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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

Savage straight pull bolt Impulse Driven Hunter

Savage Arms has officially announced the newest model in its award-winning series of straight-pull bolt rifles, the Impulse Driven Hunter. Unifying safety, accuracy, and speed, the Driven Hunter proves the elite Impulse lineup continues to showcase breakthrough technology in the straight-pull market. I had the opportunity to get my hands on one before the release and have been excited to share my thoughts.

“No plan survives the first shot”. This military adage and its countless iterations can be tracked back through history and are attributed to generals and strategists from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Napoleon Bonaparte. Most notably, though, it is Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke of the Prussian army, who takes the most credit.

But no matter who said it, the adage is true. Once that first shot is fired, chaos ensues, and all plans are quickly forgotten.

Far from the battlefield, and deep in the heart of Texas, I took up arms with a small group of fellow writers against our enemy, the invasive feral hog. If you never have hunted pigs before, it can be chaotic. Here’s my “hunting” take on the above military saying: “It’s a great pig hunting plan until the sounder splits!”

Speed and accuracy are paramount when it comes to pig hunting. Follow up shots must be quick and accurate. Most times the weapon of choice is an AR platform, but if you find yourself looking something more traditional, consider Savage’s Impulse Driven Hunter.

“Specifically designed to meet the thrilling demands of fast-paced hunts that require the utmost accuracy, the Impulse Driven Hunter promotes the exciting and challenging tradition of driven hunting,” said Beth Shimanski, Director of Marketing at Savage Arms. “With a shorter, lighter barrel, reduced overall weight, and all of the leading Savage Impulse features, the Driven Hunter gives Savage fans yet another straight-pull option to choose from to meet their specific hunting and shooting needs.”

That’s a fancy way of saying: the Impulse Driven Hunter is a fast and accurate (straight-pull) bolt action rifle.

My day started out on the range with the Driven Hunter. The model I tested was Savage’s 20” variation chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor with a Silencer Central Banish Backcountry suppressor mounted on the end of the barrel.  

Our group put our Driven Hunter rifles through their paces, sending rounds of Hornady’s Precision Hunter downrange to a distance as far as 1,000 yards with a 33.6 MOA hold over. I was impressed by the out-of-the-box accuracy, but that’s not the primary purpose of the Driven Hunter. It is meant for, as its name implies, hunting. So, I took my shooting a step further by engaging targets out to 500 yards from awkward shooting positions and stances that simulated hunting situations, as a way to better demo the straight pull bolt and follow up shots. I wanted to see how near-real-life scenarios felt reloading using the Driven Hunter’s straight-pull bolt and how, based on my position, it would affect my subsequent accuracy.

I can honestly say, it took some time getting used to a straight-pull bolt.  But once I got the hang of it, the idea of less movement during the reload, did in fact improve my accuracy over the traditional bolt action I have grown accustom to. 

After several boxes of ammo, I gained confidence in operating the straight pull bolt. It was time to put the Driven Hunter to the test in a real-life application.

With the sun beginning to set and the pigs becoming active, we loaded up in a truck and headed to a known area for hogs. From a distance of 600 yards, we spotted a sounder of unaware targets hard at work eating up the corn intended for the deer herd. We stalked up to around 100 yards and in the process the pigs eased into the thick south Texas brush.

Setting up along the opposing tree line, we patiently waited for the pigs to reemerge. Their grunts had our group on high alert and the occasional glimpse of a silhouette scurrying between the trees had us clamoring into position with more than itchy trigger fingers.

savage's straight pull bolt impulse driven hunter

Just as day turned into night and the last moments of shooting light remained, the sounder of pigs sauntered out into the open. We let them gather and settle, and with a whispered countdown of “One, two, three” we let shots break. One after another, round after round, thumps could be heard of impacting bullets. Two pigs dropped in their tracks and several more scattered in the melee of gunfire. Racking another round in after my first impact, the next shot hit my target too as it scrambled for the bushes. More thumps could be heard from the others’ shots as several more rounds impacted escaping pigs heading for cover.  

It was a success. But, like I said earlier, “It was a good plan until the sounder split”. That didn’t matter though, because the Savage Impulse Driven Hunter made short work of the chaos that occurred after the first shot was fired. Which is exactly what it was designed to do.

Specifications: Savage Arms Impulse Driven Hunter Bolt-Action Rifle:

  • Straight-pull bolt action.
  • User-adjustable AccuTrigger (1.5-4lbs).
  • Ambidextrous, multi-positional bolt handle.
  • Aluminum receiver with integral 1-piece 20 MOA rail.
  • AccuStock technology with three-dimensional aluminum bedding.
  • Adjustable length-of-pull and comb height with AccuFit technology.
  • 18” and 20” Savage carbon steel sporter barrel.
  • 2 sling swivel studs.
  • 2-position tang safety.
  • Rugged, gray synthetic stock.
  • Threaded barrel standard (1/2-28).

Description / MSRP

308 Win 18-inch barrel / $1,399

6.5 Creedmoor 20-inch barrel / $1,399

30-06 Springfield 18-inch barrel / $1,399

300 Win Mag 20-inch barrel / $1,399

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