Those of us that have children understand the challenges of teaching a small-statured person how to shoot with a full-sized rifle. While there have been other offerings in youth-sized rifles for quite some time, many of them suffer from poor accuracy, and generally lack the quality we expect from a real rifle. The Savage Rascal takes a solid stab at bringing us a rifle that is both compact and easy to wield, yet still holds true to the great accuracy we have grown to expect from Savage.
The Good Parts:
The Rascal rifle system incorporates Savage’s excellent, adjustable ‘Accutrigger’ fire control group. Out of the box, this trigger breaks clean at just under 3 lbs, which is about perfect for a new shooter. The rifle is very light at only 2.66 lbs, and has a short, 11.2″ length of pull. All of these features make it very handy for small bodies.
The accuracy was very good; on par or better than any other unmodified rimfire rifle I have tried. The sights are not particularly easy to adjust, but once set, they are intuitive to use. I think I enjoyed firing this thing as much as my kid did.
The Bad Parts:
The Rascal is very good, but it is not perfect. For one, the grip angle/slope is too gradual, making it a longer than expected reach to get to the trigger. This may be fine for older kids, but might be difficult for the little ones. I would prefer a steeper and shorter grip that does not require the child having to stretch as far to get to the trigger.
Second, while accuracy was excellent, reliability left much to be desired. We ran five different types of quality ammo through it, and it was plagued by light primer strikes regardless of the brand.
A single-shot bolt action rifle should be reliable, if nothing else. It is sort of hard to offer high praise if it fails in that department. The accuracy is very good, but the ergonomics of the grip angle are a bit lacking. It is an ok rifle for starters if you are willing to fix the firing pin issues yourself. Savage will not do it for you [see below].
Have fun and play safe!
REPAIR UPDATE: About 4-weeks and $30-dollars in shipping later, there is not a significant improvement in the light primer strikes. The letter from Savage included with the repaired rifle was pretty vague, stating only that small parts were replaced. In conducting further research, it appears that many Rascal owners suffer the same chronic malfunctions, even after being serviced by Savage.
It appears to be a design flaw with the firing pin strike surface being too wide and flat to effectively ignite primers. There are some fixes that require using a precision file to “sharpen” the firing pin strike surface. Click here for a detailed tutorial on how to fix this problem.