Questions about inspecting vintage guns.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BringHomeTheBacon, Mar 29, 2022.

  1. BringHomeTheBacon

    BringHomeTheBacon member

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    I found this straight-stocked/uncheckered Savage 99 in .30-30 for auction online and the current bid is $680.00. I noticed something troubling in one of the photos. On the receiver top, the chamber top and the bolt top there appears to be fine pitting and some of the letters and numbers aren't as cleanly cut as others. What do people here by observing the picture think? Naturally, I'd prefer a gun with clean uniform lettering that isn't deformed. This particular round-counter rifle is advertised as Rare & Desired Savage Model 99 .30-30 Numbers Matching Collector

    savage 99 pitting image.jpg
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    My holy grail Savage 99 would be pitting-free and have excellent numbers/letters markings in the metal. There would be absolutely no tapped holes for scope mounting that the Savage Arms factory did not originally put there themselves as my other critical requirement. Some SAVAGE receiver trademarks have been butchered by aftermarket drilling.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2022
  2. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    If the pitting bothers you bad enough to post the question, I would pass on this rifle. If you buy it the first thing you will see every time you pick it up is that pitting. It will be a source of aggravation rather than pleasure.

    Wait for the rifle you want. Just realize you will likely pay more for the one you love.
     
  3. BringHomeTheBacon

    BringHomeTheBacon member

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    But is that particular rifle in the picture pitted? How can one tell? I am looking for some helpful advice on inspecting a gun under consideration.
     
  4. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    If I were advertising a firearm for sale in an online auction I would clean it up as best I could. So it doesn’t matter if it’s pitting or damage to the bluing or something else. The fact that it shows in the photo leads me to conclude it’s not going to wipe off with an oily rag. My earlier comments still apply.
     
  5. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Light stampings are very common in the industry. They dont hurt value. I have a 1905 made Colt 1903 hammerless in 95% or so condition. The rampant pony stamp is very faint, but that was common on them.

    Looks like very light pitting to me.
     
  6. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

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    Very light pitting, mostly spots of surface rust or just beginning in.
    Variances in stampings are common, between either machine setup or polishing. Especially near edges, like that. Probably from the factory. It's possible it was polished and reblued in the past, but it's unlikely and would need a side-by-side comparison to tell.
    No erosion in the metal is going to be so smooth.
    The 99 is mismatched either because they used the same part for other models pre-stamped with everything else, or simply they never had a 'model 99' stamp made, they had a 'model' and a '99'. Very common.

    IMO, that thing's clean for its age, but obviously not perfect.
    If you're questioning things at all, wait for another. Be prepared for others to do the same.
     
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  7. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    It is lightly pitted/freckled and as you look down the barrel it is in even worse shape. The forend doesn’t match the buttstock, If that bothers you, look for another.
     
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  8. Blkhrt13

    Blkhrt13 Member

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    This isn’t a collector grade rifle. It looks like it was used for its intended purpose. Maybe it’s a more rare model. I had one in 35 Remington and sold it like a fool. Wish I still had that rifle. But based on your tone your not happy with the shape it’s in. Stamping is a non issue for me. The rust is problematic because you can’t tell what the bore looks like. Surface rust makes you wonder how it was treated otherwise. Right now there is a lot of profiteering off guns and old collections. So I’m more careful about what I spend on.
     
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  9. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    The difference in the lettering could be due to someone trying to steel-wool and then buff out the pitting. The pitting really isn't all that bad, no one else will notice, but if you know it's there, and it bothers you, it's going to detract from your pleasure in the gun, because it's all you'll see every time you take it out.

    Any gun that's described as "rare", "desirable", "collector", etc etc you can bet has got at least a 20% premium attached to its asking price.
     
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  10. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    A lot of that rust freckling will clean up with some Flitz polish and elbow grease.

    Your first question is whether you're wanting a collector piece or a nice, clean gun that you still intend to use. Because if you plan to use it, you'll be adding your own "character" marks to the gun. If you're looking for a collector, then I'd pass on that specific gun.

    Sometimes roll marks and stamping can be uneven because the gun has been reblued at some point in the past. I'd look closely at the rest of the roll marks and stampings to see if that's common to all of the roll marks or if it's just that specific one. And again, if you're looking for a "shooter grade" I would not be too concerned with a reblue job, even if it turned out to have had one, as long as it was done correctly. Are you buying the gun to get as much monetary value out of it at some point in the future? Or are you buying it to get as much ENJOYMENT out of it?
     
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  11. Blkhrt13

    Blkhrt13 Member

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    I would also suggest that as there was a million savage 99 made over a 100 year period I would bet that 30-30 really isn't rare at all. I’d bet most of them were used for hunting and not just put up. So unless it’s NIB it’s just a cool antique hunting arm.
     
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  12. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    A Savage 99 in .30-30 is not in the least bit rare or all that desirable. I took a quick spin through the net and there are plenty of 99’s in .30-30 available. I have to tell you though the one your looking at seems to be in very serviceable condition. Looks like most of the 99’s in .30-30 were used in the field.
     
  13. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    They are prone to receiver and bolt rust. You would be hard pressed to find a cleaner pre-war example that hasn't been refinished.
     
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  14. Condor

    Condor Member

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    From the picture, that looks like a takedown model (indicated also by the “matching numbers” description). I believe the takedown model is more rare/valuable but I don’t know what the current value would be.

    Edit…found the auction..it is the takedown model.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2022
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  15. Dave DeLaurant

    Dave DeLaurant Member

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    I was wondering whether it was a takedown.

    Also, the forend wood appears mismatched to the buttstock -- looks to me like one end or the other has been replaced. That would be a good bargaining point in a face-to-face purchase, but I don't suppose it would make much of a price difference in an auction these days.
     
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  16. 3Crows

    3Crows Member

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    There were many made and all but a very few were used for the intended purpose. People tend to carry guns by gripping the receiver. Of course that would cause wear, rust and metal erosion and loss of blueing in those exact areas. Looks like a well used and well taken care of weapon to me.

    3C
     
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  17. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Without rereading the whole thread, I don't know if something that occured to me after my last post has been mentioned yet, so please forgive me if it has: although those little flecks visible in the pics really are no problem, they may be signs that the rifle has been poorly cared for and stored for a long time in an unfavorable environment, therefore: what kind of condition is that gun in on the inside?? Where you can't see until after you get it home and take it apart?
     
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  18. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Rare? MY LGS recently had one in that was in better condition that that one and sold it for $600.
     
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  19. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah that’s been mentioned…;)

    I also mentioned in my first post that forend wood was a mismatch. Maybe somebody with better knowledge of 99’s can chime in but it doesn’t seem all that uncommon in take downs to have mismatched wood. Is that because the forend wood is often cracked on a take down or were they mismatched at the factory?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2022
  20. BringHomeTheBacon

    BringHomeTheBacon member

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    I would want one with good stamping quality and no pitting. I would like best to be able to view such a gun in person before buying. That particular gun is a deal-breaker for me. If the stamping were perfect and that pitting or freckling weren't there, I might pay $1,000 for such gun. Maybe more for a minty example. I would want the gun for deer hunting but for the gun to be enjoyable to me to own, it would have to be in better cosmetic shape than the one in the photo. I have seen cleaner examples of these Savage Model 99 rifles pictured online. Some of them even have better stamping quality. They often say SOLD in the listings. A truly minty one is probably going to list $1,200 on up. Blue wear on the receiver where the gun was carried doesn't bother me. These steel guns are professionally reblue-able. I basically want good steel under the bluing. I don't care if the gun is numbers-matching as long as the parts are OEM correct.
     
  21. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    Sounds like you know what you want then.
     
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  22. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    I'd be suspicious of heavy handed polishing regarding the lettering as from the pictures that gun looks just too good for original finish.
     
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