• Hunting With The Old Ones

    All this talk about the old Savage rifles, and rarely do we hear about what they were used for. For as far back as Savage started to sell the Model 1899 and other models, they were advertised beyond their actual use. Ads of the 1895s with kills of such animals as Lions and elephants were amazing to the general hunting population. Even when the 22 H.P. was introduced awe inspiring commercialism was Savages mainstay with ads of the little Imp taking leopards in Africa.In this day and age we would do a serious double take if someone asked you to go around the world and challenge the big five with nothing but a small 20 carbine model 1899H. With all the new offerings available to the hunters of this day it would be suicide to do so, but yet it seems like the old boys club were either a lot braver or down right crazy back then. Could you picture yourself standing in front of a charging lion with a small 22 caliber pill being throw from this small rifle and drop it? Not this guy.

    J.W. French shown with his trusted Savage Model 1899 T/D chambered in .250-3000 Savage.

    It brings back a funny memory of the time I first took my model 23B in 25-20 to the range. A group of modern day magnum junkies were shooting at the benches beside me and laughed at the small round every time I pulled the trigger. They asked what I was shooting and had another chuckle when the found they were 86 grain pills and sounded like a pistol round. Their faces sure dropped when I explained to them that it was the same round the Jordan buck was taken with, so just because its old doesnt mean its useless.

    A friend of mine recently found some old boxes from an estate and sent me a note due to my Savage infatuation, seems it was all about a man named J.W. French. I was totally amazed at the literature and photos that were in this treasure trove of Savage history, as all he used was an old model 1899 T/D in 250-3000. He was the man of men when it came to being a lone mountain man, going out for weeks on end with his camp kit and the old (then new) rifle. It was used so much that Ive got a factory letter from 1921 regarding a total overhaul on the rifle, including a new barrel and stock set as well as a good cleaning. He took countless Rocky Mountain game species and in one hunt stalked and killed nine grizzlies with this little rifle that shot 87 grain bullets at that time. Somewhere during his years he was sworn in a made a special constable and given a badge without salary for the Game Conservation Board of British Columbia.

    J.W. French's Model 1899 T/D in .250-3000 Savage and a freshly harvested bull Moose in British Columbia.

    With today's long list of magnum cartridges and flashy new models from Savage, there just isnt a large interest in hunting with older models such as the Model 99, 1920, 40 and 45 centerfire rifles. Fortunately we can rest assured that somewhere they are sitting in a dusty corner just waiting for the opportunity to hit the field again and prove once again that they are more than capable. The vicious rumor of the Winchester 94 30-30 taking the most deer in its history may be true, but there's little question that the Savage Model 99 was and still is a close second.

    Submitted by Joe Koprash - aka Mad Dog







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