Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Noble Savage

Last week I was working on the family farm when I stumbled across an old friend of mine-- the above pictured Savage Model 64F, bought from our friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart around 1998. Back then, I believe it sold for about $90 (I saw one today at Wal-Mart for $118) which wasn't (and still isn't) a bad deal. I hadn't really played with it since I left for basic training in 2003. I decided to clean it once when I was 18 and put it back together wrong, so it hadn't worked for the last six years. Dad had it leaning on a wall in his office, gathering dust. Last week I put it together properly and it still runs like a train. The only bad part was that I had three 10 round magazines for it, but was only able to locate one of them. Extra mags go for $10 each, and no hi-cap mags are available for it, nor are aftermarket stocks or barrels, so it won't make for much of a project gun. Thankfully, Savage made it properly to start with. I do sometimes wish for bigger magazines, so if anyone in my meager audience can point me to some, please do so. Oh, and it is cut for dovetail style scope mounts, so if you want some glass, you can have it. I'd reccommend staying small so you don't ruin the ergonomics or the handiness of its light weight. A small red dot or fixed 4x scope would do nicely, if you must.

The 64F has a two-stage trigger that breaks very cleanly at about five pounds. Not fantastic, but still plenty good. The barrel is free-floated, and it comes with standard old ironsights. The front blade is drift adjustable (and for some reason has a sort of "bead on a post" blade--more on this later), and the rear notch is adjustable for elevation. Mine is zeroed at 50 yards and requires a 6 o'clock hold at 25 yards. The bead on top of the blade covers the bull's eye completely at 50 yards, which can be annoying, but I've done well in rimfire matches and killed a lot of varmints with this rifle. It shoots straight, period. You'll also notice that there are no sling studs, though they are easy to add with the plastic stock. I think Savage didn't bother with a sling because it only weighs about five pounds, and is very well balanced so it feels like less. The light weight and great balance make it pretty ideal for walking the field for rabbits or strolling the woods for squirrels. I find it very easy to throw to my shoulder and acquire a target--and make a hit.

It is quite long for a .22lr at 40 inches. The Ruger 10/22 comes in at 37" for the full length model and 35" for the carbine, so shorter guns of similar design are available. The stock is clearly designed for an adult. The length of pull is very comfortable for me, but my niece found it to be a bit cumbersome (she is tall and skinny too, but only about 9 years old). Most shooters will be able to fire this rifle comfortably, but if you're looking for a trainer for your kid/niece/nephew/other very small person, look elsewhere. Most teens, male or female, should have long enough arms to reach the trigger comfortably.

I shot about 200 rounds through it this week, and my niece put another 40 or 50 rounds through it, which brings us to the reliability factor. It likes shorter, pointier bullets like the American Eagle (by Federal) 38gr hollowpoint hi-velocity, and the 36 grain Federal Bulk Pack hi-velocity. It fed some Winchester bulk 40 grain hollowpoints pretty well, but they are longer and more blunt than the Federal rounds. It was about 90% with Winchester and 99% with Federal. The 64F doesn't mind running dirty--VERY dirty. I generally just wipe the bolt face with a q-tip and a rag, drag a bore snake through it, and add a drop of CLP. Done and done. I went about 10,000 rounds without taking it apart for cleaning and probably didn't need to take it apart then.

Well, mine had some rust on the receiver when I dusted it off, and when I removed the rust with steel wool and 15w40 motor oil, it left a lot of bare metal. Luckily, I had some paint left over from painting my Savage 10FCP. I used an OD base (two good coats) and dusted it with some tan over a handful of straw. Both cans of paint were Krylon Ulra-Flat from Wal-Mart. Behold:
And the whole thing:
My old friend is now good as new, despite digesting about 20,000 rounds of various cheap .22lr ammo over about ten years. If you're in the market for a semi-auto .22, and don't mind not having the extra Gucci gear you can stick on the 10/22, this is definitely the way to go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Drive-by spamming:

Nasty looking rifle, btw.