View Full Version : Savage 99 production date?

June 22, 2009, 12:58 AM
I am trying to find the production date for a Savage 99 takedown in .250-3000 Savage, serial number 3334XX.

The rifle wears a Koll Morgen Bearcub 4X scope in Stith Mounts scope bases/rings. Any information on the scope will be educational to me, as I have never heard of either the scope or the bases.

Mike Irwin
June 22, 2009, 01:36 AM
I can't lay my hands on my Savage book right now, but that number would put it at sometime in the early 1930s, IIRC.

Hell, those scope rings and bases are probably worth $250 to $300.

June 22, 2009, 06:36 PM
Thanks, Mike. Any ideas on the scope itself?

June 22, 2009, 06:47 PM
Kollmorgen was started c. 1917 by a German Immigrant optical engineer in Brooklyn. They became America's sole maker of submarine periscopes in WWI and were moved by the War Department inland to Northhampton, Ma. to get them away from the coast during WWII. (NY was considered a target for bombers or submraine shelling).
IIRC, Kollmorgen Electro Optics is still in Northhampton and still make Periscopes.

In the early pos-WWII period, the demand for submarine periscopes evaporated. There was a surplus of WWII attack boats and no wars to fight. The Nuclear Navy was still a decade away. So Kollmorgen went on some very lean times. To keep the workforce intact, they produced everything from rifle scopes (for a booming postwar hunting consumer market) to glass ashtrays! Anything to keep the machines working and the workforce together.

The hallmark of the Kollmorgen scopes is incredible optical quality. They were made by the same equipment and machines that were making periscopes, long range naval artillary directors, etc. The optics far outstrip the price that these fetched new and compare favorably to today's best coated optics. The goal wasn't to make a cheap consumer product... it was to do *anything* to keep the workforce together and trained. The consumer was the beneficiary!

Early scopes were Stith branded and had mounts that adjusted, versus having adjustments on the scope.
Later ones had traditional dial adjustments.
In addition to the consumer versions, they made a 6X that was sourced by the USMC and mounted on their 03A3, Garand and M14 sniper rifles before being succeeded by more modern rifles and Unertl scopes during the Vietnam era.

Redfield acquired Kollmorgen's scope business in the late 1950's, though for a while they were co-branded until Redfield took over production.

It was after the Redfield acquisition, that 1" scopes came into general use/vogue.

Typical prices for a Bear Cub with the more usable dial adjustments are about $200 - 250 in mint condition.
Non-adjustable models, w/ Stith mounts go for $175 - 200 + another $100 if the mounts are with it - and all are somewhat in demand for Pre '64 Model 70 rifles and similar types, although eminently usable on just about any other centerfire rifle.


June 22, 2009, 09:40 PM
Mike's spot on. Savage99.com puts year of manufacture in 1930.

June 23, 2009, 01:02 PM
Petah W, thank you for that information. You never cease to amaze me with your depth of knowledge. I looked everywhere for Koll Morgen (that's how it was given to me), while ignoring the Kollmorgen references I came across ( I'm a little dense, I guess).

Thanks for the manufacture date information, Sodbuster and Mike Irwin.

This Savage 99 take-down is in approximately 35-50% condition (lots of carry and scabbard wear, but nothing serious), and the buyer is into it for only $350. We are discussing either restoring it and keeping it or selling it as is. The owner has a "thing" for Savage 99s, but thinks this one might be worth a lot more to a collector.

The takedown is tight (indicating it was not taken down often for storage in a breakdown case, the kiss of death for takedowns) and the bore is crisp (not shot much, and/or cleaned well). Wood is just so-so but probably salvageable, with the coarse (12 lpi??) factory checkering. I am torn between restoring it with the original wood (definitely utility grade) or putting new wood on it, and will definitely be rust bluing if we choose to restore it. Color case on the lever will have to be redone. The scope is incredibly clear (as you said, Petah). It reportedly shoots well with 1960s-era WW Silvertips factory ammo.

June 23, 2009, 01:24 PM
[Petah W, thank you for that information. You never cease to amaze me with your depth of knowledge.]

Ah-so, butterfly ! You are MOST welcome :o , but such is merely to be expected, from a 10th-degree Old Fart with a google-fu black-belt. :D :D


Mike Irwin
June 23, 2009, 02:54 PM
While I have employed my mighty V.F.U.K* in a most beneficial way...

* Vast Fund of Useless Knowledge