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Thread: Savage Sporter 1924 in 25-20

  1. #1
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Savage Sporter 1924 in 25-20

    OK...so I need to pick the hive's brain on this one.
    I have a pristine Savage Sporter made in 1924 in 25-20. I even have a factory letter for it.
    My eyes are getting worse and iron sights really don't do it for me any more.
    I am a collector and really look down my nose at modified non-original guns but I would really like to scope this one and use it as my woodchuck gun. I am the neighborhood chuck assasin, and shoot in a number of farmer's fields around here.
    I would like to scope it but it requires drilling and tapping it, and that hurts my collector's sensibilities.
    How does the hive feel about drilling and tapping and scoping an old original gun?
    Yes, I know....it isn't a Holland and Holland or a Rigby. It is just an old Savage Sporter that is worth MAYBE $400, but it is still a pristine 100 year old gun.
    I am really torn on this one.
    Your thoughts?
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I just bought one in similar condition chambered for 32-20 (for almost $700). Although I may leave the iron sights alone, my eyes are not great either so I've also been doing some reading about scopes. Apparently, there was once a setup that used the rear sight dovetail and the factory screw slot on top of the receiver, which were intended for a peep sight. That being said, I suspect a good gunsmith could build a setup using these anchor points so you don't have to drill and tap new holes.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HWooldridge View Post
    I just bought one in similar condition chambered for 32-20 (for almost $700). Although I may leave the iron sights alone, my eyes are not great either so I've also been doing some reading about scopes. Apparently, there was once a setup that used the rear sight dovetail and the factory screw slot on top of the receiver, which were intended for a peep sight. That being said, I suspect a good gunsmith could build a setup using these anchor points so you don't have to drill and tap new holes.
    I have those peep sight holes there and they have a filler in them. That would be the perfect answer. I could go back to original if need be.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master
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    If I may play the Devil's Advocate for a little while, here are my thoughts:

    1. It has made it 98 years without being violated by a drill. You said
    I am a collector and really look down my nose at modified non-original guns...
    2. On the other hand, it is basically unusable by you right now. With the price these old utility level guns are bringing now, will a useful mod really hurt the value?

    3. It might be best for you to keep this one pristine, and find one already scoped to use.

    Bottom line it is your gun, do what makes you happy.

    Robert

  5. #5
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk42gunner View Post
    Bottom line it is your gun, do what makes you happy.
    I see this almost the same as rebluing an old Colt or Smith.
    It really kills the "collector's" value.
    It WOULD make me happy to scope it. BUT......I am having a hard time getting over the "original condition" hump.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by HWooldridge View Post
    I just bought one in similar condition chambered for 32-20 (for almost $700). Although I may leave the iron sights alone, my eyes are not great either so I've also been doing some reading about scopes. Apparently, there was once a setup that used the rear sight dovetail and the factory screw slot on top of the receiver, which were intended for a peep sight. That being said, I suspect a good gunsmith could build a setup using these anchor points so you don't have to drill and tap new holes.
    That mounting system that uses the rear dovetail for the forward scope mount is called a Stith mount. I have never seen one that is compatable with a Savage 23 B,C, or D - That does not mean that one might not exist. The rear factory holes on top of the receiver of a Savage 23 B,C are set up and spaced correctly for a savage peep sight set up. You will pay somewhere between $125 - $200 for a nice set - But very difficult to find. I have been at it for a long time and have two sets on 23's. The Stith mount will be scarcer than hens teeth and are usually made for specific applications - So if not specifically made for a Savage 23. it would probably require a retrofit, re. new holes drilled
    Being human is not for sissies.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by square butte View Post
    That mounting system that uses the rear dovetail for the forward scope mount is called a Stith mount. I have never seen one that is compatable with a Savage 23 B,C, or D - That does not mean that one might not exist. The rear factory holes on top of the receiver of a Savage 23 B,C are set up and spaced correctly for a savage peep sight set up. You will pay somewhere between $125 - $200 for a nice set - But very difficult to find. I have been at it for a long time and have two sets on 23's. The Stith mount will be scarcer than hens teeth and are usually made for specific applications - So if not specifically made for a Savage 23. it would probably require a retrofit, re. new holes drilled
    Good info - thanks. I was thinking more along the lines of a custom mount. Maybe modify a standard Weaver rail to allow the rear two screws to hold, then install a blank piece in the rear sight dovetail to mount the front ring. Might have to use a parallel tube with no front bell objective but anything over 4 power is probably overkill anyway.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I know exactly how you feel in this specific situation as I have 3 Savage Sporters (2 25/20’s and a 32/20) and the two 25/20’s have scopes.

    And my vote is for you to scope your rifle the way you want and if you bear with me for a few paragraphs I’ll tell you why.

    I bought my first Savage Sporter because it already had a scope on it and my intent was to thread it for a suppressor so with (the scope) I wouldn’t be “molesting” a collectible rifle:


    Thing is, with the vintage Weaver J 2.5X scope with its coarse adjustment, limited power and narrow field of view I can’t really stretch the 25/20’s legs like I want.

    I really wanted to transition to a more modern scope and mounting system but I couldn’t bring myself to change it because I really like the setup.

    It’s cool, the scope is as old as the rifle, the weight and balance is perfect and it was probably the most bad a$$ small game setup of its day so I was dead set on getting another already set up for a more modern scope.

    Soooo, a week or so ago I was doing my weekly snooping thru Guns International and happened upon this one for $450.00


    I snapped it up and thinking now I will have a rifle that’s set up with a mounting system that will allow me to mount a scope a scope of my choosing and will allow for me to stretch the cartridges legs.

    It was my sincere hope that this rifle would shoot the same loads as my first Savage Sporter but it does not.

    None of my cast bullet 25/20 loads will group worth spit in the new rifle and to date only ammo I can get to shoot groups decent enough for hunting are 86 grain JSP’s (it’ll stack those into some sized groups at 75 yards).

    The chamber on the new rifle is exceedingly tight and brass fired in my first Savage Sporter will not fit in the new one.

    So now I have to separate my brass based on the rifle being used (could just full length re size but I’m not interested in working my brass that hard).

    Now, I have no regrets buying this new rifle because who doesn’t like buying new stuff and I know I’ll get it to shoot with cast boolits but it’s gonna take some time (I’ve only had it ten days).

    Based on my experience going the “get another rifle” route I’d suggest you scope yours collector value be damned.

    If your rifle is a good shooter and you’ve got loads you want to work with (in this exceptionally tight component market) I’d recommend scoping it the way you want.

    Gratuitous pic of my new Sporter and it’s first blood (for me):

    Cotton Tail at 155 yards 86 grain Remington jsp at 1450 fps

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I was visualizing making a dovetail block and a block to bolt to the side peep sight holes separate and having a plate that bolts to both of them. Then having a rail that bolted to the top plate.
    quando omni flunkus moritati

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Using the mighty 25-20 with it's heavy recoil, a Weaver or similar rail epoxied to the receiver would have no chance of holding up to the recoil. Put a tapped blank in the dovetail slot and use a rail long enough to put a screw into the blank and let epoxy hold the majority of the rail to the receiver.
    Spell check doesn't work in Chrome, so if something is spelled wrong, it's just a typo that I missed.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Scope it and be happy. It's a good gun with good loads. If you don't scope it, the next owner will. The idea of making a thing more useful shouldn't be a bad idea. I have an 1890 Winchester in 22WRF that my great grandfather bought and became my grandfather's first rifle. It became mine about 20 years ago. In order to preserve it, I redid the wood with sanding, stain and Tru Oil. I had the metal reblued and I went through the action. It shoots fantastic and will be moved along to my future children. Did I ruin the collector value? Probably. However, it stands a better chance of being useful and continuing the story of my family. Moral is, it's ok in my opinion, to keep it useful. Add the scope, even if drilling is the most advantageous answer.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



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    my savage 25-20 was factory drilled for side mount scope and I am glad it was because my eyes are not what they used to be either,,,I'm 75.
    my first suggestion would be to shoot loads without a scope just to see how accurate, or inaccurate you are at the range you need to be able to score accurate hits. You might surprise yourself.
    If you find you can't be successful then to make this rifle useful I would go ahead and get a scope mounted. There is nothing more frustrating than have a rifle which is basically useless for your needs. If you decide to go with a scope do it right and try to find a good period compatible scope.
    best
    atr
    Death to every foe and traitor and hurrah, my boys, for freedom !

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    In a lot of cases, the “Collector” with the persnickety insistence on “originality” and the Big Bucks that the “Item” is allegedly worth, is rarer than the “Item” itself.

    It is certainly your rifle to do as you please with. I didn’t like the open sights on my 23C, but didn’t want to make a permanent change, so I made a little dovetail plate that fits one of those skinny 1930s Weaver scopes with the squeeze-together sheet metal mount, and drilled and counterbored it for screws to fit the two military style peep sight screw holes on the top of the receiver.

    I made the mounting screws out of drill rod, since they’re pretty small and I figured the stronger the steel, the better. Had to shim the scope and mounts to get on target with the crosshairs near center, but the assembly has held up for 25 years and more, it shoots good, it really looks “period,” and it would convert back to factory configuration with a screwdriver.

    If I had it to do over and wanted a more modern scope, I’d probably gouge out the bottom of one of those blank aluminum Weaver-type bases to fit the curve of the receiver/barrel, cut off the excess, drill and counterbore for the receiver holes and drill-rod screws, and proceed. I can’t imagine the recoil of the .25-20 or .32-20 ever jarring the assembly loose, even if it is heavier and taller than my setup.

    Most of the ones I see scoped are d&t’d on the left side of the receiver for the sheet metal “T” Weaver side mount for one of the 330-type scopes. You would have a really authentic looking scoped rifle this way, but I agree with you (and gunsmith John Bivins) that “Original fabric is precious,” and wouldn’t want to irrevocably change a pristine specimen.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    I also have a Winchester 92 in 25-20, made in 1921. The gun was, for some unknown reason, parkerized. They did a beautiful job and did not buff the gun much, if at all, so the letters are sharp.
    That gun is already destroyed as far as collectability goes, so maybe that is the one to scope and leave the Sporter in original condition.
    Man, these sure are first world problems, no?
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    ATCDoktor, your comments about your new rifle give me hope. I am still searching for the "good" cast load in my 23B.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    the 25-20 Reloader's Bible

    I guess I am allowed to hijack my own thread?
    For all we 25-20 fans, here is a veritable bible on reloading the 25-20.
    It will tell you every thing you need to know about the 25-20 and then some.
    https://www.marlinowners.com/threads...loaders.26002/
    Last edited by FISH4BUGS; 08-03-2022 at 10:25 AM.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by FISH4BUGS View Post
    I guess I am allowed to hijack my own thread?
    For all we 25-20 fans, here is a veritable bible on reloading the 25-20.
    It will tell you every thing you need to know about the 25-20 and then some.
    https://www.marlinowners.com/threads...loaders.26002/
    That was a great thread, convinced me to join the Marlin forum. I shoot a 32-20 but that info was useful for any of the small caliber WCF rounds.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Get one of the blank scope rails for the 11mm ? 22 scope mounts. Drill one hole for a mount screw to fit one on the existing sight holes. Then use epoxy and the single screw. It's worked on mine for quire a while.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master
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    For your 92, a scout type scope located over the rear sight dovetail (like Rossi was supposed to have offered) should work fine, as long as you can deal with a forward mounted scope. Maybe a red dot?

    Robert

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    For your 92, a scout type scope located over the rear sight dovetail (like Rossi was supposed to have offered) should work fine, as long as you can deal with a forward mounted scope. Maybe a red dot?
    This outfit here makes a fairly sturdy looking “no gunsmithing” forward mount (scout rifle setup) for top eject leverguns.

    https://www.mod94scoperail.com/purch...92-rail-mounts

    Looks like they will make you one for a pre 64 Winchester Model 92 on a “special order” basis.

    May be the way to go of you don’t want a side mount.

    Dr.

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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