The .300 Savage

By Chuck Hawks

The .300 Savage was introduced in 1921 and it quickly became one of the classic deer rifle cartridges, as well as an all-around big game cartridge. It was designed to out perform the .30-30 Winchester and approximate the .30-06 ballistics of the time (150 grain bullet at 2700 fps) in a cartridge short enough to operate in the Savage Model 99 lever action rifle. Later, in the 1950's, the .300 Savage became the basis for experiments by the US Army that resulted in the development of the (T-65) .308 Winchester cartridge.

With the demise of the Savage Model 99 rifle the .300 has become an orphan. However, it is still a good cartridge. The Hornady Superformance load makes it the approximate equal of the .308 Win. (150 grain SST at 2740 fps)

The .300 Savage case is quite modern in appearance. It is designed for short actions, has a sharp 30 degree shoulder angle and a short neck to maximize powder capacity.

Factory loads are offered in 150 and 180 grain bullet weights. As currently factory loaded by Winchester and Remington, the 150 grain spitzer bullet starts at 2,630 fps with 2,303 ft. lbs. of energy. At 200 yards the velocity is 2,095 fps and the energy is 1,462 ft. lbs.

The 180 grain spitzer bullet starts at 2,350 fps with 2,205 ft. lbs. of energy. At 200 yards the velocity is 1,940 fps and the energy is 1,495 ft. lbs.

Reloaders can better the factory ballistics, in some cases substantially. Medium burning rate rifle powders are recommended for the .300 Savage. Examples include IMR 3031, IMR 4064, H4895, and VIHT N-140.

Here are some specifications of interest to reloaders: bullet diameter .308", maximum COL 2.600", maximum case length 1.871", MAP 46,000 cup. It is wise to full length resize cases to be used in Savage 99 rifles, as this action locks at the rear and allows some case stretch.

The 6th edition of the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading shows that their 150 grain bullets can be driven to a MV of 2300 fps by 36.5 grains of IMR 4064 powder, or to a MV of 2800 fps by a maximum charge of 44.0 grains of IMR 4064.

Hornady data for their 180 grain bullets shows a beginning load of 30.3 grains of IMR 4064 for a MV of 1900 fps, and a maximum load of 39.8 grains of IMR 4064 for a MV of 2400 fps. All of these Hornady loads were developed in Remington cases using Federal 210 primers and were tested in a Model 99 rifle with a 22" barrel.

Note: A full length article about the .300 Savage can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2005, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.