THE 303 SAVAGE AS A BIG GAME RIFLE
By CLIFF HARDY
I read an article in a back number of the H-T-T and the writer did not seem to like the 303 Savage for deer.
I own one, which I have shot for over nine years and I have been very successful with it. I have yet to lose my first deer that I hit with it. I never had to trail any of them very far and most of them dropped in their tracks.
The fall of 1918 I killed a fifteen point buck that the Express Company said weighed 234 pounds and the 303 did the job very nicely. For a rifle that handles nicely, the Savage has no superiority in lever action models. It is handy to carry in the woods and it balances just right for me. The position of the Peep sights on the receiver has got them all skinned.
It is not far enough back to hit you a bat in the eye when the rifle recoils and make you flinch. I had a blow in the eye from the recoil of a 38-40 of another make and it was a long time before I could get over that flinching a bit. I have my Savage fitted with Marble's flexible joint rear peep sight and a gold bead front sight. I have a target disk in the rear peep but had the hole enlarged to 3/32 of an inch. I find this combination of sight suits me the best of any yet.
I think the Savage has the strongest action of any lever rifle on the market today. A solid wall of steel supports the breech bolt. The Savage is a hammerless solid breech that not only gives it good outlines but also protects the shooter perfectly from injury due to defective or improperly made ammunition.
The breech bolt is locked by wedging solidly against the rear wall of the receiver itself, having a locking surface of its entire width This large locking area makes it secure and safe. This magazine is of the rotary box type so that the balance of the rifle is not changed whether the magazine is full or empty. The magazine carrier holds the cartridges by the rims and prevents the points of soft nose bullets from being battered or deformed from the shock of recoil. It also has a food reliable safety, which not only locks the trigger but also locks the finger lever and prevents the action from accidentally shaking or passing open.
Another handy feature of the Savage is the indicator in the left side of the receiver which shows the number of cartridges in the magazine and another indicator on top of the tang shows whether the rifle is cocked or not.
All these features go to make an ideal hunting rifle. Any prospective purchaser of a new rifle wants to bear these important points in mind.
I don't like a takedown rifle of any make, for I don't think they group their shots as close as a solid frame rifle. Of course the takedown is handy and you can pack it in a suitcase when travelling but I would rather put up with less convenience in traveling than sacrifice accuracy. There is more vibration to a takedown rifle than a solid frame. The take-down has one strong1 feature in its favor and that is because it can be cleaned from the breech but if one is careful and has the right kind of a cleaning rod there is little or no danger of injuring the muzzle.
The best kind of cleaning rod is a Marble Jointed steel rod. The advantage in using this rod is because the steel is not attacked and dissolved by ammonia, as a brass cleaning rod would be. In the second place it is hard enough so that it does not pick up pieces of grit in the way that a wooden rod or brass rod would and consequently is not likely to scratch the bore.
When you compare the energy of some of our most popular cartridges with the 303 Savage at 500 yards you will see that 303 is slightly more powerful than the .35 Remington Automatic. 33-W. C. F., 32 Special, 30-30 and the 250-3000. This means that the 303 Savage retains energy better than the above mentioned cartridges.
My next choice in a rifle is the New Bolt Action 1920 Model Savage 250-3000. This rifle looks good to me and the balance and the hang is fine. The bolt action has more power in extracting a tight cartridge and for the reason they can chamber the cartridge more closely and this makes it shoot more accurately. Also the shells cannot stretch and they can be reloaded with less difficulty.
Other features of this bolt action is that it has a one-piece stock and you can remove the bolt and examine and clean the rifle from the breech. It is a well-known fact among riflemen that a bolt action with one-piece stock and solid frame will group its shots more closely than a lever action two-piece stock.
Nevertheless, I think the lever action for the average deer hunter will give good service and will shoot more accurately than most of us can hold or aim.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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