Old Rifle, Old Cartridge… Heaven

As everyone knows, I love Old Gunny Stuff — and a good-looking pre-WWII hunting rifle in a proven chambering pretty much checks all my boxes.  Here’s a Savage 99 in .250-3000 (.250 Savage) at Collectors:

As I’ve also said before, I am not a fan of the 99 when it’s chambered in a larger caliber like .303 Savage, .308 Win and so on, because of the stiff recoil.  But a nice quarter-incher like the .250 Savage?  And in a handy little carbine?  (And did I also say before how much I love the Savage’s slick lever action and box magazine which can hold pointy spitzer boolets, unlike the WinMar lever guns with their tube mags?)

The age of rifles doesn’t bother me at all, provided that they’ve been reasonably well-looked after:  I’ve owned many pre-WWII rifles, and honestly, I’ve loved pretty much every single one of them:  Swiss K-11, Swedish 1896 Mausers, SMLE and Enfield No.4s, Mosin-Nagants, gawd knows how many Mauser 98s, and so on.  The one rifle of this genre that got away, by the way, also gives me the deepest regret at its loss:  a pre-WWI Winchester 94 in .32 Win Special (as I recall, made in 1910), which I bought from a dear friend who a year later demanded I sell it back to him because he was missing it too much.  Now I miss that rifle, still.  Here’s one, also from Collectors.

Were it not for their respective price tags — which reflect how many people love these rifles as much as I do — I’d buy them both in a heartbeat.

So yeah:  old rifles and old cartridges don’t frighten me, and they shouldn’t frighten anyone.  These fine old ladies are flat-out wonderful and gorgeous, their cartridges are just as effective as any modern cartridge, and everyone should own at least one.

Touch history, folks, while you still can.  You can thank me later.


  1. The Savage 99 in .30-30 was the first rifle I ever took deer hunting. My father borrowed it from a friend of his for a couple of months when I turned 14. The rotary magazine fascinated me. Very good memories.

  2. Collector’s got some of my money the other day. Ordered on-line and picked up at the store. The new store is huge and somewhat more utilitarian (less quaint and intimate) than the old one. The old one was like a cozy used bookstore versus Barnes & Noble, whose building Collector’s now occupies.
    They had a nice Marlin 1894 in .44 magnum that was overpriced, but just what I wanted for neighborhood watch duty, among other things. I realize that 1955 (the .44 mag) doesn’t exactly qualify as old, but the good news is that ammunition is currently available and doesn’t require reloading. Very happy with it. Now where’s my cowboy hat?

  3. Love the Savage 99. Beautiful gun all the way around. The only thing that I didn’t like about them is they always came in odd-ball calibers that you couldn’t get at Bobs Tackle Shop.

    1. They made a bunch of later ones in .308. As for the rest, that’s a good excuse to take up reloading.

  4. Trivia note–250-3000, so named because it was the first commercial cartridge to break 3000 fps, in 1915.

  5. Couldn’t agree with you more about old guns with just one caveat. If it was made before 1900 it most likely wasn’t made with nickel or chrome-moly steel. Which makes modern full power ammo a big no no.

  6. “As I’ve also said before, I am not a fan of the 99 when it’s chambered in a larger caliber like .303 Savage, .308 Win and so on, because of the stiff recoil. ”

  7. And by the way. YUUUGEE love to the “Touch history, folks, while you still can. You can thank me later.” comment.

    I would only add “or while you can afford to” I paid $75 for my Mosin at Big 5. Now they are $300+, same story for my Mauser, SKS, SMLE, K31 etc. I wish I’d have bought an AK when they were in the $300 range.

  8. I’ve got to say some good things about a cartridge that we regard as “modern” because you can still buy both the rifles and ammunition – if you can find them in stock. The .30-30 Winchester cartridge is 126 years old as is the Model 94 lever gun (that’s 1894 for the historically challenged). They’ve been killing deer and the occasional bad guy at 150 yards for well over a hundred years and still work with efficiency and class. When I got into hunting back in the 1980s I couldn’t decide between a 70s production Winchester 94 and a Marlin 336 of about the same vintage so I ended up buying both. The 94 with its thin flat receiver is easier to carry, but the Marlin’s Micro Groove rifling might make the 336 just a tad more accurate. They’re both fun rifles to shoot and do the job.

Comments are closed.