325 / Savage
Stevens 325 : After WW-2, Savage designed a whole new simpler rifle made with many stamped steel parts, this became the Stevens model 325. The one unique thing about this rifle was the barrel retaining nut. The word is (but not confirmed) that they initially used machine gun barrels for this model that were left over from their sub-contractorship wartime production. That's apparently where the now-standard Savage barrel nut came from, since that application was common for military type machine guns.
Some of their earlier pre-war models like the Savage model 40 and 45, used detachable magazines, however the magazines used for this new model was a totally different utilizing a new stamped out sheet steel design.
These bolt action, removable magazine fed, economical rifles were first marketed under the Stevens name, being introduced in 1947 and ran under that model (with improvements identified by suffix letters to the model) until 1949. It was only produced in the 30-30 caliber. The models 322 series were made in 22 Hornet only and again introduced in 1947, running parallel with the model 325.
It was designed fit a nitch for an economical hunting rifle that would handle only cartridges in the 35,000 PSI range. The bolt handle was distinctive in that it somewhat copied the European Mannlicher butter-knife handle. The locking bolt head utilized one forward locking lug and a top guide rib. This bold head had a milled slot in the LH lower quarter to allow the ejector to clear the extractor and eject the case at full rearward movement of the bolt. The bolt was removed by opening the bolt, drawing it fully rearward and pulling the trigger. The receiver was slotted thru the rear bridge like a Mannlicher-Schoenauer. The extractor was a stamped metal wrap around "C" type with the RH hook a dimple that was broached on the rear to form a sharp extraction surface, and the LH side a slight bearing pad to hold the rim.
The stock was made of hardwood (not walnut) and most were stained to appear the color of walnut, they had no checkering or provisions for mounting a sling. The trigger guard/floor plate was a stamped sheet metal unit that had a section at the center of the magazine area radiused upward into the stock to form finger notches on both sides to facilitate grasping the magazine for removal. On these magazines were shallow horizontal grooves to also facilitate a grasping surface.
The stock in photo below of the gun, has been stripped and refinished, but with no stain.
|Stevens model 325|
The magazine was a single column, 3 shot, stamped out removable unit made from a single sheet of metal folded like a box and riveted together. The early magazines had no markings on them at all. There was a magazine release lever at the rear of the magazine well of the trigger guard.
|Butter-knife bolt handle & birch wood of the original 325|
There were 2 different rear sights. The 325 appears to
have first used one that was threaded into the top of the barrel like the early
Model 15, 22 single shots and was also used on the 325A and B. The 325 C appears to have used a
regular stamped steel one which utilized the dovetail. Front early sights were a screwed on ramp
and blade combination. Later
the front sight ramp was dovetailed and the front sight used on the model 99 was added.
The make/model and caliber designation was marked on the LH side of the receiver.
If someone drills and taps it for the later scope mounts, there will usually be no
model or caliber designation showing as the scope base covers them up. You
can also tell if it was drilled/tapped other than factory IF the holes go thru
and deface any of the factory maker/model markings on the receiver side.
Also replacement rear sights are something that can be added later in the gun's life and those would normally be made by Lyman or Marbles, so these would have not been factory, so do not use them as being any significance in dating the gun.
|Early screw retainer type rear sight||Late dovetailed rear sight|
The barrel slid into a recoil lug that abutted against the receiver front. The front action screw was threaded into the bottom of this recoil lug. The rear screw wood was simply there to hold the rear of the trigger guard and only screwed into the stock. The front barrel band screw screwed into a block that was attached to a thin sheet metal band around the barrel. This gun was made with many metal stampings which set the guide for the design for the later to come Savage model 110. The barrel was threaded and chambered, then threaded into the receiver rotating in until it headspaced, then being locked in place by the barrel nut. Then the barrel markings were rolled on, and the sight slot cut after the barrel was tightened down.
Any of the Model 325 versions had no provisions for a installing telescope sight mount. However the 325C shows up with being drilled and tapped for a peep sight. The stock was a one piece non-checkered birch which could be stained to simulate walnut with a black Bakelite buttplate. No provision were provided for sling swivel bows.
The model 325 utilized a rather different style ejector, being
photo a long
sheet metal unit running from the front of the receiver back along side of the
magazine well to the rear
of the magazine area. The later model 325A, B and C used what would later became standard, in
a smaller short spring-loaded pivoting ejector in the receiver at the rear of
the magazine area.
In the photo below the LH side shows the 325 single long spring 30-30 ejector. The RH side shows at the top the 30-30, center 222 and at the bottom the 22 hornet. The 223 used a total different design, being a small dia. spring loaded plunger type similar to the Remington 721/722 of that timeframe.
|Savage 325 early long ejector||Savage 340 new style pivoting different caliber ejectors|
The firing pin was unique in that the rear was threaded to adjust the protrusion and locked into place by a “C” clip that slid over the square rear section. This was captivated when the striker unit was assembled into the bolt body. The safety lever was a pivoting sheet metal stamping on the RH side and at the rear of the bolt handle area that locked the bolt when the safety was in the “SAFE” position.
There are many invocative ideas on this gun that Remington later copied/improved on when they made their model 721 which then evolved into the well known model 700.
This gun introduced in 1947 as the model 325 was revised with models 325A, B and then the C before it was discontinued by Stevens in late 1949 and became the savage model 340.
The models 322 A, B, C and S were 22 Hornet only and produced from 1947 to 1949 running parallel with the model 325.
I have had numerous inquiries trying to pin down the exact date of manufacture. This is not possible, but by reading this article and applying what you read, you may be able to come up with a guestimate. If that is not acceptable to you, -SORRY- but that is the best I can do as this article is probably your only source for these non serial numbered guns. Do not try to date your gun by the condition of the metal or the color of the stock. Gunsmiths have for years been earning a living rebluing of firearms, some can reproduce original finish quite well where only an expert can tell the difference, while others fall woefully short. And the stocks can be refinished or replaced. Sights can be removed or replaced by non standard ones.
|Exploded views of Savage 340B|
Needed if Using New Magazines in Early Model 325 & 325B : The early
guns, model 325 and 325 B, apparently had a shallower recess in the receiver where
the top front and rear corners of the magazine go into. When
installing new later or current replacement magazines, (even though they are
made on the factory tooling). These recesses act as a upper stop for the
magazine. You may have to lightly file off the stop pads on the new magazines.
These are the tabs that are protruding both front and rear corners of the magazine
body. Not much is needed to be removed, about .020 on the
front with .010 on the rear has been found to be sufficient. Otherwise
the magazine will not go all the way up and it usually will get bound up by being
twisted front to back and get bound against the front and rear guides.
Scoping the 325 : As far as we can tell, none of the 325 guns, or the very early 340s were not factory drilled and tapped for a side mount scope base or a peep sight. Savage also later made a stamped out sheet-metal scope base/mount for the 340 model, which would also be used for the earlier 325 model if gunsmith drilled and tapped to accept it. When installing scopes on these rifles, they having to be side mounts because of the receiver design and will have to be gunsmith drilled and tapped to accommodate the Weaver #1 base. And the stock will need to be relieved to accommodate this base once it is screwed onto the receiver.
Enter the Savage 340 : As far as we can tell the mother company, Savage, dropped the 325 at the end of 1949 and picked up the design in 1950 producing it under the renamed model of 340 which remained in production until 1985. The Savage 340, was basically the same gun as the 325 late variations but with further modernizations, and with caliber variations. The bolt handle was changed to the more common round knob type, and then changed again late in production, being swept rearward slightly. Some bolt knobs were even knurled in the center. The stock was changed to walnut and was modernized somewhat toward the latter production years. Pressed checkering was used on some later models. The Dockendorff rear sight was introduced with the 340 series for a while and into the 340A series, then later regular dovetailed type rear sights were used again.
|Dockendorff rear sight|
There appear to not be any readily accessible records for these models, and prior to 1968 serial numbers were not used nor required. One partial way of telling vintage of these firearms would be the factory drilled and tapped mounting holes for a peep sight or scope. As far as we can tell by observation, the 340 and 340As were not factory drilled and tapped for a side mount scope base. However the 2 peep holes on the far RH receiver would have probably been introduced with the 340's introduction in 1950. Later but still in the 340 model's run the side-mount scope holes were introduced. Savage also made a stamped out sheet-metal scope base/mount for this model. The one aftermarket scope base designed just for this gun was the sidemount Weaver #1 base. When installing scopes on these rifles, they having to be side mounts because of the open rear receiver bridge, and the bolt handle passing through it, stock wood would have to be removed on the LH side of the stock to accommodate the scope mount.
Then at a later date, the peep holes were discontinued but retaining the scope mounting holes. Dates for these happenings are unknown. Also do not try to date a firearm by the rear sight. These are one thing that is sold by aftermarket companies like Lyman or Marbles which are things that some hunters prefer different styles so are probably the first thing changed on a gun.
By Federal Law, long guns did not need to to be serial numbered prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968 (however some factories did for their own reasons), so if yours has a serial number, that means that it was made between 1968 and up to when that model was discontinued in 1985. Savage did not have separate model serial numbers after 1968, but ran all the models/calibers that came off the assembly line consecutively, so a Model 99 gun could have the next number as a model 340 rifle or model 94 shotgun, just depending on the order they left the assembly line as that was apparently the last thing done. The serial numbers would use the prefix letter and the firearms individual number up 999,999, then it started over using the next letter. The factory published a listing of serial numbers at the beginning of each year for use by their warranty centers, which this chart below was taken from.
|APPROX YEAR OF SAVAGE MANUFACTURE - starting with the first of each year|
Other than stated above and below, if you are trying to date your granddads rifle, the only method would be a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess). You may contact the Savage Collectors Assn, send them some money to research it, but I would guess since there are no serial numbers, you would have to give a complete description AND some good close-up photos and then they would still only be able to guess.
The suffix model numbers for the 340 series did not match with the previous 325 series, as it appears the 340 would have probably have been basically the older 325C with the 340 design changes starting over at "A". These suffixes are a letter added to the model number on many of these guns. It appears that most of the letters were in alphabetical order when a new change was made in production. However do not get confused by the suffix "C" meaning Carbine or "E" referring to the new design of magazine ejector. It appears that these suffixes just happened to coincide with some design changes. There is possibly one exception here, probably the last model the "V" series used on their Varminter series which was the then new 225 Winchester.
The 340E series had a flat floorplate and for the 30-30 and 225 uses a 1/2 round shaped spring that straddles the magazine and has short ears on the spring ends that engage notches in the upper section of the magazine that "eject' the magazine as compared to finger grooves in the floorplate where you can grasp the magazine. However the 22 Hornet in whatever model always used this style flat floorplate because the Hornet magazine had side lips holding the bottom on, which facilitated magazine removal.
These Savage guns were produced in 22 Hornet, 222 Remington, with the 223 Remington and 225 Winchester following that last calibers inception sometime after 1964. It is not sure of the exact date of the 222 being introduced, but very likely in 1950 or 51 as this cartridge was introduced by Remington in 1950. The 340V was made in 225 Winchester and was produced in the mid 1960s for a few years. The model 342 and 342S were 22 Hornets only and were the newer versions of the older model 322. The 342 was produced from 1950 to 1955.
There were some shorter barreled (18.5") and designated as carbines. I have not found any real suffix letters specifically assigned to the carbines, or what years they were spread out during production.
Barrel retainer nut configuration has changed over time, from the early radiused multi grooved nut, to the late smooth nut utilizing one 1/4 blind hole which a special spanner wrench was needed if removal was required.
Savage, at one time, made a stamped sheet metal scope mount that was thin enough to be able to be inserted in a shallow recess between the receiver and the outer part of the stock of some stocks as seen in the photos below. You will not find any markings on this mount as it was only sold by Savage and at later production included with the new gun.
|Savage stamped out sheet metal scope mount||Rear end view of Savage scope mount|
The photo below, with this model being 340, (having no suffix) AND it being drilled and tapped for scope, with the stock wood being cut out for the scope mount tells me that this gun was altered for scope use after leaving the factory. Also in this photo, you can see the 4 scope mounting holes for a side mount and the appropriate stock cut out. Also the 2 rear holes are for mounting a receiver (peep) sight are factory holes. The metal on top of the bolt is a bolt guide, as the top of the receiver is split for the bolt handle base to slide thru. This rib is also seen from the other side from the next photo down.
The wood of the later versions especially the E series was made lower at the area where the scope mount attached so that there was no need to alter the wood to install a scope mount on these guns.
|Left side of the receiver showing markings|
The only thing I have been able to identify different from the 340 and the 340A (which seem to not be made in any abundance as I have only seen one) is that the magazine latch protrusion was changed from the riveted thin metal finger piece to the actual spring metal being formed rearward, creating a better surface to push. However we see a lot of 340B series, which utilized a cocking piece cap and a one piece front bolt guide clip (officially called a gas shield).
The 340C apparently was a deluxe 340 which had checkering, sling swivels and came with a peep rear sight. It was made during the mid 1960s.
There was a carbine with a shorter barrel made for a limited time, but I so far can not identify a specific suffix letter used on these.
The last of the series, the 340E series was also made under the Springfield name as an 840E. These models in 30-30 caliber dropped the finger groove notch in the trigger guard/floor plate unit which now was flat with the bottom of the stock. There was a big C shaped wire spring inside the stock magazine well that straddled the magazine and was caught into the notches at the front of the magazine feed lips. To facilitate this these notches had to be made deeper to give the spring it’s end clearance. In operation, when you depressed the rear magazine latch, this spring ejected the magazine.
One word of information here, IF you have this E model in 30-30 and happen to find a magazine assembly for the older models that does not have this extra notch cut out, it will not function as designed. So if you happen to want to use an older magazine in the 840 series guns, you will have to deepen these notches to within .100 of the bottom of the embossed groove on the side of the magazine. This amounts to lowering them about .100.
The E series was also made in the other calibers of that timeframe, but did not utilize the spring ejector magazine system that the 30-30 used.
Also somewhere in the late made guns the bolt guide rib (gas shield) on top of the bolt was changed to black plastic instead of steel.
|Standard 340 bolt handle & walnut wood, note the magazine latch protrusion the same as the 325|
|Here the 340A action only, showing the new style magazine latch|
|This photo supplied by Marc K of Quebec, Canada|
Safety Lever Lock
Changed on Later Model 340 & 840 : A factory letter
dated 3-28-1976 states - “For convenience in use of our Models 340 and 840, a
change in the bolt handle was made during 1976. The safety, in the
ON position, no longer locks the bolt handle, enabling the shooter to remove a
round from the chamber without changing the position of the safety.” Looks
like the corporate lawyers got paid for being on retainer on this one.
In the photo below showing the model 340E you can see the
flat floorplate and the newer sweptback bolt handle among with the pressed
checkering on the stock. The E series also used a Lyman folding rear
Somewhere along the line at the end of production, you will
see a smooth barrel nut, that only has one 1/4" blind hole on the bottom that is
used with a special spanner wrench to install/remove the barrel.
|Savage 340 series E|
The retail stores of Sears, Montgomery Wards, J.C. Penny and Coast to Coast also sold these guns but under their own model numbers. If you have one of these guns and desire to cross-reference to the factory equivalent CLICK HERE.
Below are the magazines used on the respective calibers.
The 30-30 / 225 rifles used the same magazines and have a capacity of 4 rounds. Nowhere on any of these magazines is the makers name embossed. Note the
serrations for the magazine removal at the finger gripping area. The 30-30
follower is beveled at the rear for the rim to feed over on the last round and to
guarantee all the rounds are positioned the same as they come up for chambering.
The rear imprinted grooves hold the rims back in the box and the forward
grooves help position the round sideways with the more pronounced but deeper
indent actually guides the case into the chamber.
Early 30-30 magazines had no markings at all on them.
The magazines shown below lists both the 30-30 and the 225 calibers.
It is not known when the liability marking was placed on them, but obviously the
225 markings were placed in the stamping dies after that caliber was introduced
Note on the center photo below the narrow deep notch on top about 3/4" from the rear. This is the deepened notch referred to previously that the "E" series utilized. On the older magazines the notch is there but not quite as deep as all the later magazines. All current magazines are made with this deeper notch to accommodate all models.
|Savage 340, 30-30 bottom view||Savage 340, 30-30/ 225 Win side view||Savage 340, 30-30 top/follower view|
The 222 and 223 magazines have a capacity of 5 rounds which use a detented shoulder groove. This groove is placed differently for each caliber. We once tried to make a combo where both calibers were stamped on a 223 case, but feeding for the 222 was erratic. The original factory magazines used a flat follower that again caused somewhat erratic feeding problems. Then we happened to contact an ex factory assistant service manager who informed us that he made a slight bend in the forward part of the follower on guns that came back for warranty. We have now made a special forming fixture to do just that as seen below.
You may encounter different stamping of calibers
along with patent dates on these 222 and 223 magazines. After Wisner's purchased the factory dies to make these in our own shop, we found that setup was
critical in the stamping as the 2 calibers shared a master die, but with
different inserts used to change the shoulder dimple. This then
also required shimming of the insets to emboss the caliber stamping. In
doing this it was trial and error with the 12" X 26", 300 pound die needed to be removed, disassembled,
and stamp shimmed for each trial. We soon had a new stamp made that
placed this caliber on the bottom. So if you see a 222 or 223
with those calibers on the bottom, it came off our dies.
We also encountered feeding problems with both these two
calibers, and after talking with a old factory service manager, we
redesigned the follower so the front portion was raised somewhat supporting
the bullet better on the in feed into the chamber as seen in the RH photos
|Savage 340, 223 bottom view||Savage 340, 223 side view||Savage 340, 223 top/follower view|
Notice the different location of the shoulder dimple between the 222 and the 223. The 222 shoulder dimple is farther to the rear.
|Savage 340, 222 bottom view||Savage 340, 222 side view||Savage 340, 222 top/follower view|
About 2012 Wisners Inc added a capitol "S" to the bottom of the 30-30, 222 and 223 magazines.
This 22 Hornet magazine was first used in the Savage model 23D. Then when the 322/342s came along Savage simply utilized that existing magazine on this model also. So you may see some early magazines marked Savage 23D and the caliber. Later magazines used on the 342 ultimately had the 23D markings dropped off the bottom and just had the 22 Hornet caliber imprint as seem below.
|Savage 340, 22 Hornet bottom view||Savage 340, 22 Hornet side view||Savage 340, 22 Hornet top/follower view|
If you have a gun that I have not identified AND can give me pertinent info with photos substantiating it I would like to hear from you.
Copyright © 2006 - 2014 LeeRoy Wisner All
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Originated 12-01-2006, Last modified
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