Ah, the Savage 24... a Downhome O/U
February 13, 2009
I've long had a thing for the Savage 24 and any of its variants.
This would be a rifle over shotgun combo firearm.
There've been a bunch of guns made along these lines, but the S24 rules.
It's main models are/were the .22/.410, the .22mag/20-ga and the .30-30/12-ga. Whooo-eeee! Those are all sweet set-ups.
Most O/U's are fancy lad shotguns. They're fine, I'm sure. But I usually only need one shot. What I need more often is two guns. Unlike fancy lads, who have strictly delimited things that they do, I have widely diverging field situations arise. (A bird dog that doesn't also hunt rabbits...what, are they nuts?)
I've written about this gun here at OYB before, but I thought I'd written more. I didn't find much when I searched my own site. Huh? (I hope I have the Savage 99 covered better!)
I saw a .22/.410 in a gunshop last Xmas time with a cracked stock for $250. It was the Bakelite version. Odd yet with a certain charm. And that would be a bargain. Still, it might not be just the right item for me.
This gun came to mind because when I mention my longing for such a critter to my brother, he always says, Well, what would you use it for? Welll...I took Henry out hunting for a coyote this evening...
We've been finding a wide range of lovely roadkill furbearers and tasty critters in the past year. I've salvaged and preserved several gorgeous furs from these animals. The most recent was a red fox. Man, it's something. I've only rarely seen a fox killed by a car, like maybe a couple times in my life til now. This one now has a place of honor in the house. So plush.
It got me thinking about a coyote and a beaver. To round out the collection. (We have a mink and muskrat already.)
Local people have beavers taking out the trees in their backyards along the local river. Perhaps I could lighten the load on the river by one big 'un. They're making quite a comeback. Their pelts aren't worth any money. $15 today...when it was $35 in 1976. Sigh. But a fur is still a thing of beauty and will endure for years, longer than a meal from a game animal. So I am thinking of trapping a token beaver.
Well, same thing with a coyote. I know of a local wild area that is home to a dozen of them. A friend of mine went turkey hunting there and surprised a bunch of them attacking a husky. They let it go when he came up. I was mt-biking on the trails there last fall when the local church bell went off...and so did various dens of coyotes. It was amazing. There isn't much human activity in this area so the wild scene rolls as hard as it likes. One wouldn't be missed. And it's heavy winter fur time.
Henry and I went to the gun range to verify that our target .22 rifle was sighted in. I shot a nice 1" bullseye group at 50 yards, which seemed about right. Then we headed out in late afternoon to sit in the big field and make some distressed rabbit calls on my ol' reed. I brought along the .22 and highpowered, hollowpoint hunting ammo. I also brought my old 12-gauge singleshot for a more urgent shot. So we had two guns...where one Savage 24 would have done perfect duty on its own. We didn't see any coyotes but we did see a bunch of turkeys, toms among them. Come springtime the same Sav-24 would still do perfect duty, in case we saw a coyote among the turkeys. (But the fur wouldn't be prime then and I wouldn't take the shot, so, so much for that.) Still, it made me smile. The scene said "Savage 24" about as clearly as it could. But...two sweet old guns did the job, too. I had a nice helping hand along with me. On my own it would have been awkward.
What about getting a .30-30/12-ga. then buy one of those .22 inserts that convert any .30 barrel into a .22. Oooh!
Then...it's illegal but I also dream about fabricating a pistol grip and wire folding stock to replace the butt-stock on a gun like this, turning it into a versatile, pouchable camp-folder like the old Marble's Game-Getter, which was banned by ATF ordinance even though it was never used in crime more than any other gun-type as far as I've heard.
Savage 24: a true backwoods service-duty O/U.
Deluxe model of Sav 24. ...A bit too fancy for me. I don't see it doing much duty in fence-climbin' or swamp muckin'.
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