Savage 99 project


January 27, 2012, 03:04 PM
quite a few years ago I inherited a Savage 99 lever gun from my granddad. I have shot this rifle a handful of times and it is an absolute tack driver. Probably the most accurate rifle I own at 100 yds.
My grandad got this gun for my grandmother to shoot way back when they were traveling all over the United States hunting. Though my grandmother loved the traveling she just didn't care for the hunting part of it.
My grandad went to a lot of trouble to modify this gun so she could shoot it. Though my grandad was great in my eyes he was never accused of being light handed. He whacked a couple inches off the stock and looks like he drifted the sights out with a Chevy axle.
He worked the oilfields and the old Savage rode in the truck with him for quite a few years. I love the old gun but to be honest it looks like it was used as a crowbar. It has been laying around for a few years and I have decided to restor the thing to something closer to what it should be.
It has some heavy rust pitting, although cosmetic it makes it hard to repair.
So I have decided to go a bit new-tech. I stripped it down and got a new plain walnut stock, which i have fitted quite nicely.
I have filled in the rusty spots with Devcon. (this stuff is amazingly tough)
and I have taken a file to the dovetails to bring them back to usable state.
I ordered and just recieved a bottle of the Cerakote air cure coating. I also found a set of Burris see thru scope mounts for it on E-bay.
I have stripped almost all the old bluing off in preperation for the Cerakote.

I know some of you purists will bash me for doing this... I don't really see the harm in it. I will be bringing it back to a very usable state. Since it is a sentimental piece it will wind up going to my son one day. I have no interest in collectabilty or value since I have no plans to sell it.
I will post up some pictures to track the progress

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January 27, 2012, 03:32 PM
pictures as promised

January 27, 2012, 06:28 PM
The 99s are among the very best rifles ever made. With such heavy use and no real care, I think you will bring this fine rifle back from the brink. They were meant to be used and this one still deserves to be. Good luck.

January 27, 2012, 08:56 PM
Don't worry what the purists think, as it's your rifle, and I for one, am glad that you want to rejuvenate the old 99. I'm curious what the caliber it's chambered for?
Many of us here will be waiting to see the fruits of your labor, when you feel that you're done. Thanks for sharing so far.


January 27, 2012, 09:51 PM
Thanks NC Smitty
Its chambered .308Win
I kinda figure from the caliber and the short plain fore end it was probably built real late 60's early 70's?
Anyone have access to SN info?

January 28, 2012, 02:22 AM
I have been scouring the internet looking for replacement sights for this 99
I like the idea of a plain folding leaf type sight. Yet I still kinda like the idea of the original spring loaded type with adjustable elevator.
Any ideas ??

January 28, 2012, 07:10 PM
I'll say a prayer for you!

January 29, 2012, 09:06 AM
I need all those I can get ... Thanks

January 29, 2012, 12:35 PM
Here's a link to Numrich arms Savage 99 folding sight for 3/8" dovetail. I didn't see any elevator style rear sights. There's an extensive list of models and part #'s, if you scan down.

Here's a link to a site that may give you info on the date of manufacture.


January 29, 2012, 04:11 PM
Thanks Smitty
Mine has a letter N stamped above the lever boss on a flat in the reciever. The only way to view it is with the stock off...
If That is the place to read it?
If so, mine is a 1962 manufacture date

January 29, 2012, 08:30 PM
If That is the place to read it?

I guess you know as much about as I do. Would you say that the time line of 1962 or so sounds about right, if it was bought new?


David Sinko
January 30, 2012, 02:04 PM
Very interesting. I have been attempting to re-stock a 99E .300 Savage and I must say that it is a nightmare of a project and I wish I had never wasted the money and time. I bought a laminated stock and forend set and it has taken me forever to fit. Accuracy is horrible and I'm not sure what to do about it. I think the forend needs a pressure point somewhere but I don't know how to go about it. Maybe one day when I calm down I'll take a closer look at it.

I also have a '56 vintage 99F .308 Winchester that I got for a good price. The metal finish is worn but not abused. I managed to split the stock by twisting it ever so slightly while removing it. Obviously these stocks are very sensitive to being twisted. I repaired it with Acraglas and some threaded brass rods, and while it doesn't look the greatest, it will never break again. If I had the money I'd have it re-stocked by a professional stock maker who knows how to make these rifles shoot. I can not find anybody who knows anything about accurizing a Savage 99.

Both of my '99s have Williams aperture sights. Their sights for the '99 are excellent and far better than the original rear or anything that folds. Since you are making an extensive project out of this, why not upgrade the sights too? My .300 has the XS post frot sight with the white stripe, which is the best front sight I have ever used on any iron sighted field rifle.

Good luck. You are far more daring than I am with these rifles. I'm still afraid to attempt to disassemble mine!

Dave Sinko

January 31, 2012, 10:08 AM
Who knows I may yet regret it....
I plan on using my see -thru scope mounts. I would like to keep the iron sights simple and easy to use.
Correct if I'm wrong but it would be hard to use the see thru with an appeture sight?
I like simple, and a folding leaf and a white post or dot front would make me happy!

January 31, 2012, 09:21 PM
Time for an update
It was fairly warm here tonight so I decided it would be good to spray my project with the Cerakote. The instructions state to soak the parts in a solvent tank for 30 minutes or longer to remove all traces of oil. This was not an option for me so i brushed everything down with lacquer thinner and wiped until everything was clean. I used gloves so i never touched the parts after cleaning. I chose to try the air cure Cerakote.
This stuff is supposed to be ready to use out of the bottle -- no thinning.
I have to say this stuff is not like paint, it's more like ink. It covers the parts much more rapidly than I thought it would.
First impression..... I am amazed my little 99 already looks like a different and new gun.
the color in the pictures does not do it justice. It really is Graphite Black!

have a look

January 31, 2012, 09:56 PM
After a bit of dry time (bout 1 hr ) parts were dry enough to bring inside.
There is also an 870 that i sprayed at the same time.
The small bottle has enough product to cover 4 guns... No Joke. Had I known I might have found some more stuff to spray with Cerakote.... Hmmm I do have an old junky 22 pistol ! ............

February 1, 2012, 12:21 AM
That looks like it's coming along nicely ! Can't wait to see it. Mine is a 1953 model 99E. They are great old guns. Mine was also a hand me down and still groups pretty good with my handloads, 1-1/4" to 2" @ 100yds. Again, can't wait to see it !!


February 1, 2012, 08:25 AM
The fill in I did on the rust pits worked out exceptionally well. I was worried that using the epoxy to fill would not work out. You can't tell anything has been done to it.
Now I have to wait for 5 days before I start the re-assembly.....

February 1, 2012, 12:31 PM
To drill and tap a 100 year old Savage 99, I made wedges so I could clamp the receiver in the vise. Then I drilled the hole pattern that the Savage factory later used on 99s.

February 3, 2012, 08:48 AM
Blanco nice looking project. I am with NCSmitty don't worry about the purist. The 99 is a nice gun and with yours having family history even better. Good luck love the pictures.

David Sinko
February 4, 2012, 10:03 AM
How did the Cerakote finish turn out? Are you satisfied with it? And did you disassemble the rotary magazine when you applied the finish?

Dave Sinko

February 4, 2012, 10:15 AM
I stripped everything out. Just left the barrel attached
So far I am very happy with the Crea-kote. Some things to consider...
I only sanded the surface and used Scotchbrite with lacquer thinner. Cera-Kote reccommends sandblasting and soaking in degreaser.
When you sprey Cera-Kote have enough things to spray to use up all or most of the product in one session. Once the bottle is open use it all or dump the leftovers.
Don't wait till the next day and try a second coat. Cover all parts on the first spraying, and be done.... trust me on this.
I will let you know how good it is after a week or so

stan rose
February 6, 2012, 05:57 PM
No rush, but isn't it time to reassemble? Again I do not mean to rush you, just excited to see the finished project!

February 7, 2012, 06:55 AM
Your right Stan.
I actually started to do it last night, But I have been a bit pre-occupied with my Citori. I did rub a coat of Danish oil into the stock while I was doing the Citori.
I wanted to make extra sure the Cerakote had plenty of time to cure too.

David Sinko
February 7, 2012, 07:08 PM
Is this the first time you ever disassembled the rotary magazine or do you have experience with this? A local gunsmith tells me that he has experience with this and that he has all the necessary slave pins for reassembly. I told him I would like to have my Featherweight parkerized the next time he does a bunch of AKMs but so far he seems to be ignoring me. The route you took seems tempting, providing I could get the gun back together and the rotary magazine functioning properly. I had my .300 reblued a long time ago by Behlert Precision and one of their young gunsmiths told me that getting it back together again was the single most difficult thing he ever did in regard to any reassembly project.

Dave Sinko

February 7, 2012, 09:40 PM
It won't be easy
But I have found that if I set my mind to it I can do anything... Determination .. and I did take it apart, so hopefully I will remember!

February 22, 2012, 11:42 PM
Sorry for the delays...
I know some of you were interested in seeing the finished product. I got a little sidetracked with my other project, which was restoring an old Browning Citori.
Anyhows. I got the little jewel back together. I must add here the person who was responsible for engineering the model 99 was an absolute genius! You have a hard time seeing it for what it truly is until you re-assemble it. It is a mechanical jigsaw puzzle.
While I have only worked things around by hand it all appears to function as it should. I made sure to apply lubrication in all the right places.
The stock is from Boyds and is actually a nice piece of Walnut. I finished it off with a hand rubbed oil finish then a mix of oil and varnish. What is funny is Boyds does not offer the forearm at all. The old one is some kind of light weight hard wood, just a bit lighter in color without grain.
Well here are the pics

I went ahead and mounted my see thru scope mounts... Not too sure if I got them oriented correctly? I guess I'll see when I get a scope on it. I was thinking of a nice Weaver K series scope?
So there you go..... Lemmee know what you think??

February 23, 2012, 01:00 AM
I think it looks great

February 23, 2012, 09:27 AM
You certainly did that rifle proud, it looks like a new one. That is a nice piece of wood from Boyds.


February 23, 2012, 10:50 AM
Now I have itch to go shoot it

February 23, 2012, 10:57 AM
I'd turn that front ring around to get more out of you're scopes eye relief.

February 23, 2012, 11:01 AM

You did that old rifle proud! I haven't looked at this thread for awhile, just saw the title again and had to look. The stock looks nice, wouldn't know the butt end wasn't original, hope it shoots as good as it looks! I've re-finished a couple of older .22 rifles, I've used a wax on the stock, called "Renaissance Wax", can get if off Midway's site. I apply it lightly, then buff with burlap, gives a nice shine, more satin than high gloss.

Let us know how it shoots, still awaiting that stage!

February 23, 2012, 11:10 AM
I thought so too Snakeman, when I do though it seems like a big huge gap?
I'm going to get a scope for it in the next few days. I plan to experiment with distance and eye relief. Will let you know what works.

stan rose
February 23, 2012, 11:41 AM
Absolutley excellent job. Very nice to see an old beater resurected.

February 23, 2012, 11:43 AM
Cool. I was thinking of getting tip-off rings for my 99.

February 23, 2012, 11:55 AM
I did a search and found a pic with the see thru's I think I have my front rear reversed?
(HAH that sounds funny)

February 23, 2012, 03:35 PM
The thing with those rings is that you can have them pointing rearward to get you closer to the scope and forward for the opposite effect. It really depends on your scopes eye relief and your l.o.p. but it's really best to have them facing the same direction if you can.

February 23, 2012, 07:12 PM
The thing with those rings is that you can have them pointing rearward to get you closer to the scope and forward for the opposite effect...

Don't think you can do it on that receiver. Straight round or flat top receivers only.

February 23, 2012, 08:18 PM
BBBBill is correct
I tried moving them around and unfortunately from what I see they can only go one way. This is because of the dropoff on the reciever end.

David Sinko
February 24, 2012, 04:15 PM
Very nice. Have you developed an opinion yet on the toughness of the finish?

I once tried a set of see-thru mounts on a 99 and I didn't like them. I felt it puts the scope too high above the line of the bore and ruins the otherwise excellent ergonomics. But it's certainly a viable and effective way of being able to use the irons quickly. I know I have a set of tip-off mounts somewhere for my 99s that have an integral aperture. I have no idea who made it but that aperture shoots right to point of aim and it's a real neat setup.

Dave Sinko

February 24, 2012, 09:22 PM
I'll update you again in the future on the finish. I gave it about 3 weeks to cure before I started anything with it. So far I am pleased; No tickled, with the results.
Now i have issues with those see thru mounts. I think the guy I bought them from sold me 2 rear mounts, they are both marked 99R on the bottom? I can't get them to align properly no matter how I orient them. Today I decided to put my Weaver mounts back on and use See Thru Weaver rings. They are pretty tall and I may need a long eye relief scope to use them? Kinda not what I expected. I wish I could find Weaver rings that are canted see thru?
I have been looking at scopes for a few days too. I think I want a nice 6 or 8 power fixed mag scope, something simple and clear that looks good with no fuss.
I REALLY like the Weaver classic K series scopes in the 6X32 but i'm not sure it will work??
Any suggestions?

February 24, 2012, 10:10 PM
The Weaver K series scopes are reasonably priced and reliable, and should be a good choice on the 99. You might even consider the 4x version as it is all you really need, but it's clearly a personal choice.


February 25, 2012, 07:11 AM
When you pulled the internals apart did you find any wear in them? My father in law has a bunch of these 99's and a couple have a fair amount of wear in the mag area.

February 25, 2012, 12:45 PM
I didn't really see any wear that I would consider anything other than normal.
That said, I don't think mine has really been shot all that much. I have had the gun for over 20+ years. I would say I have put maybe 25~30 down the pipe?
What kind of wear are you seeing in the mag area? That seems strange unless the thing has really been shot a bunch. Even then I would think you would see wear mostly in the bolt and lever pin???

February 25, 2012, 12:48 PM
By the way Dave
I gave the barrel a good scrubbing with Hoppe's copper solvent and the old #9 and then a dose of Rem-oil. It did not affect the CeraKote finish at all. So far it is holding up fantastically

February 26, 2012, 01:11 PM
I have been a bit frustrated with scopes and mounting options with this rifle.
There just aren't that many options out there.
I have decided to go with a 1 piece Weaver mount by Burris.
While I was looking at scopes yesterday I happened across a 1~4X24 tactical Burris scope that I have absoloutley feel in love with. It has some of the brightest, clearest sight picture I have ever seen in a scope!
I'm still rolling it around in my head but I would have to use the Burris 30mm. Tactical rings to make what I want to happen work for me.
This would make a really nice rifle for the 100yd and under shooting and I think I will still be able to use the iron sights.

More later

February 26, 2012, 02:29 PM
I can personally vouch for Burris scopes as I have a 4x on my 14" 223 T. Contender, and they are good optics.
IMO, I would not worry about having see-thru mounts, as having a need for them would be fairly remote. A low mounted scope should match up nicely with the height of that beautiful new stock.


February 27, 2012, 03:09 AM
very nicely done!! I absolutely love my model 99 (.300 savage) awesome gun... Mine has a "fold over" type LOW scope mount on it. The scope folds over out of the way making reloading very easy. Although you move the scope to reload I have NEVER had any issues with accuracy.

February 27, 2012, 09:10 PM
I have compounded my issues by wanting to put the iron sights back on and use them.
The other problem is that the scope I would like to use is a 30mm tube, and finding a see thru 30mm mount and getting the proper eyerelief distance is going to be tough. If I go with a 1 piece weaver base I might be able to use a PEPR type mount turned backwards. If I can find one with a peephole? The other problem is most mounts with all the requirements are too tall.

February 28, 2012, 11:30 PM
Ok guys
I jumped off the deep end today. I sprung for that new Burris 1~4X24 with a set of mid height 30mm. mounts on my old 2 piece weaver bases. Not really what I had envisioned but this set up is not terribly high and with a minor modification I will be able to use my iron sights. It looks kinda funny in the picture but its not all that bad.
I tried one of the Burris PEPR mounts for the AR's and it just would not work like i thought. So I punted and went a more simple routeand it seems like a winning combination.
Sorry about the clutter in the picture

March 7, 2012, 01:32 PM
I like the looks of your set-up, for your rifle. I have 2 '99's, .300 and a .250, both have open sights, one of them had scope on it years ago, now removed. The '99 .300 that had the scope, my Pop's rifle, he'd used it for many years open sights, then put on the scope, after using it, didn't like the scope, too top heavy for him, then removed it. Its now mine, I cleaned out the holes drilled in it, put in new screws with Blue Loc-Tite and like it a whole lot more than before. I like the looks of it "bare", open sighted. YMMV

Old Dog Man
March 9, 2012, 12:09 AM
Very nice job, I love those old 99's, built like a tank. I noticed a little black in the old fore end, next re-do try rubbing a cut in half lemon on the bare wood. Let it set overnight then apply more it will bleach the old oil and stain out and look like the rest of the wood. Keep the lemon halves in zip-lock bag in fridge and use over and over. Not critizing just putting out info. Also polishing the shell counter and painting the numbers looks good. Al

March 9, 2012, 09:15 AM
Thanks Al
I knew about the spot on the forearm. I intended to get a new one to match the butt. Kinda funny that Boyds dosen't offer forearm to match. I like the lemon trick but haven't tried it yet. I also heard you could put them in the dish washer and run it to remove excess oil and stains? My 99 didn't have the round counter but it would be neat if it did. I think my gun was built in the late 60's it has the letter N stamped on the lever boss. I think if I remember supposed to be 1967?

Old Dog Man
March 10, 2012, 06:35 PM
Blanco did you know you can take the creep out of the trigger? The bar that holds firing pin back (sear) can be shortened (carefully) and it makes it a better trigger, if you want to. I did 3 for a customer and he really liked it. Al

March 10, 2012, 07:06 PM
Kinda funny you mention that
When I had it apart and was marveling at the design I actually thought ... If you took a bit off the sear hook it would smooth out the trigger and lighten the pull!.
I wound up polishing the trigger and sear mating surfaces with a bit of Cratex. Then I put a dollop of hi grade molly grease on the mating surfaces.
I guess I was a bit chicken on taking it further ...

March 10, 2012, 10:35 PM
Buddy, you have given me a stroll down memory lane.

I have my grandmother's 99. It was one of the first that was made to chamber the .243. I seem to recall that would have been in the late 1950s but might have been a little later. It probably hasn't been fired 50 times.

Best regards,


Old Dog Man
March 12, 2012, 12:13 AM
Did you ever see one of the real old ones (EVEN OLDER THAN ME) It had a splinter forearm with a metal wheel looking release latch. I restored that one in 1979, had to replace buttstock with new one but saved the forearm. I reblued it with a high polished blue, I also polished the shell counter and painted the no,s. It had german claw scope mounts, beautiful little rifle, I thought the guy was going to cry when he saw it. Al

March 12, 2012, 02:52 AM
Very nice! I'm glad you got it back together. Those rotary mags are a massive pain. Love the stock!

March 12, 2012, 12:58 PM
If anyone ever wants to take a M99 apart all I have to say is the entire rifle is held together with the big screw in the reciever. It is the equivilent of a jigsaw puzzle in the shape of a rifle!

March 22, 2012, 07:34 AM
I am also working on "rejuvenating" a 99. Mine is a .30-.30 so will make a good brush gun if I ever get it back together. Against all advise to not take the rotary magazine apart I just had to because of years of crude. Now I have two problems, first looking at a schematic there is a piece used to support the rotary but my gun seems to have this piece made as part of the frame (maybe upgrade?). Second I cannot figure out how to get the timing right, or correct tension on the spring. I can load one round but the second will not chamber, just lays there. Any help is greatly appreciated

March 22, 2012, 08:55 AM
Describing it will make it seem a bit harder than it really is.
The rotor of the magazine is spring loadedon the end that points to the end of the barrel.
All of the internal works are held in place by the large cross screw in the reciever. The rotor lands on a stop on the right side, inside the reciever. The rotor tension is held in place by the small screw. On my rifle the end of the magazine rotor has a screw slot.
The trick is getting everything on the big screw, turn tension on the magazine rotor and starting the small screw, while lining everything up.
I used both hands a screwdriver an elbow and one foot to hold everything and get it going the right direction.
Just keep at it. you will see it's really not so bad once you get everything going the right way.

March 24, 2012, 07:12 AM
Thanks for the info, guess I wasn't holding my tongue just right, will have to try again, now that I sort of know what is supposed to happen.

March 24, 2012, 09:40 AM
In this case I wish I had re-assembly pictures!

April 1, 2012, 07:26 PM
For those of you that followed this thread, I wish to thank you for all the input and comments. I suppose this is a fitting end by using this rifle as it was intended.
I had not taken my little Savage to sight it in and wanted to use it for the opener of turkey season here in Texas. I got to my lease a bit early and after a few shots, I had it drilling the center spot of a 100 yd target.
The morning opening I heard a good deal of activity. At around 8:30 AM I had 3 toms and 8 hens come check my feeders. I waited till the hens had passed me up. The big Toms were strutting and showing off. I took the biggest one first at around 80 yds. The second one cut through the brush at about 120 yds. I whistled and he stopped long enough for a nice shot that made it home.

stan rose
April 1, 2012, 08:37 PM
Excellent ending to a great resurrection. Good luck with it in the future, and thank you for the posting the thread.

April 4, 2012, 01:05 PM
So you finally got that thing to shoot huh? I was wondering how things were coming along with it, nice spring turkey's Pard! Glad to see things went your way with this re-build, glad its still very accurate too. Congratulations Blanco!

April 4, 2012, 03:05 PM
Still very accurate and I really like the Burris scope. Very complimentary combination.

Old Dog Man
April 5, 2012, 12:29 AM
Sounds like you havve a very nice rifle after finishing the project and also a nice Tom. Al

April 6, 2012, 09:12 AM
I might like to find another model 99 to restore. This was a really fun project. I like it that it turned out so nice. It still is a tack driver. I don't know the reason why it shoots so good? I guess Savage just makes good barrels. If Savage still made the model 99 I would buy a new one!

April 23, 2012, 11:35 AM
I had this one out at the range this weekend. My son had shot it a few weekends back and was complaining that it wasn't accurate, kicked too hard Etc.
So I told him it shot just fine, he just didn't appreciate old rifles.
Several things to consider on this picture.... The first shot is the highest one and is from a cold barrel. the scope on this is a tactical model. At 100 yds the center spot completely covers the circle on the target and it is a low power scope.
I had also been shooting The T.H.U.D. (30/06) earlier and had a bit of the jitters.
I am sure the Savage is capable of much better accuracy than I am able to hold steady.
While it may not be super impressive, this was and is a brush hunting gun
Anyhow here is the pudding

April 23, 2012, 02:29 PM
Good group from a nice old rifle.

Old Dog Man
April 24, 2012, 10:38 PM
Blanco how does the THUD gun shoot? Let's see some targets. I'm currently working on a new project with my grandson. I had a 1903-A3 action, a used 1903 barrel, and sporterized mil. stock. We bedded the stock today and he started making a muzzlebreak. (trying to teach him how to run a lathe and mill) will finish the bedding tomorrow and start drilling the break holes. Will have some pics. later. Al

April 25, 2012, 12:07 PM
If you have a look at that same target I was using T.H.U.D. on it prior to the 99.
It can be very accurate, if you look at the pic of the target I had a total of 4 shots in the orange. 2 of those were thru the same hole. I can shoot it well if I really take my time, watch my breathing Etc. I think T.H.U.D. needs a better trigger to up the potential.
Maybe a heavy barrel? It seems to really like the 165 gr. Federal gold Sierrias. Just as before its limiting factor seems to be the operator!

April 25, 2012, 12:52 PM
Funny you mention an 03/A3 I have been looking for some parts to try my hand at one.

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