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Old July 29, 2014, 12:06 PM   #1
gmarr
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.300 Savage compared to .308 Win

I just picked up a Savage 99 in .300 Savage caliber. Really a classic and the rotary magazine-lever action is pretty cool. Hopefully the weather permits this weekend and I can get to the range.

So, if I understand correctly, the .300 Savage is a 'parent' of the .308 Win? Using a 150 grain bullet how comparable is the performance to the .308? The 99 has a 24" barrel so I expect approx 2600 to 2650 fps. Realistic?

Thanks in advance
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Old July 29, 2014, 12:50 PM   #2
ligonierbill
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Your target is realistic. I'm running 150's at an average of 2,630 out of a Savage 99 (with an "in spec" load). The .308 will shade the old Savage by 100-200, but the old girl is still plenty for most hunts.
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Old July 29, 2014, 01:02 PM   #3
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The 99 in 300 Savage was my Dad's rifle when I was a young boy, and the rifle I used to kill deer with when I started. He didn't handload. The 300 Savage is a bit slower than a 308, but the deer seemed not to notice.

Many years later a friend of mine got a nearly identical rifle to the old one my dad had and asked me to load ammo fro him. I found that with handloads the Savage and the 308 were practically identical with 1560 grain bullets. The 308 may have beaten it by 30-40 FPS, but that is really NO difference at all in the real world.
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Old July 29, 2014, 01:17 PM   #4
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Both 300 Savage and 308 were meant to duplicate 30-06 loads from the same era. Original 30-06 loads were 150's @ 2700 fps which the 300 Savage will match. The 30-06 was upgraded to around 2800 fps by WW-2, which is a match for most factory 308 loads.

Over time both 30-06 and 308 have evolved to be faster. 3000-3100 fps is no trick in 30-06 any more and 2900-3000 fps is certainly possible with a 308. I have no doubts 300 Savage could be improved upon too, just haven't heard of anyone doing it.

At any rate, 2650-2700 fps is more than enough at reasonable ranges. If a 1930's era 30-06 was enough gun, the 300 Savage certainly is too.
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Old July 29, 2014, 06:22 PM   #5
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The .300 Savage was used by the Army early on when working on what became the M14. They would probably have just adopted it except that the short neck didn't give enough grip on the bullet for firing in auto rifles and machine guns. So the cartridge adopted was the 7.62 NATO, essentially the same cartridge as the commercial .308 Winchester.

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Old July 29, 2014, 06:37 PM   #6
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Sierra Bullets got better accuracy with their 30 caliber slugs shot from .300 Savage cases than the .30-06 produced. They waited until Winchester finished its .30-80 WCF cartridge design and tests before switching to the .308 Winchester in the 1950's

The .30 BR is an even smaller case and is popular in short range benchrest matches with 120 to 135 grain bullets.
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Old July 29, 2014, 09:01 PM   #7
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Everyone has answered the parentage question.

As to performance: I had a .300 savage rotary magazine 99, and I also still have a 99C chambered for .308 win. From my experience, in the savage 99 platform, there was no significant difference in performance between the .300 savage and the .308. The 99 has a rear locking lug (springy) and no primary extraction. In the .308 and with a 150 grain bullet, at 2650 ft/sec, I started seeing occasional extraction problems. At 2700 ft/sec I was routinely knocking cases out of the rifle with a cleaning rod. So for reliability reasons, I had to keep the .308 down to around 2600 ft/sec, which pretty closely matched what I could do with the .300 savage.

Mike Irwin is knowledgeable about the savage 99, and it would be interesting if he has anything to add.
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Old July 29, 2014, 10:32 PM   #8
Bart B.
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SAAMI specs for the .300 Savage; 150-gr., 2615 fps, 47,000 PSI

SAAMI specs for the .308 Win.; 150-gr., 2800 fps, 62,000 PSI
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Old July 30, 2014, 04:59 AM   #9
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Congrats. they are beautiful classic lever guns.
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Old July 30, 2014, 06:55 AM   #10
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The original intent for the .300 was to, as others have noted, provide a shorter cartridge with the .30-06's ballistics.

While close the original effort fell short, largely because powder technology of the time wouldn't allow it.

The .308's purpose was to provide a shorter cartridge that maintained the parent round's ballistics, while cutting down on the dead air space between the base of the bullet and the powder.

This was driven by experiences during World War II where copper shortages had impacted the ammunition supply. Trimming that 1/2 of dead space would make copper go that much farther.

Ballistically, the .308 has about 200 fps or so on the .300 Savage in most loadings. Realistically, though, it's a miniscule difference.

As for the 99, I'm of the opinion that it is simply the finest lever action ever made, and perhaps the finest American rifle ever made.

It was, over its life, chambered in more cartridges than any other lever action, came in a wide variety of cataloged models, and was in production for nearly 100 years.

Despite the rear lockup, 99s are capable of exceptionally good accuracy.
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Old July 30, 2014, 12:39 PM   #11
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As the .250-3000 Savage case is the same as their .300 version and it came out 5 or so years before the .300 did, I think Savage wanted a more powerful cartridge than the .30-30 Winchester as their goal for it. As the .300 Savage case has only 75% the capactiy of a .30-06, there's no way the ammo masters back in 1920 wanted the .300 Savage to equal the .30-06 in muzzle velocity; the peak pressure would be way too high. Even with the powders available back then. Out running .30-.30 bullets was good enough. So they necked up the .250-3000 to 30 caliber.
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Old July 30, 2014, 12:51 PM   #12
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Hammie nailed it and my experience with my 99 in 308 cal. also has proven it out.

Pressure is the issue. Factory 308 ammo is borderline too hot for the 99 to extract reliably. Handloaded to slightly milder pressures... no problems. So, if you hotload a 300 Savage in an attempt to match standard 308 velocities, you'll probably experience extraction problems.
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Old July 30, 2014, 03:10 PM   #13
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"As the .250-3000 Savage case is the same as their .300 version and it came out 5 or so years before the .300 did"

No. The cases are different.

The .250 case is longer, 1.912 vs 1.871.

The .250 has a much longer neck, .275 vs. .220.

The .250 has a shallower shoulder angle, 26 deg. 30 min. vs 30 deg.

Other critical case dimensions are also different.

The only thing they really share is their parentage -- the Mauser 7mm/8mm case head.



"there's no way the ammo masters back in 1920 wanted the .300 Savage to equal the .30-06 in muzzle velocity"

Savage's stated intent in their early production literature was to offer .30-06 ballistics in a lever-action short action rifle.

Savage's 1924 ammunition catalog gives the velocity of the 150-gr. bullet load as 2,700 fps, which is right there with the .30-06 of the time. It's likely that the round actually didn't produce that kind of velocity -- manufacturers fibbing about the velocities their ammunition produces is a long and time honored tradition.

The 1932 catalog shows the same velocity for the .300.

In the 1946 catalog, however, the velocity of the .300 150 gr. bullet has been reduced to 2660.

Savage was now selling .30-06 ammunition under their own line, but not a 150-gr. load.

The velocity shown for the 180-gr. bullet in the .300 load is 2380, while the same bullet in .30-06 is shown at 2710.

That's likely more representative of the actual spread between the 150-gr. loadings.
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Last edited by Mike Irwin; July 30, 2014 at 03:21 PM.
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Old July 30, 2014, 03:57 PM   #14
Bart B.
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I knew Savage put a sharper shoulder on their .300 case because of its area being reduced from enlarging the neck to minimize shoulder setback from firing pin impact.

But I had no idea Savage advertising listed its muzzle velocity for 150's the same as the .30-06. Thanks for that info. That probably helped its sales as few people had there own chronograph back then. Their "ammo masters" had to know the pressure issues but their "marketing masters" were piloting the company, in my opinion. Other rifle companies have been driven the same way.
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Old July 30, 2014, 04:46 PM   #15
Mike Irwin
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"I knew Savage put a sharper shoulder on their .300 case because of its area being reduced from enlarging the neck to minimize shoulder setback from firing pin impact."

It was more likely an attempt get as much powder capacity in the case as possible so as to approach .30-06 ballistics.

In a way, it was a partial step towards an Ackley Improved type of cartridge with a much sharper shoulder than normal.

I think it's very interesting that P.O. Ackley, as far as is known, never tried to develop a .300 Ackley Improved Savage cartridge, but he certainly did with the .250 Savage.

Charles Newton designed both the .22 Savage Hi Power and the .250 Savage, but there's no real indication that he had anything to do with the .300 Savage, which is very interesting because it takes his progression of cartridges almost to the very extreme.

"Cartridges of the World" (11th edition) says "The original factory load used a 150-grain bullet and matched the original .30-06 sporting load at 2,700."

That's an interesting nuance. The original sporting loads for the .30-06 were, I believe, developed by Winchester and U.S. Cartridge Company.

Were the original ballistics for the commercial loading inflated? I don't know.

It also doesn't jibe with what I've previous read, which says that the round was developed to match .30-06 military ammo ballistics and give returning Doughboys a rifle they were familiar with (lever action) with a new cartridge with ballistics they were familiar with.

Interesting questions and speculations.


Oh, and here's the real kicker from Barnes:

"If loaded to original factory pressure levels with IMR-4064, it can significantly but safely exceed that velocity."

The loading table on the page shows an IMR-4064 load with a 150-gr. bullet turning out 2,800 fps.

At the time the .300 was being developed, the military and Du Pont were expending vast sums of money developing new Military Rifle (MR) and Improved Military Rifle (IMR) powders that would offer improved ballistics at lower pressures and lower chamber temperatures.

A whole raft of new powders were coming on line and were being slowly released to civilian markets.

While I have no proof of this, I have little doubt that Savage designed the .300 around one of those new powders -- very possibly IMR 17 1/2 or IMR 18, which were both developed into the lead up to America's entry into World War I, and which offered significant ballistic advantages over the military standard Pyro PG powder, which had been introduced in 1909.
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Old August 1, 2014, 10:15 AM   #16
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Hornady offers a 150-g load for the .300 Savage in their Superformance line of ammo. In my Model 99 EG this load gave average 2739 fps, SD 13 fps. Compare this to Winchester 150-gr Power Point which gave 2632 fps, SD 27 fps in the same gun.

The Hornady Superformance load can be duplicated by handloading with LEVERevoloution powder. Using a Sierra 150-gr spritzer, I got 2677 fps with the Model 99.

The Hornady FTX 160-gr bullet (the one meant for the .308 Marlin Express) gives great results in the .300 Savage. I obtained 2606 fps in the Model 99 and 2697 fps in my Remington Model 722 with 24-in barrel.

I do not recommend this practice and I will not quote powder charge weights. Hodgdon offers no data for the .300 Savage. A careful handloader could work up to similar velocity results, however. The LE loads were safe in my guns.

Finally, all loads with LE powder gave excellent accuracy.
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Old August 1, 2014, 11:56 AM   #17
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Every time a cartridge comparison comes up there is an onslaught of reloading information. Go buy some of each OFF THE SHELF and do some shooting. The .300 Savage and the .308 are not close at all. Many cartridges can be loaded to equal another, but that really means nothing if you are answering a simple question. When we were kids, we used to pull .22RF bullets and add a couple grains to give it some zip. It worked, but it was hardly the load intended by the factory.
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Old August 2, 2014, 08:39 AM   #18
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Try this little exercise to understand performance. Write down the velocity and energy figures of your 300 for 200 yards. Compare these numbers with other cartridges for varying distances.

For example, your 200 yard 300 Savage will match the 30-06 for 255 yards. It will match the 300 MAG for 285 yards. The purpose of this exercise is to understand these facts:
- bigger cases hold more powder and produce more power for a given distance
- a good hunter can stalk close enough so that more power is not needed

Any North American animal shot through the chest organs at approx. 200 yards will die. Doesn't matter if the rifle used was a 300, .308, 30-06, or 300 MAG. But for longer shots, say 350 yards or so, the bigger cased rounds have an advantage.

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Old August 2, 2014, 10:06 AM   #19
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"Go buy some of each OFF THE SHELF and do some shooting."

Ballistics are easily available online from the different ammo manufacturers.

Winchester shows a 200-fps spread between 150-gr. loadings in .300 vs. .308, exactly what's talked about here...

Pretty much the same with Remington.

Interesting to note that Remington shows that their 180-gr. .308 loading matches the velocity of their 150-gr. .300 Savage loading.

Any way you cut it, the .308 can produce better velocity and overall ballistics.

But that in no way makes the .300 obsolete or ineffective.
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Old August 2, 2014, 10:59 AM   #20
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If you average out the velocities and pressures listed for commercially-loaded .308 and .300, the .300 gets into low-end .308 velocities with substantially less pressure.

Since the case dimensions are so similar they're hard to distinguish between without looking at the headstamp, I've wondered if the numbers are fudged for marketing purposes, there's some magic in the .300 case, or just that velocity doesn't increase in proportion to pressure.
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Old August 2, 2014, 11:06 AM   #21
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Actually, my post shows that I did get some ammo and components OFF THE SHELF and I did do some shooting. It took about $100 worth of ammo and components to get these results and I reported them here for your information. You are welcome.

The results show that the .308 and the .300 Sav are, with certain bullets, fairly close in performance. I think 2697 fps with a 160-gr bullet shows that. It would be a fine game load.

The value of being able to load a cartridge to nearly equal another in this case is that the performance of a fine Model 99 Savage could be maximized for hunting. I think that is what the OP is looking for.
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Old August 3, 2014, 08:29 AM   #22
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Here it comes again. "With certain bullets". You can load the bejesus out of the 7x57, but the original round simply was not loaded that way. Sounded like a simple straight question to me. The .308 has more umph than the .300. I have .300 Savages, and would take them over a .308 any day.
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Old August 23, 2014, 12:01 AM   #23
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Good chat! Now I want to go shoot mine!
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Old August 23, 2014, 08:01 AM   #24
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Quote:
As for the 99, I'm of the opinion that it is simply the finest lever action ever made, and perhaps the finest American rifle ever made.
I agree but I'm partial to the Savage 99.
I've not found any other rifle that balanced so well with a natural swing and follow through then the Savage 99, especially when making running shots on game.
I've killed a lot of Missouri deer with a 99 in 300 Savage caliber, most were running shots.

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Old August 23, 2014, 09:51 AM   #25
Barnacle Brad
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Quote:
Quote:
As for the 99, I'm of the opinion that it is simply the finest lever action ever made, and perhaps the finest American rifle ever made.
Quote:
I agree but I'm partial to the Savage 99.
I am sofa king corn fused....
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