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?
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.
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
Muzzle Velocity (FPS)
|CCI 40-grain Mini Mag
|Federal Hunter MATCH 40-grain
|Remington 40-grain Thunderbolt
|Winchester M22 40-grain
|Winchester 40-grain Wildcat
|Winchester 37-grain Super X
|Fiocchi 37-grain HP
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.
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.