Re: Savage 1899 & 99 Gunsmithing
Thanks for the reply.
About 12 years ago, my wife went crazy at a gunshow and bought an old take-down 99, in 300 Savage. (I told her not to!)
Well, we found out that it fired and ejected OK, but that when levering a round into the chamber, there was a real hard "stop-and-hitch" just as the round was entering the chamber. Upon research, we found that this is not uncommon with the take down models, because something in the take down connection wears out and eventually creates problems. It can only be fixed by a really good gunsmith.
The internet was in its infancy, but after a long search, we found a guy somewhere in New England, who worked on nothing but 99s. He did everything. Total rebuilds, total spring replacements (including the rotary spring), rebarreling, relining, conversions, the works.
I talked to him on the phone, and he told me that he could fix the problem, but that it took rewelding and metal work, and would cost about $300. He also said it would take four to six months wait time, because he was working 6 days a week and could not keep up with the demand.
Since she only paid $700 for this rifle, she decided to sell it.
The gunsmith was pretty old, and so I imagine he is out of business now. But, I'm surprised that nobody has taken his place.
I've never been a gunsmith, but I have some practical advice to someone getting in the business. Doctors and lawyers learned this a long time ago. Doctors and lawyers routinely work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, plus a full or half day every weekend. That's what it takes to be successful in the business. But, they finally came to the conclusion that if they had to work those horrible hours, then they might as well specialize in something narrow. Specialization results in higher fees per hour, plus repeat type work, creating efficiency. The really good specialists are always covered up with work.
Were I just a young gunsmith starting out, I would buy buy several worn out 1899s and 99 Savages, and totally and thoroughly master them. Learn to take them apart and put them back together, replace every spring, correct simple and complicated problems, including headspacing issues and rebarreling, and then put a big website on the internet.
Owners of older Savage 99s (especially the 1899s) are like antique car owners. They are fanatically in love with them, and will spend whatever it takes to get them fixed.
I'll bet the work would come pouring in.
I recognize that the ones made in the last 30 years of production rarely have problems, but the ones made during the first 60 years of production normally do. Especially the ones in .30-30 (which are in very high demand), routinely have headspacing issues and worn out parts. (I guess that during the Depression, they got shot alot!)
Oh well, just my thoughts.