Straight-pull bolt-action rifles are common in Europe, but rare in North America. That might change, thanks to the just-released Savage Impulse rifle line.
The Savage Impulse uses an all-new action, with barrel threaded onto an aluminum receiver. The bolt locks into the receiver via six ball bearings, which move into place as the bolt is moved forward. Savage calls this the Hexlock system. With this design, as pressures rise, the ball bearings lock into place even more tightly. This allows for higher-pressure cartridges than previous straight-pull designs, Savage says.
There’s more clever engineering here, if you keep looking. The receiver has a 20MOA picatinny rail built-in, for easier optics mounting. The bolt handle can be switched to either side of the receiver, for left-handed or right-handed shooters (looks like the ejection is always to the right, though). The two-position tang safety and bolt release (mounted on the trigger guard) are also ambidextrous.
Users can also swap out aftermarket knobs onto the bolt handle, and choose from three different orientations for the bolt knob (forward-mounted or rear-mounted). At the back of the bolt, there’s a release button that lets shooters remove a live cartridge from the action without disengaging the safety.
Like well-known modern straight-pull rifles from Europe, the Impulse is designed for easy calibre changes. The removable bolt head is matched to the barrel from the factory, for correct headspacing. Order a replacement barrel and bolt head, and handy DIY shooters should be able to convert their rifle to a new calibre.
The Impulse comes with a detachable box magazine, and all models use Savage’s AccuTrigger, AccuFit and AccuStock designs.
Savage currently offers the new rifle in three versions: The Impulse Big Game, the Impulse Hog Hunter and the Impulse Predator. The Impulse Big Game comes with cerakoted barrel and KUIU Verde 2.0 camo stock, in 6.5 Creedmoor, .243, .30-06, .300 Win Mag, .300 WSM and .308. It’s got a $1,449 USD price tag; you can see more details here.
The Impulse Hog Hunter comes in 6.5 Creedmoor, .30-06, .300 Win Mag and .308. It has black matte finish on the barrel instead of the green cerakote. Like the Big Game, barrel length depends on which calibre you select. Green synthetic stock comes standard; MSRP is $1,379 USD. See more details here.
The Impulse Predator comes chambered in .22-250, .243, .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor. Its synthetic stock wears a Mossy Oak Terra Gila camo finish, and the barrel is matte black steel. The Predator comes with a 10-round removable AICS magazine as standard. MSRP is $1,379 USD; see more details here.
At this point, we have not seen Canadian pricing or availability on any of these rifles. Given the current upheavals and demand in the US, it may take a while for them to make it north.
When they do, it’s likely the MSRP will deter many casual buyers. But, for those looking for an alternative to Blaser and other Euro rifles, the Savage may prove attractive, if accuracy lives up to early reports and craftsmanship is equal to the price tag.