Reviews

Review: Savage Model 64 .22 Rimfire Rifle

Bob Campbell aiming the Savage Model 64 .22 LR rifle

I have a corner that holds three Savage rifles. (Behind a heavy locked door of course.) One is a stainless steel Model 64, the other a 1970s 954, and finally a Revelation Model 151. They are separated by more than 70 years in date of manufacture. Yet, the performance of each Savage rimfire rifle is very similar.

They are affordable reliable and useful rifles. The stainless 64 is a modern rifle built with all modern techniques. It is affordable but accurate and useful. Stainless construction means it resists inclement weather. Since you cannot purchase the other rifles, save in the used market, the Model 64 should be considered anytime you are looking for a workmanlike rimfire rifle that will do its job without complaint. And maybe without flash or bling, but who really needs flash?

Stainless steel receiver on the Savage Model 64 rifle
The Model 64 is a clean design with simple reliable construction.

The primogenitor of most of these rifles is the Savage 6A rifle. The rifle features a tubular magazine that accommodates 15 rounds of .22 Long Rifle ammunition. The early versions featured a bolt handle that could be locked for single-shot or manual operation, commonly used with lower power .22 Short ammunition.

When firing the rifle, you immediately learn why the rifle was nicknamed the click-clack gun. When the action is racked, all seems standard for a self-loading rifle. When firing, the bolt stays to the rear if the trigger is depressed. Release the trigger and the bolt flies forward chambering a cartridge.

I am not certain why this design feature was adopted. I would think that the general low quality of some ammunition at the time would have been the reason. Due to vents in the receiver, these rifles were sometimes called “Gill Guns.” It is an interesting rifle to fire that has your range buddies scratching their heads in wonder. The rifle would be fine for squirrel hunting, but it is even older than I, so common sense tells us that something had to eventually give. 

The 954 rifle is similar to the modern 64 and uses a detachable box magazine holding 10 cartridges. The self-loading model 64 is an economy rifle that everyone may afford. There are a dozen Model 64 variations on the Savage website.

I like the standard blue steel and stainless versions fine. There is a wood stock version, a left-hand rifle in a couple of variations, the FV SR with cantilever mount, and takedown and target versions. All use the Savage 64 action.

two .22 LR rifles. One with a box magazine and the other with a tubular magazine
Some will prefer a tubular magazine. The author finds either to be useful.

This is a straight blowback action with a 10-round box magazine. The bolt doesn’t lock open on the last shot. The receiver accepts scope mounts. The barrel is 21 inches long, an ideal length for fast handling and accuracy. The rifle uses a standard post front sight. The rear sight features a ladder that may be adjusted for elevation.

The trigger action is clean enough and well suited to a beginning shooter. The trigger breaks just under 5 pounds. The rifle is loaded by first removing the magazine via the handy magazine release. The magazine is then loaded and rocked back into the magazine well. Rack the bolt and you are ready to go. The rifle only accepts .22 Long Rifle high-velocity loads. Standard velocity loads are somewhat rare these days and may or may not function the 64’s action.

A positive safety is located on the right side of the receiver. Press it forward to fire. This is of course a rifle with little to “no” recoil. It is a joy to fire.

Savage Model 64 Performance

Load

Muzzle Velocity (FPS)

CCI 40-grain Mini Mag1,204 fps
Federal Hunter MATCH 40-grain  1,175 fps
Remington 40-grain Thunderbolt1,230 fps
Winchester M22 40-grain1,188 fps
Winchester 40-grain Wildcat1,234 fps
Winchester 37-grain Super X1,220 fps
Fiocchi 37-grain HP1,260 fps
CCI Stinger1,460 fps

This is an ideal small game and training rifle. It is a good piece for training young shooters. As for accuracy, the rifle comes close to the modern standard of a two-inch group for three shots at 50 yards that most Ruger 10/22 rifles will do.

OPerating the safety at the rear of the receiver on the Savage Model 64 rimfire rifle
The 64’s safety was positive in operation.

The lighter Savage rifle will put three shots into three inches with most loads, and some loads such as the Federal Hunter Match load will exhibit greater accuracy. The rifle is well worth its price, and you’ll certainly get your money’s worth.

What do you think of the Savage Model 64? What’s your go-to rimfire rifle? Let us know in the comment section.

  • Fiocchi ammunition box on a paper target with one-inch group
  • Fiocchi, remington, and Winchester ammunition boxes
  • scope mounting blocks on the Savage Model 64
  • Stainless steel receiver on the Savage Model 64 rifle
  • .22 LR rifle and revolver
  • Old .22 LR rifle with wood stock
  • Two .22 Lr rifles
  • two .22 LR rifles. One with a box magazine and the other with a tubular magazine
  • chechering in the synthetic rifle stock
  • OPerating the safety at the rear of the receiver on the Savage Model 64 rimfire rifle
  • drift adjustable front sight on a rifle barrel
  • Bob Campbell shooting the Savage Model 64 .22 LR rifle
  • Ladder sight on a rimfire rifle
  • Bob Campbell aiming the Savage Model 64 .22 LR rifle

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. My 64 seemed to be trouble-prone from the start and it never ended

    Constant stovepiping and jams

    It was a nice rifle to learn and teach on but that was about where it ends

    Traded it in when I purchased a Browning Tbolt I ran across

  2. The Savage 64 is a great rifle. The price makes it affordable for anyone who wants a reliable 22 for hunting and or plinking. The second most affordable 22 semi-auto, the Marlin model 60 has been held hostage by its recent owner who doesn’t want the competition with the Ruger 10/22. Rossi has a 22 semi-auto in the design of the old Marlin 795, which is another inexpensive reliable 22. Still the advantage of the Savage to me is it is an American company even though the rifle itself is built in Canada.

  3. Bought mine new (standard blued) in 2000/2001 for $109. Tossed a BSA 4 power 32mm on see through mounts so irons are useable for fast close range work. About 5 years after I got it the charging handle broke, I made a replacement from a piece of stainless bar stock and it’s been fine ever since. Back when a 550 box of Golden Bullets was $8.95 + tax my oldest daughter and I would go through one in a weekend usually twice a month. It’s had somewhere in the neighborhood of “umpteenthousand” rounds through it. Seriously closing in on 10k territory. I have a home built spinning target that is 2″ in diameter and at 50 yds I’m able to spin it with all 10 rounds with no problems except the occasional inevitable “flyer” that’s going to happen. It is and has been a fantastic little rifle. It’s just recently began to have occasional feeding issues because the magazine is the feed ramp and the mag is made of soke sort of softer material. Sadly the only mags available are the factory 10 rounders. A heard a lot of folks complain that it’s a pain/too hard to disassemble but I don’t think so. I find it nice that the barrel is removable from the reciever just by removing the hex nut that the stock screw treads in to. Slide the “u” shaped clamp off, slide the barrel straight out, noting that the flat ejector tab comes out attatched to barrel. No big deal and you can then clean the barrel from the breech end without worrying about messing up the crown. Overall, even at todays price of around $130 it’s still well worth it and one the most accurate .22lrs out of the box. The stock is very narrow compared to the Ruger (which is fine for even my huge meathook hands) and of course there isn’t the huge aftermarket support like the Ruger has but so what? It’s inexpensive, reliable, very accurate, and a fun little rifle to shoot.

  4. Just purchased a model 64 2 months ago. By all research and comments from other shooting sites, it seemed that the Ruger10/22 and even the Henry .22 takedown got slightly better reviews overall. I am on a limited budget and the 64 was more affordable. Small local gun shop had one with a fairly cheap scope (but decent) mounted and sighted for price of one w/o scope. I enjoy it and my wife loves it! Easy to handle and shoot and very accurate. Your review of this rifle seemed to verify I made a good judgement to purchase this rifle.

  5. I love my 64,it is responsible for 2 of my greatest shots! 1st one was a 2 for 1 at 125yds on fig robbing crows,using cci stinger. 2nd was a coyote @140yds, 36gr.federal hp. I give credit to the man upstairs,hit coyote in neck and dropped it. Using cheap 3x9x40 bushnell scope. I also polished bolt and sear,trigger pull @3.5lbs. This makes it run well with std. velocity (1,050+/-fps). Mine is stupid accurate, very thin stock,and I bought it for 85$ in the late 90’s! I think anschutz licensed and sells em in europa. Anyway, great .22. Keep it clean,stay safe and it won’t let you down! Pity the fool that spends 3x that amount to pop a skunk, my 64 has taken many ! Best of luck, Mel

  6. Probably going to get a lefty version.
    Oh, CCI Standard Velocity is a fairly common loading. The subsonic rounds are generally more accurate, as well as quieter.

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