Q: I have the chance to buy a Savage Model 99 lever-action chambered in .303 Savage, which appears to be in good condition, but I’ve been told that ammunition was discontinued by the major ammomakers many years ago. The rifle is not accompanied by loading dies, so is it possible to obtain dies and unprimed brass or make cases from another cartridge? If so, I’d buy the rifle. What can you tell me about the .303 Savage?
A: The .303 Savage first appeared in 1895 for the then-new Savage Model 1895 lever-action rifle. The round is very similar to the .30-30 Winchester which arrived on the scene about the same time. You are lucky because Hornady loads ammo for the .303 Savage and offers brass and a die set. Cases can be made from .220 Swift and .30-40 cases, but the amount of work makes it a tedious process, one not to be recommended. One word of caution if you go ahead and purchase the Model 99, you should know that most barrels chambered for the .303 Savage are .308″ groove diameter but some are as large as .310″ requiring the use of .311″ bullets. Before you start reloading, get a gunsmith to slug the bore before you buy any component bullets.