2 June 2016, updated – Sources have confirmed to UK Shooting News that the new Savage cadet rifle will be known as the L144A1, and not the No.9 as originally planned.
As previously covered on UK Shooting News, the No.8 replacement will be a lightly modified Savage Arms FVT single-shot bolt action rifle.
The rifles destined for the British cadet forces will be built by Savage Arms Canada at their Lakefield plant in Ontario, UKSN understands, keeping the new rifle’s heritage firmly rooted in the Commonwealth family.
Sources suggested that the original decision by the Army Cadet Force hierarchy to name the rifle the No.9 was roundly ridiculed within the organisation, mainly because the No.9 – or, more accurately, N.9 – designation was used 60 years ago for the Royal Navy’s .22″ Enfield No.4 conversion.
Somerset ACF has published an album of photographs of the L144 on their Facebook page. These show the rifle in detail – including what the MoD laughably calls the “advanced weapon sight (AWS)”, or what you and I would call a Gehmann adjustable iris screwed into the existing sight’s aperture ring.
Thus it seems that the L144, as issued, will not be capable of mounting third-party precision sights. Indeed, the receiver is conspicuously not milled with sight rails, nor is it drilled for sight rail mounting screws. The issued sight screws into the left hand side of the receiver.
A red plastic loading tray takes the place of the magazine, presumably to make it instantly apparent if any enterprising cadet – or instructor – gets hold of a magazine that fits the Savage FV series. The underside of the wooden stock, as may be expected, is not inlet for a magazine. Given the close fit of the bolt to the chamber, how will the L144 handle the waxy military-issue .22″ ammunition?
The butt is apparently easily adjustable for length through a twist’n’pull system. UKSN wonders how robust that is, particularly in staying put and not rotating out of position during a shoot.
The rifle is fitted with the Savage Accutrigger and the standard FVT bolt, which appears to UKSN’s author’s eyes to be rather complicated next to the faithful old Enfield bolt of the No.8.