Need help with .30 Savage

Prior to the introduction of the .303 Savage there was a .30 Savage.
This cartridge is listed in UMC catalogs from 1895-1899, but is not in the 1895 & 1897 Savage catalogs.

Anybody have more info ???

Scott - the factory log doesn’t show the .30 Savage at all, that I can find. However, it indicates that they commenced manufacture of the .303 Savage in August 1895. There are lots of entries for the .303 Savage, but no mention among them of the .30 Savage.

USCARTCO–The name .30 Savage was the original name for the .303 Savage when it was introduced in 1895. Here are the entries from the UMC 1895 catalog. These are the verbatim entries (NOTE–The (.303 SAVAGE) was added by me to identify the .30 SAVAGE):

.30-185 SAVAGE (.303 SAVAGE) 185 gr. PAPER PATCHED
.30 SAVAGE (.303 SAVAGE) 187 gr. METAL CASED
.30-182 SAVAGE (.303 SAVAGE) 182 gr. METAL CASED
.30-195 SAVAGE (.303 SAVAGE) 195 gr. SOFT POINT
.30 SAVAGE (.303 SAVAGE) 179 gr. MUSHROOM
.30-103 SAVAGE (.303 SAVAGE), MINIATURE 103 gr. LEAD

Interesting that the 1895 catalog shows the .30 Savage designation, when their factory log doesn’t show it at all, but uses the .303 designation in August of 1895, with the beginning of production of the cartridge. Is there a known headstamp using the .30 Savage designation?

Scott, it was also listed as “.30 Savage” in Winchester’s June and December 1896 catalogs (No. 57 & 58). The earliest mention I have of Savage using the “.303” designation in an advertisement published on June 29, 1895, which was before the publication of their first catalog.

It is interesting. It seems that the .303 Savage designation existed from the very start of production at UMC in 1895. I wonder where the “.30 Savage” comes in? Again, does anyone have a picture of a headstamp using the .30 Designation on it?


Thanks for the replies. I have received photos of a UMC .303 box (empty). There is nothing unusual about it until one sees the side label on the lower half of the two piece box. The label reads .30 Savage. So…the .30 & the .303 do appear to be the same cartridge…at least the ones in this box likely where.

I will post the images as soon as my Photobucket account decides to allow me to upload again…technology…isn’t it fantastic ???

Fede, The ad you mention is dated ,June 29,1895…my 1895 catalog has a month (June) but no day listed. How where you able to determine the ad came first ??

Scott, I guess I misinterpreted the ad sentence saying: “The company will furnish, on request, catalogue giving detailed description and operation of the gun”, and I thought the catalog wasn’t yet ready.

I was always under the impression that .30 Savage was the British (and perhaps Canadian and Australian?) designation of the calibre to stop people confusing it with the military .303 round

Vince, It is my understanding that early on the .303 Savage was designated the .301 Savage in Britain to stop any confusion.

How well that worked …??? The .301 moniker was later dropped, I’m guessing people where able to figure it out.

[quote=“uscartco”]Vince, It is my understanding that early on the .303 Savage was designated the .301 Savage in Britain to stop any confusion.

How well that worked …??? The .301 moniker was later dropped, I’m guessing people where able to figure it out.[/quote]
That definitely is true or at least widely reported although I don’t actually think that the rifles sold in significant numbers over her in Britain, if at all. We wouldn’t really have had a home market for them because the ordinary man didn’t shoot deer. I have no recollection of ever seeing a .301 rifle come up on any auction listing, seeing a .303 Savage is extremely rare. The Empire would have been where they were sold.

Suprisingly the Canadians used the rifle for their home guard in WW1 (ref TonyE) you couldn’t make it more confusing than that. When they were bought I am not sure.It would be interesting to know what was stamped on the barrel because the .303 Brit was the official Canadian military calibre at the time. Apparantly we bought in a job lot of the rifles in WW2 when we were buying up anything we could find (Again TonyE)

I am sure though that this three way ambivilence in calibre all revolves around the confusion issue in some way although rather than easing it it seems to have added to it

Well, since my question about a .30 Savage headstamp has been basically ignored, and since the book on Savage amunition by Zimmerman does not show one, and since UMC’s own factory ammunition ledger never mentions the designation .30 Savage, I guess I must assume there is no such headstamp as S.R.A.CO. .30; S.R.A.CO. .30 SAVAGE, or S.A.Co. .30 SAVAGE.

All those things coupled together make me believe that the use of the caliber designation was confused by the various departments and employees at Savage in the 1895-1897 period, and that the use of the term .30 Savage here and there in catalogs, and on box labels that also show the .303 designation, is nothing more than an erroneous use of terminology that was not official to the factory. Early .303 Savage rounds are evidently, until about 1923, marked only “.303” for the caliber, making more confusion for everyone with the .303 British cartridge.
It seems to me that Savage and its employees simply did not have their act together in their early attemps at ammunition manufacture (or contracting out for manufacture, whatever the case). Too simple an answer? Perhaps. I am not expert in this field, and in fact, don’t know that I have ever had a .303 Savage round in my hand. I am just looking at the documentation and drawing the only conclusion that seems logical to me. Factory errors are not unknown. Winchester’s bunter maker on their first 7.65 mm Luger cartridges didn’t even know how to spell Georg Luger’s name, and hence the first headstamp said “LUGAR.”

For what it is worth, I’ve not seen a .30 Savage headstamped round by any maker. The “ELEY .301 SAVAGE” does exist as does “ELEY SAVAGE” & Kynoch used "KYNOCH .303 SAV"
By Savage I have a “S.R.A.Co. .303”, (one of which is paper patched) and a “S.A. Co .303 SAVAGE”

edited once to add the Kynoch & Savage input

This is no help with the “.30 Savage” question, BUT here a picture of the 301 Savage. I have never seen or heard of the .30 until now.

Here is an earlier thread on the British designations:


More and more, the use of the term .30 Savage appears to me to be a disconnect between the sales dept or
whatever they called their department responsible for catalogs, and the production department at UMC. It appears the catalogs were prepared just a short time before production of the .303 Savage, again, never called .30 Savage in production records it seems, or at least not in their daily production log. That leaves two probable/possible reasons for the two names. Firstly, it could have been originally intended to be called the .30 Savage, and then at the last minute, after the catalogs were finished, changed at the production department to .303. Secondly, it could simply be that the catalog people got it wrong. The fact that it seems they intermitently referred in the catalogs ONLY, to the 30 Savage, using that names some years and the .303 appellation other years, shows some disconnect and sloppy terminology on the part of the sales department regardless of why the two names existed. Or, it could have been a disconnect between UMC and Savage Arms.

It appears there NEVER was actually a .30 Savage cartridge headstamped as such, although I think we have all learned, even right from other items in this forum, to never say “never.”

I doubt at this stage we will ever know the answer, as you cannot look into the minds of the people responsible for the catalogs 100 yeara ago., UMC production records do allow us some of that luxury when it comes to the production department.

Interesting subject. Sporting rifle cartridges normally don’t grab my interest, but this question is interesting beyond its category for collectors.

For what it might be worth, the .303 Savage was truly a .303, not a .30, at least as originally manufactured. I’m sure early bullets miked .311 and pretty sure that internal barrel dimensions were .303 bore and .311 groove. At some point around 1920 it appears arms and ammo were altered to follow standard U.S. .30 bore and .308 groove. Jack

Jack, While I do agree that early .303 Savage bullets were .311" dia. I do not agree the the bore dia. was .311". I own a model 1895 Savage chambered in .303 Savage (as all model 1895s are). I have slugged the barrel of this gun and the slug measures .308" dia. There was a thread a while back that addressed this issue.

Zac: Probably you’re right that the groove (not bore) diameter was .308. Perhaps it was the apparent inconsistency of bullet and barrel dimensions that led to the problems with the catalog and box labeling. It’s also strange that with the .30-40 having established that the U.S. version of “thirty caliber” was .300 by .308 that Arthur Savage chose the dimensions he did. Jack

Yes, you are correct it is the groove dia. my mistake. The whole bullet / barrel dia. thing doesn’t make much sense to me. Because I have a couple of old boxes of bullets for reloading the .303 Savage by Savage and these bullets measure .311" dia. So when the barrel slugged at .308" dia. I was very surprized.