• Savage Utility Single-Shot Rifles & Shotguns

    Yes, I know every company out there has offered a single shot shotgun at some time or another but how many break action rifles do we see these days? Aside from the Thompson centers, who I think more or less based their entire gun on Savages design, we don't see these to often.

    To begin with, the birth of the Savage model 220 hit Savage in 1937 with a total of 4,867 made. The model 219 was not offered till the year after, in 1938 with 2,735 of them made. Although they were being made and sold in these late years they weren't cataloged till later on in their production and were produced right from Utica and followed into Chicopee in the 1960 move of the factory. They were produced till 1973 when the model 220 was dropped from production and the Stevens 94 took its place, but more on that later.

    These utility rifles were the gun to own if you needed variation in the field. The neat thing about the 220s and 219s is that the barrels were interchangeable. So if you had a collection of barrels all a person would need to bring with them in the bush or field would be your stock and action and whatever barrel you decided would be best to use on the game you were hunting. Now dont jump up and go buy the first one you see, there are some bugs in this statement. Firstly, the 12 gauge barrel was supposedly built on a heavier frame than the other 220s, which means that the changing to other barrels on this frame would need a gunsmith to go over it first. Secondly, all the barrels needed their accompanying forearm as the barrels had different sizes and needed matching forearms, for example the 20 ga barrel couldn't be fitted with a 410 forearm but the 410 forearm would still work on the 30-30 barrel.

    In the start of the production the utility firearms were offered in 12, 16, 20 and 410 gauges in the 220 and the 30-30, 22 Hornet, 32-20 and 25-20 in the 219. The latter of the four rifle offerings are a rare find as they were dropped from production only a few years after the start of production. Later on in the 50s the 28 ga was also offered but again this is a rare barrel to find for this gun. It surprises me that the 220s and 219s were not cataloged in the early fifties. It seems almost as though Savage dropped them from the line up or just didn't add them to their catalogs list of items offered, then in the mid 50s they popped back up again. As a side note, the Utica made 220s and 219s were not serial numbered like the Chicopee firearms, maybe due to the utility gun reputation these guns were only made to be the work horses of the day, where they'd lay in behind the seat of the half ton, cold and wet and pulled out only when needed. Or maybe they were intended for just a bush gun for walking around in case something provided itself for table fare. Whatever reasons were for this gun it was a shame it had to end, they are fun guns for everyday bush beating and varmint control.

    A sub model of the 220 was the 220P, it was the same as the 220 only it was fitted with an Aero-Dyne Super Polychoke which was merely an integral choke which could be turned to the desired choke setting without having to manually remove the choke. Recently I was informed and saw a 220P with military markings, apparently the 220P was being used by the military for field training as a way of teaching how to lead a shot on airplanes.

    The changing of the barrels on these guns was really easy, all you had to do was get a good hold on the barrel and pull down on the front of the forearm and the spring mechanism which holds it in place would let go and the forearm would come off, then all you would have to do is break the action and lift up to remove the barrel. Replacing it with another one was as easy as just reversing the process.

    An added feature when they moved to Chicopee was the addition of the grooved barrels for scope mounting, using standard grooves for Weaver type rings the barrels were easily scoped for hunting varmints or big game, the only two offerings for this would have been the 30-30 and the 22 Hornet. If you had a pair of these you were ready for anything when you went hunting, throw the 30-30 barrel on for deer by dawn and dusk and swap them up in the afternoon for some varmint or squirrel hunting and if you found a nice grouse thicket any of the shotgun barrels would keep you busy filling the frying pan with some upland birds.

    My own 220/219 set is complete with the 30-30 and the 22 Hornet barrels as well as the 16 and 28ga shotgun barrels. I'm constantly searching for the 32-20 and 25-20 barrels and if anyone comes across one please contact here at the forum. The 20 and 410 barrels are out there so Im just waiting for the right price to show up and condition is always a factor as well, who wants a shot out shotgun barrel. My 30-30 barrel has factory iron sights on it and shoots very nice groups at 50yds and I wouldn't hesitate on a 100 yd shot if the need arose. My 22 Hornet barrel has had a weaver type mount sweat soldered onto it and Ive yet to decide on what scope to add to it, although my Savage 4X scopes keep me thinking, I'm always wondering if a modern red dot sight would make an interesting varmint gun.

    Now back to the Stevens model 94s. Although they aren't the same gun they are very close. The Stevens model 94s only difference is that it is a hammer gun and you have to manually cock the shotgun, the 220 on the other hand had Savages patented internal cocking devise. Every time you opened the action the gun was automatically cocked and the safety was engaged. The 220 and 219 had a tang safety on it basically the same as what you see on post-mil model 99s and model 170s. The barrels on the model 94 can be swapped with the 220 but only the early versions, the 940s and other late production 94s cannot be fitted to the utility guns.

    I hope you all plan on starting up your own set for hours of fun, inexpensive hours of hunting, camping and varmint shooting with this utility firearm with countless uses.








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