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The Model '33 rifle was the replacement for the long serving Model '19 rifle, either rifle being seldom found in the U.K.
The very earliest of the 1933 design rifles were strangely and confusingly still known as NRA Model '19s, but of 1933 design, i.e., either referred to as the New Savage Model 1919 NRA, or the Model 19-33. This quirk of nomenclature was fairly quickly rationalised, with the rifle receiving the better-known title of "NRA Model 1933". Throughout the series of rifles, the National Rifle Association of America was involved in the design and promotion of these "Match" target/training rifles, and thus afforded their approval of suitability for such use.
The rifle marked only "Savage NRA Match Rifle" was brought out about 1923 with the same action as the Model 23-A sporting rifle. These were made until 1933 with serial numbers believed to be between 25,000 and 45,000, and with the serial numbers commencing at 45,000 for the Model 19-33.
Savage model 19 target rifle – pre 1933 NRA target/training rifle
1st models had a small rectangular ejection port
2nd models had the oval port, the trigger guard was inletted and the rifle was marked 1919 NRA
3rd models had the oval port, trigger guard was not inletted, nor 1919 NRA on the rifle.
These are general rules, as many sub-variants have been encountered, probably due to using left over parts as we also encounter in 99s.
Many people think early 1919s, 22s and 23s have no serial #. It is there on the back edge of the receiver ring.
The 1919 NRA was updated in 1923 with the 'new 23A' bolt. These 1923 versions were also offered in 22 SHORT, not just the early ones. I am still trying to find out what magazine was sent with the guns in 22 SHORT - I have never seen a magazine for one just marked for 22 SHORT.
From older Savage parts schemtics I found that the Model 19 NRA had 3 major variations, at least in the Savage parts listings. The earlier guns (serial numbers below 25,000) were listed as the Savage Model 19 O.S. (Old Style). To differentiate, the models with serial numbers 25,000 to 45,000 were listed as the Model 19 NRA Match Rifle. I found this from copied pages from the Savage 1951 component parts listing (NUMRICH Parts).
The earlier guns had a smaller trigger pin, and the takedown bolts were longer, attaching directly to the receiver barrel assembly and sandwiching the magazine retaining parts between the stock and barrel/receiver. These also had a double point striker in the bolt. The later models had barrel studs attaching the mag retaining parts, with the takedown screws attaching to the studs. These had a single point striker with twin extractors. Up til 1933 these rifles were characterized by a full length military style stock and looked much the same externally (slight variations to the ejection port). In 1933 a better proportioned half stock was adopted, along with other upgrades, including the speed lock feature. Looking at the post 33 guns on auction sites, I've noticed they were still stamped as Model 19 NRA.
The next two images can be rotated and zoomed, either as initially loaded or full-screen for higher definition.
Slide cursor < > to rotate, and Click to zoom.
The upper image shows a contemporary Unertl 18x target 'scope fitted.
The lower image shows the Redfield type target aperture rear-sight attached by its mount base fitted to the left-hand-side of the receiver, in precisiely the same way as on the latest L144A1 Cadet Rifle manufactured by Savage 85 years later.
DATA TABLE - ALL MEASUREMENTS AS VIEWED
|Designation or Type :|
|Action Type :|
|Length - Overall :|
|Length - Barrel :|
Rifling - No. of Grooves :
|Rifling - Twist & Direction:|
|Rifling - Groove width :|
|Rifling - Land width :|
Rifling - Groove depth at muzzle :
|Sight - Fore :|
|Sight - Rear :|
|Sight - Radius :|
To illustrate the point, we have photographed the rear-sight mounting arrangements of both the Savage NRA Model 1933 and today's Savage-based British L144-A1 Cadet rifle
1933 ....................................................................................................... 2018
Yes, the materials of which the rear-sight has been made have altered, and some aspects of appearance, but the basics are little changed.
The action is here shown, with the serial number visible.
And below, the barrel marks "MODEL 1933 N.R.A. - SAVAGE - .22 LONG RIFLE"
with the proof marks underneath.
The butt plate is a two-screw mounted steel component, with a horizontally ribbed centre section
to prevent slippage in the shoulder, and stamped at the heel with Savage's "SVG" motif.
We illustrate three aspects of the the complete bolt. First from below the bolt handle.
Second; underneath from the left-hand-side.....
....... and third; from above.
Close-ups of the bolt-head face, showing the extractor and ejector, give an idea of the high quality and substantial design of the components.
Economy and profitability in modern manufacture, whilst materially improved, has dictated a sea-change in component design,
as can be seen by comparing the 1933 bolt with that of the aforementioned Savage FVT based latest British Cadet rifle
The cocking-piece is neat and tidy, but one of the smallest to found, and not to easy to grip if it is wished to cock the rifle by hand.
The five-round magazine is of the usual pressed steel variety, easily disassembled for cleaning, and slightly curved to best accommodate and feed the rimfire cartridges.
In true Savage fashion, it is clearly stamped "MOD. 23AA" over "MOD. 1933 NRA" on its left-hand side plate,
and the manufacturer and calibre are confirmed on the base plate as "SAVAGE" over ".22 L.R."
We replicate here a mid 1933 article in the American Rifleman
In the field of small-bore rifles there
has existed a definite void—a gap between the special match rifles, and the cheap arms that no well-informed shooter would take seriously. The finer rifles as developed in recent years leave little to be desired, but they cost more than many shooters can afford to pay. There are a number of moderate-priced rifles which may be adapted for informal target practice, but not one of them quite meets the requirements of competitive match shooting.
Now at last we have a small-bore rifle the design of which has been so carefully worked out and the production so skilfully engineered that it is at once a high-grade and moderate-priced arm, and honourably fills the gap that has existed for so long a time. I refer to the 1933 design of the Model 1919 Savage rifle, with the development of which the N. R. A. has
been closely associated. This new model has a beautiful modern prone stock, a speed lock, an improved action, improved trigger pull, improved sights, and a much larger port in the receiver to permit single loading with ease. The price is $29.75 ready to go on the firing line, after one's favorite shooting sling has been attached.
The Model '19 Savage bolt action repeater was introduced as a small-bore match rifle at Caldwell, N. J., where it was used by members of the American Dewar Team of 1919. Afterward a number of changes were made, principally in the action, to obtain more convenient loading, better cocking, improved ignition and more positive ejection.
This original Model 1919 N. R. A. Savage is the rifle which is so well known to our members. It enjoyed the distinction of being the best-stocked moderately priced small-bore target rifle on the market, and it became deservedly popular for target training purposes. It weighed only 7 pounds; it had a flimsy receiver sight and an unsatisfactory trigger, but it was completely equipped for the target range and it established a -reputation for fine accuracy. The barrel had the Springfield groove width and the Winchester groove diameter, but its weight was less than that of either of these other barrels. The forestock extended to the muzzle of the barrel, which had a bore length of 25 inches. The dimensions of the stock were as follows:
Overall length of stock.................................. 40
Total rifle weight, without sling, about 7 pounds.
Overall length of stock................................ 32⅛
Total rifle weight, without sling, about 8 pounds.
It may be noted that the 1933 stock is ¼ inch longer back of the trigger, but much shorter in overall length. This is because it ends only a couple of inches forward of the swivel band. The sling swivel is fully 16½ inches forward of the trigger. The semibeavertail forestock is 2 inches wide and nearly flat on the bottom. It rests very comfortably in the palm of the hand, and there is no tendency to cant. The grip for the right hand is equally secure. The plain, uncapped pistol grip has a length of 3½ inches and a vertical drop of 1½ inches from the trigger. A neat fillet connects it with the bottom of the stock, and, similarly, the top of the grip is neatly curved to meet the comb. The comb is made thick, and nearly 10 inches long,n to give maximum comfort and security in prone shooting. Large-pawed shooters who want more grip space can easily cut the comb back ⅛ inch, or even ¼ inch. The new stock is very much straighter than the old stock, the drop being ¼ inch less at the comb and ½ inch less at the heel. The large shotgun type butt is protected by a 5⅛ x 1⅜ -inch cross-grooved steel plate, which is set at an angle to give a pitch down of about 1½ inches at the muzzle.
This new stock is very handsome in line and finish. The smooth surface and rich color of the walnut indicate a thoroughly polished and well rubbed oil finish. While pleasing to the eye, the stock is even more pleasant to hold. Peculiarly, considering the scanty heel drop, the rifle is comfortable offhand. It holds extremely well in the standing position. It is still better sitting; and in the prone position it comes into its own. To me the most convincing evidence of its proper design is the fact that my groups from the orthodox prone position were as good as those I fired from rest. This was not true with the scope sight because its greater height increases the drop ¾ inch. However, with the scope I made a 1-1/16" group at 50 yards from the sitting position, which may be taken as further evidence of proper stock dimensions.
The former ejection port in the receiver has been enlarged into a real loading port. It is l⅜ inches long and is cut clear across the top of the receiver, so that single- loading for match shooting is now very convenient. The bolt face is recessed for high-velocity ammunition so that the cartridge head is fully supported. The bolt face and the striker are now made of high-grade heat-treated steel. The striker has a travel of only 3/16 inch, the lock time having been speeded up to less than .002 of a second. A projection on the striker head stops the striker and serves to regulate the depth of blow. Because the jar is relatively light and is absorbed by heavy metal, this rifle may be snapped without harm.
In addition to the handle, which serves also as a locking lug, the bolt has a second locking lug farther to the rear. The action stroke or bolt travel is 1¼ inches. By means of a cam in the bolt head and a pin on the striker, the latter is cocked on the upturn of the bolt handle. This opening motion is a bit rough but not unduly hard. The trigger, which appears unchanged in design, has no take-up, and the pull is short. The pull would just lift a dead weight of 4 pounds. It does not feel as heavy as that because the let- off is clean. The sear serves also as the bolt stop, and a very strong sear spring is used.
The action in general is very satisfactory, being positive and reliable. The extractor never failed in several hundred trials with several brands of ammunition, and the same is true of the feed from the 5-shot magazine. This detachable magazine is held in place by a very simple, effective and convenient spring catch. The regular Savage safety on the right side of the receiver is used. When raised it locks both trigger and bolt, and it is easily depressed by a touch of the thumb.
Good target sights are standard equipment. The front sight is a square-top blade about .070 inch wide. The face is under-cut slightly to prevent light reflection, the former excessive hook effect having been greatly modified. At the extreme rear end of the receiver is a peep sight of new design, made at the Savage factory. It is attached to the top of the receiver by two screws through its extended base, exactly the same as the old Savage No.5 sight and the new Lyman 48-Y.
This new Savage No. 10 sight is made with a long-necked target disc. Knurled knobs, very easy to operate for vertical or lateral adjustments, are provided with half-minute "click" detents. The clicks are very positive, and may be distinctly heard as well as felt. The vertical scale is on the right side, and the lateral scale in front both out of sight until the shooter lowers the gun, changes his position, and crawls up on them. Once in position with his sling tight, the shooter must count the clicks. To change his zero laterally he must rather awkwardly reach over the gun to the left side, the windage knob being ideally located for a left shoulder shooter. There are 6 clicks per complete turn of either knob, the numbered graduations on both scales being equal to two revolutions or 12 clicks. Shorter marks between the numbered marks represent one complete turn of the knob, or three minutes. There are no zero marks or graduations on the knobs, but the easily counted clicks, each giving approximately one-half minute of change, serve the match-shooter's purpose well enough.
Quite contrary to its predecessor, this new sight is well made. There is nothing flimsy about it. It is not only very sturdy, but it should remain rigid because the movable member is supported unusually well. The base of the dovetail measures ½ x ⅝ inch, and the total bearing area is considerably greater. At the same time it is lighter than the Lyman 48-Y sight. I prefer the 48-Y because it does not project up above the gun as does this Savage sight, which rises practically 1½ inches above the receiver. It very rudely punched a hole in my canvas gun case upon the very first introduction. The Lyman 48-Y is ⅜ inch lower and has a larger knob. To mention other differences, the Lyman knob is graduated and the Lyman aperture is brought ⅝ inch further to the rear. The sighting radius is 30½ inches with the Savage sight and 31⅛inches with the 48-Y. It should be remembered, however, that the Savage sight is designed to sell at one half the price of the Lyman 48-Y.
The entire gun is plain but very neat. The only exterior parts which have the appearance of being cheap are the unadorned trigger hole in the stock, the light guard stamping which would look better were it inletted into the wood, and probably the front swivel band around barrel and forestock, which, however, is an excellent sling anchorage, with loop for 1¼" strap. This band does not draw the fore-stock tip against the bottom of the barrel.
The overall length of the barrel and receiver is 30½ inches, as in the earlier model. The 25" barrel proper forms a straight taper from .9365 inch at the breech to .700 inch at the muzzle. The only slot or cut in it is that for the front sight. The stock is attached to the gun by two of the guard screws and by the barrel band around the forestock. The weight of the gun is about 8 pounds, or slightly more, depending upon the density of the walnut in the individual stock This new Savage rifle feels more like the Model 52 Winchester than like the earlier Model '19 Savage.
With the former model, plenty of small groups have been made to justify the expectation of a very satisfactory degree of accuracy with the heavier Model 1933. Machine-rest groups with the new rifle indicate that it is capable of shooting possibles on small-bore targets. The first rifle tested was fired at 50 yards from rest, and it showed a very decided preference for a certain lot of ammunition. The second rifle was tried by three different shooters in an indoor match, and there was no appreciable difference in groups or scores in favor of any one of several brands of ammunition fired on the 50-foot target. Two competitors did as well with the new Savage as with their own match rifles when each rifle was equipped with the Lyman 438 Field scope.
As issued, with the factory iron sights, this new Savage is a practical match rifle, and is about the best training rifle that can be had for less than $30. It is equally desirable as a small-game rifle, being trim and somewhat less clumsy than the customary heavy match rifle. The moderate price of this Savage match rifle leaves some money for the purchase of one of the more modest scope sights. For field shooting the Lyman 438 Field scope would add to the weight and cost but would greatly increase the aiming efficiency, especially for old eyes. For target shooting the added weight of a scope would not be objectionable, while the improved vision and elimination of eye strain would be a tremendous advantage, especially in artificial light.
The new Savage reaches the owner with the barrel already drilled and tapped for Lyman scope bases. It is only necessary to buy the scope with bases for the Savage M. '19, as the Lyman factory makes a special rear base to utilize the screw holes in the receiver. With no other tools than a proper-sized screwdriver, anyone can attach the Lyman Field scope or Lyman 5-A target scope.
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