Re: Savage Mark I-FVT for JR NRA shooting ???
I was going to say something negative due to their accuracy, but our club has four of these CMP Savage Mk I rifles, so obviously a former project leader thought well enough of them to buy four. They fill the niche you are describing, smaller than the full-size rifles and larger than the beginner's rifles.
I shot the Savages some, from a rest. In my tests, their accuracy with their peep/globe sights is adequate for beginner/intermediate shooters. However, to get to the next level, one needs better than 1 MOA accuracy, which I think may be beyond the capability of the little Mk I.
The sights on the Savage Mk I are good enough for intermediate-level, 10-15 year old shooters in a 3-P target program. The tube you mentioned is a sort of hood that helps prevent glare; unless one is shooting into the sun there is no advantage to having this hooded arrangement.
These rifles can achieve .975 MOA at up to 50 yards using a good low-cost 40 gr. Lead Round Nose standard velocity ammo such as Aguila Target or Aguila Match Rifle (both $30.25/500). Even the 1250 fps Fed AutoMatch ($13.50/325) shoots just fine. I have not tried any competition grade ($15/50 to $20/50) target ammo in our Mk I rifles.
Size Comparison: length of pull (LOP), barrel (Bbl); overall length (OAL) and weight:
SMALL: Stevens Cadet - LOP 11.5 in.; Bbl. 14.75, OAL 33 in., weight 4.2 lbs.
MED: Savage Mk I FVT - LOP 13.5 in.; Bbl. 19.5, OAL 39.5 in., weight 5.5 and 6.0 lbs.
MED LG: Izhmash CM-2 - LOP 13.5 & 14 in.; Bbl. 18, OAL 37 in., weight 7.5 lbs.
LG: Anschutz Match 64 1903 - LOP 13.25 in.; Bbl. 24.25, OAL 43 in., weight 10.0 lbs.
LG: My own older Vostok CM-2 - LOP 12.5 in., Bbl. 25.25, OAL 43 in., weight 10 lbs.
The plastic stock of the Savage is annoying to an old hand like me. A youth probably will never notice that plastic has certain feel that is not like wood.
I have two alternatives to suggest: First is an old Rem 521T Junior Special, maybe even in a sporter stock. It is sort of a Savage Mk I from an earlier era... with that era's nice wood stock and fine looks. Although a repeater, with the magazine inserted the 521T can be hand-loaded one shot at a time. Also, inserts for the front sight can still be found, and Merit sells an adjustable aperture rear sight to fit.
Second alternative is a brand-new Izhmash CM-2. Our club has two of the Izhmash CM-2 which each weigh 7.5 lbs. I personally own an older model called the Vostok CM-2 which weighs 10 lbs. On the older models, the trigger pull goes down to 4 ounces; newer models I think adjust down to a pound.
In the end, buying a rifle is a trade-off between usability, cost, wants, and expectations. The Savage Mk I fills the bill for an inexpensive, reasonably accurate and light 5.5 to 6.0 pound target rifle with peep/globe sights. Worth a try? Yes. I'm sure our club will buy more if nothing better for the price shows up.
Good luck, hope some of my rambling post helps.