The Savage Model 5

We have had a Savage Model 5 .22LR sitting in the Armoury for a few weeks so once the morning jobs were finished it was time to haul it out and take a closer look.

This particular Model 5 is dated 1948 so approaching 70 years old and a cursory glance over the rifle whilst confirming the serial number for my register had shown a reasonable albeit filthy little rimfire however I had left it a that.

With the stock and bolt removed I could truly marvel at the filth caked onto the somewhat complex system of levers used to control the fire and feed of the rifle. The Model 5 is a bolt action rifle, apparently designed to accept .22LR through to .22 Shorts with twin extractor claws and a tubular magazine located under the barrel.

Savage M5Here is the Savage, at first glance it is in fine condition and has not been screw cut. I loaded a handful of dummy rounds through the aperture on the underside of the magazine tube and it cycled them perfectly first time however second time it flatly refused to feed anything.

This particular example is missing its front and rear sights and has also been fitted with an elevated top sight bracket as opposed to utilising the standard side mount type. Looking at the mount it is machined from steel and does not look to be a mass produced item, probably produced by a ‘Shooting SHED’ type many years ago, it is always good to see yesteryear bespoke work. I am really quite taken by this rifle and cannot wait to get a period ‘scope on top and get it down the range for a test fire and zero. The round feed system is quite fascinating, as the bolt is opened the fired round is ejected and as the bolt reaches it’s stop and interlock drops and allows the next round to be pushed into the feed point where it is picked up as the cock on close bolt is closed again. It has a decent trigger as well which is always good and the sear appears to have some adjustment.

A closer inspection revealed that the magazine tube was being pushed away from the stop bar when the magazine was loaded to approaching capacity, the tube would move back and forth by a few millimetres however this was easily rectified by slackening the forward sling hanger which is attached to the tube. Once slack the tube could be pushed back to its optimal position and the  sling hanger pushed forward until tight behind the front hanger. Once tightened the magazine tube was held captive and the feed issues resolved.

At this stage I had two choices, either strip the rifle entirely or shoot it, I chose the latter and the only further work it received was a good barrel clean to remove the surface dirt, spiders, whatever was up the bore. A Bore-scope inspection to confirm the barrel was in reasonable condition and reassembly. I added a ‘scope and roughly zeroed it with a laser pointer and it was good to go.

Range results: Shot at 25m it took a handful of shots to get the little Savage on zero and from that point it shot like a winner, round after round leaving ragged little groups. The short stroke and what seems like a never ending supply of bullets (15)  from the magazine makes this an absolute joy to shoot. I will strip it down at some point and document the finer points of the feed system, until then it will be tested with some additional types of ammunition and I will add some period open sights.

6 Replies to “The Savage Model 5”

  1. I am also interested in putting open sights on a model 5, have you made any progress in the last few years ? Love to see what you came up with.

    1. Hi Mike,

      I got as far as sorting out a range of possible sight candidates, however I did not fit them as they rifle shoots so well with an oldish looking 6X ‘scope

      The issue as ever with working with firearms for a living is finding time to actually get out and shoot my own rifles. We have found 4 old rifles for ourselves over the last few months and to date not one of them has been shot although we did put some rounds through a pre-war Savage (Model 23D from memory) Chambered in 22 Hornet. The rifle was huge fun to shoot as well.


  2. Hello. Interested in the model 5 as well. Found one in a gun shop in my town. What’s the value of a very good original condition model 5? Thank you.

    1. Brian, they are worth whatever you are prepared to pay. Here in the UK that is not a lot, in the USA they seem to command very good prices.


    1. Phil, it was probably an ‘off the shelf’ item all those years ago. I usually start with the auction sites and end up making something if all else fails.


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