We tend to have an unexplainable respect for companies that were founded a century or two ago and are still operating. The reason is simple: not every brand can stand the test of time. Savage Arms has been ranking on the firearm manufacturing list for over a century. There were times when that name had all chances to vanish from the list, and yet it stands, stronger and more successful than ever. In this article, we’ll put Savage Arms under a magnifying glass to learn its history, with all its rises and falls, and its recipe for success.
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The History of Savage Arms
Savage Arms is what some may call an unlikely winner. Founded by a person with close to no engineering experience, the company has nonetheless managed to leave an indelible mark in the firearms industry. After a short apprenticeship in a firearm company, Arthur Savage tried his hand at inventing things. And succeeded. The first rotary magazine saw the light of day in 1893, and the first side-ejecting hammerless lever-action rifle soon followed. After his rifle lost the bid for a US Army Contract, Savage redesigned it and introduced it to the sporting market under the name the Model 1895. This revolutionary design set the company on a path toward excellence in the field of firearms manufacturing. In 1899, he introduced the renowned Savage 99 and .303 Savage cartridge it was chambered in.
The family of rifles was joined by handguns in 1908. Hoping to win a contract for the US military service pistol, Savaged introduced a .45 handgun. Unfortunately for the company, the contract was given to Colt. That didn’t discourage Arthur from making pistols, though. After a while, he developed a line of pocket pistols meant for personal protection.
During World War I, Savage Arms demonstrated its capacity to respond to urgent demands and contribute to the war effort. The company converted its factories to meet the military’s needs, providing millions of firearms for both World Wars. Savage produced aircraft machine guns as well as small arms. With the money earned during World War I, Savage acquired J. Stevens Arms in 1920 but ran it as a separate division.
Arthur Savage died in 1938, 3 years before World War II broke out. Yet again, Savage answered the call and joined efforts with the rest of the firearm companies to supply the USA and its allies. Savage focused on Thompson submachine guns, No. 4 Lee Enfield rifles and Browning aircraft machine guns, producing nearly 55,000 units monthly.
In the aftermath of World War II, Savage Arms faced significant financial difficulties and had to close two of its three factories. The company changed hands often between 1960 and 1980. The troubled times ended at the end of the 80s. During this challenging period, leadership under CEO Ronald Coburn played a pivotal role in the company’s survival. Coburn’s strategic decisions helped save the company from financial ruin, ensuring its continuation and growth in the firearms industry. Coburn turned Savage into one of the biggest manufacturers of bolt-action rifles.
In 2002, Savage Arms once again proved its innovative prowess with the introduction of the AccuTrigger technology. This groundbreaking design allowed shooters to adjust trigger pull according to their preference without compromising safety. The AccuTrigger set a new standard in the industry and further solidified Savage Arms’ reputation for innovation and excellence.
Despite the numerous challenges it had to face throughout its history, Savage Arms managed to retain its place at the forefront of the firearm industry. The company continues to uphold its reputation for producing high-quality rifles and constantly strives for innovation and improvement.
The Unique Innovations of Savage Arms
Innovation is one of the things that made Savage’s success possible. Had it not been for the founder’s ingenious developments, who knows whether the company would have survived the competition. Savage’s relentless pursuit of excellence is hereditary among Savage’s administrators, at least those who stayed long enough. As a result, quite a few unique features appeared that set their firearms apart from the competition. Two of their standout proprietary inventions, AccuTrigger and AccuStock, have greatly influenced the way rifles are built.
The AccuTrigger technology is a prime example of Savage Arms’ innovative prowess and the brand’s current hallmark. This groundbreaking invention revolutionized trigger design by introducing a light and crisp trigger pull that doesn’t compromise safety. Before this innovation, there was always a trade-off between a light trigger pull for accuracy and a heavier trigger pull for safety. However, Savage Arms’ AccuTrigger made that trade-off a thing of the past.
The AccuTrigger design includes a safety lever within the trigger body that prevents accidental discharges if the firearm is dropped or jolted. The trigger can only be fully depressed (and the gun fired) when the center safety lever is deliberately pulled. You can adjust the trigger pull to your preference without worrying about unintentional discharges. This innovative approach has not only set the standard for trigger design but has also been widely recognized and adopted by other brands in the industry.
Another innovation introduced by Savage Arms is the AccuStock. This feature provides a rigid and stable platform for the rifle’s action, thus making it easier to land precise shots. Unlike traditional stock designs, the AccuStock incorporates an aluminum spine that runs the full length of the forearm, fully engaging the action on three sides. This design eliminates any action movement or flexing within the stock, thus ensuring consistent and precise shot placement.
Savage rifles owe their stellar performance, in part, of course, to these two features. Though other elements also contribute to them being excellent firearms, the duo of Accu is the mainstay of their excellence.
Exploring Savage Arms’ Product Range
Even though Savage Arms is particularly famous for its rifles, its product line isn’t limited to them. By having a pool of firearms of different types, the company can cater to the needs of all people in search of a gun, be it for hunting, sport shooting or personal defense.
Rifles are the Savage Arms’ signature product. The brand produces several types of rifles, but their rimfire rifles and bolt-action rifles are particularly renowned.
Savage’s rimfire rifles were among the first lever-action rifles to feature a “hammerless” design and a rotary magazine. This revolutionary design not only set a new standard in the industry but also brought Savage the reputation of a leader in firearm innovation.
Bolt-action rifles saved Savage in times of hardship and are now considered to be the company’s primary focus. Savage bolt-action rifles come equipped with high-end features typically found in more expensive firearms. All of them incorporate Savage’s proprietary AccuTrigger technology, and many are equipped with AccuStocks.
Here are some of the Savage’s most popular rifle series:
Model 110 Series: The Model 110 series is the oldest continuously manufactured bolt-action rifle in North America. The series includes several models designed for different hunting scenarios.
A Series: The A Series includes semi-automatic rimfire rifles that offer quick pointing, fast-handling, and rapid-shooting capabilities. These rifles are known for their reliability and ease of use.
Hunter Series: The Hunter Series is designed specifically for hunters, with features like an adjustable AccuFit system that lets shooters quickly adjust comb height and length-of-pull for a personalized fit.
Savage Arms offers a range of shotguns in a variety of configurations. Their line-up includes semi-automatic shotguns, bolt-action slug guns, and pump-action shotguns, each known for their accuracy, dependability, and high performance. Notably, the Savage Arms 220, a 20-gauge slug shotgun, has been recognized for its excellent performance among hunters.
Savage’s handguns rarely stand in the limelight, often outshone by their long-barrel relatives. However, that serves as no marker of their performance. Savage Arms has an impressive lineup of handguns that includes both micro-compact and full-size models. The Stance, a newly launched micro-compact handgun, marks Savage’s re-entry into the pistol business, offering accuracy and dependability in a compact form.
The Impact on the Global Firearms Industry
We tend to focus our attention on things that happened recently, sometimes failing to recognize the value of past achievements. Though Savage didn’t sit idly for the last few decades, we can’t overlook their more long-standing deeds. One of the most notable innovations that Savage Arms brought to the industry was the Model 99 lever-action rifle, introduced in 1899. This was one of the first-ever hammerless lever-action rifles with a rotary magazine, which not only improved the rate of fire but also allowed the use of spitzer (pointed) bullets.
Savage Arms’ innovative streak had a new coil in the 21st century. The introduction of the AccuTrigger technology in 2002 greatly influenced the standards of producing triggers. This patented technology gives shooters the flexibility to adjust the trigger pull to their personal preferences, solving the issue of a tradeoff between the security and ease of pulling the trigger.
And that’s a peek behind the scenes of Savage Arms. The company’s journey wasn’t a cloudless one. It had survived many a storm and proved its worth in many a challenge to finally arrive in the safe harbor to enjoy the fruits of its labors. Through innovation and persistence, ingenuity and dedication, Savage has rightfully taken its place in the Hall of Firearm Fame. Whatever the future may hold for this company, it has already left a mark big enough to never be forgotten.
Savage Arms is renowned for its innovative firearm designs and high-quality manufacturing. They are particularly recognized for their accurate and reliable rifles and shotguns, and their patented AccuTrigger technology.
Savage Arms was founded in 1894 by Arthur Savage in Utica, New York. The company’s headquarters is currently located in Westfield, Massachusetts.
Some of the most popular firearms produced by Savage Arms include the Model 110 bolt-action rifle, the Axis rifle, the MSR AR-15 platform and the Savage Fox A Grade shotgun.