Re: .25-.35 Savage Model 1899
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Working the Savage Model 1899 Rifle
Author: David R. Chicoine
February 9, 2009
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Savage Arms Company introduced the now-famous Model 1899 lever-action rifle in—not surprisingly—1899. The new rifle was based on the invention of Arthur W. Savage of Utica, New York. Mr. Savage had previously designed lever-action rifles, one for military trials in 1892 and another, a commercial version in 1895, which was produced for Savage by the Marlin Firearms Company in New Haven, Connecticut. Some 6,000 of the 1895 model were manufactured between 1895 and 1899. Savage Arms Company was formed in 1897, and began producing the rifle themselves in 1899.
The Savage 1899 has proven to be a popular choice for several generations of hunters. This rifle is a takedown model in .30-30 Winchester caliber, manufactured in the 1950s.
The Model 1899 is an outstanding and unique design in many ways. It offered an internal rotary magazine that held five shots, along with a very strong and simple lever-action operation. The Model 1899 also incorporated an unusual and thoughtful cartridge-counter feature; the shooter could see the number of cartridges remaining in the magazine by viewing the cartridge counter through a small window on the left side of the receiver. In addition, the new rifle was equipped with a hammer-cocked indicator on the top of the receiver. Another innovative feature was the sliding safety that locked the trigger while at the same time locking the lever in the closed position.
Savage’s Model 1899, or the ’99, as it was later known, has been popular with hunters since it was first introduced. The rifle has been available in both solid-frame and takedown versions, and it was the first commercially available rifle to be chambered for a high-velocity .22 cartridge, the .22 Savage Hi-Power in 1912. A year later in 1913, Savage introduced their now-famous .250-3000 cartridge, which pushed a little 87-grain bullet to velocities of just over 3,000 feet per second. In 1913, this was quite a remarkable feat.
Removing the 1899 buttstock is a snap. Once off, the action parts are exposed for quick disassembly.
Through its many years of production, the company changed many aspects of the 1899, although the basic design and operation of this sound and dependable lever-action has remained the same. Thanks to its simple, highly versatile action, the 1899 has been chambered in many calibers over its lifetime, including .25-35, .30-30, .32-40, .38-55, .22 Hi-Power, .250-3000, .300 Savage, .303 Savage, .243, .308. and .358 Winchester. Likewise, the 1899 has been offered in an almost uncountable number of model variations, especially prior to 1981.
In the early days, starting in 1909 when the takedown feature was introduced, the 1899 was also offered with auxiliary barrels, often in different calibers and/or barrel lengths. At one time, Savage even offered a .410 shotgun chambering as an auxiliary barrel on some takedown models. The .410 shells would not feed through the rotary magazine, however, so the shotgun barrel was purely a single-shot affair.