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Thread: savage model 23,, in 25-20 ?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    savage model 23,, in 25-20 ?

    Have found another old gun that is tempting me. How does these old one piece barrell-action savages shoot? Whats the best cast boolit for a 25-20,as far as accuracy? This thing has a weaver mount on top,,,, was it drilled and tapped for this way back then? It is missing the open sights, any ideas on where to find correct sights for this? Ever since i see the gun i cant stop thinking that my wife should buy this for my christmas present!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master CENTEX BILL's Avatar
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    Buy It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have one this model. It is a very useful fun gun. You will not regret buying it.
    PM me for more info.

    Centex Bill

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    I have one that I got recently. Seems to like the lighter boolits (65 to 75 gr), tolerates the 87 and dislikes anything 90 gr. Best loads so far are Ideal 257463 with 3.9 gr Unique and 257420 with 8 gr 2400.

    Savage 23's were no-frills, working-class rifles, but were very good ones. The triggers aren't always the best, but are generally not the worst either. You can get extra magazines that don't look like the originals but fit and feed OK from Triple K.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Savage 23 Family

    I have one of the 23-Ds, which is the 22 hornet.
    It's the second one I bought, the first being one I bought for my cousin who had been looking for one like he used as a youth.
    I've watched him bust crows at distances I didn' think prudent for a hornet.
    The rifle seemed to just be a natural extension of him.
    I'm in hopes I can do him proud next year when I try and get my 23 running.
    Bought extra magazines on Auction Arms, Gunbroker and E-bay as they came available at decent prices.
    I think there was a 22 LR and 32-20 in the series.
    CRS impedes my verifying that however.
    Mine has a Swift scope mounted on the side which does not look real right!
    I think you're going to enjoy that 23 a whole lot!
    DaveP kywoodwrkr

  5. #5
    Boolit Master buckndee's Avatar
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    The 23 Savage series ran 23A, 23AA both 22LR. 23B in 25-20, 23C in 32-20 and 23D in 22 Hornet. I have two special order guns with 2-3xx wood, ornate checkering similar to the 99 Savage rifles and high polish blue that factory lettered as special order guns. Another 23B with standard wood and checkering. They all shoot factory J-bullets under a inch at 50yds but factory lead ammo only so-so. Just got a Lyman 311316 mold and the GB 257 80g GC to try ASAP. They are nice light weight rifles that are getting hard to fine in good shooing condition in my neck of the wood, rarely see them at the so called gun shows in Calif.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I have one in 25-20, it is one of my favorite rifles. The Lyman 257312 works best in mine.The 25-20 can be a little finicky to load because of the small charges and thin brass but other than that their great. Mine shoots around 2 in. most of the time. Everyone that shoots it wants to take it home. It has K4 Weaver on it that is so old that the crosshairs move out of center when adjusted. Someone cut the rear sight and used the base to fill the slot but the front is still there. I can't find an original rear sight but I think most any dovetail sight would work. These rifles are hard to find In any condition. I think I have only seen two others and they were 32-20. If it was in decent shape and I could afford it I would get it. Check the bore and the saftey. Savage made a .22 in the same style and I have seen them give saftey problems, in fact I hand to work on mine(mostly 70 years of crud).

    beemer

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I test loaded for a neighbor's Savage 23B.

    I only ran one J-word ...... the Speer 75 gr. Flat point and no lead was tried.

    Two powders were tried .......... Imr 4227 and Imr 4198 ....... the 4198 won on accuracy.

    I wanted to buy this rifle but the owner thought it was gold.

    What sort of $$$$ do these go for these days?

    Three 44s

  8. #8
    Boolit Master buckndee's Avatar
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    mainiac had a question whether these rifles were factory drilled and taped for scope mounts. Not as far as I know. There are two taped holes in the top receiver area for a receiver sight. The correct sights are Savage No 5, 10, or 15 NRA receiver sight. Savage No 21B micrometer rear sight and a Lyman No 48Y receiver sight. The front screw hole is 10-32 and the rear is an odd ball 5-something thread pitch. I have run a 6-48 tap in the rear hole to use readily available mounting screws for these receiver sights.
    Scopes can be mounted without modify the gun other the re-taping the rear receiver sight to a 6-48. I have modified a long Weaver scope mount base by using an existing hole in the mount and drilling a new hole in the location of the 10-32 taped hole. Then used a counter sink so a 10-32 machine screw sets almost flush, a dab of black touch up paint makes it look sanitary. Then any Weaver type scope rings can be mated with a good 1" modern scope. Other scope mount options that are more period correct are using a Lyman scope mount block that dove tails into the rear sight dove tail slot and a rear block using only a single 6-48 screw lock-tited in the rear receiver hole. Then a 4X Wollensak external adjustment scope can be mounted. Looks really cool but is awkward to handle in the field, OK at the range. Another late production 23B I have has a Weaver T3 side mount that was drilled to attach. A Weaver J 2.5 scope, double dot reticule with a Litschert power booster that makes it an 8X power. With this set up rabbits had better have their life insurance policy paid up out to a 100yds plus.
    Have asked Santa for a digital camera for x-mas so I can post pictures in the near future.

  9. #9
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    I've one I picked up for a song and a dance ($50) because the last 3 inches of the barrel had some pretty bad pitting and the plastic butt plate was broke and half missing. Rest of the bore is excellent. I cut the bad 4" off the barrel making it a 20" barrel and put a thin rubber butt pad on it. I d&t'd the top of the action area for a couple of Weaver bases and have a Weaver 2.5X scope on it. I also bedded the action/barrel fore and aft of the single action screw. The 75 gr Speer j bullet over 11 gr H4227 runs 1856 and shoots 1 - 11/2 MOA at 100 yards. 10 gr of H4227 pushes a WW cast 257420 at 1826 fps with 1-2 MOA at 100 yards. 11 gr of AA5744 does pretty much the same as does 9.5 gr of 4759. The fun bullet is a 257283 HP (got the mould with the rifle for $25 additional and that included a Lee Loader and a complete Lyman tong tool with 310 dies). This is a PB 80 gr bullet that I cast of reclaimed .22 lead, tumble lube in LLA and shoot as cast over 2.7 gr Bullseye. Velocity is right at 1100 fps with groups running right at 1" at 50 yards. A superb squirrel rifle for thick woodsy areas where shots are not much past 75 yards. Up in the forrested mountains of NE Oregon we have a large ground squirrel we call "Red Diggers". Thumps them diggers much better than most any .22LR HP, even the HV ones.

    Larry Gibson

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    Boolit Master buckndee's Avatar
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    Larry I am dancing for you too, what a sweet deal on a fine hunting rifle and a HP mould too boot. Thank for sharing the load info as I am just about to start casting boolets for my pair of 23B's and then the 23C's. I have only loaded j-bullets till now. Just got some moulds in these calibers. I have found that using brass of all the same lot greatly helps for consistent accuracy in these small cases. I accidentally mixed a few different brands once, talk about wild groups. Check my post just before yours for a bit of scope mount info, we were typing about the same time. A higher power scope improves my long range accuracy.

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    I have 2 25-20's and a 32-20. The 32 is great with the 311316, the 25's need wringing out yet. You won't be sorry unless you let it go! These are fine, perhaps THE finest bolt action small game and short range varmint rifles ever built. I'm a huge fan as you can see. One day I hope to have the Hornet and 22lr too.
    Last edited by Bret4207; 11-19-2007 at 09:55 AM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I had a collection of these at one time and every one was a superb shooter. The 32-20 in particular would cut one ragged hole at 50 yards and was an honest 150 yard prarie dog gun. The 25-20 didn't get as much use as I hated reloading those tiny cases but it too was a good shooter.

  13. #13
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    buckndee

    Besides sorting cases I use small pistol primers with those loads. I use standard CCI 500s.

    Larry Gibson

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    If I could find a fixer up for 50 ...... I would invest in dance lessons if my jig was not suitable.

    Great find! ....... and the gun would be handier after the amputation.

    Small pistol primers ......... I will remember that one if I every get my mitts on a 23B.

    Regards

    Three 44s

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I have a .22LR and a .25-20. The 23B was "collectible" when it came to me (yet with good bore) so I felt no guilt about drilling and tapping for Weaver scope mounts. The 23A already had a base mounted for the 3/8" dovetail.
    The .25-20 quickly became my favorite squirrel rifle, though J-bullets loaded to low velocity. I always worked to put a tree trunk or large limb behind the squirrel. Squirrels hit the ground much quicker when shot with the .25-20 than with a .22. Head and neck shots were mandatory! I have used two J-bullets in the rifle - 60 gr Hornady and 75 gr Speer. Back when I acquired the .25-20 I had no chronograph so had to rely on data from manuals. I used loads said to deliver velocity in the 1500-1700 fps range. 75 gr bullets have been loaded with Unique though I don't recall charge weights. Groups equaled accurate .22LR hunting rifles with the 75 gr. My best high velocity load is 11 gr 680 with the 60 gr Hornady flatpoint (moa at 100 yds). It worked great on prairie dogs at 80-100 yds. on a Wyoming hunt. I have but one .25 mould; a Loverin style Lyman weighing about 90 gr. It shoots perfect keyholes. Life got in the way and the 23B got put on the back burner so I have not tried another mould/bolit yet.
    The .22LR really likes Winchester PowerPoint LR ammo. I don't know if this ammo is still made but I have most of a brick stored away for hunting with this rifle. My 23A Savage equals or betters a Kimber 82 owned by a shooting acquaintance.
    My hunting days are pretty muc over due to some limitations so these two rifles haven't seen much use lately but I have not been able to give them up either as they are fine rifles.

  16. #16
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    Bret4207's Avatar
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    I've found the 32-20 with 311316 at about 1400 fps to be way too much for squirrels. Maybe with head shots it'd be ok, but I'm going to try the pointed 311359 someday, or maybe one of the lighter round noses. Total destruction of my dinner is not my idea of a good thing. I bet it would be aces on jack rabbits.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    Bret

    Try the Hornady .32 90 gr SWC swaged pistol bullet or Lee's TL314-90-SWC over just enough Bullseye to put the bullet in the 800-900 fps range. I've shot lots of grouse, squirrels and rabbits with that bullet at that velocity. It kills really well but doesn't damage much meat. I always try for head shots on edible squirrels and rabbits but with body shots meat damage is not bad. I always just center shoot grouse with hardly any meat damage.

    Larry Gibson

  18. #18
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    Bret4207's Avatar
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    Thanks Larry, I have a good supply of the Hornadys. The 311316 shoots so very well, <1" at 50 yards on many days, that I love to use it. I have to try the Lee Soup Can too as I have a good 6 cav GB mould. I just love that rifle!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    went and peaked at the model 23 again today,,, these are supposed to have 25 inch barrells,and i new that this one was short, about 21 inches. Upon looking closer, there is no screw holes for the front sight, so someone cut this down for some reason. Tried the trigger a few times,and i dont beleave ive ever tried a worse trigger! terrible creep! This is my question to you folks, can these triggers be worked on? Im no stranger to springs and sears, but having never had a 23 apart, i dont no what it looks like. I was all set to buy it, then noticed the cut down barrell, and figured id beat him down because of it. But then when i tried the trigger, i got depressed, and came home. Maybe ill hold out for a marlin 25-20?

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Mainiac,

    Frank de Haas mentioned he'd never seen an aftermarket trigger for a Savage 23, and the context of the comment appeared to indicate it could use such a trigger. The triggers on my 23B and 23C are OK, not terrible, not great. The trigger sear is of a piece with the trigger and pulls down away from the striker like many other bolt guns; a gunsmith who does trigger jobs should be able to improve it at least somewhat.

    The ones I've seen have mostly had a basic blade front sight and a stamped u-notch rear on a dovetail spring base with a step elevator, like most .22's. I made a mount for the 23C that fits in the holes for the optional target rear sight and put a 3/4" Weaver on it; the 23B I fitted with a 1919 Savage NRA sight I'd picked up somewhere. If your barrel has been shortened, it certainly isn't original any more, so I'd feel less guilty about a scope mount D&T.

    I guess it boils down to what you want to pay and how much it's worth it to you. One of those Marlin 25-20 levers would be pretty neat, too.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check