When Savage Arms announced their new Impulse line of straight-pull actioned rifles a year ago, I was very intrigued by the design and function of this new Savage offering. We were offered the chance of trying one of their Impulse Predator rifles, so our idea was to get out in the field and put it to the test both at the range and on a couple of hunts. We only had a limited time with this rifle, so we did our best to put together this Savage Impulse Predator 6.5 Creedmoor review with range and hunt report. I’ve been asked many times on Social Media, why our review wasn’t being released. The number one issue was Savage’s ability to get these rifles to market. With all of the supply-chain issues, it took a while before the Impulse rifles started hitting retail shelves in good numbers. I did not want to publish our article/video while no rifles were available. Fast-forward to 2022! With SHOT Show coming up in Las Vegas next week, I felt we could not wait any longer, so we are releasing this review now. This also gives us the opportunity to speak with Savage Arms next week and ask them where they are at with getting these rifles into the hands of the very patient wanna-be Impulse owners!
Savage Impulse Rifle Specifications:
We changed things up this time. Our video above includes every detail about this rifle that you may want to know. I am posting galleries with some of the detailed information below, as well as our final thoughts on the Savage Impulse Predator rifle we received. I am also including hunt pictures below the rifle specs/features.
Savage Impulse Rifle Range Report:
After cleaning the rifle and mounting a Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25×56 riflescope, we headed out to the desert here in SW Idaho where we do most of our range work. The ammunition “shortage” made it difficult to find any 6.5 Creedmoor factory ammunition to shoot, but Riley from Guns America, had some leftover and offered what he had left. We had three types of factory ammunition to test, along with our handloaded 90 grain Nosler Varmageddon rounds. In this picture, you can see that the bolt handle does not rise, but stays in a lower position (which is adjustable) when extracting the round.
David set-up prone and shot 3-Shot groups using each of the different factory ammunition offerings. They all proved to be very accurate in the Impulse, with the Hornady Match ammo giving us the best groups. Although we did our final sight-in with the 90 grain Varmageddon handloads, we planned to shoot some rockchucks using the Hornady Match ammo as well. It was an opportunity to test Match projectiles on larger varmints to see how they perform.
Savage Impulse Rifle Hunt Report:
David and I headed East to meet with Cache and do some rockchuck hunting with this new rifle. We were on a farm/cattle ranch, that has a major rockchuck problem (see the video)! Our set-up was 325 yards away from a pile of rimrock that bordered the pasture where the cows fed. This rimrock curved around towards us and allowed for closer shots in the 100 to 250 yard range. Using the handloaded ammunition, shooting the Nosler 90 grain Varmageddon, the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge morphed into an excellent varmint round! The video posted above shows the shots, including a few using the 147 grain Hornady Match ammunition!
The Savage Impulse’s accuracy was evident, as David knocked over rockchuck, after rockchuck! The quick ejection, then loading of rounds was used a few times when the wind was too difficult to judge and a follow-up shot was needed to make the hit. It functioned well, but took some getting used to.
After we finished with the rockchuck hunt, I handed the Impulse off to Cache, who would be hunting a coyote hunt called the “Ambush 360”. He was hunting solo, so we do not have any video, but he stated that once he got used to the straight-pull feature of the rifle, he was able to knock down four coyotes, with the furthest being a few yards over the 300 yard mark! Accuracy is king, whether hunting smaller varmints, or predators and the Savage Impulse definitely impressed all of us, straight out of the box!
It is inevitable that when we are putting together a full review of any product, we wish we had more time in the field using it and putting it through the paces of a handful of hunts. This was the case with the Savage Impulse Predator rifle we received from Savage. Because of the short time we had it for, we felt that a couple of the quirks we ran into (stiff bolt, getting used to the straight-pull action) would have been remedied after putting hundreds of rounds through the rifle and hours of field time before developing our opinions. Overall, I appreciated Savage’s ingenuity behind the straight-pull receiver. Some of you will start in with, “It’s not ingenuity, because Blaser has been making one for years”. I get that, but I’m not one to spend $6k-$8k on a straight-pull hunting rifle, when Savage has brought one to market at a fraction of the cost of the Blaser. I also don’t think it is a fair comparison, because Savage builds rifles for the budget of most Americans. They are an “everyman’s” rifle company. When you really dig into the Savage Impulse, you will start to recognize that the engineers at Savage Arms were forward thinking in developing this rifle. With the Savage Barrel Nut system and the way the Impulse’s barrel attaches to the receiver, you can clearly see that this is meant for much bigger things than just a rifle you can pick-up at your local Scheel’s, or Sportsman’s. Instead, the ability to switch barrels and boltheads is evident and I am hoping (once this “supply chain issue” is resolved) that Savage Arms brings out options for the Impulse, that cover the gamut for hunters. I’d love to shoot a .224 Valkyrie out of an Impulse, then switch it up to a 22 Creedmoor, switch the bolt to the left-side, drop it on a tripod and do some night hunting for coyotes come winter! We do have a request in for a 22-250 and our hopes are to have one of those for quite some time, so we can really use this in various scenarios during some upcoming varmint hunts. I really like the rifle and felt that it is something I would own in the future. A 22-250, or even a 243 version would be excellent for my needs!
I used this Impulse Predator over two days, during a coyote hunt called the Ambush 360. I hunted in Southern Idaho with shots from 100 yards out to just over 300 yards and I was using handloaded 90 grain Nosler Varmageddon projectiles.
Overall, I really enjoyed shooting the Impulse Predator rifle. I have not been a Savage fan in a long time. But, the fit/finish and overall quality of this rifle has piqued my interest once again in Savage rifles. The ability to make adjustments to the rifle, to fit my shooting style, was helpful during my coyote hunts. In particular, being able to adjust the bolt to a vertical angle, made working the action during fast shooting more ergonomic. When I confirmed zero on the Impulse, the first two shots touched each other at 100 yards and were dead-on, which was all I needed before heading out for the hunt. The accuracy of this rifle shooting the handloaded 90 grain Varmageddon bullets allowed me to comfortably take the 300 yard coyote, with a center punch through the chest. I would like to use one of the Impulse rifles for daytime predator calling, then switch the bolt over to the left, for nighttime calling off a tripod.
Savage brings old technology back into relevance with the straight-pull action in their Impulse line of rifles, at an affordable price. Looking into the future of the Impulse rifle line, I am sure that Savage has released this knowing it is a suitable platform for a full line of interchangeable barrels and bolt-faces. I am looking forward to the evolution of the Savage Impulse line of rifles.
I felt that this rifle was very accurate right out of the box. I was able to shoot three different factory loads and a handloaded round with great results. The rifle overall felt good, but I wish they would have upgraded to a more substantial stock, like some of the higher end 110 rifles they offer. Some features that stood out was the built-in recoil pad, the tang safety, the AICS pattern magazine accompanied by a very nice magazine release that is easy to operate and accessible. I felt that the bolt operation was stiff, however I did not adjust the bolt handle angle, which may have helped bolt operation. Additionally, we only had the rifle in the field for a short amount of time. I feel that my opinion may change, if I had more time to put more rounds through the rifle and get past what we consider a good break-in point. Although straight-pull actions have existed for some time, this was a new experience for me and I can see the appeal in the design. My hope is, when we receive the requested 22-250 version of the Savage Impulse, I will be able to give a more thorough review of this rifle.