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Suggestions needed on Rebarreling a Savage 99

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Meatco, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. Meatco

    Meatco Active Member

    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, it’s been a safe queen for over 40 years now, and every once in a while I’ll 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,

  2. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    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!

    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."
  3. Meatco

    Meatco Active Member

    This bbl is just too rough


    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,

  4. JesseL

    JesseL Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. woof

    woof Well-Known Member

    .250/3000 would be an easy rebarrel and IMO more interesting than .300 Savage.
  6. Meatco

    Meatco Active Member

    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.


  7. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    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!
  8. JesseL

    JesseL Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    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.

  10. Meatco

    Meatco Active Member

    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,

  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.

    That right there is your answer!

    Leave it alone and shoot it!

  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    There was one once, but he died in 1989. :D

  14. goon

    goon Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.

  17. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. Meatco

    Meatco Active Member


    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,

  19. Meatco

    Meatco Active Member

    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.


    Attached Files:

  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    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.

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