Another Personal Defense SG - Savage 69RXL


May 1, 2005, 10:08 PM
I have been lucky enough to acquire a few inexpensive shotguns for pesonal defense use. This one is a Savage 69RXL which, under the nylon stock ammo holder still bears the initials of my local PD. My FFL has been their firearms advisor and was able to acquire some of these when they changed over to a new model. Other than the extended mag tube and sling it seems to be stock.

I took it out to the local range to go through my short patterning drill and got the results shown below. At 7 yds it keeps them pretty much COM. AND the wads all hit the target. But at 15 and 20 yds it not only opens up as you would expect but prints slightly high and to the shooters left. At both these ranges I lost a pellet or two over the target's right shoulder. Not bad, I can adjust slightly low, but this is pretty much another 20 yard 00 Buck gun. I think. Slugs will come later.

One problem I had early in the shooting was a very hard time cycling the action. For the first shot or two the action seemed to be stuck. Turning the gun over I noticed that the next shell up seemed to extend past the front edge of the shell lifter by 1/4-3/8". I am not sure if this is normal for a Savage or not. The Savage plant is two towns over, I plan on calling them tomorrow to see if they work on customer guns at all.

I am taking this out tomorrow with my FFL and some of his close buddies and I might see what they say.

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Dave McCracken
May 2, 2005, 05:20 AM
Nice shotgun, Frosty. Try a few different brands of ammo and see what happens. Buck does move POA by brand.

Does the hard cycling only happen with a full mag?

May 2, 2005, 08:00 AM
Nice shotgun, Frosty. Try a few different brands of ammo and see what happens. Buck does move POA by brand.

Thanks for the complement. I will be trying some Estate SWAT loads I picked up a long time ago (when we could still import ammo into the People's Commonwealth).

I only loaded three shells for my patterning so it was not a full tube. The night before I had loaded six of my plastic dummy rounds and it seemed to cycle well. It could have been operator error also. I will be watching carefully for that. I still plan on trying to take it somewhere for an expert once-over. Like Inspector Callahan said, "A man's got to know his limitations.". One of mine is that I am NOT a gunsmith.

But every day I learn a little more.

Dave McCracken
May 3, 2005, 05:23 AM
I'm no gunsmith either,Frosty, and I'm still learning my limits. At this point, taking it to a smith for a going over makes sense.

Fred Fuller
May 3, 2005, 02:42 PM

Try pushing forward on the forearm a bit while pulling back with the firing hand when shooting this shotgun, see if that helps any to free up the action release. A good chamber cleaning and some experimentation with ammo brands might not hurt either.

I suggest you not buttstroke anyone with this one- the area where the stock bolt attaches on this design is known to be weak and subject to breakage.

Savage originally offered the Model 69R as a Police Riot Gun, around 1972 the designation was changed to Police Gun. The safety was moved to a top tang position at this time also. My copy of Swearengen's _The World's Fighting Shotguns_ makes no mention of the extended magazine version, I would guess it made an appearance after the reasearch on the volume (copyright 1978) was completed and thus isn't mentioned.

Savage has a long history with fighting shotguns, predecessor firm J. Stevens built a prototype Model 520 trench gun for the Army in WWI based on a J. M. Browning patent for a 6-shot, square sterned pump gun. The design later did service in WW2.

A close relative of your Savage Model 69, known as the Model 77E, was part of a military contract in the early 1960s. Intended to arm Vietnamese Self Defense Forces, a number of these guns were diverted to the US Army and USMC for combat use. While US personnel complained of the short length of pull (stocks were shortened to fit the smaller statured Vietnamese) and low ammunition capacity (4 round magazine) the Savage shotguns were reported to have performed well. Swearengen reports that the shotguns returned a higher kill ratio than the M16 rifle at the time, with a lower ammunition consumption rate to boot.

Hope you enjoy it, make sure it is 100% reliable before you depend on it for a working gun! Otherwise consider it a safe queen- there are too many inexpensive, fully reliable pumpguns available to depend on one that might not work.

Stay safe,


Here's more on the 77E from _American Rifleman_ (if you follow the link, have your spyware shields up!):

Stevens Model 77E

To supplement the Ithaca Model 37 riot guns, the government contracted with the Stevens Arms Co. around 1963 for a riot gun version of its slide-action shotgun, designated as the M77E. The M77E shotguns had 20" barrels and were marked "US." on the receivers with small "p" proof marks on the barrels and receivers. The guns were Parkerized, and the wooden stocks were fitted with rubber buttpads. Most of the stocks were noticeably shorter than standard U.S. shotgun stocks to accommodate our typically smaller-statured South Vietnamese allies. The M77E was the first United States combat shotgun equipped with a rubber recoil pad.

The M77E was also fitted with sling swivels. Early examples had the front swivel mounted on a band affixed to the barrel and later guns had the front swivel attached to the magazine plug base. Unlike the Ithaca M37, the M77E was a conventional slide-action shotgun design with an ejection port on the receiver's right side.

With more than 50,000 M77E riot guns manufactured, the Stevens M77E was the most widely used shotgun of the Vietnam War. It generally gave satisfactory service but proved to be a bit less reliable and durable than the Ithaca M37. The attachment of the buttstock to the receiver was rather weak and resulted in a number of guns being broken. The M77E riot guns were issued to U.S. Army and Marine military personnel as well as to some South Vietnamese troops.

In addition to the M77E, a fairly small number of Stevens 69R riot guns was purchased by the government in the late 1960s. The 69R was similar in design and performance to the M77E, but it saw only a modicum of use as compared to the much more widely issued M77E. A very small number of prototype M77E trench guns (riot guns fitted with bayonet adapters) were procured, but few, if any, were issued. The standard riot gun version of the Stevens M77E along with the Ithaca M37 were the most commonly issued combat shotguns of the Vietnam War. ===END QUOTE

May 3, 2005, 08:54 PM
Thanks for the advice and the info.

Gee, I feel like you and Dave are like the father I never had. sniff, sniff

May 12, 2005, 10:08 AM
Took my Savage out a week or so ago, finally getting around to posting the pics. It was the same routine, 3 shots at 7, 15, and 20 yards. This time I used Estate 00 Buck SWAT Buckshot Load. The results are fairly close to what I had with the Federal Tactical Loads to include patterning slightly high and left as the range increases. At 7 yards this load puts the wad in almost the same area as the shot, for a double-whammy I suppose. I experienced no problems racking the slide, the last time out it could have been operator error.

Or, there is something else I have noticed about this SG. The next shell up coming out of the magazine sticks out about 3/8-1/2" from the magazine and underlies the shell lifter by about 1/4". The shell is held in place by a notch cut in a bar attached to the undeside of the bolt. This makes loading the next round into the magazine a little more a chore than in the Remington. Not much, just as little. But it seems that if you miss this notch, the shell sticks out more, making loading the magazine and racking the slide much more difficult. Not a big problem if you are on the range and have time.

Its a nice gun to shhot with these loads but I am going to have to work on the mechanics of loading a bit. Of course, with a 6+1 capacity I should not have to worry about combat reloads. I hope.

September 4, 2010, 02:59 PM
I have a Savage model 69RXL, but I don't have a manual, and I don't know how it loads. Is it similar to other pump actions? When I push the load gate down, and put a shell in it, the load gate comes back up and the shell sticks under it.
So does anyone know how it is supposed to be loaded, or a link to the manual?

October 8, 2012, 02:17 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I have the same SG and it is doing the some thing. THe next shell seems to miss the "notch" on the slide assembly and project out too far and does not allow it to cycle. I have tried two different brands of ammo.

Did anyone figure out what the issue was?


October 9, 2012, 07:45 AM
Nice old gun, Have fun.

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