Friday, July 16, 2010

Savage 99A .250 Savage (.250-3000)

I had to get a mate to my Savage 99A .308 from 1973. I finally found one and here it is. I think this one is a 1972. 

Many people prefer the pre-tang safety guns and compare those to the pre-64 Winchesters. They think the later 99s just aren't up to snuff. Are the post 1972 guns as good? Well, no. Are they better than guns you can buy today? I think so. I like them. I like the tang safety. I like the straight grip. I like the location of the receiver sight (after-market from Williams in my case). About the only difference from my other gun is the chambering. .250 Savage aka .250-3000.  The cartridge has a storied history and has become a favorite of many since its inception.

Designed by Charles Newton, the 250 Savage was introduced in 1915 by the Savage Arms Company for the Model 99 lever action rifle. The original load used an 87 grain bullet loaded to 3000 fps muzzle velocity, and Savage named it the 250-3000. The 87 grain bullet was chosen because it could be safely driven at 3000 fps with the available powders.  About 1932, the 100 grain bullet load was marketed by Peters Cartridge Company and later the velocity of the 87 grain bullet was slightly increased. Now simply called the 250 Savage. 

When I was about 17-years old, I thought that this cartridge would be the one to get.  Only lack of availability and money prevented purchase then.  I think it is a better cartridge than the .243 Winchester although rifling twist rates (1:12 in early guns, 1:10 later) in most Savage rifles prevent use of heavier bullets than with the .243 Winchester. I wanted to mount a Williams FP-99S receiver sight and have one on order for this gun.  That will make it look like the .308 gun and so care must be taken to have the correct ammunition when shooting or hunting.  

These guns do look a bit ungainly in the receiver area when laid side by side with a Marlin or Winchester lever action, but when carried the round receiver bottom is right at the balance point and comfortable.  When snapped to the shoulder I find the sights aligned and the gun points more like a shotgun.  There seems to be a happy coincidence of factory stock dimensions and my God-given body shape.  

Interestingly, even though these are the same model and manufacturing period, the barrels are different lengths being 20" for the .250 and 22" for the .308, the forearms are different in length by 1/8" and the .308 has a 1/4" longer length of pull.  Overall the .308 Winchester gun, a later gun, is bigger.  I tried to align the two guns so that you could see this. 

Of course, I will reload for this cartridge.  Dies were available (same shell holder as the .30-06) and delivered quickly but brass is, at the moment, a bit difficult to find.  There are several suitable bullets available and powders and primers on hand that should work a treat in this rifle.  The shop had 2 boxes of Winchester 100 gr. PowerPoint ammunition with SilverTip appearing bullets and this will do until I've got the reloading up and running.  

87 GR. Speer SP  Hodgdon  Varget  .257"  2.450"  35.0  2947  40,200 CUP  37.0  3074  43,200 CUP 
90 GR. Sierra HPBT  Hodgdon  H4895  .257"  2.425"  33.0  2901  39,000 CUP  35.5  3060  43,900 CUP 
100 GR. Hornady SP  Winchester  748  .257"  2.500"  35.5  2820  43,500 CUP 

This morning I picked up the rifle and immediately mounted a Williams FP-99S. I "zeroed" it by aligning the new rear sight with the issue folding open sight. I then folded the sight down. This evening I went to Mom's and fired two shots off-hand both of which struck a 6" square at 90 yards distance. I will refine the zero but I think this rifle will serve me well!

To get an personally autographed copy of Murray’s book, send a check or money order for $30 (U.S.) together with a note asking him to send you a copy of his book, “The Ninety-Nine”, to:

Doug Murray
20 Polo Lane
Westbury, N.Y. 11590

Delivery, via U.S. Postal Service, will take about 3 weeks.


Zane D. Clark said...

how about necking down 300 savage brass? 300 savage is available at

Hobie said...

Well, I've got to admit that the rifle hasn't quite gotten here yet and so I can wait a bit on the brass. I know that doesn't match my usual pattern of behavior but sometimes these things happen.

Actually, I do have a bit of brass in the bin but no dies.

Unknown said...


Mine's in 300 Savage. (all mine... well... the leverguns, that is :-)

Pawpaw said...

I loves me some quarter-bores. The .250 Savage is one that I've been looking for. While I love Savage bolts, I admit I've never been enamored of the Model 99.

One of these days I'll be trolling the pawn shops and stumble upon a nice bolt in .250 Savage and it'll come home with me.