Fixing Savage Magazines
Savage rimfire magazines have been troublesome of late. I’ve noticed the main complaints come from those who do not have bottleneck cartridges: .22LR and .22 Magnums seem to feed worse than the .17 rimfires.
There have been numerous fixes suggested. They work to varying degrees. This is my version. The spaghetti springs used by Savage are very similar in appearance and function to 1911 magazine springs, and they respond to much the same treatment.
While I use five round magazines in this write-up, I’ve done this to 10 round magazines with great success as well.
The first things you’ll need are two identical magazines:
I ordered these directly from Savage, $30 shipped for the pair.
One magazine will not work after the repair. While I do not like this fact, I recognize that a good handgun magazine for a 1911 is at least $30, and I’m willing to pay for working mags vs. those which sometimes work.
Pad a hammer.
I ruined a good gunsmithing rawhide mallet on these magazines’ sharp edges; I went with padded steel this time as my only other one in my ‘smithing toolkit is a combination plastic/rubber mallet. Padding a small steel hammer will keep the magazine from being scratched, and keep more expensive tools from being ruined.
Removal of the base plate.
To take off the base plate, no filing is needed. Put the side of the base plate on a work table’s edge and gently tap the body of the magazine so that the base plate comes off toward the front. Some people file the back and take it off that way; there is no need (though it does appear that there is – looks are deceiving at times). Alternate sides as you tap, and the base plate will come off rather quickly. Watch the spring as it might fly out – not with considerable force, but looking for it or having it hit you in the eye are still bad things.
You will find that the spring is very weak and made of very thin wire. You’ll also see a close resemblance to a 1911 magazine spring. This is a good thing.
Remove the spring from the second magazine.
In order to get the proper power from the springs, you’ll need to intersperse them. Since we’re dealing with a rimfire cartridge, it is a good idea to bend the front of the springs up a bit to help support the follower. The curvature of the magazine’s body takes care of the rest, but keeping that nose up is paramount. Once this is done, put the two springs in one magazine body and reassemble. Reassemble one mag with the intertwined springs, and lay the other parts aside. My spare mag bodies and followers go into a plastic tub to await generic .22 springs from Wolff.
Now, the function test:
These are my homemade hollow points that I expect the rifle to feed flawlessly.
Made with D Rock’s tool, they are quite a bit shorter than before modification.
These are absolutely explosive in critters.
This is the angle at which the round should set in relation to the chamber.
As the bolt comes forward, it will push the nose down – and this is one of the main complaints I’ve heard: The nose of the bullet jams against the bottom of the barrel. The 1911 actually feeds like this and has a ramp on the frame to accommodate such feeding; I do not see a safe way to throat the Savage’s barrel enough to make up for this, and certainly nothing that would suggest a safe way of putting in a feed ramp, so this is how we have to work it. It’s all about timing.
The hollow point entering the chamber.
To pass the test, you slowly push the bolt forward. The bullet should enter the chamber a split second before, or just as, the rim of the cartridge is released by the magazine lips and control is taken over by the bolt’s extractors. If the rim of the cartridge jumps out of the magazine too early, you may experience a malfunction in which the round is bent.
Some will undoubtedly ask about function with flat points.
These are flat points made with the same tool by D Rock.
If you’ll notice, these noses are really blunt, much more so than CCI’s Small Game Bullet. I didn’t mic them, but eyeballing the meplat appears to be about .20” wide.
Again, the feed angle...
… and the controlled feed.
My Savage Mk II BTVS.
Once again, my Savage takes up residence on the dining room table, magazine in, safety on, bolt open, where it will be shot out the porch door at marauding pests from the woods, this time with 100% certainty of function. The ‘possums, groundhogs, raccoons, and chipmunks deserve nothing less than the absolute certainty of a follow-up kill shot in the event of a wounding first shot.