Stevens and Savage
U.S. Military Rifles and Shotguns
Copyright 2003, John Spangler. All rights reserved
. Stevens and Savage are well known for their sporting arms, but their military arms are often overlooked. Stevens started operations in 1864, and Savage began in 1894. Savage purchased Stevens in 1920, and continued to use many of the their designs and also the Stevens name.
Arthur W. Savage
was born in Jamaica, lived and married in Australia. He worked as a miner, became an inventor (of a torpedo and what became the recoilless rifle, among other things) and eventually moved to Utica, NY as a railroad and manufacturing superintendent. In 1893 he designed a lever action repeating rifle, which evolved into the Savage 99 still in production today. In 1894 he formed Savage Arms Company, in Utica, New York to manufacture his rifle design, later adding other arms to their line. After buying Stevens in 1920 Savage made guns at both the Utica and Chicopee Falls, locations. In 1946 they merged all operations at Chicopee Falls, and in 1959 moved to Westfield, Massachusetts.
Model 1891 Russian Mosin Nagant
Made in the Stevens
factory for Russia,
but purchased by the U.S. Army
750,000 produced 1917-1918
During World War I, the Stevens facilities were turned over to "New England Westinghouse" who produced about 750,000 Russian Mosin Nagant rifles under contract for the Czarist government. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the U.S. government purchased about 280,000 undelivered rifles from New England Westinghouse and Remington. Many of these were issued to training units but a few went to U.S. troops later sent to fight in Russia on the side of the "White Russians" against the Communist "Red Russians". The U.S. issued rifles are marked with U.S. style eagle and ordnance bomb inspector markings.
Stevens Model 416-2 .22 caliber
Marksmanship Training Rifle
10,338 procured 1941-43
Basic rifle marksmanship training was often conducted with .22 caliber rifles. During WWII various models were purchased from Winchester, Remington, and Mossberg in addition to those from Savage.
The Stevens Model 416-2 was a medium weight target quality rifle introduced in 1938. A total of 10,338 were purchased at a cost of $17.98 each between 1941 and 1943.
Savage Lee Enfield
No. 4 Mark I
Made for U.S. Army,
but never issued to U.S. forces
1,030,228 produced 1941-44
The British government desperately needed rifles in 1940, having lost nearly 750,000 small arms during their evacuation from Dunkirk. Savage agreed to manufacture the new Lee Enfield No. 4 Mark I rifles. Between July 1941 and June 1944 they delivered over one million of these rifles (including the slightly modified No. 4 Mark I*)
Although never intended for issue to U.S. military forces, these rifles were made under U.S. contracts, and marked "U.S. PROPERTY" and the Ordnance Bomb. This allowed their manufacture and shipment as "Lend Lease" weapons. The "Lend Lease" allowed shipment of weapons to England while they were in dire financial straits, and unable to make the "cash and carry" purchases permitted under neutrality laws in place prior to U.S. entry into the War in December 1941. The parts made by Savage are marked with a "S" with squared corners, and the serial number include the letter "C" indicating manufacture at Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts.
12 Gage Shotgun
35,306 confirmed purchases 1942-45
This is the "Trench gun" intended for combat or guarding prisoners of war. The 520-30 was also procured as "riot guns" having short barrels but no bayonet lug, and as long barreled training guns.
Stevens 620A 12 Gage
12,174 confirmed purchases 1942-45
This is a "Riot gun" used for guard duty, or for combat. This is a very early example with United States Property spelled out, an ornate ordnance bomb, inspector initials GHS and proof mark "P". The 620A was also produced in "Trench gun" configuration with the bayonet lug and heat shield, and as a long barreled gun for training use. The Model 620A was retained for use after World War II (along with the Winchester Models 97 and 12).
Savage 720 12 Gage
14,527 confirmed purchases 1942-45
This is a "training gun" used to teach aerial gunners how to shoot at moving targets, similar to shooting trap or skeet. This semi-automatic model was based on Browning's patents, and was very similar to the Remington Model 11, and those made in Belgium by FN. These semi-automatic shotguns would not function properly with a bayonet lug and bayonet adding extra weight to the barrel, so these were only made n short barrel "riot gun" and long barrel "training gun" configurations.
Savage Model 24 Rifle-Shotgun Survival Gun
.22 long rifle and .410 shotgun
(Small quantity procured circa 1950)
This was a standard commercial design purchased by the Air Force circa 1949 for use as survival weapons by U.S. Air Force crews operating in remote areas. This example is marked USAF on the bottom of the frame. Later, specially designed survival guns were adopted (the M4 bolt action rifle in .22 Hornet caliber, and the M6 over-under .22 Hornet rifle /.410 gage shotgun ).
Savage's Other WW2 Arms Production
Besides the Rifles and shotguns shown here, Savage produced
1,501,000 Thompson Submachine
295,361 .50 caliber Browning Machine Guns (1941-45)
14,800 .30 caliber Browning Machine Guns (1940-41)
Also: Bomb Fuzes, Rocket Nozzle assemblies,
Eric Archer, "U.S. Military Shotguns of WW2", Gun Digest, 1988.
Bruce N. Canfield, U.S. Infantry Weapons of the First World War, LIncoln, RI, 2000.
Bruce N. Canfield, U.S. Infantry Weapons of World War II, Lincoln, RI,1994.
Jay Kimmel, Savage and Stevens Arms: Collectors History, Portland, OR, 1993.
Ian Skennerton, The Lee Enfield Story, Pique, OH, 1993