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Thread: Savage 99 303 Opinions

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Savage 99 303 Opinions

    Lgs has a Savage 99 in .303. Gun is circa 1910, barrel is in good shape, receiver & barrel has maybe 10% blue, stock is missing buttplate. Action seems tight & free. Price is $350. What Are some of your opinions? Thnx

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy redhawk0's Avatar
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    JMHO....10% blue sounds like it was really used hard...I'd check that bore real good with a light. Make sure it doesn't have any pits/grey/dark spots in it. Its likely a 99A so parts won't be toooooo hard to find. An original buttplate could run you $20-25 once you find one. Personally, if the bore is good as you say...and the rest of the description fits...then $350 sounds a little high to me...$300 would be better.

    Again...JMHO.

    redhawk

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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy Drm50's Avatar
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    If that gun was here in Ohio I would be looking at it hard. It's always good to knock the price down
    but at $350 I would be more concerned with function and bore. I don't know customs in Ca, will
    LGS let you shot it? The 303Sav is basically a 30/30, not a barrel burner, not a BP cartridge but was
    corrosive primed. I would be checking stock for cracks around action and if stock has been cut for
    recoil pad ( hence missing butt plate). The blueing wear would be my least concern. If rifle is marked
    as 99 it was made 1920 on, if marked 1899 it is not an A model.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Reloading not a problem with Prvi brass available at Graf's, Powder Valley. One of the best Cast bullet calibers, It and the 32 Special might be better for cast than the 30-30. Lots of silver 99's, carried every day in trucks and saddle scabbards, as long as the bore is decent and the wood is sound, not much else to be concerned about. There are 1899's with a square bolt locking area with a square cocking indicator in the bolt, rather than the curved locking area with a round pin cocking indicator on top of the receiver, round is good, square needs close inspection. In Wyoming it would be a bargain.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    99s are net guns. You may have problems finding ammo. 303 Savage will fire in a 303 British SMLE so you could probably resize and trim brass to work in the Savage. If I were buying it I would want the LGS to sell me at least 3 boxes for no more than $20.00 per box. You know you won't be able to hunt with this gun next year. You will probably never be able to buy non-toxic factory ammo for this gun. If you can find brass you can reload non-toxic for it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    If I did not have two, I would buy it, maybe get price down if possible. Brass is about $1 a pop. It can be made from 30-30 easily. Has the butt been modified? for recoil/rubber pd or will factory issue still fit? Your LGS won't sell you ammo for $20 a box as it runs about $60 when you find it. Reloading is as easy as 30-30 or two dozen others.
    You did not mention sights. Good tangs sights can be found and added, around another $100.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy pertnear's Avatar
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    Around here in Texas, just about any Savage 99, even just for parts, is worth $300.

    As a reloader, making some .303 Savage brass should just be a labor of love & another fun part of the hobby!
    Visit my fictional blog "The dr Chronicles" about a laid-back Texan named dr - Enjoy!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



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    Graf and Sons has 303 Savage ammo in stock for $30 a box - Your choice, Either Hornady or Precision Cartridge
    Last edited by square butte; 10-08-2018 at 08:01 PM.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    FYI, the .303 Savage is actually a .30 caliber (.308") - Savage's answer to the .30-30 Winchester.

    FWIW, I paid a little less then $350 OTD for this ca.1914 .303 Model 1899-H (lightweight carbine) 30 months ago @ a local Cabela's.

    It's dead-nutz accurate with new Hornady ammo.





    It looked horrible when I bought it, covered with small white paint dots (like someone painted a ceiling w/o covering the Savage), decals, decal adhesive remnants, and orange grunge (dirt, not rust) covering the bolt.

    It cleaned up pretty good within an hour of my getting it home.


    If the bore on the .303 you're considering is good, you're GTG.



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  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    303 Savage does fire in a 303 British, undersize case, undersize bullet. Goes bang, not advised, case may/may not split. 303 Savage has Standard 30 cal 308 bore, 308 jacketed, 309, 310, 311 cast depending on best accuracy. I start with 310. Again, proper 303 Savage brass available, Lee makes 303 Savage dies, NOE 311-195 RCBS clone works very well, 30-30 load data works well, as do 30-30 bullet styles. No worries about 'pointy' or streamlined bullets due to rotary magazines. Head/base diameter - 303 Savage-.442, 303 British-.460, 30-30-.422 enough difference that 303 Savage brass should be used as it is available. In Great Britain it was called the 301 Savage to avoid confusion with the 303 British.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy Drm50's Avatar
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    I never herd such a stupid rant, against the 303 Savage. Although ammo is now available it is also
    easy to form & load. Having spool magazine the choice of 30cal bullets is extensive. Exterior wear
    has no effect on the rifle. I have bought many 100 yr old guns with no blue. They weren't abused
    they were carried daily. As with most guns they were carried more than shot.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    The .303 was throated for heavier bullet than the .30-30, otherwise it's the ballistically same. Savage even sold ammo with a paper-patched cast bullet which weighed around 200 grains. DO slug the bore. Some ran pretty large. My .303 is .3095. I'd also say that even a parts gun would run over $300 in my area, unless it had been buried and dug up 50 years later.

    Edit: My .303 is an 1899, letters to 1900. Also have an 1899 in .30-30. I prefer the .303, but then I'm a little strange that way.
    Last edited by uscra112; 10-09-2018 at 07:57 AM.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thnx for the info guys, I’m gonna go look at it again tomorrow. It comes with a set of RCBS dies and has a tang sight on it. The stock had been modified for a recoil pad which is now gone with a hand hammered thin copper butt pad (or actually more like a butt cap!)

  14. #14
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    The tang sight alone is worth at least $100.
    flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
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    FYI
    As stated above:
    While 30-30 brass will fit and form through a 303 die, the base diameters are different. 30-30 brass will deform when shot and bulge just past the web of the case. Most likely won't be able to reuse them. I believe that accuracy will also suffer. Just use the correct brass. Local reloader here was selling 303 loaded ammo made using 30-30 brass. Neighbor had a few boxes with one partially full but the empty cases looked really bad. Got him some correct brass from Midway, reloaded with RN 180 grain Speer bullets and all was good.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckiller View Post

    You may have problems finding ammo. - Get real - as mentioned, Hornady has new/loaded ammo available.

    303 Savage will fire in a 303 British SMLE so you could probably resize and trim brass to work in the Savage. - That's a non-starter

    If I were buying it I would want the LGS to sell me at least 3 boxes for no more than $20.00 per box. - Now you're dreaming.

    You know you won't be able to hunt with this gun next year - You will probably never be able to buy non-toxic factory ammo for this gun. - Not everybody hunts in California, even Californians.

    If you can find brass you can reload non-toxic for it. - True

    As noted above, anyone who touches off a .303 Savage cartridge in a .303 British chamber should have their head examined. (IMO, it sounds like a typical internet myth).



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  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy redhawk0's Avatar
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    The only case cartridge that is close to the 303 Sav is the 220 Swift...however, the rebated rim causes problems with reliable extraction. I've shot 30-30Win in the 303 Sav. and as stated above the case bulge is pretty severe just ahead of the 30-30 web. There are several makers of 303 Sav brass....its worth the few dollars more to get the repos....Jamison and Prvi come to mind. Both reload just fine. I've stockpiled once fired Winchester brass from gunbroker as well.

    Its out there...its not worth converting other cartridges as long as you can get the repos. And yes...check your bore...it can be anywhere from .308" up to .310". Get the appropriate sizer button for your dies.

    redhawk
    Last edited by redhawk0; 10-10-2018 at 01:35 PM. Reason: spelling

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  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    The 303 Savage has very similar ballistics to the 30 30. If the bore is good, that is a great price. I have a 1913 303 I paid $400 for and thought I stole it. Finally, the 303 Savage and the 303 British are two totally different and not interchangeable cartridges. Ammo and brass are easily obtainable.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Aside from the bore condition, check its headspace too. .30-30 headspace gauges will work.

    Also, "circa 1910" isn't good enough for another reason too. In 1909 they went from a square lockup (back end of bolt where it butts into the receiver) to a radiused one. Reason- the square bolt mortises were/are prone to cracks. Look closely at the sharp corners for them. The radiused bolts are immune to that problem but those early rifles were made with a different, simpler, softer alloy than those built just a few years later and can have experienced a bit of setback which means headspace becomes an issue.

    Brass? Like what's been said before, don't mess around with making brass out of other stuff. Yes, some will "work" but in reality there's nothing else out there that matches .303 Savage dimensions in such a way as to make jerry-rigging a viable long term solution. New brass is available- stock up if you're worried about the future, it's not expensive.

    Just use .30-30 load data. Case capacities are identical.

    Slug the bore if you want, but rest assured it's nominally .308. You're far better off measuring the throat diameter and sizing accordingly. .303 Savages I've owned had throats that varied from .309 to .3105. All shot cast bullets well, just as you would expect from any old .30-30.

    Butt plate missing? If its to be a shooter you probably will want to just re-install another recoil pad. Original Savage crescent butt plates ain't cheap anymore. Expect to pay $50-100 for one, and then there's the royal PIA of fitting it. It could've had a hard rubber black plastic butt plate, if it's a carbine, and there are plastic repros on ebay all the time for $20+, but require fitting also- they had a slight curve to them and are almost as bad in that regard as fitting a crescent butt plate. Some few saddle ring carbines were made with steel butt plates that remind me of the ones on trapdoor Springfields. They aren't cheap either, and rare as all get out.

    Check closely for tang cracks in the wood. Dollar to a donut hole, one that's been rode that hard to be in the condition described will have a tang crack in the wrist too.

    $300? Yeah, I would snag it if the bore's nice and headspace is tolerable. Otherwise it's a parts gun.
    Last edited by gnoahhh; 10-10-2018 at 09:17 PM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Is it true that .303 Savage factory ammo was loaded with .312" bullets for more velocity from the .308" barrel?

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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