Impulse Buy & Range Report - Savage Model 1907


January 29, 2006, 01:32 AM
I figured I'd take advantage of the balmy weather here today so I headed to the range. I stopped off at my local shop to buy a brick of .22's and a box of .30 Carbine when this caught my eye:

A few minutes, and a $160 later, this Savage Model 1907 (s/n 1797xx) was mine. I added a couple of boxes of Sellier & Bellot 73gr FMJ .32 Auto to the shopping list and hit the range.

Normally whenever I buy a gun, I'll take it apart and clean it thoroughly before firing it but I didn't even know how to field strip this little beauty yet; and what the heck, I was at the range so I might as well try it out.

Firing from the standing position with a two-handed grip from 15 feet, my first 10 shot group was over 12". Why 10 shots? Because that's what the magazine holds. Did I mention that this is a WWI-era double stack?

Anyway, I fired four more 10-shot strings and each time the results were similar. I was disappointed to say the least.

When I got home, I went on the internet and found this site ( and learned how to take it apart. The gun was filthy. It took me over an hour to clean it. The worst part was that when I looked into the barrel, I SAW NO RIFLING! :what:

At first I thought that the barrel might be shot out, but the rest of the gun was tight and in very good condition by any measure let alone for a 90 year old gun. Upon closer examination, I saw a faint outline of the rifling but it was filled with lead. I let the barrel soak in Kroil for a while and then scrubbed it out with a bore brush wrapped in copper steel wool. Lo and behold, the bore is bright and unpitted with nice sharp rifling.

I finished cleaning it, lubed it up with some ATF, put it back together, stopped for two more boxes of ammo, and took it back to the range.

The results were startling: 10 shot groups of 3" from 7 yards. It shoots a lot better when it's not a smoothbore.

This is an unusual little pistol. Recoil is very light (about like a .22). Target reacquisition was tough because of the tiny, thin sights. The rear sight has a notch that is only about 1/16" wide. It is cut right into a "bump" on the slide and is not visible when the cocking lever is down. Notice that I called it a cocking lever and not a hammer. Although it looks like a hammer, it is a cocking lever. This gun is striker fired (see below).

The magazine catch is a bit awkward. It's located on the bottom of the front strap. Until I cleaned the gun, the magazine catch was very hard to operate and the magazine had to be pried out with your thumbnail. After cleaning, you can press the release with your pinky and the mag will drop right out.

The slide doesn't automatically lock back. In order to lock the slide, you have to pull it all the way back and engage the safety:

The safety will not engage unless the slide is fully forward, or fully back.

It really is a fun gun to shoot. With my very limited experience (200 rounds) it has proven to be 100% reliable. I tried to limp wrist it and fire as quickly as possible to see if I could get it to fail to feed or fail to eject but I couldn't. YMMV, but I found this to be quite accurate when simply pointing it one-handed and firing quickly.

They also made these in .380, a pistol that I think I'll have to put on my list.

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english kanigit
January 29, 2006, 01:51 AM
Nice toy!
Looks like money well spent. :)

January 29, 2006, 12:12 PM
Are you sure it's striker fired? That bump with the serrations on the back of the slide sure looks like a hammer.

Neat gun BTW.

Old Fuff
January 29, 2006, 12:36 PM
No, the gun is striker fired, but the striker is attached to that nub, which is a hammer of sorts.

If you carry the piece, do so with an empty chamber. Anything else is not too safe. Also don't try to remove the grips. They sort of snap into place, and because of age are now very brittle.

I wonder how the barrel got leaded, as .32 ACP ammunition is generally full jacketed. Perhaps a former owner shot it with .32 S&W cartridges?

Savage advertised the pistol using the term, "10 shots quick," and hired Bat Masterson of frontier west fame to plug the gun - which he did. Buffalo Bill Cody owned one, as did president Teddy Roosevelt.

During it's time it was very popular. Now it's generally overlooked, and can often be found for very reasonable prices - as you found out.

If you plan to shoot it very much, try to pick up another original magazine. They aren't too easy to find, but they are around.

Of course the easy way is to buy another pistol... :evil:

January 29, 2006, 01:36 PM
Basic field strip for a Savage automatic pistol:

1. Remove magazine, ensure chamber is unloaded.
2. Lock slide back using the safety, rotate the back piece of the slide to the right, (clockwise),push in on the cocking piece,(the little tab on the bottom of the endpiece), remove the endpiece from the slide assembly.
3.Hold on to the slide and release the safety and ease the slide assembly to the front and off the frame.
You can now pull the barrel and the recoil spring free from the frame.

The gun is now field stripped.
Reverse the procedure to put the pistol back together. HTH

January 29, 2006, 03:01 PM
I wonder how the barrel got leaded, as .32 ACP ammunition is generally full jacketed. Perhaps a former owner shot it with .32 S&W cartridges?

I wondered that myself until my second trip to get ammo. The shop owner told me that the woman that sold it to him also brought in a old box of .32 ACP LRN with it.

I did remove the grips (I read the warnings before I did it). It wasn't all that bad. There's no screws, they slide into sort of a dovetail in the frame, and the back edge of the grip has a "bump" that snaps in on the inside of the back strap. With the magazine out, I was able to stick my pinky in there and carefully push out the back edge of the grips and slide them out. I guess mine aren't as brittle as others. I got lucky once so I'm not going to do it again.

Old Fuff
January 29, 2006, 03:21 PM
I got lucky once so I'm not going to do it again.

Don't. It is that "little bump" that causes them to crack... :eek:

Go back and get the ammunition. If it's that old it might be collectable (but not shootable). :D

January 29, 2006, 04:39 PM
I got one for about the same money many years ago. I always liked the way they look and finally ran across one when I had some cash.

It is a fun gun to shoot. Mine also liked Seller & Bellot .32 ammo but I use RWS now.

One of my mags comes out easily, but the other is a pain to remove.

I think mine must have been a bedside gun because it came in a hearing aid box. One side had been relieved to allow clearance for the barrel. I also got an original Savage manual, but it was basically a pile of pages due to age.

January 29, 2006, 07:48 PM
Go back and get the ammunition. If it's that old it might be collectable (but not shootable). :D

I asked him for it when I went back the last time. No dice. He's a collector.

January 30, 2006, 06:20 PM
Though I'm not a fan of 32acp handguns at that price it would have been mine too. I recently passed one in priced in the low $200's though. No wonder I sometimes see these guns with no grips though I kind of assumed the reason why a while back. I like the ones with the trapizoidal grips though and I'd like to find a 380acp one too eventually. The movie Road to Perdition features a Savage auto of some sort in it.

Old Fuff
January 31, 2006, 12:00 PM
When the pistol was designed and first sold the grips were stamped out of aluminum, and they didn't seem to cause any problems - then or now. But the material was soon changed to molded hard-rubber, and with age these do tend to get brittle. It is generally advisable to not try to remove them unless it is absolutely necessary.

Should one happen to find one with broken or missing grips - and a substantially reduced price because of it - be aware that modern plastic (non-brittle) replacements are available for about $25.00 or so. Not as good as having the original ones, but if the gun's price is right... :evil:

January 31, 2006, 09:32 PM
I had a cherry one until last year when I sold it for a modest profit(100%) :evil:
Although it grouped well and to the sights, a 1903 Colt or Rem 51 it isn't! I too, was afraid of breaking the grips, too many people warned me for it not to be so! AND the Colt and the Rem 51 CAN safely be carried chamber loaded, among pocket pistols not many can .The Savage has that vintage look and is very nicely made, ergonomics and complexity though are another matter.

February 1, 2006, 12:45 AM
Great post! I have had one of these for years, and my experience is similar to yours, except mine shot pretty well right off the bat. Sights are poor, but if you concentrate they shoot well enough. I rarely see another, so I really enjoyed your post. Never sell it, just shoot it from time to time and enjoy the little devil. For that price you will enjoy it for years.

February 1, 2006, 01:19 AM
I always thought that pistol was one of the coolest looking ones ever made - how many Art Deco handguns are there?

February 1, 2006, 12:13 PM
I really enjoyed that post on your model 1907. I have one made in 1919 that has the larger number number of slide serrations, 21 I think. Otherwise the same pistol. The website you give is THE authority on these pistols and I got a second magazine from him. The hammer/cocker you have is called the "burr" hammer and is not all that convenient to cock. A later model came with a more traditional spur hammer that is much easier to work with. I also got it from the above source.

A word of warning, switcing out the hammers is a lot tricker than it appears and it is best to get someone experienced to do it for you.

I'd post a picture of mine but I can't figure out how to do it from the instructions. The load picture button doesn't seem to appear when I am replying to a post. Can anyone give me some advice here?



February 1, 2006, 07:43 PM
Scroll on down and hit "Manage Attatchments" you can then find your pic by hitting 'brouse'.

February 1, 2006, 07:56 PM
There's a growing interesting in collectors in these vintage pistols, so don't alter it and hang on to it. I think you did VERY well at that price.

These Savage semis always remind me of something Ming the Merciless would whip out in a Republic serial :D

February 1, 2006, 09:36 PM
These Savage semis always remind me of something Ming the Merciless would whip out in a Republic serial :D

Exactly! I've seen these in a number of old movies. They're always fired from the waist. No one ever uses the sights.

February 2, 2006, 06:23 AM
Scroll on down and hit "Manage Attatchments" you can then find your pic by hitting 'brouse'.

I did that but it just responds with a red circle with a diagonal line thru it and does nothing. This sometimes happens to me when I am at a site that says "click for larger picture". The S&W site, for example. I am running Windows XP with all current updates. My firewall is set to mediuim security. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks for any help on this.

RE comments on styliing and Ming the Merciless:
Right on! That's part of the gun's appeal.


Cocked & Locked
February 2, 2006, 04:46 PM
Yep, the 1907's are nice pocket pistols. This .32 one of mine serial number dates to 1910. It shoots FMJ's and Winchester Silver Tips flawlessly.

Pocket holsters of this style were popular for carrying. 20 shots in a compact pocket holster rig...21 if you dared carrying one in the pipe.
I copied this one from an original I saw, then had a saddle shop make it for me.

February 2, 2006, 08:55 PM
Here are the pics from BillinNH:

February 3, 2006, 08:16 AM
Many thanks to EddieCoyle for posting my pics. I should mention that the spur hammer has been bent upwards a few degrees in order to not bottom out on the frame of the gun. The alternative was to deepen the groove on the gun but that seemed too intrusive to me. At any rate, the spur makes cocking the gun much easier.

The pictures were taken under different lighting conditions but they are all the same gun. In actual appearance it is black.


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