We continue our story about companies, one way or another related to the production of automatic rifles based on the AR-15, legendary rifle Eugene Stoner, which is not produced in the West except by a very lazy arms manufacturer. Respectively, and firms, who produce it, lots of, and firms of different. There are recently created and under the brand name, and there are such, whose history was included in the World Arms History Fund.
Again, there are better known companies, but there are less, but just as interesting, and sometimes even more interesting. One of these firms is Savage Arms Company, one of the oldest American enterprises, which, except small arms, also produces various types of ammunition, as well as accessories to it.
The firm is headquartered in Westfield, Massachusetts, and one of the direct production units of the company - in Lakefield (province of Ontario, Canada). It was founded in 1894 year by a certain Arthur Savage, a man with a very, so to speak, unusual biography, with which we will begin our story.
Arthur V. Sevidj
Arthur William Savage is born. 13 May 1857 g. in the city of Kingston on the island of Jamaica. Moreover, his father was the British educational commissioner of the black slaves who received freedom there. Savage Sr. also did not spare money for his son's education, and he studied in England, Britain and the USA, in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating, Arthur Savage married Annie Bryant, from whom he had four daughters and four sons.
Rifle Savage M1894
At thirty, Arthur Savage and his family for some reason went to Australia. If it was adventure, then he was able to fully satisfy her there: often lived in a gold digger's van, and then for about a year he lived among a tribe of local natives, either as a hostage, then as a guest. But something else is important here: Savage eventually became the owner of perhaps the largest cattle ranch in Australia and, began to receive corresponding income from him.
Patent US502018 1893 g. for the Savage M1894 rifle. Appearance
And he would live happily in Australia in a two-story house with columns in the colonial British style, but then he was again carried to the USA. AT 1892 g. he settled in Utica, New York, where he got hired on the Utica Belt Line Street, and worked so well there, that he eventually got the position of her superintendent there.
And then two years later, Savage and his eldest son Arthur John took, and they opened their own weapons production, which was named Savage Arms. Moreover, they were not afraid even of competition with such firms, like Colt and Winchester. Although one cannot say, so that they have no experience in arms, because, working on the railroad, Arthur also managed to work part-time at a local arms factory.. And before that, by order of the Colt company, he made a rifle to participate in a competition for a new rifle for the US Army.
Its development did not enter service., but already then, that he attracted the attention of such a well-known company at that time speaks for itself. So he had money too, to do construction, and some experience, and, what, undoubtedly, clear design ability in the field of arms.
Patent US502018 1893 g. for the Savage M1894 rifle. General arrangement of the shutter and magazine
This first model was followed by a second model 1894 g. She also, like the previous one, it was recharged by means of the Henry's staple movement, but at the same time it did not have an underbarrel, and the rotary magazine.
Rotary shop looks like a drum, but actually very different from him. The drum is also a magazine, and chamber, while in the rotor the cartridges are only stored and already from it with the help of the shutter are fed into the chamber. Important, that in such a store the cartridges are located without touching each other, not so, as in the "Winchester" - one by one. That is, Savage's bullet nose could not pierce the primer of the cartridge located behind, and if so, then the new rifle could use the most advanced ammunition at that time, that is, cartridges with pointed bullets.
And Savage himself did such a patron, and he received the designation .303 Savage. Like many rifle cartridges of those years, he had a rim, but his bullet had a pointed shape. It revealed, that the new cartridge is superior in energy and ballistic performance to the Winchester cartridge .30-30, although not very significant. Nevertheless, as a hunting cartridge, it retained its popularity until the 30s of the XX century..
The model 1895 followed a year later., produced by Marlin Repeating Arms in quantity 9600 units. And now she made a real sensation in the American arms market.! At first, she did not have any protruding parts, Secondly, its entire mechanism was most reliably sheltered from dust and dirt inside the receiver; that is, this guaranteed its reliable and uninterrupted operation in any conditions.
Interesting, that the trigger of this rifle was not just covered, but generally absent as a detail: Savage's rifle had a drummer design, which ensured a decrease in the mass of its moving parts at the time of the shot, and as a result - increased shooting accuracy. Rotary shop on 8 cartridges were also a novelty then, as well as the indicator of the number of cartridges, located on the left side of the receiver.
Rifle patent US634034 1899 g.
Then Savage Arms with the model 1895 won the New York State National Guard Competition, but because of the undercover intrigues, the guards never received it, and remained with the old Springfield rifles M 1873. She "did not go" to the army either, having lost in the competition of army rifles to the Norwegian rifle "Krag-Jorgensen". However, this did not affect the popularity of the new rifle and they bought it very well.
And then in 1899 year, the M1899 rifle appeared with a magazine for five rounds, with a shortened barrel and a modified sight and now she literally conquered the American hunting weapon market. FROM 1899 by 1998 year it was produced in the amount of more than one million copies for cartridges of various calibers. That is, what only she did not shoot. It was also the cartridges .303 Savage, and .30-30 Winchester, and later and stronger patron .300 Savage, his competitor is the patron .308 Winchester, and .358 Winchester, and 7-mm-08 Remington, and 8-mm .32-40 Ballard.
Moreover, in 1899 year Savage offered to remake any previously purchased rifle or carbine model 1895 years in model configuration 1899 years for a fee of only 5 dollars.
Hunting rifle М1899
Engraved receiver of the M1899 rifle
However, This rifle still fell into the hands of the soldiers. During the First World War, the Montreal Home Guard was armed with M1899-D "Musket" rifles. Have released them in quantity 2500 pcs, and they all had a completely military look: long barrel, covered with a receiver plate along its entire length, Well, of course, bayonet mount. Moreover, the guards had to acquire these rifles., for your own money and at the same time engrave your own name and surname on them.
Savage Rifle for the Montreal Home Guard
Here it should be noted, what, competing with the Krag-Jorgensen rifle, Savage also had competitors among the Americans., and one of them is John X. Blake from New York, created a rifle somewhat similar to his own, but with a sliding bolt direct action. The shutter here hardly makes sense to describe, but the store for him turned out from his creator and indeed very original. Like Savage's rifle, he was rotary (so the members of the competition committee did not even know, what is the correct name for it), only Blake's rotor with cartridges was removable, and represented ... a clip, loaded into the store.
Blake M1898 rifle patent US608023
Blake M1898 rifle patent US608023
Patent US797400 1905 g. on the clip for Blake's rifle
To load the rifle, the soldier should first open the lid of the semicircular store on it, with a latch, then take a cylindrical clip, resembling a revolver drum, only without walls (it contained seven rounds .30 Blake), and insert it into the store like this, so that it is fixed inside him. Now you could slam the lid and shoot. And although Blake's store held seven rounds, and another one could also be inserted into the barrel, the American military did not like such a complicated loading process, and his sample rifle 1892 lost the competition.
Blake's Rifle Clip
Empty clip for Blake's rifle.
Clip with cartridges in the receiver
Blake rifle magazine lid hinges and single-fire to high-speed switch lever.
Its mechanism was designed too complicated., in particular, having a switch from single-shot mode to "Rapid" mode - that is, high-speed shooting. During single shooting, the bolt alternately pushed cartridges into the chamber, the clip was turning, a new cartridge was fed to the feed line, and spent cartridges were thrown away.
Blake's rifle bolt
When firing at high speed, the rifle acted exactly the same., but the cartridge clip rose to the level of the feed line, why empty cartridges were not thrown away, and remained in the cage. She was removed along with the sleeves, and a fraction of a second was saved on the shooting process. If desired, the soldier could even switch the rifle to manual reloading mode.. Then, with a completely shot and filled cartridge case, it would be possible by moving the shutter one by one to throw out all the empty cases from it.
That is, the design was clearly unnecessarily complicated without any gain in performance.. In the end, no army, neither the American Navy was interested in the Blake rifle. She did not use, unlike the Savage rifle, in demand and on the market for commercial weapons.
Manliher-Schenauer M1903- the only rifle with a rotary magazine, fought. Used in the Greek army
However, the popularity of the Savage rifle was associated not only with its high consumer properties, but also with well-organized advertising, how it was, eg, and in the case of the Colt revolvers. And it was like this, that a Cheyenne chieftain from a reservation in Wyoming named Bear, offered Arthur Sevij to sell him a batch of rifles for a very low price, but he promised, that for this his Indians will advertise his rifles as the best.
Savage turned out to be a reasonable man and agreed with this proposal. And everyone won. The Indians got cheap and high quality rifles, and the company - excellent advertising, because it was with her rifles that the Cheyenne participated in the performances, talking about life in the Wild West. Furthermore, it was after talking with the Indians that he came up with its memorable and very suitable logo for America - the profile of the head of an Indian in a headdress of eagle feathers, the image of the same Bear, became a personal gift from the leader to Savage.
To be continued…
/Vyacheslav Shpakovsky, topwar.ru/