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  #1  
Old 01-24-2012, 01:19 PM
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What Bullet Style For Savage Model 99s ?


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i have recently gotten a couple of fairly old Savage Model 99 lever action rifles (one chambered for .30-30 and the other for .25-35) and both exhibit a characteristic that I suspect is a result of modern ammunition not meeting the physical requirements of the rotary spool magazines.

I'd like to inquire if anyone can confirm this guess of mine.

The Model 99s (I believe that there was one version that fed from an external magazine but I don't have familiarity with it) use a brass 'spool' that allow five cartridges to reside around a central axel. As a cartridge is fired and then ejected the 'spool' rotates one position so that the next cartridge is aligned between the bolt head and the open breech. Closing the lever causes the bolt to push the available cartridge off the spool and into the breech.

As part of this action the nose of the bullet is pushed into contact with a steeply inclined ramp just below the open breech. As the lever is closed the nose of the bullet rides up the ramp and guides the cartridge into the correct orientation to complete it being loaded into the breech.

The problem I am observing is that with available soft-tipped ammunition the lead does not glide up the loading ramps but instead 'sticks'. I have done my best to ensure that the ramps are clean and my thought (this is what I am asking about) is that the rifles were designed for FMJ or at least hard-tipped bullets.

I have aluminum 'snap-caps' in .30-30 .... they have (relatively) sharp-pointed tips (where the bullet tips would be in a real cartridge) and they cycle through the .30-30 configured Model 99 rifle without any significant feed problem.

Comments would be appreciated.

- PaulN
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  #2  
Old 01-24-2012, 01:30 PM
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The Savage 99's do better with spitzer bullets. Most lever action calibers are loaded with round nose or flat point bullets to avoid primer ignition in the tube magazines. If you are a handloader the issue is easily fixed. If shooting factory rolled rounds check out Hornady's Leverevolution ammo, at least for the 30-30.
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2012, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyF View Post
The Savage 99's do better with spitzer bullets. Most lever action calibers are loaded with round nose or flat point bullets to avoid primer ignition in the tube magazines. If you are a handloader the issue is easily fixed. If shooting factory rolled rounds check out Hornady's Leverevolution ammo, at least for the 30-30.
MontyF Thanks Much.

I was using soft-tipped bullets with the Model 99s because they were available/free.

I also have a Winchester 94 in .30-30 and for it I have some of the LeverEvolution cartridges so I will try them when next down in central Texas at my cousin's ranch (I'm not a deer hunter so prickly pear are my targets-of-choice).

Best Regards;

- PaulN

PS - This is in-the-relm of 'random-thoughts' .....

I have been looking at the .30-30 cartridge versus the 300 Savage thinking that
a suitable spitzer bullet for the .30-30 can probably be chosen from 300 Savage
loadings.

Other than rimmed vs rimless and working pressure (the 300 Savage allows for
a bit more 'oomph' than does the .30-30) the two cartridges are very similar.
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2012, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulN View Post

The problem I am observing is that with available soft-tipped ammunition the lead does not glide up the loading ramps but instead 'sticks'.
Don't go babyin' the lever.

The 99's should work fine with any ammo that does not bind in the magazine. Cartridge length should be more of an issue than bullet style.
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  #5  
Old 01-24-2012, 02:19 PM
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainspring View Post
Don't go babyin' the lever.

The 99's should work fine with any ammo that does not bind in the magazine. Cartridge length should be more of an issue than bullet style.
Mainspring;

Being abrupt with my Savage 99s would be difficult for me.

When I pick them up I am very aware that they are way older than me (I remember the original 7 Mercury Astronauts from when I was a little kid) and these Model 99s may be MUCH older (I really wonder about the rifle chambered for .25-35).

I much prefer for actions to cycle-effortlessly (I worked-and-worked on the feed-lips in a .303 Enfield's magazine to get the cartridges to slip gently into the breech).

- PaulN
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2012, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulN View Post
PS - This is in-the-relm of 'random-thoughts' .....

I have been looking at the .30-30 cartridge versus the 300 Savage thinking that
a suitable spitzer bullet for the .30-30 can probably be chosen from 300 Savage
loadings.

Other than rimmed vs rimless and working pressure (the 300 Savage allows for
a bit more 'oomph' than does the .30-30) the two cartridges are very similar.
If you are going to handload use the data for the cartridge you are reloading. However in your M99 you can substitute flat points or round nose for spitzer bullets of the same weight. Just wanted to remind you when working up a load start at the low charge weight and work up from there while watching for pressure signs. Even though your Savage is a stronger rifle than the Winchesters there are still limits on the design and materials so I'd go easy on the ol' girl.
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Last edited by MontyF; 01-24-2012 at 02:33 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2012, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulN View Post

Being abrupt with my Savage 99s would be difficult for me.
The rifles were never meant to be baby'd, the materials have not deteriorated since the rifle left the factory. Use it as intended and that problem will go away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulN View Post
I much prefer for actions to cycle-effortlessly.
This I understand...then the 99 is probably not the rifle for you.
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  #8  
Old 01-24-2012, 03:26 PM
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been shooting 99's for 30 years the levers can work very smooth without having to slam them 2 finger opperation. alot of the older savages had a mag ajustment and if ajusted to far forward you can get the problem you are explaining as said spitzer bullets will work best the reason for the rotary mag was to shoot spitzer bullets the ajustable mag came when the 250 was introduced do to bullet lengths in the 25's or so I read somplace I had just the opposite problem as my shells were flipping up the mag was ajusted back to far had to ajust it forward.
now as was also stated above you are not going to hurt that 99 action by stiffly throwing the lever
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  #9  
Old 01-24-2012, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulN View Post
MontyF Thanks Much.

I was using soft-tipped bullets with the Model 99s because they were available/free.

I also have a Winchester 94 in .30-30 and for it I have some of the LeverEvolution cartridges so I will try them when next down in central Texas at my cousin's ranch (I'm not a deer hunter so prickly pear are my targets-of-choice).

Best Regards;

- PaulN

PS - This is in-the-relm of 'random-thoughts' .....

I have been looking at the .30-30 cartridge versus the 300 Savage thinking that
a suitable spitzer bullet for the .30-30 can probably be chosen from 300 Savage
loadings.

Other than rimmed vs rimless and working pressure (the 300 Savage allows for
a bit more 'oomph' than does the .30-30) the two cartridges are very similar.
not realy that close at all the 303 savage and the 30-30 are almost identical and the 303 sav is not a true 303 as it is a .308 bullet but the 300 has more than a bit more oomph and the loads are not interchangeable if you can get you hands on older load books you get much better info just remember when savage stopped making amo winchester and reminton tried to kill the 300 and the 250 down loading them for the 250 best amo you can buy today still only 2800fps but the 250's orig name was 250-3000 for a reason it was the first 3000 fps round as for the 300sav it balisticaly is much closer to a .308win than a 30-30 find an old lyman book and it will give you factory equiv. rounds from the ols savage loads
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  #10  
Old 01-29-2012, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbuckdn View Post
......... alot of the older savages had a mag ajustment and if ajusted to far forward you can get the problem you are explaining as said spitzer bullets will work best the reason for the rotary mag was to shoot spitzer bullets the ajustable mag came when the 250 was introduced do to bullet lengths in the 25's or so I read somplace I had just the opposite problem as my shells were flipping up the mag was ajusted back to far had to ajust it forward. .......

I don't believe that either of my Savages have an adjustment for the spool (rotary magazine) distance to the loading ramp but I will take another look-see.

Both the rifle chambered for .30-30 and the one chambered for .25-35 show the same characteristic just before a round is about to be loaded so I think that it's probably part of the design. As you're beginning to close the lever action, just as the next round is about to be given a push by the bolt going forward, there is a slight click down in the mechanism and the round hops up just a bit, from what I can tell it causes the rear end of the cartridge to be elevated very slightly above the brass spool assembly (I suppose so the bolt will make contact and push it towards the breech).

It is right after that when the cartridge begins to be pushed forward by the bolt and it is at this point when I wish that the lead-nosed bullets would pop up just a wee bit more. I can't remember what it's called but the Model 99 mechanism has a spring-loaded piece that projects out from the left side of the receiver and the cartridge has to push it enough so that it springs back a tiny bit so that the cartridge can be elevated high enough to slide into the barrel breech. With the more spitzer pointed aluminum snap-caps they generate enough upwards thrust (from the contact with the load ramp) to cause that spring-loaded piece to slip back just a bit into its mounting recess (in the left side of the receiver). It is those pesky snub-nosed lead tipped bullets that don't seem to get enough pressure to elevate the bullet nose sufficiently.

- PaulN
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  #11  
Old 01-30-2012, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulN View Post
I don't believe that either of my Savages have an adjustment for the spool (rotary magazine) distance to the loading ramp but I will take another look-see.

Both the rifle chambered for .30-30 and the one chambered for .25-35 show the same characteristic just before a round is about to be loaded so I think that it's probably part of the design. As you're beginning to close the lever action, just as the next round is about to be given a push by the bolt going forward, there is a slight click down in the mechanism and the round hops up just a bit, from what I can tell it causes the rear end of the cartridge to be elevated very slightly above the brass spool assembly (I suppose so the bolt will make contact and push it towards the breech).

It is right after that when the cartridge begins to be pushed forward by the bolt and it is at this point when I wish that the lead-nosed bullets would pop up just a wee bit more. I can't remember what it's called but the Model 99 mechanism has a spring-loaded piece that projects out from the left side of the receiver and the cartridge has to push it enough so that it springs back a tiny bit so that the cartridge can be elevated high enough to slide into the barrel breech. With the more spitzer pointed aluminum snap-caps they generate enough upwards thrust (from the contact with the load ramp) to cause that spring-loaded piece to slip back just a bit into its mounting recess (in the left side of the receiver). It is those pesky snub-nosed lead tipped bullets that don't seem to get enough pressure to elevate the bullet nose sufficiently.

- PaulN
I sold my 303 and my 99 take down 250 got stolen my 99c is a bit diff because it has the drop magazine I just never experienced what your having or maybe just never noticed all I ever shot from the time my dad tought me till I was in my late 20s was a 99 learned on it never considerd it a hard lever
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  #12  
Old 01-30-2012, 06:16 AM
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Paul, sounds like you have carefully observed the function as it feeds the round. Sorry I don't have any suggestions other than try the spitzer bullets.

Neither my .250 Savage or the 99C in .284 had to be ham fisted to get them to cycle.
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  #13  
Old 01-30-2012, 07:05 AM
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First I must state that I am a huge fan of the 99 Savages. These are one of the finest hunting rifles built in America. After owning dozens over the years I have a fair knowledge of their design and workings. First and foremost PLEASE dont alter these guns in any way. Any refinishing, rebluing, sight changing, addition of swivels, buttplates, or drilling and tapping SEVERLY reduces the value and saleabilty of these historic arms. You have a rare bird in the 25-35 rifle. Few of these were ever made in this chambering when compared to other caliber. In 48 years of gunshowing I cant say I have seen more than a handful of 25-35's. Having owned or shot about all other chamberings, I have never encountered your feed problem. But owning a few 23-35's of other manufacture I can attest to the blunt nosed bullets loaded into factory ammo. As an experement you might take a few 25-35's and sand down the nose of the bullet to a more pointed design to see if feeding improves. If it does then the ammunition is the culprit and a simple bullet change would be all that was nessasary.
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  #14  
Old 01-30-2012, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30-30remchester View Post
First I must state that I am a huge fan of the 99 Savages. These are one of the finest hunting rifles built in America. After owning dozens over the years I have a fair knowledge of their design and workings. First and foremost PLEASE dont alter these guns in any way. Any refinishing, rebluing, sight changing, addition of swivels, buttplates, or drilling and tapping SEVERLY reduces the value and saleabilty of these historic arms. You have a rare bird in the 25-35 rifle. Few of these were ever made in this chambering when compared to other caliber. In 48 years of gunshowing I cant say I have seen more than a handful of 25-35's. Having owned or shot about all other chamberings, I have never encountered your feed problem. But owning a few 23-35's of other manufacture I can attest to the blunt nosed bullets loaded into factory ammo. As an experement you might take a few 25-35's and sand down the nose of the bullet to a more pointed design to see if feeding improves. If it does then the ammunition is the culprit and a simple bullet change would be all that was nessasary.
I like your idea of modifying some of the lead-nosed .25-35 cartridges so that they have a more sharply pointed tip.

I also applaud your comments on not altering the guns. It makes me grind-my-teeth to see some fine old military rifles that have had their stocks 'sporterized' by deer-hunter types in years past.

I have one correction to make ..... the Savage chambered for .25-35 is a Model 1899 .... I believe that means that it was made prior to 1920 (my understanding being that is when Savage changed the designation to Model 99). It looks as though, while not overtly mistreated, that it wasn't given much care as the barrel has some (fairly light) corrosion on the exposed portions and when I removed the forestock there was more corrosion .... I have the impression that no one had ever taken the forestock off to check the barrel's condition. All that I have done is to take some Gun Grease, rub it on the barrel and then gently wipe it off with a dry cloth. My thought is to keep a thin layer of grease on the barrel and hoping that will effectively inhibit any further corrosion (that plus the rifle is in a heated/cooled house now).

- PaulN
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  #15  
Old 01-31-2012, 05:29 PM
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Most cartridges in the 99 are rimless...not the 30-30 or 25-35. Is there a chance that the click is associated with that? Perhaps the controlled round feed aspect of the gun?

I'm grasping at straws...
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  #16  
Old 02-05-2012, 07:02 AM
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I have an 1899 Take Down in 25/35. It feeds Remington Core Lock and Win. Power Point 117 gr. round nose bullets with out an issue. There's a tension adjustment on the spool, not sure how that would affect your problem. If there is a spool adjustment you would probably need to remove the butt stock to get at it.
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