Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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Adam Lee
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Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

Thanks to Pitchy's Browning A5 thread, I got rolling on some Q&A about my "clone" Savage 720, and had to admit to myself that I had totally hijacked what he started.
Sorry Pitchy!

The Browning-designed springpole rifles and shotguns fascinate me. The example I have is a pre-war Savage 720 12 gauge. As the history books show, once Savage acquired rights to use the Browning patent and build semi-auto shotguns they did so from 1930-1949.
My serial number is 42994, and in general all I know is that it must be pre-war manufactured since most Savage guns "impressed" into WW2 service are in the over 60,000 range.

I am at this time interested in determining whether the barrel on this shotgun was factory-installed (or rather, subcontracted) with the vent rib Poly-Choke setup which is on the barrel now.
Only thing wrong, is that the Poly-Choke itself and the attaching collar was cut off at some point.

Interestingly, the research I did on the web right from the current Poly-Choke company website suggests that not only did their company install the vent rib and choke assemblies on a "special order" basis, but that gun manufacturers could have batches or runs of barrels modified in this way as well.

You will notice that the script "Poly-Choke" is engraved into the side of the rib near the breech end. Also, note that the barrel, receiver, and trigger guard are all serial-number matching (42994) which really begs the question: was this a pre-war factory ordered custom job?

Please, by all means help a brother out on this. I will be at a great fun-show today in Fredericksburg, Virginia and hope to spend a little time away from manning a vendor table so I might locate other Savage and Remington guys to chat with.

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Adam Lee
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

These are some other pics of my Savage 720 shotgun. The serial is 42994, and any help identifying its possible production date would be greatly appreciated.
I understand a gentleman in New England (I was provided his home address contact information) will research Savage gun data for a fee. I hope to work a little on my own before going that route; not to be cheap, but because I am too independent (read: stubborn) for my own good.

Thanks for visiting, 'yall!
Adam
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

More pics of the 720 Savage. Notice that the original firing pin has been repaired - welded and roughly filed. The heat from the weld gave a little color to the firing pin shaft.
Adam
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Roger
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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From the latest posted pics I don't believe your barrel was cut at all. Or else it was done at. Savage or Polychoke Co. On the muzzle end picture you have posted it has a polychoke brand sight bead installed on it, plus it has the strengthing lug under the vent rib at the muzzle end. My major experience is with. BrowningA5 s. And if this were an A-5 ,I wouldn't think twice about that barrel. Does it seem reblued?If polychoke installed that rib,then they had to reblue it. My theory is, that they installed that rib and front sight bead and base. That's why it's marked Polychoke. I don't remember that company's parent company's name. But I believe it to be a well known company. I'm sure that this is just my theory and opinion here ,but I have 30 yrs. of Auto -5 collecting experience to back it up. Once again,I don't think your barrel ever had a polychoke on it.
Thanks for your time
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by sighthound »

Thanks so very much Adam and Roger for the information forthcoming from this investigation of Adams 720. Although I have an A5 collection including those of Savage, this is a new one on me. Roger, you are obviously knowledgable about these, do you have any information on the range of Savage variations from 720 through 728? As mentioned in another post I have a 12 and a 16 with vent rib, monte carlo stocks w/pads and the 16's barrel is marked skeet. I have concluded from listing in an old gun catalog these are 728 variations except for the monte carlo stocks and pads. Do you know of any published books on Savage A5 guns? I have always been in the wilderness on these, much info on Browning a little on Remington but nothing on Savage. Thanks very much, Jerry

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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Jerry, all my knowledge is in the A-5 Browning field. I've always known about the Savage clones but don't know very much specific Savage info.But the real telltale deal is that extended lug under the rib at the muzzle end.if this barrel were cut, and belonged to an A-5 browning there would be no strengthing lug. I'm only speculating about the polychoke marking,but my theory makes perfect sense to me.
Thanks for your time
Roger
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Adam Lee
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

Roger wrote:Jerry, all my knowledge is in the A-5 Browning field. I've always known about the Savage clones but don't know very much specific Savage info.But the real telltale deal is that extended lug under the rib at the muzzle end.if this barrel were cut, and belonged to an A-5 browning there would be no strengthing lug. I'm only speculating about the polychoke marking,but my theory makes perfect sense to me.
Thanks for your time
Roger
I believe you are on to something here, Roger. I had not considered the possibility of Poly-Choke (the company) ONLY adding the vent rib to a modified choke barrel - I assumed that they HAD to have added their proprietary 9-way adjustable choke at the end.

Wow! This makes sense, and it does appear to be a very nice blue from muzzle to barrel extension. My research indicates that the Poly-Choke company began business in the 20's, so it helps me further with my work towards determining a likely manufacture date for this Savage. Through extrapolation of the s/n's I have read, I am thinking this was a mid-30's production.

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Adam Lee
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

Hey guys, I had a little time and managed to take just a few pics of my Savage 720 yesterday. I will try and get better outdoors pics done soon, but in the meantime, these will have to suffice.
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This 12 gauge shotgun has a 29-1/8" (it appears) vent rib Poly-Choke barrel, with matching serial number and "MOD" inscribed. Apparently, it looks as if the barrel was upgraded by Poly-Choke at some point, if not when it was sold by Savage.



Take care

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

A few outdoors pics, better light. The first two are with flash, second set is without flash.

Adam

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Sarge756 »

Very Nice ! Handsome family. The shotgun is nice too. If you have problems with the firing pin in the future, it appears the same as those for an A5 or a Mod 11. If you have need to locate one and can`t I have a few extra. Certainly have reason to be proud of all in your photos.
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by DWalt »

I have read that both Remington and Winchester outsourced the custom installation of ribs and/or choke devicess on their barrels which would have made a certain amount of sense back in the pre-WWII days when most shotgun barrels came from the factories with neither. I had an elderly Remington Model 11 in 20 gauge at one time that had a solid rib, but I think it came from the factory that way. I don't remember ever seeing another having a solid rib.

I think I may have made a posting here awhile back about the history of the use of Savage and Remington humpbacks at the various Army Air Force field gunnery schools where they were used to train aircraft (bomber) machine gunners during WWII.

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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Sarge756 wrote:Very Nice ! Handsome family. The shotgun is nice too. If you have problems with the firing pin in the future, it appears the same as those for an A5 or a Mod 11. If you have need to locate one and can`t I have a few extra. Certainly have reason to be proud of all in your photos.
Joe
Well, thanks for the kind words Joe! I hadn't meant to post family pics on the interweb, it's just that the bureau top was a good spot for me to lean the shotgun on. Least it was clear pictures.

Might have to chat with you later about firing pins, Joe - think this one is OK, but won't know for sure till I get this back to the field. Wouldn't know anyone with a well-used smooth barrel from a Remington 11 interested in selling, would you? I really want to get ahold of another barrel for this gun so I can make my own 19-21" HD barrel. FWIW, the extension tubes and adapters from Remington 1100's and I believe 870's will work on these guns. Sort of nice to have the option of a ~20" riot barreled-Savage semi-auto, with 8-shot capacity.

Hey, have fun all!
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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DWalt wrote:I have read that both Remington and Winchester outsourced the custom installation of ribs and/or choke devicess on their barrels which would have made a certain amount of sense back in the pre-WWII days when most shotgun barrels came from the factories with neither. I had an elderly Remington Model 11 in 20 gauge at one time that had a solid rib, but I think it came from the factory that way. I don't remember ever seeing another having a solid rib.

I think I may have made a posting here awhile back about the history of the use of Savage and Remington humpbacks at the various Army Air Force field gunnery schools where they were used to train aircraft (bomber) machine gunners during WWII.
DeWalt (kinda feels like I just went to Home Depot LOL) thanks for your information. You are right on as far as the Army's use of both Savage and Remington autoloading shotguns - my gun doesn't have any ordnance markings and the finish is very sharp, so I am pretty sure it was always owned and used by a hunter/private individual.

I now feel certain that this barrel was indeed fitted with the vent rib and refinished by Poly-Choke to a Savage production request. Initially, I thought that it was possible that the gun owner himself may have sent his barrel off to get the vent rib installed, but from my reading about these shottys, most likely it was a job subcontracted to Poly-Choke by Savage.

My challenge now, as you guys already know, is getting some detailed honest-to-goodness production history about the Browning patent Savage shotguns. Well, that's a good thing to keep me occupied - lot better than thinking about all the headaches I get from my "day job"!

Take care, all.
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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Adam, pleased to see you taking bull by the horns and developing plan to compile information on Savage A5 shotguns, although I have a small collection of these I know almost nothing about production or models. Apparently some parts are interchangeable with Remington Model 11s and have read opinions that some parts were obtained from Remington. Apparently produced from 1929/30 to 1949/50. A Springfield marked model was made for sale to non franchised outlets and guns marked for chain store brand names such as Ranger (Sears), Westernfield (Wards), Revelation, Belknap, Cotter and others for different store brands. A gunsmith instructor, Bob Dunlop, at Lassen College, Susanville, CA. produces a video about repair of these and other A5, perhaps he might have some info on these. I am getting a little long in tooth and have not been active in collecting for a while but could mail pictures of some variations and little info I have if you would care to provide mailing address. I did not get computer until was old and not able to do much except emails and surf. My email is sodbuster37@q.com. Good luck with this project, Jerry

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by imfuncity »

I have an 11 for HD - found that by far, the cheapest short barrel for it was a Savage. Seems folks are rather proud of their 11 barrels. YMMV
Though defensive violence will always be “a sad necessity” in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men. - St. Augustine

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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imfuncity wrote:I have an 11 for HD - found that by far, the cheapest short barrel for it was a Savage. Seems folks are rather proud of their 11 barrels. YMMV
Yep, I will be looking (have been looking) for ANY Browning-style A5 12 ga. barrel in "well-worn" condition to chop down in size.

Remmy 11's, Savage 720/745/755/etc, even old Brownings. I believe that Savage 720's will accept everything pretty much; hey I am going to look for anything that will fit and function.

Will be at the Dale City gun show this weekend to keep a lookout for such things.

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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sighthound wrote:Adam, pleased to see you taking bull by the horns and developing plan to compile information on Savage A5 shotguns, although I have a small collection of these I know almost nothing about production or models. Apparently some parts are interchangeable with Remington Model 11s and have read opinions that some parts were obtained from Remington. Apparently produced from 1929/30 to 1949/50. A Springfield marked model was made for sale to non franchised outlets and guns marked for chain store brand names such as Ranger (Sears), Westernfield (Wards), Revelation, Belknap, Cotter and others for different store brands. A gunsmith instructor, Bob Dunlop, at Lassen College, Susanville, CA. produces a video about repair of these and other A5, perhaps he might have some info on these. I am getting a little long in tooth and have not been active in collecting for a while but could mail pictures of some variations and little info I have if you would care to provide mailing address. I did not get computer until was old and not able to do much except emails and surf. My email is sodbuster37@q.com. Good luck with this project, Jerry
Jerry,
thanks for reminding me about the "house brand" Savage guns. On one of my other posts, I followed the Numrich Arms link with house brand cross-reference data.

Appears that the later alloy-receiver versions of the 720, which were the 745 and 745C, from about 1940-1949, were rebadged. Here is what I found.

Belknap B65C - Savage745, Springfield745
Cotter & Co. 645 - Savage745
Cotter & Co.645C - Savage745C
Western Auto 400 - Stevens745
Western Auto400C - Savage745C

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by imfuncity »

Oops, I guess I forgot this part. I found much to my surprise, that the A5 barrel(s) that I have, do not cross over for use on the Savage or Rem 11. Good luck at your show, it appears they are trying to make those extinct as well.
Though defensive violence will always be “a sad necessity” in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men. - St. Augustine

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

Here's a long-delayed 720 Savage project "follow-up" post. Although the Savage was ok when I bought it, I stripped it down as planned and completely stripped and refinished the lumber. Decided against rebluing since it was so clean looking. However, as you can see - I added a +7 round Choate mag tube extension, and an appropriate 19"-20" barrel still eludes me!

Adam
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

Let me part the cobwebs here a bit....just a little follow-up.

I bought a pair of repro M1907 slings from Sarco, one with brass one with steel claws for use on the 720 and other older stuff I have. Will be receiving a pair of the larger 1-1/4" mil-style sling swivels from Uncle Mike's soon in the mail, which will fit right on the studs I mounted on the 720 as well as the 8.

Once I get back in gear here, I'll get a few snapshots posted, but I have to admit I always enjoy the look of early 20th century police shotguns, rifles, and the like wearing 1907 leather slings.

Might just be on a lead for an appropriate barrel to shorten to riot/police length for the 720 too.

Thanks for looking, one day I will return.

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Sarge756 »

Adam,
Don`t know if this was the "lead" you spoke of but saw this and thought you might have an interest. Looks like the barrel is stamped with "flaming bomb".
Joe

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewIt ... =361936616
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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Except for the barrel which is marked Savage 720 at least some of the other parts appear to be Remington, the round knob butt stock, smooth uncheckered forend appear to be pre model 11 Remington Auto Loading or early model 11 standard grade and the trigger assembly looks like Remington with susicide safety before 1928, the flat coil recoil spring also looks like Remington, if parts all came from same gun as stated I think it was a Model 11 or pre 11 fitted with a Savage barrel, however this GB auction has a good bunch of parts at very reasonable price so far. Jerry

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Adam Lee
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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Sarge756 wrote:Adam,
Don`t know if this was the "lead" you spoke of but saw this and thought you might have an interest. Looks like the barrel is stamped with "flaming bomb".
Joe

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewIt ... =361936616
yep, already bid on it and I know the "real" winning dollar value is going to probably be over 100 bucks - why? if you know how gb works, and the fact that you bid your max bid and gb automatically bids to that point - well, everybody and his brother has been going ga-ga over the "flaming bomb" stamps lately on gb.

look at how high prices are on any 720 or 11 or any shotgun for that matter with the army ordnance stamps, astronomical.

I personally don't care about the original guns, since I know all too well from my Kar98k and Kar43 collecting days just how insidiously easy it is for an unscrupulous gun peddler to forge any markings. Been there, been screwed by that in my early experiences unfortunately.
I can put a "P" and flaming bomb on my Mr. Coffee decanter if I want to, point is these dang folks are artificially inflating parts & whole guns with these codes.

I bet the winner of this parts auction will be paying more than I care to, and anyway I don't have money to spend now that I burned up all my health insurance on my surgery and follow-ups.

ok, rant off....the cynical me.....

I was actually looking at the cheapo Charles Daly Auto Pointer barrel on gb listed for $25 bucks. if that can fit my 720, i'd be happy.

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

It came - yay!
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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Adam,

Really enjoy your threads, great info...
Phyrbird
SOKY

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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Phyrbird wrote:Adam,

Really enjoy your threads, great info...
Carl,

glad I'm keeping you entertained! :oops:

Now, this 720 barrel I just received was NOT the "cheapo" Charles Daly job I missed out on at GB - but it was still very reasonably priced. Soon, you can see it will be just as short - about 19-1/2" - as my 520 barrel. Notice a trend? :roll:

Yep, my goal is to have a skeet/bird barrel AND riot/police barrel for all of my current (grand total: 3!) shotguns.

I'll get back to this over the weekend, with any luck. School is a busy mess right now, week 2 for the kids.

Adam
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

Update - 9.14.13:

I am posting a "mock-up" photo set of the Savage 720 and Stevens 520 with their "shortie" police-length barrels.
Just spent an enjoyable bit of the afternoon bringing the length down on that new/old 720 barrel. Glad I didn't act stoopid and hack the vent rib Poly-Choke!!

So, lots ahead of me to do, but I like the look of the pair. Both barrels are right at 19-1/4" which looks good to me. I did try on the extended tube for the 720, also looks great. More later!

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by imfuncity »

Indeed, look great.
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

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Just a recent update.

The Savage 720 runs like a champ. When Dave and I took some of our guns out shooting this winter, that 720 just worked great without any burps. I'd say that if I had the extended mag tube on it, loaded with appropriate shot, it will be a great Dawn of the Dead zombie-whacker if there ever was one.

The Stevens 520 had trouble. I realized, just as I expected, that the original shell lifter spring was too weak and bent out of shape for it to function properly. Afterwards, I went ahead and bent it into a closer approximation of the original profile. However, that was just a temporary fix since I wanted dependable function, and just today I ordered a new replacement spring. Hopefully that will be the cure, since the 520 should be pretty fun for "cowboy action shooting" with its lack of trigger disconnector!

Fire the first shot, keep the trigger pulled, and pump away 'til the tube is empty. Should be fun once I get that spring replaced!
Back for an update when that's all done.

Adam
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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by DWalt »

I may have posted this before regarding the Stevens pump, but I don't remember. In any event, it's worth a second look. http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetective ... 69415042//

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Re: Adam Lee's Savage 720 project

Post by Adam Lee »

DWalt wrote:I may have posted this before regarding the Stevens pump, but I don't remember. In any event, it's worth a second look. http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetective ... 69415042//
yea, you had linked that video before - great history lesson! I think I also posted a screen capture from one frame of that video as well.

Adam
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