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· Registered
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was browsing through the site and found this odd thing:

Does anyone have any further information on it?

The seller is speculating that it's a Savage experimental design from WW I, which would certainly seem possible given that Britain, France and Russia all contracted with US manufacturers to produce rifles at that time. But I know nothing about the history of the Savage M1920 which this rifle's action certainly seems to resemble; was that action developed and available for use circa 1914 or so when the British were looking for US companies to manufacture the P14?

A rifle that more closely resembled the MkIII SMLE, as this one does, would certainly seem attractive as a substitute standard compared to the P14.

It wouldn't seem likely that Savage would have thought there was any money to be made after the British stopped contracting for P14s, nor in the post-war years when there were plenty of MkIIIs available and little or no military funding in most nations.

Could this be an early WW II item, looking to produce a substitute for the MkIII prior to the start of No4 production at Savage?

Lacking an extra $9500 burning a hole in my pocket, I guess the pictures will have to do...

· Registered
637 Posts
In 1914 a group of American businessmen calling themselves the "Imperial Contracting Company" approached the British War Office with a plan to manufacture SMLE rifles in the U.S. They would use a number of US companies and farm out the component work. They received a contract for 400,000 rifles and were given ten SMLE rifles to act as patterns. Nothing ever came of this contract and the scheme ended with much recrimination from the government.

I believe this rifle is perhaps a proposal as part of that plan, built by Savage using a Springfield type receiver as the SMLE receiver was difficult to manufacture. This is supported by the fact that parts such as the rear sight and nose cap are Enfield manufactured and inspection marked. These would have come from one of the pattern arms supplied by the War Office. After all, wht make minor parts on a prototype when examples are available?

As for the magazine, if it is a No.4 than the original was probably lost with the trigger guard.

There is a new book to be published shortly by Anthony Vanderlin on foreign contract rifles manufactured in the US in WWI and the full story of the Imperial Contarcting Company is told in that. I supplied much of the material from British archives.


· Registered
536 Posts
I believe this rifle and another similar one were discussed on these Boards a few years ago (maybe 5?) According to the poster they were found together in a back room of closed down gunshop.I believe in Conn.They were both missing some pieces.There was wild speculation at the time as to what they would bring at auction.

· Banned
10,256 Posts
I have pictures from when John Wall (or was it John Sheehan?) found it in Connecticut. If anyone wants to see his original pictures, I can post them.

He paid next to nothing for it, made decent money on it (big for the time anyway). Surprising the Gasiors have not got more on it considering their usual "extended" prices.

Genuine? 100000%.

Surprised Paul Breakey hasn't got it :)


· Silver Bullet member
55,508 Posts

i've owned two savage's- 1920 -1926- like new- tiny actions light weight guns, would buy another if i come across one.
looks like that style action to me? pictures a little hard or angle could be different.
but i wouldn't think the action long enough TO, or strong in locking lugs enough in the original 300 savage length for 303?
UNDER THE HAND GUARD barrel may support the strength needed? haven't held that cartridge in a about 6 years.- or compared it to 303.
the savage bolt face lies 0.130 inch behind the barrel-leaving little encircled by bolt rim walls- breech-not coned- didn't really end up with much more strength that the springfield and came no where near matching the Mauser's minimal cartage head protrusion.
any leakage gas dumped into raceway of receiver- only flared cocking piece knob offered semblance of gas protection. recoil lug separate clamped in place and cylindrical receiver uses bar stock like Remington 30 years later.
had a one piece bolt forged threaded at the rear simpler than mauser or springfield. more like the Newton. two locking lugs like springfield but larger., non rotary type extractor, cam-ming was woefully inadequate not enough to ensure easy extraction in all conditions.gun could not be cocked again by simply raising lowering the bolt handle. with a shorter lock time than the springfield safety did not block firing pin directly or trigger but blocked the sear like a shotgun of the hammerless type. weight 5 pounds 14 Oz's light 1920, 1926- 6 12 oz's but could not chamber the 3006 or 270 hot new cal's of the time."bolt action"
i don't think Bannerman would have had enough savage actions to build these and make a profit. MAY HAVE BEEN A MODIFIED LENGTH ACTION FOR SHOW TO BUYERS?
over all length 8.66 inches (9.07 with recoil bracket)
length of loading port/ ejection port 2.70
ring dim. 1.425
barrel threads-0.90-12(square form)
recoil bearing area 0.46
guard screws 1/4 x 28
bolt shear area rotation 92 degrees- cam foreword-0.16 with leverage 6.5 to 1.- bolt travel 4.02 inches -cocking on opening 0.592.
lug bearing area 0.111
bolt dim. 0700
lug dim. 0.968
bolt face recess 0.044 in.
mag length 2.71
cap. 5
receiver group 20.6 oz
bolt group 11.8 oz
mag group 7.1 oz
total action weight 39.5 oz lock time 6.7 milliseconds
all from Stuart Otteson book the "bolt action"
reference to that it 1920 evolved from longer action military type photo 03 springfield.
pictures of yours no thumb safety of the 1920-<><dk
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