon fiber hardware. This includes a PROOF Research carbon fiber wrapped stainless-steel barrel and FBT (Fine Ballistic Tool) Custom Carbon Fiber stock and forend. (Photo courtesy of Savage Arms)
Savage Arms 110 KLYM Specifications
Savage Arms
Both the 110 KLYM and the Impulse KLYM feature a 5/8x24 threaded carbon-fiber barrel equipped with an Omniport muzzlebreak. The popular MagnaSwitch system is also installed. (Photo courtesy of Savage Arms)
  • Type: Bolt-action, centerfire
  • Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, 6.5 PRC, 7mm PRC, .300 Winchester Magnum and .300 WSM
  • Capacity: 4 (6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester), 2 (6.5 PRC, 7mm PRC, .300 WSM), 3 (.300 Win. Mag.)
  • Barrel: 22 or 24 in., PROOF Research carbon-fiber wrapped stainless steel, threaded 5/8x24, muzzle brake
  • Overall Length: 44.75-47.60 in.
  • Weight: 5.9-6.1 lbs.
  • Receiver: Lightweight stainless steel, Blackout Cerakote finish
  • Stock: FBT (Fine Ballistic Tools) Custom Carbon Fiber stock and forend
  • Sights: None, drilled and tapped, one-piece 20 MOA picatinny rail
  • Safety: Three-position tang
  • Trigger: AccuTrigger, user-adjustable 1.5-4 lbs.
  • Price: $2,699
  • Manufacturer: Savage Arms; savagearms.com
Savage Arms
At 6.6 to 6.7 pounds, the Impulse KLYM is a little heavier than its companion, the 110 KLYM, but its straight-pull action is faster. Like the 110 KLYM, it’s initially available in six popular hunting calibers. (Photo courtesy of Savage Arms)
Savage Arms Impulse KLYM Specifications
  • Type: Straight-pull bolt-action, centerfire
  • Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, 6.5 PRC, 7mm PRC, .300 Winchester Magnum and .300 WSM
  • Capacity: 4 (6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester), 2 (6.5 PRC, 7mm PRC, .300 WSM), 3 (.300 Win. Mag.)
  • Barrel: 22 or 24 in., PROOF Research carbon-fiber wrapped stainless steel, threaded 5/8x24, muzzle brake
  • Overall Length: 45.37-47.37 in.
  • Weight: 6.6-6.7 lbs.
  • Receiver: Aluminum
  • Stock: FBT (Fine Ballistic Tools) Custom Carbon Fiber stock and forend
  • Sights: None, integral one-piece 20 MOA rail
  • Safety: Two-position tang
  • Trigger: AccuTrigger, user-adjustable 1.5-4 lbs.
  • Price: $3,299
  • Manufacturer: Savage Arms; savagearms.com
savage suppressors
Savage's new AccuCan suppressors fit a variety of needs, but the AC30 is particularly well suited to hunting. (Photo by Drew Warden)
Savage Arms AC30 Specifications
  • Thread Pitch: 5/8x24
  • Modularity: Modular – Replaceable Core and End Cap; Serialized Thread Mount
  • Mounting: Direct thread aluminum mount with titanium thread insert
  • Materials: 100 percent machined 7075-T6 aluminum and 6Al-4V Ti
  • Features: Built-in self-cleaning carbon cutters
  • Sound Reduction: 18-in. barrel 6.5 CM – 134.7 dB; 20-in. barrel .300 WM – 136.6 dB
  • Finish: Hard Coat Anodizing
  • Weight: 10.8 oz.
  • Length: 7.9 in.
  • Diameter: 1.75 in.
  • Calibers: Rated up to .300 PRC, including .300 Win. Mag., .308 Win., .300 BLK, 7mm PRC, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC and others.
  • Rate of Fire: Controlled – 1 round every one second for up to 20 rounds, then cool to ambient temperature
  • MSRP: $699.99
Savage Arms AC338 Specifications
  • Thread Pitch: 5/8x24
  • Modularity: Modular – Replaceable Core and End Cap; Serialized Thread Mount
  • Mounting: Direct thread aluminum mount with titanium thread insert
  • Materials: 100 percent machined 7075-T6 aluminum and 6Al-4V Ti
  • Features: Built-in self-cleaning carbon cutters
  • Sound Reduction: 26-in. barrel – 132.5 dB
  • Finish: Hard Coat Anodizing
  • Weight: 18.5 oz.
  • Length: 10.9 in.
  • Diameter: 1.75 in.
  • Calibers: Rated up to .338 Lapua Magnum, including .338 Win. Mag. and others
  • Rate of Fire: Controlled – 1 round every one second for up to 20 rounds, then cool to ambient temperature
  • MSRP: $999.99
Savage Arms AC22 Specifications
  • Thread Pitch: 1/2x28
  • Modularity: Modular – Replaceable Core with End Cap
  • Mounting: Direct thread titanium thread mount
  • Materials: 100 percent machined 7075-T6 aluminum and 6Al-4V Ti
  • Features: Built-in self-cleaning carbon cutters
  • Sound Reduction: 114 dB with subsonic, 135 dB with supersonic
  • Finish: Hard Coat Anodizing
  • Weight: 3.5 oz.
  • Length: 5.9 in.
  • Diameter: 1. in.
  • Calibers: .22 LR, .22 WMR and .17 HMR
  • Rate of Fire: .22 LR – full auto; .17 HMR and .22 WMR – semi-auto only
  • MSRP: $399.99



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