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The Savage 1903, 1906 and 1908 repeating rifle's .22 magazine with 1904 patent application

and and infringement by Febiger Arms, plus a probable Savage association with the Birmingham Small Arms Company


The Savage Arms Company produced a fine repeating rifle with pump (or slide) action and an unusual box-magazine configuration.

A patent for their magazine for this rifle was applied for in 1904 and only finally granted and confirmed in 1908, two years after the introduction of the British War Office 1906 Pattern Miniature Rifle. (WOPMR)

An observant collector and researcher from North America spotted the similarity between the magazine for the WOPMR, shown on the relevant above linked page on our website, and the magazine in the Savage rifle he was researching. He has kindly provided most of the following information, images and patent for these magazines, for which we are in his debt.

It would appear that the magazine used by the Royal Ordnance Factory at Enfield and by the Birmingham Small Arms Company when the prototype was being designed and constructed, may well have been the Savage magazine, although it has not yet been possible to confirm this from records available at the Enfield Pattern Room (now at the Royal Armouries in Leeds) which only afford details of the production version of the WOPMR.

It is remotely possible that the link between the two magazines is in the opposite direction, and that a British design was acquired and patented by Savage, but the original patent application for their magazine was two years before the patent for the WOPMR, making this rather unlikely.

We show the raw images of the Savage units, a copy made by Febier for their equivalent rifle in 1910, later proven to be a patent infringement of the Savage design, and more recent and detailed images of the magazine from the prototype WOPMR by courtesy of the Enfield Pattern Room, who kindly photographed the unit especially.

This page is presently still under construction and not finalised, but we hope the full information may soon be here for general perusal.

Below, the 1903 Model Savage rifle showing the magazine, in very similar configuration to the later 1923 design of BSA slide (pump)-action rifle with a box magazine.

and a comparison between the Savage 7-round and War Office Miniature 5-round magazines

The Savage model is about 100 thousands-of-an-inch greater in the fore-and-aft direction, and about 10 'thou' thicker across. The rib at the rear is narrower on the Savage magazine. Both base-plates are pressed from sheet.

It is perfectly possible that the Savage version could be modified, by an enterprising individual, to afford a seven-round magazine for the War Office Miniature rifle where that rifle's magazine has gone missing. There are also a number of replica magazines on the market, for the early Savage semi-automatic rifles, which may also lend themselves to such modification.

By kind permission of the Leeds Royal Armouries Trustees for the Enfield Pattern Room collection, we can show you images actually provided by them on specific request.

Our thanks must go to the incredibly helpful staff there.

This prototype magazine has the wider rear centreing rib of the later 5-round production model. All magazines have the gap in the rib into which the rifle's spring-loaded locking and release catch locates.

The ribs and followers may be compared in the images below of the Savage and War Office Miniature production magazines.

 

Savage Arms were obliged to resort to legislation over an associated matter. In May 1910, an infringement of the patent on their semi-auto design brought them into action. They circularised all dealers advising them of the situation and giving a warning, of impending legislation, to those selling the Febiger Arms Company's infringing product.

 

The Baker Gun and Forging Company of Batavia, New York, were known for quality shotguns and were in business between 1887 and 1919. Their early demise may well have been precipitated by the making of such serious business errors as this.

One can well understand the point of view from Savage Arms' perspective. The images below show the Febiger rifle, action and a comparison between the two magazines.

Below: the" Febiger Arms 22 caliber Automatic Rifle #1"

The Savage magazine is to the left, and the Febiger to the right.

It will be noticed that the Febiger magazine is slightly recessed into the machined grooveat the front of the trigger-guard and magazine-way lead, whereas the Savage rifle's magazine rear rib is all that locates into that rifle's trigger-guard.

Our thanks and appreciation must here go to G.B. in the U.S.A., who spotted the relationship between these magazines during his research into Savage production. In addition to the several images he has provided, he tells us that he believes the three designs of box-magazine pump-action rifles discussed on this page, the Savage models, the early

BSA pump-action rifle, and the Febiger, are possibly the only .22 rimfire models so configured to be produced; unless you know differently. Perhaps we should have said two designs, and three manufacturers! It is also perfectly possible that the initial design of the BSA rifle had some connection with Savage, with whom BSA may have liased over the magazine for the War Office Miniature rifle, and some years later over the 1923 patent application for that BSA design. If the latter was contested by Savage, then that was not successful, because the patent was granted late in that year, probably being sufficiently different to warrant approval, although by then any such rifles were anyway switching to tubular magazines with greater capacity and simpler manufacture.

Return to the War Office 1906 Pattern Miniature Rifle

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