Hunting with a .303 Savage

Gnoahhh

New Member


Model 1899H takedown carbine, .303 Savage. Decent Western Maryland deer who was ripe for harvesting. Bullet: 190 grain FN out of a 35 year old custom Saeco mould, .310 diameter, 50/50 lube, WW's+tin not water quenched or heat treated (bhn 12-13). 28 grains 3031, 1900fps. 100 yards give or take.

 

fiver

Well-Known Member
looks to have just about the same nose and general shape as the rcbs bullet I like in my 30-30.

I'm assuming your 303 has a 308 meh/ish barrel?
 

Rick

Moderator
Staff member
The bullet looks much like my SAECO #305, 30 cal 180 gr FPGC. Good bullet in my 30-30. Don't know it's age but about about 25-30 years. Already. :rolleyes:
 

Gnoahhh

New Member
A charter member of the CBA, Sid Musselman, designed the mould and had Saeco cut a set of blocks for it. I got the mould from him back around '80-'81 when he was cashing in his chips. It has given me great service since then. (It does have an odd tapered gas check shank which forced me to create a tapered punch for use in a small arbor press with which to "custom flair" gas checks in order to fully seat them tight to the bullet base.)
 

Rick

Moderator
Staff member
Oops, typo. That's SAECO #307 not 305. I have several SAECO molds and because of them I started sizing all my checks just as you describe. Been my experience that SAECO bullets are tough to get a check on.
 

Rick

Moderator
Staff member
SAECO #307

DSCN1521-2.JPG

Interesting. SAECO might well have gotten the bullet design from the mold you describe.
 

Bret4207

St Lawrence river valley, NY
Nice! I use a similar RCBS 30-180FN in my 99x303. A lovely old cartridge and rifle, just made for each other. I need to get it out and do some shooting! That bullet at 1900 fps is a basic duplication of the factory jacketed load.
 

dale2242

Active Member
I have been loading Lyman 311291 with the tried and proven load of 10 gr. Unique for my sons M99 303 Savage.
What a fun gun....dale
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
I used to really dislike the looks of the 1899, but the old ones especially with the schnabel forearm and aperture sights have grown on me a lot. I didn't used to like the taste of single-malt Scotch either. That's a nice original, plenty of honest field wear but no rust, and a nice buck to prove it still does what it was meant to do.
 

Bret4207

St Lawrence river valley, NY
I know some folks have reservations, but IMO the 99 Savage is the pinnacle of lever action design.
 

CZ93X62

Redlands, Kalifornistan
After 10 days of rolling this idea around, I think we need to add on John Browning's 1895 Winchester levergun to this list. I have fired a couple of these arms, and they don't spare you any recoil impulse--and the crescent metal buttstocks enhance that lethality markedly. (Shotgun butt, if you don't mind). My samples were in 30/40 Krag, and the 220 grain softpoints that the rounds were loaded with kind of gilded that lily on the recoil impulse for me. The other one had a very interesting history--a "return" of sorts, won in a card game on Kamchatka peninsula in the late 1990s by a hunting buddy of mine. It is a rifle-length barrel in its original 7.62 x 54R, as issued to the Imperial Russian using services. We verified it as a New Haven "actual", not a Tula or Izhevsk knock-off. While very scarce in North America, according to my buddy these were almost common in Siberia in the hands of subsistence hunters and fisherman. Its condition was decent, a lot of honest use as a tool in wild places--but mechanically-sound and fully functional. Many of these rifles still in use have had their barrels shortened to make them more handy in their various taskings.

The morning after a rather deeply-irrigated evening of bull session and arm-twisting to enlist me into one of his Kamchatka adventure travel sequences, we and others awoke to a glorious Montana morning of "hopper season" trout fishing with Muddler-pattern flies on suicidal trout. Few things on this earth can clear morning cobwebs and hangovers like a series of 15"-18" trout on a #5 Orvis rod--and no Dirty-Thirties yuppie girls from Dallas or Charleston to spoil the morning's ambiance with their tittering. Close to Heaven. The fish lost interest by about 9:30 A.M., so we breakfasted on a potluck of MREs and Mountain House meal packs. That done, out came the war toys--to include the subject of this meandering account, the Win 95 in 30 Rooskikh. By this time (1999) the 7.62 x 54R was no longer a scarce, exotic chambering in the USA. Nor was Tula ammo in that caliber, and 100 rounds of milsurp corrosive Soviet-era ammo had been purchased at one of the Bozeman toy emporia to crank off through the 95. Recoil, even with the crescent butt, wasn't too bad with the 154 grain FMJs our ammo-of-the-day featured. Fun rifle.

The stilted loading sequence (cartridge butt-first, then pivot down 90*) required to fill the 95's box magazine was the system's sole drawback, in comparison to the Savage 1899's far more user-friendly spool system.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
that box magazine and rimmed case is the only complaint I have with my 95 in us ARMY-30.
almost said govm't there.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
After 10 days of rolling this idea around, I think we need to add on John Browning's 1895 Winchester levergun to this list. I have fired a couple of these arms, and they don't spare you any recoil impulse--and the crescent metal buttstocks enhance that lethality markedly. (Shotgun butt, if you don't mind). My samples were in 30/40 Krag, and the 220 grain softpoints that the rounds were loaded with kind of gilded that lily on the recoil impulse for me. The other one had a very interesting history--a "return" of sorts, won in a card game on Kamchatka peninsula in the late 1990s by a hunting buddy of mine. It is a rifle-length barrel in its original 7.62 x 54R, as issued to the Imperial Russian using services. We verified it as a New Haven "actual", not a Tula or Izhevsk knock-off. While very scarce in North America, according to my buddy these were almost common in Siberia in the hands of subsistence hunters and fisherman. Its condition was decent, a lot of honest use as a tool in wild places--but mechanically-sound and fully functional. Many of these rifles still in use have had their barrels shortened to make them more handy in their various taskings.
I've looked for years for one.
:headbang:
 

CZ93X62

Redlands, Kalifornistan
One thing that impressed me about my buddy's cardgame rifle was its internal condition. While its outside was somewhat weathered and gracefully-aged, its bore was PERFECT and internals were clean and corrosion free. Considering its life in a land of corrosive priming and frigid conditions (2 seasons--Winter and August), this was pretty remarkable. The barrel had not been relined, as best I could tell.

Further exposures to Winchester 1895 examples followed. A shop located in a city I was assigned to for a time (Bekaa Moreno Valley) had an original 95 in 405 Winchester in 2003. Condition was internally excellent, though it had been reblued expertly. I had too many kids still in high school and headed for college to cough up $1500 in 2003-vintage shekels to make it my own. Tools, mould(s), and components were scarce--and pricey when located. Its crescent steel buttplate was uninviting as well. I don't regret 'passing' on this one, though the coolness factor of having an original T.R Big Medicine example was attractive. Too many "negatives", not enough "positives". A few years later, Winchester rolled out repro 1895s in 405 Winchester, and components got easier to find for a time. Truth to tell--a Marlin 95 is nearly as powerful (safely loaded up a bit), and cost less than half as much to acquire. And I already had tools and moulds on hand to feed it with.

And the hits kept happenin'. Early 2008 I was doing a gunshop crawl in a longtime friend's hometown (Simi Valley) and stopped at his favorite toy store--Greta's Guns. Greta was no longer with us, sad to say--she was the owner's Pug, and her picture graced the shop's sign out front. Small shop, but TONS of used guns. He had 2 repro/Browning 1895s on the wall at $900 each--30/40 Krag and 30-06. He was willing to talk Downward Departure on buying the pair, too. I was sorely tempted to take him up on that offer, and the rifles were NIB. One girl still in high school, bound for college--and two in college as well. Not wise, and not worth living on Top Ramen and Kool-Ade for a year. And this doesn't begin to factor in The Spanish Inquisition that would follow close on the heels of such an acquisition from SWMBO.

Most recent (circa 2012) was an original 95 in 30-06 that was among 7 rifles in that caliber that one of the NCBS regulars had on display at his home for me to choose from when I mentioned "Needing a 30-06" after passing along my Dad's 1948-made Model 70 in that caliber to my nephew Joshua. I selected a post-war Mauser 98 with steel Lyman aperture sight that I still own, but GOODNESS GRACIOUS was that 95 calling to me. Its owner and I might need to chat about that one again. There is No Such Thing as Having Too Many 30-06s.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
I have owned a 30/06 and a 30/03 and both had excessive headspace from long years of use with pre-war commercial ammo. Even the light cast loads would back the primers out so far they would not go into a slotted shellholder. (I did get to shoot a 30/40 that functioned perfectly, but that friend passed away and it went to the relatives.) While I tried not setting the headspace back, the cartridges them would not let the action close, so there is lots of spring in the mechanics.

Being an old soldier and learning to shoot with the M-14, crescent butt plates don't bother me any more than a flat one. I hold the elbow high and the line of sight is only about 30 degrees from across my body. That puts the toe in the arm pit and heel over the deltoid. Plus at five foot eight, they are sized to fit my frame. Taller you are, the harder it is to get one that will fit. One of my six foot four shooting buddies with a husky frame and hold the rifle like a shotgun always has the heel and toe in the flesh of his shoulder. Ouch!
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
What I couldn't deal with was the low comb on the 1899. Same reason I love Marlins (not much drop, comb high enough even for a scope) and hate the '73 Winchester....have to hold my head 2" off the stock to see the sights. The M-14/M1A is perfect with issue sights.

My fix:

 

Ian

Well-Known Member
Not if your cheekbone or even jaw doesn't touch the stock...

People must have been built differently. I'm 6'0"/175 lbs with a 17" collar. Even turning the rifle across my chest and doing the single chickenwing hold barely gets my face on an original 1899, and then it's thumb knuckle in the nose, not great because these rifles weigh next to nothing and even a .30-30's recoil will make a bloody nose that way. The rifle doesn't lever well from that position either.