Springfield 944 Series A: Top Single-Shot Shotgun of 2019

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posted on April 18, 2020
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There’s no shortage of used Springfield 944 Series A single-shot shotguns on the market. In fact, it earned top honors in that category on GunBroker.com last year. Ironically, it’s easier to find specimens of the gun in pristine condition than locate detailed information on the firearm.

Here’s what we know for sure. First, the name is somewhat confusing. It is not and never was a Springfield Armory product. Stevens Arms Company—a brand acquired by Savage Arms in 1920—began producing firearms under the label Springfield (one word) in the late 1930s. In 1947, the budget-friendly line disappeared, though.

Savage/Stevens resurrected the name on economy guns sometime in the 1960s. The utilitarian Springfield 944 Series A break-action single-shot shotgun was included in that effort. Metalwork was nicely blued and fore-end and stock were wood. They were solid guns, and with a side lever on the receiver to break open the action, it’s a distinctive look when compared to the more conventional mechanism atop. Lockup was solid, despite the unusual design.

There was no manual safety, the hammer was exposed and chokes were fixed. Sighting was done with a single bead up front. Models were available with 3-inch chambers for 12-, 16- and 20-gauges, as well as .410 bore. Barrel lengths varied in each chambering. The 12-gauge versions had the most diversity, running anywhere from 25 1/2 to 35 1/2 inches.

Savage offered a slightly more eloquent version, but at the time firearms dealers were not the only ones selling guns. Springfield 944 Series A shotguns, with different labels and markings were also offered by some of the era’s biggest retailers.

Sears, Roebuck and Company, for example, sold it as the Model 98. Competitor J.C. Penny offered a mechanically identical gun as the 6647, and shade-tree mechanics picking up parts at Western Auto, back in the day, could ask for a Revelation Model 356Y Series A. If they weren’t in stock they could also be mail ordered.

Of course, none of the private labels took top billing for 2019 in the single-shot shotgun category. Undoubtedly many sold though, adding even more endorsement to the popularity of the Springfield 944 Series A.

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