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The 300 Savage: An American Icon

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by whatnickname, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    A friend of mine has a very nice 40’s vintage Savage Model 99 in 300 Savage that he loaned me to see what I thought of his rifle. Couldn’t resist reloading for the rifle and did quite a bit of research on reloading the round. I love the Savage 99 and always regretted trading my 1967 (detachable magazine) away but that’s another story. Flat base bullets seem to be in order due to the rather short length of the case and the need not to shove the bullet down too far inside the case. I used 150 grain Hornady Interlock flat base bullets. IMR 4064 has gotten good press in quite a few of the articles I’ve read so I went with this for my powder and Federal #210 primers. This rifle has quite a bit of free bore in it so the magazine will not accommodate a bullet seated 25/1000” or so off the lands. My seating depth was therefore 2.600” or SAAMI maximum COL.

    The controversy in the articles I’ve read seems to be the pressures that the Savage 99 can tolerate. The 10th edition of the Hornady Reloading manual shows 42.8 grains of IMR 4064 as the maximum load with a velocity of 2600 fps. Ken Waters’ book, Pet Loads, warns emphatically that a charge of 40 grains of IMR4064 is hot and that 41 grains is the absolute maximum. The 49th edition of Lyman’s Reloading Handbook shows 42.2 grains of IMR4064 as max. Other reloading manuals seem to take a more conservative approach to IMR4064 and the 300 Savage. Do you suppose that IMR4064 was a hotter powder in 1976 when Ken published his article?. I’ve decided to go with 40 grains of IMR4064 for my starting load. Several folks have mentioned this load as preferred based on what I’ve seen on line. Pressure wise this charge seems to appear well within safe limits based on everything I’ve read. It should produce a velocity around 2400fps...maybe a bit over the 2400fps mark. While the Savage 99 is a good rifle that action locks up from the rear and is a bit “springy”. Reaching for an extra 100fps or so in that fine, old rifle just doesn’t seem worth the risk. It’s not a 30-06 or a .308 and I see no reason to try to make it one for that matter. What it is, based on all that I’ve read, is a darn better mouse trap than the 30-30. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this subject.
     
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  2. Barry loyd

    Barry loyd Member

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    Here’s a history on the 99 and .300 Savage.
     
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  3. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    My thoughts:

    I generally would consider a “National Icon” to be something universally recognizable by all, or at least most citizens of said nation, and further, agreeably recognized as representative or contributory of the Identity of said nation. The .300 Savage and the corresponding Savage 99 might be a formidable and fun combination, but it certainly isn’t something most Americans would recognize, nor something most Americans would agree is a representative part of our American Identity.

    Don’t think I have seen a single video from the above which I felt represented any common national sentiment, rather just the ramblings of a short-sighted Easterner.

    Closing thought: I agree with the sentiment - the 300 Savage in its namesake rifle isn’t made to be more than it was, and there’s not much sense in forcing it to be something it is not.
     
  4. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    Thank you
     
  5. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I find my best accuracy with 180 grain Interlock projectiles and IMR4320 propellant. I use the first accuracy node and make the ammo for use in a model 99 and use the same in a converted type 38 Arisaka. They both beat a 30-30 in the accuracy dept. and are good and accurate out to 200 YD. YMMV

    The savage shot best with Winchester Silver Tip projectiles but are no longer made sadly.
     
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  6. Offfhand

    Offfhand Member

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    Thank you Mssrs whatnick and Loyd, for comments on the Savage 99 and .300 Savage cartridge. They are true Icons of the American shooting scene, right up there with apple pie and fried chicken. It is quite remarkable the number of rifles (makes and models) that have been offered in .300 Savage. Including Remingtons and M-70 Winchesters. Attached is a Model 700 BDL Remington, and my vintage 99 Savage. I recently did some accuracy testing with the M-99 with Varget and Sierra 150 gr MKs. The results were a pleasant surprise and increased my already high regard for the 99. .. DSC_0007.JPG
     
  7. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    Yes both the Savage 99 and the 300 are true early day champions of the early eastern whitetail deer woods!
    I always wanted a 99, but in 22 Savage HP or 22 IMP.
    Why that one? Because it was different, a lot like me! And my 35 Rem and my 300 HH and my 38-40—-
     
  8. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    No doubt about it, the Savage 99 and the 300 Savage was a game changer at a time when lever action rifles were the most popular deer rifles and iron sights the order of the day. The Savage effectively competed with the Winchester and Marlin rifles that were so popular at the time. The ballistics were better than either the 30-30 or the 35 Remington and better yet, would accommodate a scope centered on top of the receiver. The 300 Savage was the basis of what became the 7.62 NATO / 308 Winchester round. Anyone that has enjoyed the Ruger 10/22 can thank Arthur Savage for the rotary magazine in the 10/22. A true American icon IMO!
     
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  9. Virginia Jim

    Virginia Jim Member

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    In my part of rural Virginia, the Savage 99 was never prolific. Deer hunters usually carried a Model 94 Winchester or a Marlin lever gun. I never actually held one until I won a GB auction and received a very nice one with a vintage swing away scope and mount. I am very fond of it.
     
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  10. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    I've loaded the cartridge for both a Savage 99 and a Rem 722. In the latter, the magazine was longer, and I was able to run BTSP bullets out a bit longer. Was running W748 (another fine powder for the cartridge) and accuracy was outstanding. Don't remember the load offhand, but it was with Lyman data and the Speer BTSP. He's killed over 20 deer and 3 bear with the load in Upper Michigan with zero complaints. He shoots factory to sight in, and corrects to the relative POI for the stock of ammo I loaded for him some 19 years ago. I told him I can just make more, but he said he'll wait until he's down to 20 before we try and reinvent the wheel.

    In my M99 of early '50s vintage, I run 41 grains 4064 with a rather mild SB primer. The load shoots mild, extracts easily and shows no pressure indications. I have run up to Hornady max with their bullet and W748, and it did seem a bit hot. No pressure signs per se, but felt like I was running a fine vintage engine at too many RPMs so I backed off of that load. Accuracy is good with the Speer 150 SP or Sierra 150 pro-hunter. I've only re-fitted a scope on the rifle this year, and it's a Weaver K2.5 so group size is somewhat irrelevant, but suffice to say is minute of deer vitals to it's intended range of 100 yards or less, and I would not be shy to push it to 150 given a good shot angle. Mine does not like to feed the Sierras well, the soft lead tip snags on the feed ramp sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  11. 25-20 WCF

    25-20 WCF Member

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    Early M99s were known to stretch under high pressure, particularly with the .250-300 and the .300 Savage, with tight extraction the obvious result. In the early/mid 1950s something apparently changed, because the M99 was then chambered in the higher pressure .308 and .358 WCFs. Heat treating/metallurgy have been the most discussed reasons. I won’t enter into the “icon” debate, but the M99/.300 Savage is a classic combination.


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  12. Lee Q. Loader

    Lee Q. Loader Member

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    I wish it was more of an icon, (as in worth more $$). I've got a 99 in 300 savage that sits in the safe. I looked into selling it and decided I'd rather keep it for how little it's worth.
     
  13. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    One little rifle that I would like to talk my BIL out of is a Rem 760 chambered in 300 Sav. I used it one season and really liked it. It was a very handy rifle and the 150 gr CorLokt put a spike buck on the ground in fast order. It was perfect for making a drive or still hunting in the timber.
     
  14. entropy

    entropy Member

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    How about The .300 Savage: An American classic. I agree with Varminterror that Icon might be a stretch, much as I loved my Dad's 99 in .300 and the sweet handloads he worked up for it.
     
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  15. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    I was just a the big Wanenmacher show in Tulsa yesterday. The price on the Savage 99s I saw there would have me digging mine out of the safe to sell.

    If I had one.

    Seriously, the cheapest one I saw was priced at $800, and it had no bluing left.
     
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  16. Lee Q. Loader

    Lee Q. Loader Member

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    Hmmm, maybe i'd better look into that again.
     
  17. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    So, I think 40 grs of IMR4064 and 150 grs is a good conservative starting point. I don't think the brass is necessarily the issue, rather the pre-308 Win M99 action. Clearly, after the introduction of the 308 Win chambering, Savage considered the action suitable for 60K psi. But, in a 1940s vintage 99 that belongs to someone else, I would follow Ken Waters advice.

    And I fully agree with "Icon". The unwashed plebs may not know any rifle that hasn't been chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor or 300 BO, but then, the mole people are unaware of so many wonderful pieces of art. They really can't be helped. The pinnacle of 19th Century lever gun technology combined with a truly modern 20th Century cartridge is indeed an Iconic combo.
     
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  18. Lee Q. Loader

    Lee Q. Loader Member

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    IMO, 40 gr of 4064 is too high a place to start with a 150. Both Hodgdon and Nosler online data show 40 gr as a max load with a 150 bullet.
    My dad loaded for our Model 99 300 Savage with the old Lee hammer kit. He always loaded 165 gr bullets and used 37 gr of IMR 4064.
    I have loaded 40 grains of 4064 with a 130 Speer HP for varmints. This was a long time ago, but I remember thinking that was as high as I wanted to go.
    I would error on the side of caution and start much lower with that 150 gr bullet
     
  19. entropy

    entropy Member

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    My Speer #9 (1974) lists 37.5 as the starting point, 41.5 as the max for their 150 gr. SP. I don't remember what dad's super accurate 150 load was, (It was 40 years ago at least, and he oddly didn't write it in the book, he usually did so) ) but he usually loads between the middle load (39.5) toward max. and stops at the best velocity, so I wouldn't be surprised if his was about 40 gr.
     
  20. 25-20 WCF

    25-20 WCF Member

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    And Hornady #9 data shows a maximum charge weight of 44.0 grains...


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