Pairs: Two Savage 24s
Church and John Dunn joint
Authors Church and Dunn regret that t hey are unqualified to do appraisal, and cannot
establish a value on your gun.
Click any thumbnail-photo for a
(Free permission to quote
Church's articles is granted, as long as proper attribution is given. We request that if you use our work, you give us credit.)
immediately prior to the Second World War as the Stevens .22-.410, the
utilitarian combo gun has gone through innumerable variations. Earlier
guns had fully interconnected barrels, top lever opening, a barrel
selector mounted to the receiver side, and was made only in .22 LR and
.410 3 inch.
problem prone side mount barrel selector has gone away for a much better
hammer mounted switch, 20 gauge was added by the mid 1960s, .22 WRFM by
the late ’50s, and eventually centerfire varieties arrived. Barrel
releases have moved from the top tang to the receiver sidewall in a
1960s economy series, and then to the front of the trigger guard.
in production in a much evolved form, these newer guns chamber full
power rifle rounds and have added 12 gauge to the shotgun column (.410
is gone). They carry the lawsuit resistant manual safety, synthetic
stocks, and significant price increases, but is still recognizably
descended from the 1939 gun. Visit Savage
Arms' web site for details of the modern incarnation.
All Savage 24s are
break action over-under guns with a manually cocked external hammer,
rifle barrel above the shotgun barrel. Savage never developed the taste
Colt or Smith & Wesson developed for use of lightweight alloys so
these guns tend to be fairly heavy. Extractors rather than ejectors are
the usual order.
Lone Gunman Model 24-N
Church wearing John's Savage
Author Dunn acquired a
prime specimen of pawnshop Savage. In NRA Very Good condition, his
chambers .22LR and 20 gauge 3”. Of apparent 1970s manufacture, his
carries a case finished receiver, blued barrels, trigger and guard, and
is stocked in pale wood looking for all the world like Finland birch. It
also came with an additional die-cast folding buttstock of mysterious
origin, unpleasant to shoot with 3 inch magnum.
views of the folding stock
removed the stock to get some close-up shots of the mechanism itself.
you can see the top of it showing the allen-wrench style attaching face.
Photos courtesy of Heidi of Michigan
The trigger guard is of
a form author Church found illustrated in his “SHOOTER’S BIBLE”
for approximately 1972-75. Based on this, we are guessing production to
date from the early 1970s.
side, showing tang release and faded case-hardening
The Dunn gun early on
appeared to exhibit functioning problems with the shotgun barrel, giving
a misfire rate with Remington 3/4 oz field loads approximating 50%. The
same ammo was tried in AK Church’s 24 and gave the same results. It
has functioned reliably with everything else ever fed it. The .22LR
barrel never tried to malfunction, even with a promiscuous diet of ammo
ranging from Aguila bumblebee ammo to Lapua match. We have failed to
have film for any rifle targeting sessions, but accuracy with Remington
Target .22LR averages 2"-2.5" at 100 yards, off crude iron
opened to expose chambers and extractors
Some minor issues of
age have exhibited themselves on the gun: the mousetrap spring
tensioning the forend has grown anemic, and the pin retaining the
trigger has loosened enough to allow a good bit of side to side trigger
play. The forend spring is a straight parts replacement issue, and the
pins have received light and careful restaking.
The Dunn gun seems to
weigh slightly less than the rated 6.5 pounds, and to handle faster and
more precisely because of that. It takes down to a nice manageable
package, as shown below.
(taken from the 1974 “SHOOTER’S BIBLE”):
Barrels 24 inch,
.22LR/20 gauge 3”, length overall 40”.
.22 long rifle barrel at fifty yards. Pardon the flyer.
shot seemed to pattern satisfactorily. This result was obtained using
Winchester AA bird shot, 2 3/4" shells 7/8 oz.
Express 2 3/4" buckshot performed much less satisfactorily at 25
yards. This may or may not be a malfunction of the ammunition; more
likely it is due to the way the barrel is choked. Only nine pellets hit
the paper (a tenth one caught the extreme right edge) with none of them
"in the black"; only four made it into the outermost ring at
all. They seemed to want to migrate to the right...was this the ammo's
fault, the gun's fault, or the shooter's fault?
K Church 24-S
the nifty custom-made Bill Beumer
leather shell holder. Dunn's gun now sports one of these as well; the
photos of his specimen were taken when he was still using the temporary
nylon variety found at any X-Mart until the superb leather one was complete. Here is a photo of it on
note that the lighter coloration of the loops themselves vs. the overall
sleeve is an optical gaff resulting from the lighting conditions when
the photo was taken. The shell carrier is all one rich brown leather
The test gun described
herein was found unfired in the box, but with minor handling dings,
shelf wear and the instruction manual gone. It is chambered in .22WRM
over 20 gauge 3 inch. The Church piece carries a late production polymer
trigger guard with barrel release incorporated, non walnut mystery wood
with a distinctly purple tinge, and weighs nearly a pound more than the
lightning fast Dunn gun. We postulate production as 1980s.
The Church gun showed
immediate distaste for the same Remington/Walmart field loads Dunn‘s
specimen disdained, and indiscriminate acceptance of everything else
stuffed in its chambers.
best iron sight group it has yielded yet is an amazing 1 3/4” for 5
shots at 100 yards, target reproduced below. Ammunition is Winchester 40
grain hollow point, about the most common .22 Mag ammo there is. Church
is unable to explain how he shot so well, in view of his declining
eyesight and general marksmanship failings, but another group of 2
with Federal #8 7/8 ounce field loads has proven to be equally
Dunn’s Nixon-era Savage, the newer gun seems to put minimal effort
into its buckshot performance, putting 9 of 20 pellets ON PAPER at 25
yards, and not putting those 9 around the target all that evenly.
The newer gun weighs
noticeably more than the Dunn gun and feels substantially less lively.
The Church gun carries a buttstock mount shell carrier for 5 rounds of
20 gauge, which was crafted by Bill Beumer of Baldknobber Holsters. He
may be reached @ 417-844-2174.
of identical layout to Church's, this shows separated barrels, trigger
guard barrel release, and barrel
near muzzle. Illustration is .22LR/.410.
Both guns offer
adequate to good accuracy. Down sides include marginal trigger pulls and
iron sights, and lackadaisical extractors. Weight (at least for
non-folding butts) is sufficient to keep recoil of normal 20 gauge field
loads quite tolerable. The lighter ’70s era gun gets more bumptuous
with Fiocchi 1 1/8 ounce 3 magnums, but it’s tolerable in small doses.
takedown, and reassembly:
Savage 24 is a typical break-open shotgun. To load and fire, push the
opening lever may be of one of 4 types. (1) The single directional
tang mounted push lever, as issued with the John Dunn piece; (2) The
bi-directional tang lever used on the DT model described later; (3)
The front of trigger guard button type release used on the A K Church
gun; (4) The side-of-receiver mounted lever used on some '60s to early
'70s economy models.
pushing the opening lever, the barrel will swing open to expose the
over/under chambers. In the 24 the sequence will always be rifle on
top, shotgun on bottom. Load barrels with appropriate ammo, and recall
the uncommon 24C "Camper's Companion" model has a 2
3/4", not 3" chamber.
the barrels. Select the rifle or shotgun barrel using either the
hammer mounted selector or the receiver mounted sliding button on
older models. The rifle barrel will be the rearward detent on the
hammer-mounted model, or on the upper detent on the seldom
still-functional receiver mounted. Cock the hammer, point it at the
intended target, and pull the trigger. It should go boom.
the opening lever again, and barrel weight should open them. Empties
will be pushed back slightly by extractors for manual removal. This
goes better if your fingers aren't numb from cold, or encased in
gloves to prevent them from being numb with cold.
disassemble the hopefully unloaded gun pull down on the tip of
the forend. NOTHING HERE SHOULD REQUIRE FORCE. If it does, something's
wrong, and force will make it worse. Newest generation guns will
require removal of a screw first, but older guns will not. Remove
forend. While controlling barrels, push barrel release and tip
the barrel down. Once open, the barrels can be pushed back
slightly from the hinge pin, and lifted away from the receiver.
Control the barrels so they are not dropped. Basic disassembly is now
reassemble RECALL AGAIN THAT FORCE SHOULDN'T BE NEEDED. Really, for a
fact. Replace the barrel (under control) against the receiver
hinge pin in the slightly open position. Gently rotate the barrel
some older guns (Dunn's and the DT gun to be described later) some
careful movement of the barrels off the hinge pin is needed to allow a
barrel lug mounted extractor trip to clear a cut on the inside
left receiver wall. The Church gun lacks these parts.
position the forend with the iron against the receiver face, and
carefully position the spring against the smaller and more forward lug
on the bottom of the barrel. The spring and snap lug aren't applicable
the the screw retained model. Snap the forend in place. It is
online owner's manual for the current production can be found here.
the Horizon, under the Radar
to enlarge the Doc's deluxe Savage.
We have been contacted
by a local friend in regards to his project Savage 24. Doc Tom (DT) is a
real MD in a Missouri general practice, and is really named Tom. His
alterations to his pre-1968 (ergo unserialed) 24 Deluxe seem
to be the most well thought out plan for improvements yet. His is in
.22WRM over 20 gauge.
The original Deluxe
models were stocked in a fairly good grade of black walnut, with a
slight Monte Carlo comb, a beavertail forend, and fairly crude
checkering on both ends. The receivers were finished in white plating,
the triggers gold. In the pre 1968 guns, the barrels were monolithic,
i.e. silver solder connected full length. This results in exceptional
barrel stiffness, and these guns often shoot the rifle tube very well.
The one piece barrel
makes shortening much easier than later guns. Saw once, crown twice, and
re-hang the front sight. His gun is to be cut to a Federally
satisfying 18.5", and recrowned. This should reduce o.a.l. to 35.5
inches, greatly handier both for vehicular transport and confined area
storage. The smoothbore half is to be threaded for insert chokes.
The good Doctor has
acquired considerable skills with a scalpel, and is inletting in a
buttstock cartridge trap, pictured below. He is also removing all
checkering, and thinning the forend somewhat. He has also prescribed a
proper 1 inch recoil pad, much appreciated with buckshot, slugs, or 3
for a photo of the Doc's Deluxe Savage.
the photo to examine Midway U.S.A.'s online catalog description for this
Metal is to be
refinished in rust resistant molybdenum disulphide, the color yet to be
of the DT piece reveals a still tight gun, slightly lighter weight
leading to good handling, and the rare good factory trigger pull.
If he ever lets this one go, I want it.
was proud of helping the war effort.
Dunn and I were
followed leaving town today by a gentleman I knew slightly as a customer
some 10 years back. A retired Air Force Colonel, he left the USAAF at
the end of WWII with a Tenite Stevens .22-.410. When I last spoke to him
in 1990, the Stevens soldiered on in his motorhome, reliable as ever
after a then 45 year service life. When we saw the Colonel, he was in a
newer motorhome. I suspect the Stevens rides somewhere aboard the V10
Reliability and utility
are the hallmarks of a simple combination gun, as the Colonel knows.
Dunn and I find the 24s very useful for transitional season small game
hunting, and when we own our rural acreages, we expect the guns to be
hanging pegged above the door as our "you never know what"
requests from A K Church
(1) In the early
’70s, Savage introduced the shortened, survival oriented 24-C
“Camper’s Companion”. The advertising campaign featured
illustrations of a remote A frame cabin. Church would like to purchase a
good condition copy of this ad. Contact me below via Email.
(2) The Dunn 24 came
with a double punch buttstock set, a fixed wood, and an aluminum folder.
Author Church has since been sold another of the mysterious 24 folding
butts. He is aware of a 3rd in Alaska. We reproduce a series of photos.
Anyone know anything about the history of these? Especially anything
they can document?
Version one: They are a
’50s era USAF device to reduce length for onboard aircraft storage.
They were allegedly sold as surplus out through New Jersey based Sarco.
Fit seems sub-par for an issue item, but is good enough that it seems
clear the buttstock was made for a Savage or Stevens gun on this basic
is the other gun a B36 crew would have to forage with
on "Revolvers", then on "Aircrewman")
Version two: They were
manufactured for a late ’80s “whippet” gun based on the 20 gauge
Savage 94, called the “Kimmel Kamper”. One of the then popular “26
1/2 inch” guns manufactured to meet but not exceed NFA 1934 length
rules. I have never seen a buttstocked Kimmel, only a pistol gripped
variant, but they may be out there.
Kimmel Kamper Whippet Gun
another variation, possibly on an import
receiver (click to enlarge)
another mysterioso Kimmel/Stevens 94 variety. Images sent to
me, origin unknown, copyright unknown. I know copyright is
assuredly not mine. No idea why it says not to fire from shoulder,
visitors since website crashed AUG 2003
the pooch to talk to Dunn about Savages or rowdy Terriers.
Click the shells to talk to Church about the painful cost of .22 magnum
welcome to the Savage 24 Discussion board!
AK likes to attach
useful or interesting letters from readers to his articles. Please state
in your letter if he may use your correspondence. He can do this with or
without your name or address, according to your wishes. Email him here.
This article has generated a little correspondence and with the
permission of the senders we have reproduced them here. Emails are in
italics, our replies in bold face.
Authors Church and Dunn regret that they are unqualified to do appraisal, and cannot
establish a value on your gun.
I have a Stevens .22-.410 with a Tennite stock almost exactly as your
article talked about. However, mine is broken. The barrel
selector has broken off. Do you know where I can purchase another?
Joseph R. DeBoer
Gun Parts Corporation describes one fix in the letter below, but
Mr. D- still would like to talk to anyone with the original parts for
You can use the hammer with the built in selector, the rifle firing pin
screw will also have to be changed. The item numbers are; 114600K,
and 114550D. The link below will connect you to our on-line parts
prices can be found there.
WebServices @ Gunparts
Dear AK Church:
I sent John Dunn a similar letter. Looking to replace the sights on
Model 24J DL (22mag/20ga). Any suggestions? What does the J
Any suggestions for scoping my gun, I have a red dot and a Burris 1-4X
LER or do you suggest something different?
"J" seems to be just a series number. Series numbers on
these seem to be a little mysterious, as some may have repeated. My gun
is marked as an "S", which was also the 1960s side release
econo-model. Apparently letters were in short supply.
Sights are the perpetual deal with these guns. What will give good rifle
accuracy while not interfering too much with shotgun speed?
Well, I'm still looking into this matter myself. First, I'm pretty much
settled that if I can find one of the long extinct Lyman or Redfield
receiver aperture sights for these babies, I will get it. They show up
Auction Arms, eBay, etc. once in a
while. This will, however be the backup.
Primary is likely going to either be a low power scope or a dot sight. I
just got done with the kind loan of an older Tasco dot sight. The dot
sight has some real advantages. Huge field of view. Pretty useable with
the shotgun. Very, very visible. Can be mounted forward on the barrel,
and low. Downside is expense and and need of the 2032 battery which you
will hopefully have as a spare. My .22 mag barrel lost a little 100-yard
accuracy, but little enough--I think around a half inch plus. I suspect
that is the function of that dot being BIG and covering part of the
Another possible approach is a really low powered scope. I've currently
got a 2.5 on mine. Pretty useable with the shotgun though not as fast as
the dot, with no appreciable loss of 100 yard accuracy. No batteries.
Price is good. On my magnum, I bought a clearanced- out centerfire
scope, and parallax is close enough to not worry about. Down sides:
Bulk. Weight added to an already hefty gun. Need of high rings to clear
the barrel selector, and I HATE high rings. May or may not shoot loose (mounting rings) when the shotgun barrel is fired. I'm playing with
LocTite to try and head that off.
A third arrangement, advocated by the 1970s survival guru Mel Tappan was
the British style V notched or Express rear sight. I've never done well
with them, but that's a personal thing, like. Haven't tried 'em on combo
guns. Certainly the cheapest of the ideas.
So I really don't have a simple answer for you, Mr. Laufer. I'm still
exploring my options myself. So far the dot sight seems the better
arrangement. Mr. Dunn may have his own views.
A. K. Church
Tom discusses the status of his 24 project as of November 2001, and
his thoughts behind it:
13, 2001 8:48 PM
growing up in NW Arkansas I had a Savage 24 in .22lr/.410. It was a
great gun but some how was traded away.. Over the past several years I
have been looking for a all purpose weapon for wondering the hills
wanted something more than a .22lr; and I have a Remington Model 7 in
.260 with a Ching Sling and a Leupold 1-4x scope (my version of the
scout rifle). Unfortunately, it doesn't work well bird hunting or for
squirrels (mainly red ones which I use the tails to tie flies).
Reading AK's stuff on the 24 got me to thinking again. A combination
rifle/shotgun would be ideal. Well, drillings are out of the question
so the Savage 24 it was.
next question was what combination to choose. After reading the
article on Beartooth Bullets I decided a rimfire over 20 gauge.
Several years ago I bought a Marlin bolt action in .22WMR. After using
it in Montana and reading Paco's articles on the .22WMR I was
convinced the .22WMR/20 gauge was the right combination. Everything
from squirrels to birds and deer could be seen and engaged on a
corresponding with AK I thought an older model with monolithic barrels
would be best for my plans. This lead to searching several pawn shops
and coming up with the 24J-DL I now have. It is a pre-'68 and as such
has no serial number. AK described it very well in the article and no
further details of it are needed for now.
Beartooth article and AK's conversations as well as my experience with
short barrels made me think of cutting the J from the factory 24"
back to a still legal 18". The gun was in such good shape I
initially hesitated. At the range the .22WMR shot good groups
1-1.5" at 50 yards with a Weaver 2.5x on a set of high rings. I
know this isn't match stuff but as yet there was no trial to find the
best ammo. Then I went out and shot the shotgun barrel with buckshot
and slugs. It was abysmal. Only 4 of 20 pellets of #4 buck on a
14"X14" at 20 yards. I then shot Brenneke slugs and they
grouped, if that is the right word, about 12 inches at 20 yards. The
decision was made; cut the barrels.
want a all purpose gun that can take lots of bad situations such as
foul weather. After researching the various finishes such as bluing,
parkerizing etc I decided on a moly finish. I could have cut the
barrels and sprayed on the moly (available from Brownell's).
Fortunately I have great friend that I grew up with who is a
pistolsmith, Bill Wilson. He currently runs Wilson Combat and
Scattergun Technology. He kindly agreed to cut the barrels, put on
sights and sling swivels and tap the barrel for Rem chokes. As a final
touch it will be finished in gray Armor Tuff. I will update you when
this stage is complete and discuss the next step of optics; then the last
step of reworking the buttstock and forearm. Finally there is the
issue of spare ammo.
I read your articles on the Savage 24.
I have owned and still own several of
these. My first one was in .22
Magnum and I found the cost of ammo high
and the utility limited. But they
can be "converted" to use .22 LR
Take a fired .22 WMR case and with a fine
file, remove the metal at the head, until
it will still enter the chamber but will
admit a .22 LR case into the interior.
be sure to make a small cut for the
extractor prong. Insert the headless
case into the chamber, properly oriented,
and fire a couple of rounds of .22 LR in
it. The cases will not split and
though they may bulge a bit on the side
where the extractor sits, they will come
out just fine. The brass sleeve can
be removed later if you're careful. This
is a good way to "convert" a 24
to use less expensive ammo, as the .22
Magnum variants are far more common than
the .22 LR in used guns.
Your remarks on the accuracy of the 24's
are right on the mark. My little
24-S (written up in the American Rifleman
two months back, BTW) will shoot 1/2 MOA
all day long with anything I care to feed
it. The models with the full-length
soldered barrels are usually more accurate
than the later types with barrel bands
front and rear.
10 January 2003:
I am a retired U.S. Army Aviator.
grew up with the Stevens/Savage .22LR/410
Ga. over and under Rifle, and Hi-Standard
Semi-Auto .22LR Pistol in Kansas that my
father 'liberated' from Air Force survival
kits during Korea while we were stationed
at Ladd AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska.
As a young boy, I played 'Army' with them,
and in teen years hunted the river banks
of the Kaw River west of Kansas City,
Kansas. They were both great weapons and
deadly in small game hunting.
I lost them many years ago upon return
from Pt. Barrow, Alaska to Army Basic
Training at Ft. Ord, CA (1967) when my
luggage was stolen.
Dad was a C-47A Crew Chief in Burma during
WWII. His 'survival' weapon in Burma was a
Thompson .45 Cal SMG. He and OSS LtC.
Frank? Peers (later Lieutenant General
Peers of the Peers Mai Lai Commission)
once tried to shoot an attacking Japanese
fighter with Dads Thompson and Peers' .45
Pistol from the rear door of the C-47,
"Jolly Roger". Eventually they
gave up and the airplane dived into some
I carried a .38 Cal S&W Pistol in a
civilian leather shoulder holster, and an
American Can Co. .45 Cal "Grease
Gun" straped to my chest in the Republic
of Vietnam in 1968-1969 while flying UH-1
and OH-6A Helicopters. I taped two
magazines opposite each other to provide
quick loading and carried extra magazines
in my nomex flight suit leg pockets as
well as extra boxes of .45 Cal ammunition
(not on my person). We were only issued
six rounds for the .38 Pistol and three of
them were snake shot, so it was mostly
useless. I had to turn in empty shell
casings to get new rounds.
I also wore a .45 cal pistol and turned
the pistol belt so the holster sat between
my legs during missions. It was only used
as protection against incoming rounds and
it was useless for anything else.
I no longer shoot, as I have severe high
frequency hearing loss from long years
flying helicopters. My doctor prohibits
it...instead I bow hunt.
I found your name and address while doing
a web search on the above weapons.
web site is http://www.dconsultants.com
and I live on Silver Lake in West Bend,
No reply is necessary. You may copy or
re-print as you desire.
Major, AD, AUS (Retired)
West Bend, Wisconsin
16 January 2003:
My father died about 6 years ago, and gave
me his cherished shotguns and rifles
before passing on. I had hunted with
him since I was 6 or 7 years old; he used
to call me his 'rabbit dog' (I'm 41 now,
no longer a rabbit dog). I never
really knew anything about his Savage
24J-DL Deluxe, mostly because while
growing up, he simply called it his
"20 gauge/.22 over-under".
Your website has provided some interesting
information regarding this gun.
His was a Deluxe, 20 gauge chambered for
3" loads for the shotgun, .22 WMR for
the rifle, kept in excellent condition
through the years. It remains in its
original soft bag from Sears, and I
believe he told me he bought it either
from Sears or from a military commissary
in the late 1950's. The engraving on
the sides are the same as
"Brent's" gun shown in your
photo page; a leaping fox on the left and
a flying grouse on the right. No
serial number is shown, but I absolutely
remember it from at least 1967.
With that, a couple of questions:
Was the Deluxe made as far back as the
2. Did Sears sell this model?
3. Is there any chance I could get a
color copy of the advertisement for the
Savage 24 Deluxe you show on your website?
you're interested, I could take some
photos and e-mail them to you. The gun is
in excellent condition; I fired it last
July at about 30 yards, still with the
original iron sights, and had a 1/2"
grouping in the bullseye.
(email address withheld by request)
24 May 2003:
I just bought a Savage Model 24 22/410 over/under. It looks like and
older gun but is in good shape. It has a one piece (interconnected) barrel, top level opening, selector
switch on right side of receiver. The stock is pistol gripped walnut with
a scalloped fitting for the receiver. There is no serial number. It simply
says Model 24 22/410 - Chambered for 3" 410 (22
For future reference and parts, I'm wondering about how old the gun is.
There seems to be some conflict with available parts. One company offers
stocks in the pistol gripped variety but they only flushed fit and also
mention replacing the tennite stock. I don't thing there was ever a
tenite stock on my fun and mine is scalloped fit. The other stock they offer is
straight but scalloped fitting. Again, my is pistol gripped with scalloped
fit. I also want to reblue the case (receiver) but don't understand why
it is a different looking color. Is rebluing safe?
Thanks in advance for your
Arlington, TX (email withheld by request)
Author Church replies:
The designation Model 24 didn't kick in until around 1955.
Tenite was used around '39 to '50. But this style gun was made up 'til
around maybe '64. So lots of them are in walnut of hardwood. Gun Parts is
not who I'd go with on wood, I'd go with Boyd. GPC has messed stock orders
up twice I know of, both on 24s. Your receiver should be iron, so it will
require its own refinishing procedure. I'd contact Craftguard in Iowa. My
gunsmith and webhost email@example.com deals with Craftguard, and
they had last I was aware a bluing procedure they used was created for the
post '64 generation of Winchester '94s.