Savage Arms

Savage Arms
Industry Firearms
Founded 1894 (1894)
Headquarters Westfield, MA
Products Rifles, Shotguns
Parent Vista Outdoor
Website Savage Arms

The Savage Arms Company is a firearms manufacturing company based in Westfield, Massachusetts, with a division located in Canada. The company makes a variety of rimfire and centerfire rifles, as well as marketing the Stevens single-shot rifles and shotguns. They may be best known for the Model 99 hammerless lever-action rifle, no longer in production, and the very popular .300 Savage sporting cartridge, which was the parent case for the .308 Winchester cartridge.


Savage Arms Company - Utica, New York - 1904

Arthur Savage founded Savage Arms in 1894, Utica, New York. Within 20 years, they were producing rifles, handguns, and ammunition.[1] Savage introduced the first hammerless lever-action rifle, the Model 1895, derived from Arthur Savage's Model 1892 rifle that he had designed for Colt in a failed bid for a US Army rifle contract that instead was won by the Krag–Jørgensen design.[2] The Model 1895 won a New York National Guard contract, but the contract was cancelled due to political controversy.[3] The Model 1895 was developed into the even more successful Model 1899, later renamed Model 99, which remained in production until 1998.

Savage was one of six companies to participate in the US Army trials for a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, and named one of the two finalists before losing out to Colt's design, which would become the M1911 pistol. Savage marketed a series of .32 and .380 caliber pocket pistols, the Models 1907, 1915, and 1917 based on the same patents as their .45 caliber prototype. Savage merged with the Driggs-Seabury Ordnance Company during World War I and produced Lewis machine guns at Driggs-Seabury's former plant in Sharon, Pennsylvania.[1] Savage also produced Model 1899 muskets for the Montreal Home Guard during World War I.[4]

In 1920, Savage bought Stevens Arms. In 1939, Savage introduced the Model 24 combination gun (a configuration uncommon in the U.S.), which sold over a million copies as of 1983.[5] Savage was one of the few U.S. makers of affordable double barrel shotguns, including the Fox Model B and Model 311, and produced rifles and shotguns under house brand names for large store chains.

In July 1921, a mortgage securing five promissory notes, each for $21,416 were filed in the County Clerk's office in Utica showing that the Savage Arms Corporation had purchased a "number of buildings erected by the government" during World War I for the purpose of enlarging the output of Lewis machine guns at the plant. The buildings included two large four-story brick structures, five large storage sheds and one office building, a concrete mill building, steel storage building, power extension plant, shooting gallery and steel water tank with capacity of 100,000 gallons. The notes were due in 1927.[6]

World War II

During World War II, Savage turned again to military production, making heavy munition. Savage made most of the Thompson submachine guns used in World War II. Savage also produced the British No. 4 Lee–Enfield bolt-action rifle; though marked "U.S. PROPERTY", these rifles were never used by the US military and were instead sent to Britain under the Lend-Lease program. As quality wood was earmarked for military gun stock production, Savage produced some Model 24 .22/.410 combo guns and Model 94 single barrel shotguns with stocks molded from Tenite plastic. After the war, it produced the first motorized lawnmower.[1]


From the 1960s to the 1980s, the company had a variety of owners. Savage eventually ran into financial trouble in 1988 and filed for bankruptcy protection.[1] Production was then reduced to the basic Model 110 bolt-action rifle, and model 69N 12ga. tactical pump shotgun (which is now a $20,000.00 collectors firearm).

Savage Arms Company - Rifles - Utica, New York - 1904

A turn-around began in 1995 with the company returning to private ownership, led by Ronald Coburn, previously of Smith & Wesson.

21st century

In 2002, the company started selling a factory-installed, safe, user-adjustable trigger, called the AccuTrigger.

The AccuStock, an aluminum stock embedded rail system to further enhance action stability and accuracy, was introduced by Savage in 2009.[7] This new technology is now available on several of their models.

In 2003, the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence awarded Savage the Manufacturer of the Year'.[1]

The Savage 93R17 BTVS was awarded the "Best New Rifle" in the "Best of the Best" presentation by Shooting Times, Sporting Gun, and Shooting Gazette magazines May 15, 2007 at the E. J. Churchill Shooting School in the U.K.

Ron Coburn, then chairman and CEO of Savage Sports Corporation was honored by SHOT Business Magazine and Time4Media outdoor media group as their "2007 Man of the Year". On February 5, 2013, Coburn announced that he was stepping down after a 25-year tenure as chairman and CEO of Savage Sports Corporation.[8] On February 6, 2013, Savage Sports announced the appointment of Ron Johnson as its new Chief Executive Officer. Johnson most recently served as President of the Sporting Group within Alliant Techsystems ("ATK"). ATK's Sporting Group markets firearm accessories and ammunition under brands that include Weaver Optics, Federal Premium, Speer Ammo and Blazer.[8] ATK announced the purchase of Savage for $315 million on May 13, 2013. With the purchase, Johnson remained with Bowtech, who was not part of the sale, and Al Kasper began tenure as CEO.[9]

Canadian exports

According to company officials, the Canadian division of Savage Arms exports 97 percent of its rifles, mostly to the U.S, as of 1997.[10]

Arms types



Rimfire rifles

Bolt-action rifles

Various other

Discontinued products

Since Savage is one of the older American arms companies still in commercial production, it would be exhaustive to list the number of models no longer in production made by Savage under its own name and under tradenames for retail outlets. Those most notable and still in wide use today include:

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Savage Arms: the definition of accuracy: from riches to rags to honors," by Carolee Anita Boyles, Shooting Industry, September 2003
  2. Mercaldo, Luke; Firestone, Adam; Vanderlinden, Anthony (2011). Allied Rifle Contracts in America. Wet Dog Publications. pp. 189–190. ISBN 0-9707997-7-2.
  3. Mercaldo, Luke; Firestone, Adam; Vanderlinden, Anthony (2011). Allied Rifle Contracts in America. Wet Dog Publications. pp. 190–194. ISBN 0-9707997-7-2.
  4. Mercaldo, Luke; Firestone, Adam; Vanderlinden, Anthony (2011). Allied Rifle Contracts in America. Wet Dog Publications. p. 202. ISBN 0-9707997-7-2.
  5. Wallack, LR. "Sixty Million Guns". 1983. In Gun Digest Treasury, Harold A. Murtz, editor, DBI Books. 1994 p.197 ISBN 0873491564
  6. "Cradle of Syracuse Industries". Syracuse Journal. Syracuse, New York. July 23, 1921.
  7. "AccuStock, Big News from Savage Arms for 2009" Randy Wakeman,
  8. 1 2 "". Savage CEO Ron Coburn Announces Retirement. Retrieved 8 Feb 2013.
  10. Testimony of Barrie King, Vice-President and General Manager, to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, November 24, 1997.
  12. 1 2 Smith (1973), p.270.

Smith, Joseph E. (1973). Small Arms Of The World (10th Revised Edition). Harrisburg PA (USA): Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-88365-155-6. 

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