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Savage 99 Fires when lever closed!

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by El Hombre, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. El Hombre

    El Hombre Well-Known Member

    Hi guys,
    I have another question. I purchased an older Savage model 99 takedown in 22 Hi-power about a year ago. Let my dad take it and play with it as he has alot more time & was really excited when I found the gun. After some time with it, he told me it had fired when closing the lever on two occasions. I figured he had probably pulled the trigger unknowingly. When I recieved the gun back, I detail stripped it to clean & inpsect. Nothing looked out of the ordinary. Upon lube & reassembly it was time to fire. 10 rounds, no problem, then a discharge upon closing the action! Did I pull the trigger? Somemore firing, slower & making sure nothing was in the area of the trigger while working the action, 5 or 6 rounds later, another discharge. Happened 2 more times. (Always keep muzzle downrange- glad I learned that years ago!)

    Any ideas? Anyone know a good gunsmith that knows the model 99?

    All internal parts looked good, nothing broken or chipped or looked excessively worn.

    I love these old model 99s. Really want to get this one where it is safe to use.

  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Nothing specfic about Savage 99's doing it that I can remember.
    Sounds like the striker/FP is slipping off the sear for some reason.

    I'd check for a weak trigger return spring, amature attempt to stone the hook angles, slop in bolt FP hole / worn striker allowing it to move up in bolt and slip off sear, etc.

  3. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    That is a pretty common problem with the 99 and while it can be a result of wear, it is more commonly a result of someone trying to do a "trigger job" without understanding the gun.

    As the 99 bolt moves upward in closing, the rear of the "hammer" (think of it as the "L" shaped back of the firing pin) rides up on the sear, stopping almost at the end of the sear. If the sear is shortened or worn, the hammer can slip off before the lever is fully closed. If the condition worsens, the rifle will fire BEFORE the bolt is locked, ruining the rifle and possibly injuring the shooter.

    Please do NOT fire that rifle; take it to a competent gunsmith right away. Parts are still available. If in any doubt, call Savage; last I heard they were still servicing the older rifles, though they discontinued manufacture quite a while back.

  4. Big Az Al

    Big Az Al Well-Known Member

    Jim there is only......

    Turn that "Hammer " into a striker, (I know I am being (A) picky (jerk)) but, when everything else is 100% on the money............

    I tried to fight it and lost,

  5. El Hombre

    El Hombre Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info. Does anyone know of a good 99 gunsmith? I would really like someone that understands the workings of the rifle.
  6. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member

    "Turn that "Hammer " into a striker,"

    Look at the Numrich Arms parts catalog. Strangely enough they call it a hammer. Other parts are hammer indicator, hammer bushing screw and hammer bushing.

    Yep, i'm being really picky.
  7. asknight

    asknight Well-Known Member

    Savage Arms

    by Mail:
    Savage Arms, Inc.
    100 Springdale Road
    Westfield, MA 01085

    Phone: (413) 568-7001
    Fax: (413) 568-8386

    General Business Hours:
    Monday-Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM EST*
    Closed for lunch between 12:00 PM and 12:30 PM

    Service Dept (Firearm Repair & Parts) Hours:
    9AM to 4:00 PM EST

    Due to an overwhelming request for information, we are unable to accept inquiries by e-mail.

    All inquiries may be directed in writing to:
    Savage Arms
    100 Springdale Road
    Westfield, MA 01085
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I somehow doubt Savage is going to work on a take-down .22 High-Power, last made by them before WWII.

  9. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member

    "I somehow doubt Savage is going to work on a take-down .22 High-Power, last made by them before WWII."

    If it were mine i would order all the parts that could possibly go wrong from Numerich and fix it myself. The parts would cost $50-70.
  10. El Hombre

    El Hombre Well-Known Member

    I don't think the replacement parts would be a simple drop in proceedure. On these older guns, there was alot of hand fitting that went on. I'd just as soon find a reliable smith that is familar with the model 99.
  11. toolman846

    toolman846 Member

    I've worked on a number of 99's (I'm a toolmaker and machine builder, not a gunsmith, but have been tinkering with guns for 40 years). The last one, a newer one - there are two very different sear-hammer (striker, whatever) arrangements. The older one is the simpler one. When dealing with Numrich, you should call them, with the respective parts in hand, and tell them the serial number of the gun. I know from sad experience. Deal with a human, on the phone, and don't let them go until you are certain they and you are talking about the same style of part.

    Please do not fire the gun until the problem is reliably fixed, or a real gunsmith has been over it. Changes were made around serial 1,000,000 - when the safety changed from a small slide just above the lever, to a tang-mounted slider. The newer sear mechanism is a riveted collection of metal stampings, and in fact, it was a very slight bend in the business part of the safety bar - another stamping - that was causing the problem with the last one I worked on. It would cock, but not fire. I had to completely clean all the dirt from neglect out of it, and reassemble it, to discover what was wrong, but once I did, it was an easy fix.

    The older style sear, which, given the age of the gun, is what I'm sure you have, is a fairly robuust piece of metal, with a sweeping curve up to the point that contacts the striker, and holds it back, when the gun is cocked. The lines of the curve, and the front face, should be smooth and not have dips and dives, or seriously rounded edges, which might indicate someone has tried to do a trigger job on it, as someone previously suggested. If the part does not look perfectly factory, and this applies to the front (leading) edge of the striker as well, contained within the bolt, replace those parts which are suspect with unaltered ones. Disassembly and reassembly are fairly easy, and you shouldn't have any trouble with that part of it. Good luck.
  12. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Hi, Az Al,

    FWIW, Gun Parts calls it a hammer, the NRA books call it a hammer, and a Savage drawing from around WWI calls it a hammer. Might not be the logical name (it doesn't hammer anything), but gun part names don't necessarily follow logic.

    Actually, the hammer attaches to the firing pin, which is the front part of the assembly. It might be called a firing pin extension.

    Savage redesigned that whole action a while back, but I assumed the gun was the old model based on the original question, and they will do exactly what I described.

  13. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member

    "I don't think the replacement parts would be a simple drop in proceedure. On these older guns, there was alot of hand fitting that went on. I'd just as soon find a reliable smith that is familar with the model 99."

    Never was a gunsmith but i worked on a lot of guns until just a few years ago. Replaced parts in a few Savage guns just like the one you are having problems with. There was never any hand fitting required. For the most part, the hand fitting of gun replacement parts went out when Eli Whitney came along.
  14. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus


    that's not true at all.

    Revolvers are still hand fit
  15. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member

    "Revolvers are still hand fit"

    Never worked on them.
  16. mightyike

    mightyike Well-Known Member

    savage 99

    I remember as a child.....in 1961

    Father was at his hunting camp, everyone upstairs asleep (they usually drank too heavily before the season started....it was way back when.....and he wanted to go hunting....we were sitting on the porch and he loaded it Savage 99, and while sitting back, set it down on the wood porch, butt hit firmly-hard but not so hard to make one notice, and what did happen was the gun fired up through the porch, through the bed up above. No one was in the bed.

    I learned a lot from my Dad. He used to preach safety and he was shaken for sure.....

    And I never knew why it fired.....he got rid of the gun....had bought it used. Now I know how that happened, forty six years later.....
  17. El Hombre

    El Hombre Well-Known Member

    I'll give the gun another detail dissassembly & reinspect this weekend. My initial inspection did not show anything obvious, the internals looked almost new. No sign of any home trigger job. I have repaired a fair number of guns in my time, just never messed with many leverguns, & the 99 is pretty interesting in function. I was suprised at the few number of internal parts.
    It is an older model, I'll have to check the s/n again, but I think it was a very early rifle @ 1917 or so, I doubt the factory will work on one that old, but I'm not above asking.
    The 22Hi-Power is an interesting round. You can't find ammo marked as such anymore, but it is the same as the European 5.6x52R , purchased a bunch of ammo from Natchez last year for @ $10 a box. Very accurate gun.
  18. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member

    The Savage .22 Hi-Power is a good cartridge. Way back when folks killed deer, bear and and elk with them. At one time there were some heavy bullet loads available. Norma used to load the round with a 71 grain bullet. Good luck with your Savage 99.

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