Not many people know that the .300 Savage was the starting point for the U.S. military 7.62×51 round, which eventually evolved into the .308 Winchester. It’s an old but very capable cartridge. And the vintage rifles I used for developing my hand-loads are a Remington Model 722 bolt action and a Savage Model 99R lever action.
The .300 Savage was introduced in 1920 for Savage’s popular Model 99 lever rifle. At that time bolt-action rifles (especially the .30-06 Springfield 1903) were gaining favor with hunters, and Savage sought to up the Model 99’s performance from its original .303 Savage chambering.
The Model 99 action was much too short to accommodate a .30-06-size cartridge, so while the .300 Savage has the same case head dimensions, its overall length is 2.600 inches compared to 3.340 inches for the .30-06. To achieve maximum case capacity, the case has a sharper shoulder, and the neck is extra short. Even so, it contains approximately 25 percent less propellant than the .30-06.
The .300 Savage is very similar to the .308 Winchester. The .308 is the commercial version of the 7.62×51 round developed for the U.S. military in the early 1950s to replace the venerable .30-06.
What you may not know is the .300 Savage was used as the starting point to develop the 7.62×51 military cartridge.
The case body of both the .300 Savage and the .308 Win. is essentially the same length, but the .308’s shoulder angle and body taper are reduced. The .308’s neck is longer, so the case length and overall cartridge length are longer.
The .308 Win. caught on with hunters at the expense of the .300 Savage’s popularity. While preparing for this report, I was reading a review of the then-new .300 Winchester Magnum in the December 1963 issue of Shooting Times. In that issue, Technical Editor George Note referred to the “old”.300 Savage. So, 50 years ago, and just 10 years after the .308 Win. debuted, the .300 Savage had already been relegated to the cartridge cemetery