Mia Anstine reviews the Savage Arms 11/11 Lady Hunter, the perfect rifle for the “little lady.”
The day I went to pick up the Savage Arms 11/111 Lady Hunter, my FFL dealer beamed. He opened the box and displayed the petite .243-caliber rifle, which was said to be designed for women. We felt pleased with the size, the recoil pad and especially the balance of the wood-stocked rifle. I completed my paperwork and headed home. He reminded me to let him know what I thought; we both know a lot of women who may want a rifle like this one.
I mounted a scope and bore-sighted it, then headed to the range. With the rifle mounted in a sled, I fine-tuned the optics. I immediately smiled at how smooth the bolt ran. The magazine, which holds 4 rounds, loaded and mounted with ease. I test-fired one round at a time and after zeroing the rifle, I went to hunt-scenario rehearsal.
I planned to use the Savage Lady Hunter in an upcoming mule deer hunt. I would not use it to hunt bigger game—i.e. elk, moose or bear—because the .243’s a bit on the light side for rifle calibers. However, it would be a suitable round for hunting deer.
I shot from standing, kneeling, sitting and prone positions. The Lady Hunter has a reduced length, an oil-finished walnut stock and a raised comb designed to fit persons of smaller stature. The reduced length allowed me to comfortably reach the trigger. The Lady Hunter is 39.5 inches in overall length, which allowed me to reach the forestock to support the rifle during a shot. The length made for a nice balance while in standing position. I held steady and shot rounds in a 3-inch group. When I transitioned to more supportive positions, my patterns improved.
This rifle is not only reduced in size, but weight as well. In addition to the reduced stock, it has a carbon-fiber barrel. This sweet little gun weighs in at 6 pounds (without optics). I’m not one to worry about kick, but I know many shooters do. I have good news for them. The wood stock, combined with an extended butt pad, made for very little recoil.
With the trigger pull at a proper length for my small arms, I was shooting tight-grouped patterns with the .243 in no time. This is partially because of Savage’s AccuTrigger. The trigger safety design allows for the lightest trigger pull allowed, yet is safe against accidental jarring discharge. I was happy to not have to consciously worry about pulling my shots. The Lady Hunter felt comfortable and is a smooth shooter.
I’m constantly preaching safety, so you can bet I liked the trigger safety and also took note of the safety switch. The manual switch is located on top of the action, just behind the bolt. The red “ready to fire” indicator is easy to see. The button’s profile is fairly flush, so it reduces the risk of being accidentally moved while you’re hiking in the field. It’s easily activated with your thumb with very little movement, minimizing the possibility of scaring off animals.
With range time under my belt and growing confidence in this new little gun, it came time to hunt. I liked carrying a light, wood-stocked rifle up and down mountains. One thing some men may scoff at is the fact that I rarely have to duck branches. I like to share good news; here is more. Did I mention the gun’s reduced size? When I had the rifle slung on my shoulder, the barrel didn’t protrude much above my height. Hah! That meant even less ducking under branches for this little lady.
My take on the Savage Arms 11/111 Lady Hunter?
This rifle is a great all-around rifle for women. Although I tested it in .243 caliber, the Lady Hunter is available in other chamberings. If you’ll be hunting big-game animals, such as elk, moose or bear, I suggest going with a larger caliber. This gun is so well-designed for sportswomen, I’m thinking you’ll enjoy it for years to come.
Savage Arms 11/111 Lady Hunter .243
The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women. View all posts by The WON