Re: Right Out Of The Box----
Most all savages I own are heavy barreled versions, but I also own a couple 99's. The first group out of every Savage I've owned was 3/4" or smaller (not counting the 99's). All shoot well into the three's and a couple have no trouble getting into the mid two's consistently. One single shot would do sub twos on a regular basis, but still couldn't be counted on to do that everytime. I always thought it was just me or I was lucky, till I started to look around. I was not an exception to the rule, and really just one among many. Then my brother inlaw buys a 30-06 Savage in stainless steel with the factory brake and the rubber stock. He starts out shooting 3/4" groups with Federal Supreme ammo! His rifle now shoots right at 1/2" groups rather consistently. It's just as it came out of the box ten years ago.
Now I own four or five 30-06's in one brand name or another. Plus a couple I no longer own. My favorite was a Remington 700ADL. Not the most accurate, but still very good. The most accurate 30-06 I've owned is a Weatherby Vanguard. It will shoot better than the operator as long as you give the barrel time to cool down between shots. It will do .60" groups on a good day without a hitch. And shoot sub inch groups at two hundreds yards rather consistently. On the otherhand I have a Marlin MR7 that started out shooting just under an inch at 100 yards, and will shoot just under 3/4" now (keep in mind I've never bothered to work up a good accuracey load in any 30-06 I own). I have a MK.V. lightweight Weatherby that started out in the 3/4" area, and I honestly think the rifle can be made to shoot sub .60" groups. I have a regular MK.V. that dosn't shoot that well, but still prints in the 3/4" range all the time. I have zero complaints about any of them, except that I often wish I had the ADL back in my safe! The Marlin has the same basic feel and balance of the ADL, but the way the stock is cut induces felt recoil (I'll fix that one of these days)
Now if you goto a "factory benchrest shoot" you will see about 80% Savage rifles, and that's why the call it "The Savage Line." Sure you'll see a Remington or two, and maybe a Cooper, but that's about it when it gets down to the last relay.