The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Friday, September 6, 2013

A 30-30 For All Seasons

Savage Model 219

It is a fast world out there with an unrelenting pace, but between all my air travels, all the talk about the “Modern Sporting Rifle” (which I sometimes shoot) and endless apocalyptical TV shows that almost ways feature zombies (which I never watch); I try to find ways to disconnect and chill out. And in order to chill out I do very little fishing, almost as little kayaking, a lot of reading, mostly about hunting, hunting whenever I can, and shooting, shotguns in bearable weather, air guns in unbearable weather (too hot, too cold or too wet don’t affect my basement), and unusual rifles on rare occasions.

Earlier this year I attended a gun show in Novi, Michigan, and among the multitude of modern firearms I found an unusual rifle that not only attracted my attention, but also my wallet. Please, don’t tell my wife. She will be mad!

That rifle was a Savage Model 219 in 30-30 or 30 Winchester Center Fire, and rather than trying to describe it myself I will quote from the 1940 Shooter’s Bible (Authentic Reproduction) where it is portrayed on page 35 under SAVAGE COMBINATION RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS:


Calibers .30/30, .32/20, .25/20 and .22 Hornet

Tapered, medium weight, round barrel with raised front sight base, length 26 inches. Proof tested. Barrel and lug forged in one piece. Hammerless action with Automatic Top Tang Safety. Polished and blued frame. Barrel bolted to frame with large beveled locking bolt. Forearm fastens with tension of heavy steel spring against hinge pin and forearm barrel lug. Both features designed to automatically take up wear. Selected American Walnut stock and forearm, full pistol grip stock with fluted comb. Hard rubber butt plate. Sights, adjustable flat top rear sight. Bead front sight. Weight about 6 pounds.

Model 219……………………………………………….......................…...………Price $15.00

A number of factors attracted me to this little rifle. First, I always wanted a 30-30 gun, but while I really like the Winchester Model 92 I can’t say that I have the same feelings for the Model 94. Second, I have a great appreciation for the concept of the British Rook and Rabbit Rifle, which is basically a gentle, light, single shot, center fire “small bore” rifle used to either hunt small game or control pests. And finally, the Savage Model 219 would make a nice platform to shoot my BS loads.

BS may stand for Basement Special loads, Buck Shot loads or other less polite terms. They are squib loads for high powered center fire rifles that allow them to be safely and comfortably used almost any where that you have a safe backstop that will stop a .22 rim fire bullet. The basic recipe for my BS loads is a 1½ buck shot (the .310” diameter round bullet fits about perfectly to 30 caliber rifles) sitting on top of a two to three grains of fast burning shotgun or pistol smokeless powder and a standard rifle primer. (Disclaimer: This load is safe on my gun, but I cannot accept any responsibility for it being used in other firearms.)

I already discussed similar loads using chamber adapters and 32 pistol brass in the past, but this time I wanted to make them even simpler (actually cheaper, since the adapters cost around US$ 20 each), so I just resized some 30-30 brass, put a new primer in place, poured 2.5 grains of Universal gun powder in it (an spent .22 LR shell makes a good measure), and hand sat a single 1½ lead buck shot as a bullet. It takes longer to describe the process than to make a BS center fire load.

The result is a perfectly functional all-American Rook and Rabbit Rifle, with minimum noise and no recoil at all. The load above propels the 46 grains “bullet” at about 700 feet per second producing minute of squirrel or minute of rabbit or minute of crow accuracy to about 30 yards. If you need to shoot farther just add a little bit more powder. Back in Brazil this Savage 219 in 30-30 could be used to hunt any and all game existing in the country, with the exception of feral water buffalo.

One of the virtues of single shot rifles is that you can feed them just about any load or bullet that fits the chamber. There is no repeating mechanism to worry about or malfunction. If the BS load is a bit too light for your needs, 30 caliber rifles are blessed with an almost limitless selection of bullets, from 90 to 250 grains. Besides the BS loads for small game, this little Savage Model 219 will be shooting high performance 130 grain soft points during the November Michigan whitetail deer season.

The take down and lightweight design my even allow it to travel with me down to the rather long and generous Alabama deer season, and maybe it also has the opportunity to prove itself on the local feral hogs.

If I ever stop traveling, I may also use it for cottontails, bushy tails or an unwelcome crow during the winter months. As for the remaining of the year, it is polite enough to be used in my basement or backyard.

Minute of soda pop accuracy, plus empty, BS load and 170 grain shells

1 comment:

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