Suggestions needed on Rebarreling a Savage 99


July 24, 2008, 01:01 PM
Hi Guys:

I need some information on rebarreling a 1940s mdl 99.

My Uncle passed away and left a much used 99 to me (300 Savage). I was unable to pick it up at the time (Viet Nam 65-67), so my father picked it up, and unfortunately kept it under his bed. When I finally got back to the states, he pulled it out, and it was really rusted badly.

The barrel was filled with rust, but once cleaned still shot well. Well, itís been a safe queen for over 40 years now, and every once in a while Iíll pull it out and think of all the hunts it went on with my aunt & uncle. Now, my son has asked about passing it down to him, and I would rather have it rebarreled before giving it to him.

I have a couple of questions to ask concerning this.

(1) Is it possible to rechamber for a caliber that is more readily available for him? Perhaps, something along the lines of the .308, or 7x57? I would like to keep the rotary as is (I have no problem with the .300 Savage caliber, but as I understand it, when searching for a box of ammo in the little towns in the West, ammo might be easier to buy, if one were asking for .308 or 7x57. Other than that, the .300 Savage will do all that's needed).

(2) Whose bbl would work out best for this?

(3) Who would be recommended for this work?

(4) Or, should I just rebarrel with the .300 Savage for him?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


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July 24, 2008, 01:15 PM
Now, my son has asked about passing it down to him, and I would rather have it rebarreled before giving it to him.

Please don't! If you want to give him a modern rifle in a more easily available chambering there are plenty. You are giving him a priceless piece of family heritage that he can pass down in turn. DO NOT HACK IT!

still shot well.

And there's no reason it can't keep shooting. .300 savage is available and can be handloaded easily. More importantly, it has heritage as a cartridge. A long, good heritage. You should hand down the rifle that will be "great grandpa's .300 savage" not "the rifle my dad cut up."

July 24, 2008, 01:28 PM

I'm not real sure how safe this old bbl is. When I say it was rusty, I mean truly rusty. The inside of the bbl was about as bad as I've ever seen a bbl. I remember pushing a column of rust ahead of the patch when I cleaned it. I just looked at the bbl again using a lighted wand, and it is as rough as a cob!

There is not much rifling that has not been rusted. Yes, it did shoot very well using factory ammo (40 years ago, as I’ve never pulled it out again to shoot), but my son is a caster, and I just don’t think that bbl is will shoot lead, without leading very badly.

I have plenty of rifles to pass down, but he wants this particular gun. But, before passing in down to be a shooter, I want to be darn sure it's going to be safe for him to shoot!

I appreciate your taking the time to answer, but in this case, I’m afraid you’re very wrong. I will rebarrel, but would like up to date information on my earlier questions.

Thank you,


July 24, 2008, 01:31 PM
Give your son the rifle as-is, along with a couple boxes of ammo and 300 Savage dies.

If the rifle still shoots okay, it's really unlikely that there's been enough rust to compromise it's safety.

July 24, 2008, 01:31 PM
.250/3000 would be an easy rebarrel and IMO more interesting than .300 Savage.

July 24, 2008, 01:58 PM
Just to be clear, I'm looking for suggestions as to who to do the rebarreling, if a caliber change would be a plus, and if so, what caliber.

I'm not looking for suggestions to keep it as it is, that's not going to happen.



July 24, 2008, 02:09 PM
go to the 24 hour campfire site and navigate to the savage collector forum for outstanding reccomendations from folks who know 99's in and out.

as an fyi... 7x57 is no more accessible than 300 savage, and will not work in a savage 99, anyway (too long of a cartridge).

you will have to limit your choices to true short action cartridges. also, the 308 is a high-pressure chambering - make sure the action will handle the pressure. later 99's were chambered in the 99, so the gun should be capable of handling it.

i like the 250-3000 suggestion, and would also encourage to look into the 308-family (especially 7-08), and there's something to be said for rebarreling to 300 savage.

good luck!

July 24, 2008, 02:13 PM
Just to be clear, I'm looking for suggestions as to who to do the rebarreling, if a caliber change would be a plus, and if so, what caliber.

I'm not looking for suggestions to keep it as it is, that's not going to happen.



I think that's understood. Just realize that most folks who know a thing or two about collecting firearms are going to think it would be monumentally stupid to rebarrel your Savage. An ugly original barrel will always be worth more on that gun than a nice new one.

Have you ever watched The Antiques Roadshow? Ever seen the people who bring in an heirloom that they've cleaned up and refinished? Have you seen the looks on their faces when the appraiser tells them that they used to have a priceless antique, but now they've got a worthless trinket?

If you absolutely have to rebarrel it, keep the old barrel and make sure the work is done in a way that can be reversed. Savage 99 barrels can be had from Numrich Gun Parts Corp. ( in a variety of chamberings.

July 24, 2008, 02:22 PM
Numrich Arms shows some original 99 barrels available, used, so that you could retain the originality of this prized weapon, if you so desire. Any good reputable gunsmith could do the replacement. Here's a link:
Another thought is a rebore of the old barrel to 35 caliber and to chamber it to 358 winchester.


July 24, 2008, 02:37 PM
Great information!!

I'm really not interested in resale value, but safety for my son.

Seems like Numrich Arms is the information I needed. I will see about buying a original 99 bbl in 300 Savage.

Thanks again guys, great information,


July 24, 2008, 02:46 PM
Changing calibers on the older 99's is not as simple as it might seem at first. (even if it was a good idea, which it isn't!)

The spool in the rotary magazine is caliber specific, and would be nearly impossible to change to make it feed something else from another cartridge family if you try to rebarrel or rechamber it.

The barrel was filled with rust, but once cleaned still shot well.That right there is your answer!

Leave it alone and shoot it!


Jim Watson
July 24, 2008, 02:52 PM
A 1940s Savage 99 does not have a long enough action to go to 7x57, .308, or .358.

A new or good used barrel in .250 or .300 Savage - save the rusty one so JesseL can buy it from your son for enough to go to grad school on - is the smart route. Note that there are two different thread styles, be sure you get the right one.

A custom job in .270 Titus (.270x300 Savage) would be cool but not very practical, considering what you can do with standard .250 or .300.

Hmm. Doesn't look like the guys on the Savage Shooters board are much help.

Sorry, I don't know a Savage specialist gunsmith.

July 24, 2008, 03:00 PM
Sorry, I don't know a Savage specialist gunsmith.There was one once, but he died in 1989. :D


July 24, 2008, 03:07 PM
I also think the rebarreling to .300 Savage is the best option. I'm not a purist or so much of a collector, but it makes the most sense from a utility standpoint.

I'd also be a little concerned with pressure if you converted an older one (my dad's was made in the '60's but my grandfather's was made in the '30's). The Savage action is pretty strong - when it's locked it's almost like having the cartridge backed up by a solid block of steel, but will the metalurgy handle it?
And if it does handle it, how badly are you beating up an old rifle?

If I were looking for a Savage of my own I'd definitely look for a .308, but if I had a .300 Savage to begin with I'd let it that way. As you said, you don't lose a whole lot by sticking with the original round, it's still got enough power to kill deer reliably farther than most people can hit them. I saw my dad hit kill a deer with his once at about 400 yards (but he has been using the same rifle for about 40 years so he KNOWS how to shoot it).
Since your son is a handloader, he should be just fine with making his own .300 Savage ammo.
So while the gunsmith is installing your "new" barrel, you can put a want ad out for .300 Savage brass. By the time the gun is ready, you'll have some casings to give your son with the rifle.
I know that if I were him, I wouldn't shed any tears over a gift like that.

BTW - some have had success in reforming .308 brass to .300 Savage. Something like .243 or 7mm-08 might work too. Your son is already a tinkerer (casting bullets and what-not), so if he can get brass that can be reformed to .300 Savage, the ammunition concern isn't such a concern.

highlander 5
July 24, 2008, 03:18 PM
IIRC the 99 was also made in 243 Win. If i were you I would get a bore lap kit from Veral Smith put 20 or 30 lead slug coated with his compound and see what the barrel looks like after would. i believe his kit is $20 and it won't hurt the barrel so why not give it a go. The other choice is JB Bore paste even milder than LBT and can be had from Brownell's fo around $8 a bottle.

July 24, 2008, 03:22 PM
IIRC the 99 was also made in 243 Win.Not when his gun was made it wasn't.

The .243 is too long to fit in the older 99, and wouldn't feed from the .300 Savage mag spool if it did.

The newer spools won't fit the older receivers, so swapping spools is out.


July 24, 2008, 04:08 PM
Ditto the suggestion on the 24 Hour Campfire. They can also give you detailed info on what precise type of 99 you have. I would at least get fully informed before you make up your mind.

July 24, 2008, 04:39 PM

Good thread link you posted for me@!

Well, I don't know which threads this old rifle has, but have made arrangements to have the bbl pulled tomorrow. I found a highly qualified rifle smith here locally (Calif, very unusual!!) who is a friend of a friend, and will also index (and ream if necessary) the new (used) bbl.

Can’t order the new bbl until old is pulled.

This has to be one of the best sites for good information. I did post on the Savage forum yesterday and have yet to receive a good answer.

Thanks again guys,


July 24, 2008, 04:58 PM
I've been asked for photos, don't know what they will show, but here are the right & left side pictures.

The scope & mount are the way they came from my uncle. It is a Weaver 2 1/2x, 3/4 tube. The mount is a Pachmayer, dated from the late 40s, or very early 50s
The strap is just about gone, as just about wore thru on the swivel mounts.


Jim Watson
July 24, 2008, 05:12 PM
Nice looking rifle. Looks like a 99EG, fairly late because of the cap on the pistol grip.

I wonder why the bore rusted.
I don't know if the .300 Savage came out soon enough to have been made with corrosive primers.

July 24, 2008, 05:41 PM
The .300 Savage came out in 1921.

Remington had a non-corrosive primer mix about 1926-27, but it was probably just prior to WWII before everybody got on board.
And well after WWII before all of the old ammo got shot up.

Not that it has anything much to do with the .300 Savage, but the military didn't completely switch over until the early 50's.

The DCM was selling surplus corrosive primers to members for reloading way after that.


Jim Watson
July 24, 2008, 05:52 PM
I did not have the date of introduction of the .300 at hand, although I knew about when Kleenbore came out.

Sounds like old stock ammo and no cleaning, or an oily patch at most.

July 24, 2008, 07:30 PM
i didn't see your post - you probably went to savage shooters site.

go to the authority:

if the savage 99 collectors and hunters there can't help you, you can't be helped.

July 24, 2008, 08:26 PM
Glad I could help. :)
After seeing your pics I can see why you want to get that old rifle working right again. It looks really nice other than the bore being bad.

My grandfather's looks similar to yours but it has a straight pistol grip. It has a small chunk of wood that was grafted and glued in with dowel rods. My grandfather had loaned it to a friend who dropped it and broke a peice out of the stock. To have it repaired, he took it to a carpenter who carefully fitted a wooden block to fill the hole. It is a very smooth repair - you almost have to know it's there to find it. It's like a battle scar that attests to over 70 years of faithful service.

Another cool Savage story...
Once upon a time I was staying overnight with some friends at my one friend's uncle's house.
I noticed the gun cabinet in his living room and immediately took a peek - couple shotguns, an old .35 Marlin, a .22, and a 99 Savage.
Later on I started talking guns with his uncle and he told me the story.
His uncle (a preacher) had been in New Orleans after the Hurricane. He went through this one house for an old lady looking for some valuables she had in her attic and found the 99 and another gun wrapped up in a blanket. Fearing that they had been stolen, he discretely asked her about them and she told him that her late husband had hidden them there so they wouldn't be stolen in case of a break in. She was so grateful to his uncle for helping her and finding some of her family heirlooms that she tried to give him the Savage. Being a preacher, he declined the gift on grounds of his ethics and also because he didn't want repayed for what he was doing.
He saw the old lady again just before he left and she insisted he take the rifle. She said it wasn't of any use to her and that her late husband would have wanted it to be owned by someone who would appreciate it. So she wrote a note stating that this was a gift to him (so he couldn't be accused of looting it) and practically forced him to take the rifle.

Thread drift...

Another rifle I noticed while I was at his house was a .50 caliber PA rifle that had been built for him. The story behind that one was that he had become friends with the husband of one of the women in his congregation. The guy was firmly set against Christianity but came to see my friend's uncle as a somewhat cool guy (which he definitely is) and developed a relationship with him.
Years later, the old guy in question found out that he had cancer. He told my friend's uncle but still refused to accept Christ. As time went on, he eventually came to the conclusion that he needed to get his life in order. He spoke with my friend's uncle again and asked to pray for salvation with him, which he did.
A month or so after that, the old man presented my friend's uncle with the flintlock, which is practically a work of art. The old man was a gifted craftsman who had only built a handful of these rifles in his whole life as gifts to his closest friends. Again, my friend's uncle tried to decline on the grounds that he as a pastor couldn't accept a gift for helping people find their way to Christ. The old man reminded him of their friendship over the years and explained how much he had appreciated it and almost begged him to accept the flintlock. Knowing that a flat out refusal would have broken the old man's heart, my friend's uncle accepted the rifle.
The old man died shortly after.

Just a couple of cool gun stories for the road...
You may now all return to your regularly scheduled programming. ;)

July 24, 2008, 09:33 PM

Great storys!!



July 24, 2008, 11:09 PM
If barrel is truly ruined by rust and your son is a cast bullet maker, do some research on some wildcat .333 or larger rounds that can be made from the basic .300 Savage. Then consider having the barrel redrilled and rifled an chambered for the the wild cat. That way you can keep the barrel and have a cast bullet custom gun in the family.
I have a 1956 vintage 99 in .300 Savage, I need to go pass a patch of Breakfree down its bore tommorrow.

July 25, 2008, 01:37 AM

Actually, I did think of redoing the bbl, and the .338 was the first caliber I thought of. However, not only will the .338 will cost more per round, my son would have poorer bullet selection, and he would also be unable to buy off the shelf ammo should he do a fly-off hunt. If he were to just shoot this at home, he would also use more lead every time he pulled the trigger. So, I'll just buy the use 300 Savage bbl (assuming my receiver has the square threads it requires)



July 25, 2008, 07:44 AM
By the way, metalurgy from the 1930's and 40's is plenty safe and fully the equal to 1960's or today. A 99 made in the 1940's would be functionally no different than one made today.


Harve Curry
July 25, 2008, 10:14 AM
My 2 cents is .308 win. Investigate all the options of getting there, like a Savage take off barrel, custom barrel, etc.
That campfire website sounds interesting, I'll have to read that to. If your son is a shooter he will appreciate the 308 ammo availablilty, components, price, being able to shoot it just about anywhere.
My 1972 vintage 99A is a 308 I bought as a teenager and I don't think I could have made a better choice as to the cartridge. 20" barrel. With a K3 Weaver scope I could hit 500 meter rams with it, 3/4 MOA was my best group for 3 shots. I thought I shot it out when groups got big and hung it up. A freind came by and was looking
at it, tapped on the scope and you could hear it vibrate across the room.
Broken scope.
So the 99's are capable of good acurracy and a custom barrel could be even more accurate.
There was a tapered octagon barreled Savage made to, looked real nice. A professional job of rebarreling to 308, maybe even some engraving
sounds good to me.

July 25, 2008, 11:39 AM
Just remember what was said about the magazine feed system. 308 may not even be possible.


July 25, 2008, 01:36 PM
I just checked to see if a .308 round will fit in my Grandfather's old Savage.
It won't. The action lacks about 1/4" of allowing a round to fit down into the magazine and the inside of the action also seems to have the wrong contour to allow a .308 round to feed even if it did fit. Looks like sticking with the original cartridge is definitely the way to go.

While I had the rifle out, I naturally found time to put a thorough coat of oil on it.
It really is about the quickest handling and most graceful rifle I've ever shot or handled.
If I fould find just one like it in .308 I'd probably have to sell my FAL to buy it.

Harve Curry
July 25, 2008, 05:02 PM
I asked a old friend of mine about Savage 99's. Like what was said above and I missed, he said "on a 99 you stick to the cartridge it came with".

July 27, 2008, 03:45 PM
Well, the old bbl is off, and I'm awaiting the arrival of the new (used) bbl for Numrich.

Turns out, it had the sq threads after all, and the 24" .300 Savage bbl was in stock.

The whole business will take less than 2 weeks, and the total cost will be less than $200.00.

"I think that's understood. Just realize that most folks who know a thing or two about collecting firearms are going to think it would be monumentally stupid to rebarrel your Savage. An ugly original barrel will always be worth more on that gun than a nice new one. " Ok, JesseL, you ready to buy this old bbl now??



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