Here is a good solid example of Savage Repeating Arms Co.'s first Lever Action rifle in .303 Savage which for the 1890's was pretty advanced for a lever action as it featured a rotary magazine and a hammerless design. While most of us are familiar with the Savage Model 1899, seldom do we encounter an original Savage Model 1895. There just weren't that many of them made. At the time, the Savage factory wasn't ready for production and these 95's were actually produced by The Marlin Firearms Co. in the late 1890's. All are antique. Note the photo of the Marlin proof, "JM" circle on the bottom of the barrel. Also, check out the front and rear sights...the same ones you'll find on most large caliber Marlin lever actions from this era. These must have been great rifles because of the few thousand that were produced, most surviving examples tend to show long and hard usage. This one is no exception but it still has a little bit of original blue in the corners, it's all original, and best of all, the wood has never been sanded or refinished. We're told this came from a Texas family and it certainly shows a lot of character.
This rifle has all the standard features with a 26" octagon barrel. One of the coolest features on these Model 1895's manufactured by John Marlin is cocking indicator hole on the top of the bolt which reads "S" for safe and "C" for cocked. This was changed when production shifted to the Model 1899 and used a more complicated design which pushed a small rectangular piece of spring loaded steel upwards out the top of the bolt. Long story short, these broke. The 1895 was not only simple, it was practically unbreakable. Another distinguishing feature of the Model 1895 is the contour of the buttstock directly behind the receiver. The 1895's have a long rounded oval shape whereas the 1899 is shaped like a "V" with a sharp point. It also has the early style recessed bolt face and the famous rotary magazine cartridge counter numbered 0 to 5 on left side of the frame to let you know how many rounds are in the rotary magazine. Since this was built by Marlin...guess what the sights are? Yep, they're standard Marlin Sporting rifle sights including the long Marlin-Ballard rear sight with original elevator and the Rocky Mountain Front with German silver blade...interestingly, Savage later used nearly exact copies of the Marlin sights on their early Model 1899's.
Overall Condition is nearly NRA Antique Good+. This rifle is 100% original and in untouched condition. The receiver has worn to a mostly grey patina that is slightly frosty and turning with original blue in the protected areas and fairly consistent blue around the lever and trigger. The barrel has what I'd describe as 60% aged darkened original blue with the balance turned to patina. Rear sight shows traces of blue. The bolt has turned mostly grey but shows traces of small areas of its original bright polish. Great markings and sharp edges. The wood on this rifle is very colorful...lots of original varnish (about 60-70%) that has turned to a dark reddish brown with fine crazing and the grain opening up from having lived in a dry climate for much of its life. Numerous nicks, small scratches, etc...from many years of carry and hunting. Some people will frown on wood with this kind of wear but to me, it's honest use that has become art and tells a story. Bore is in good condition with decent rifling, still a little dark in the grooves after two patches. This should clean up better... no major pitting, no rings or most importantly, no bulges. A nice solid early Savage lever action rifle. Only about 8,000 Model 1895's were produced. This one has a serial number in the 7,400 range. Pre-1898 antique. A nice solid early Savage lever action rifle priced less than a comparable Winchester 1894, 1895 rifle or Marlin Models 1893, 95.