Where do I start. In my opinion the Sav Bmag is much maligned due in part to ignorance on the part of some users and a batch of early ammo whose case throats were not properly annealed resulting is case neck splits and thus a higher level of velocity deviation than would normally be acceptable. I think?? that the ammo issues are now fixed. The last batches I have tested were better. I have not seen a split case since the first year of ownership. I have had mine about 3.5yrs. Attached is a 5 shot group from my Bmag at 90y from a bench. The white circle at the center of the bull is about 1" in diam. The one low shot was the last in the group. More on that in a min.
The other tgt was shot at 200y also from a bench and is a 3 shot group. The grid is 1" and the group measured about 1.3" c-c. My rifle is one of the earliest produced and has the light profile bbl. I put it into a Boyd's green laminated stock and it is topped with a cheap $60 BSA 6-24x mil-dot optic. It shot better in the plastic stock than in the wooden one but after glass bedding and free floating the bbl and adding a harmonic dampner, it now shoots about the same as it did in the original plastic stock. The 90y group was fired in its current config.
Now here is were folks get all sideways with the Bmag. The ammo is FAST!. The 20g stuff chronos about 3100fps on ave. The 25g at about 2600-2650 fps. Yes it is a rimfire. NO, it is NOT at 22lr. You cannot treat it as such. The factory bore is not hand lapped and is not all that smooth. It collects copper fouling at a very fast rate and the tiny bore diameter means that any fouling that does collect will impact accuracy quickly. The nice groups you see attached are both after spending lots of time cleaning the bore of all fouling. Second - The thin, light barrel heats up fast. If you shoot 5 shots in rapid succession with about 30 sec between shots (like you would shooting groups), the group will open up after the 3rd or 4th shot every time! If you go slow, it takes longer but it still heats up quickly. Because of that, the rifle got a rep of being not that accurate. Not true.
If you break in the bbl slowly, shooting 5 shots and clean it, then repeat thru about 100-200 rds, and use some JB's bore paste on it along the way, after a while the bore smooths out some. It will not foul as fast but it still fouls after any decent range session. Clean it in detail every time you shoot it. Don't expect to shoot a 6x5 with it. Don't expect great 5 shot groups. You can get off great 3 shot groups and in hunting situations it is fantastic. It has the best cold bore shot of any rimfire I own including two high dollar Anschutz rifles, a Win mod 52 and two trick Rem tgt rifles amongst the group. The plastic factory stock is a turd. Dump it for Boyds or spring for the high end Sav model that comes in a Boyds stock from the factory.
The rifle is not perfect. The fit of the mag in the Boyds stock is tight. I have to dig it out to reload. There were some issues with the original safety. Mine was fine but it requires a retro-fit if you buy an old one. The action cocks as you close it. That is strange and it is possible to close the bolt part way when out of battery. This requires the shooter to pay attention to what he is doing. I would not expect the bore to last as long as a 22lr but it greatly out performs the 22 and any other rimfire. It is a legit 200y plus rifle. I can hit ground hogs at 300y and coyotes at 400y with it when the wind is light which is almost all the time in KY. I have used mine a lot to smoke squirrels. This is messy but with the good cold bore performance, you can head shoot them even at 100y if they will hold still for you. It is light as a feather. My advice is stop fretting and buy one. Put it in a nice stock. Take the money you saved and put a quality optic on it (The BSA is ok but it is not great). When you are finished I will bet that it will become one of your most favorite rifles. And if not, PM me, I will give it a good home as I am thinking of buying another one.
Well I'll add it to the list then....I was looking at the plastic stock with the heavy barrel, then drop it in a Boyds varmint pro. One of my thoughts is that 20g bullet is not as much of a threat on a ricochet or miss than a 80g 22 cal or 105g 6mm. Just wish they would make a lefty!
Seems like only options are the different Bmag variants, Ruger m77 I think, Franklin Armory AR pattern, and the volquartseen. Check out cavedweller1959 on youtube. He has some awesome vids on restocking the Bmag as well as glass bedding. He shows the results before and after. Seems like the Bmag heavy barrel in the plastic stock would be the way to go as long as you put it in a Boyds and bed it.
I also forgot to add that my Bmag shoots the 25g ammo far better than the 20g. The groups posted above were all with the 25g. 20g groups are always about 20-30% larger at any distance and no matter which brand ammo I choose. I think I did read that Sav changed the twist of the bbl at some point and I have heard that some users rifles prefer the 20g ammo. I cannot say if that is only newer rifles or not. From what I have seen on Rimfire Central and the Sav forum, mine shoots better than a lot of owners have been able to accomplish. I would attribute that to the careful and detailed breakin and my use of very solid rest and technique and very detailed bore cleaning regimen. And I would attribute most of that to the careful cleaning as I can tell when mine is getting fouled. The accuracy drops off noticeable. It do not take long either.