Favorite Firearms: A Savage Bolt-Action For Christmas

by
posted on October 12, 2022
Savage Model 340A bolt-action rifle

It had been a tradition in my family that when a boy turned 16, he was given a rifle prior to his first deer hunt. I knew dad had a brand-new Winchester Model 94, and I was confident that it would be mine when the time came. Imagine my disappointment when dad sold that Winchester to my best friend. For my first hunt, I had to borrow a Mauser 98 from my father’s collection.

Come Christmas time, I was feeling a little disappointed again when everyone was unwrapping and playing with their gifts, while I had a new pair of socks. In the wisdom of youth, disappointment was mine all over again when the last gift from under the tree was a rectangular, gift-wrapped box containing a Savage Model 340A bolt-action rifle in .30-30 Win., fed from a detachable, three-round magazine, complete with a fleece-lined scabbard.

I thought, “Aren’t thirty-thirtys supposed to have a lever?” It felt like a bad joke to me. That was until I started using it. I soon found out that the stock had a longer length of pull than the Winchester and was well-balanced and easy to carry. I was also no longer limited to flat-nose factory bullets, and thanks to the Lyman Jr. reloading press in the basement, I could use any of the popular pointed .30-cal. bullets.

My 110-grain, semi-jacketed loads had little recoil and were devastating to rabbits. Friends were amazed that I could hit them at upwards of 100 yards with open sights. While my collection now includes a wide variety of rifles, the Savage Model 340A is still closest to my heart.

—Neal Matheson

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