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Old August 23, 2014, 02:26 AM   #1
bamaranger
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.303 Savage to 30-30 ?

I was checking out a country gun store up in PA while on a trip recently and came upon a Savage 99 carbine, straight grip, barrel band (looked like off a 10/22!) kinda rough, kinda bubba'd.
The price was horrible, as were all the prices in this shop, but it got me thinking.

Seems like I read that one of the name hunting guides and shooters had a 99 in .303, rechambered to 30-30 and gave it to his boy.

Now....I'm not going to buy that rifle, unless the guy would sell it for 2/3 rd's his asking price, so this is just for conversations sake. Would .303 to 30-30 in a 99 be a big job? What would be entailed in this conversion, What might a ball park figure be for such work?

I have some .303 Sav cases in my collection, and they appear much like the .30-30.
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Old August 23, 2014, 05:36 AM   #2
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It would take a new barrel.
.303 Savage is slightly LARGER in head and shoulder diameter than .30-30, so it cannot be rechambered.

I have heard of wild improvisations to include use of .30-30 brass and letting them bulge, sometimes with a wrap of Scotch tape to keep the bulge centered.

Pass.
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Old August 23, 2014, 04:51 PM   #3
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Is it a Take-Down model? It would not be all that expensive to do up a barrel in 30-30. I still have one (T/D) that I use a spare 7-30 Waters barrel on. It feeds both .303 and 7-30 with no problems. The machining requires some special tools and clamping methods, so the guy would have to be pretty good. You can now buy new brass for the .303 and I had no problems with it in mine.
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Old August 23, 2014, 09:34 PM   #4
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Why go through all the trouble of having it rebarreled? If you reload then you can get all the components needed. As an added plus, with the Savage 99 and it's rotary magazine, you could use some spitzer bullets for better range than the flatpointed bullets usually used in lever actions. If you don't reload then you should be able to find some of the Hornady ammo they released recently. I believe it was made for them by Prvi Partizan. With all that being said, if the gun is really overpriced, why not just find a reasonably priced .30-30?
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Old August 23, 2014, 09:43 PM   #5
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Sure enough, Graf has .303 Sav brass in stock.
And Lee dies.
I'd never had thought it.
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Old August 24, 2014, 09:22 AM   #6
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There is a problem using pointed bullets in the early 99's. On my 7-30 Waters I can use the 120 Gr pointed, but most 7mm 140 grain bullets are too long. I was using Hornady 7mm Flat Tip (Designed for the 7-30), but they have stopped making them. I really don't care for the 120 Gr for deer, so I have come full circle. I now have brass loaded for the .303, which I made a spare barrel for because I could not get ammo, and have now kind of pushed the other barrel to the side.
Snowdog, it like comparing a station wagon to a Mercedes Benz. The actions are sooo smooth compared to a Winchester or Marlin.
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Old August 24, 2014, 01:42 PM   #7
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You're preaching to the choir, GP! I have a 99 in .303 and love it. Such a smooth action! I still haven't found a good spitzer bullet to use in the magazine yet. Have you tried the ones that Hornady uses for their Leverevolution ammo - the Flex Tip? I haven't seen them in the stores up here yet but I'm sure they are around somewhere.
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Old August 26, 2014, 12:07 PM   #8
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Over in the handloading section,there is a thread on 180 gr bullets for the 300 Savage.
A member,Barnacle Brad,posted this link:

http://www.ballisticstudies.com/Know...00+Savage.html

Its a great read!!I had no idea the founder of Savage Arms had such a history.

It provides a history of the 99,and the 303 Savage cartridge.

It gives some ideas about suitable brass to form to 303 Savage.Among those is 30-40 Krag.I would assume ,then,303 Brit might work,as dims are similar.

I'm suggesting a handloading route to obtain .303 Sav ammo may be a more practicle choice.Could be changing cartridge diameters would open a can of rotary magazine worms,for example.
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Old August 26, 2014, 12:48 PM   #9
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I know it can be tough to get Savage 99s in .30-30 to feed spitzer bullets consistently and well. It takes finagling with the seating depth and even then it might not be 100%, so it doesn't surprise me that the .303 has that issue, as well.

It's not as touchy as the Mannlicher-Schonauer rotary magazine (especially the military ones that were optimized for use with one bullet configuration), but it can be touchy.
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Old August 26, 2014, 04:56 PM   #10
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The early 99's were kind of "Hand fit" sometimes, so that is true. I load up a couple blanks and try them out before getting too involved. I have an old heavy, long barreled .303 in the closet yet. I had tried .250 Savage in it and it feeds fine. The game plan was to convert it over, but it has been sitting a while now. You all know how that goes. Point is, some of those 99's will feed almost anything, and others just will not. A solid frame barrel change is not for a novice gunsmith, so it could get expensive
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Old August 26, 2014, 05:02 PM   #11
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The early 99's were kind of "Hand fit" sometimes, so that is true. I load up a couple blanks and try them out before getting too involved. I have an old heavy, long barreled .303 in the closet yet. I had tried .250 Savage in it and it feeds fine. The game plan was to convert it over, but it has been sitting a while now. You all know how that goes. Point is, some of those 99's will feed almost anything, and others just will not. There is a good supply of brass so leaving it a .303 would not be a bad idea. I started out using 30-30 loads because I could not find any load information when .303 brass became available again.
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Old August 26, 2014, 10:15 PM   #12
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And then there was the gun store clerk who told a customer that the rifle he was holding was made by Savage and chambered for .303 Savage. It was indeed made by Savage, a Rifle No.4 Mk 1*.

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Old August 27, 2014, 11:55 AM   #13
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"I had tried .250 Savage in it and it feeds fine."

That's kind of shocking considered the big differences in the case type.
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Old August 27, 2014, 04:51 PM   #14
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The counter will not line up, but it is cast steel and I guess I could weld it and re-stamp it. I never tried that. It might be heat treated. I have seen some that were color case hardened. Worse case I could turn down the drum and sweat a ring on to re-stamp. The true miracle is the extractor. If you have ever replaced or made one and really looked at what it is and does, it is amazing that they even work that well. For some reason they just do. Anyway, it pulls those rimless .250's out just fine. In a way it is a shame that .303 brass is now available. I used to pick up project guns at reasonable prices because you could not get the ammo for them.
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Old August 27, 2014, 06:35 PM   #15
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There are exceptions to everything, but IIRC, the carriers on those rifles are made of bronze.

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Old August 27, 2014, 07:29 PM   #16
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Some cast brass, a lot of cast steel were made. Some even had the caliber stamped on them. I don't know what IIRC means, but it would be a real exception to find one made of bronze.
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Old August 27, 2014, 09:09 PM   #17
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Those are usually described as brass and were standard until around 1962 when they started using aluminum or cast steel, with the aluminum in their "light weight" models. But Savage once called them "bronze" and I was going by that.

"IIRC" means "If I recall correctly...".

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Old August 27, 2014, 11:42 PM   #18
bamaranger
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stuff you don't know/cartridge box story

Well, there you go, I had no idea that:
- the .303 Savage was not .308 but .311....I thought it was one of those naming anomalies that surface now and again
-there was modern .303 brass available

Thanks guys. All for fun, as the asking price was outrageous, and I won't be back for a long while anyhow. I have a soft sport for those straight gripped 99 carbines and will have one hopefully someday.

BTW...my modest handful of .303 Savage cases came from green/white Remington "highspeed" box marked .303 British, out of an oldtime hardware store in MS.

Sticker Price on the box: - .42 cents ea!!!
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Old August 28, 2014, 12:22 AM   #19
Jim Watson
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Ken Waters said that his .303 Savage was made in 1904 and had a .308" ten twist barrel.
Ideal Handbook No 22 said that early .303 Savages had a .303" bore but had since been adjusted to .300". That's BORE diameter, not groove and bullet. That book from sometime around 1914.

But Phil Sharpe was still saying in 1937 that the .303 was larger than a standard .30 cal. He had one set of loads with the 7.65 Mauser bullet, likely a .311" or .312".

CotW says SAAMI still shows a .311" bullet, and they do, but they also give the bore/groove diameters at .300"/.308".

Can you tell a difference with an iron sighted lever action? I don't think I could.
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Old August 28, 2014, 12:04 PM   #20
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I also heard that the early bores were drilled for a .312 bullet. I never was interested enough to try and test a bunch and find out. I always assumed the .312 barrels were more or less in the experimental stages. You are right about not seeing a difference at the range either way. A popular conversion in the old days was to take an Arisaka, move the barrel back, and re-cut to .300 Savage. Over the years I had picked a few up for parts at yard sales and gun shows. I hunted with one that I put a scope on and at 100 yards it was very accurate with factory Remington ammo.
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Old August 28, 2014, 10:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
CotW says SAAMI still shows a .311" bullet, and they do, but they also give the bore/groove diameters at .300"/.308".
Yes, that is correct. When Savage designed the 1895 lever action rifle (which was only chambered in 303 Savage, BTW), he used .311" bullets and a .308" bore to try to cause higher pressure and gain more velocity. Doesn't always work out the way you planned, I guess.
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