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Savage Introduces the Model 42

April 1, 2013
By Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

A single shot .22 rifle was my first gun. Growing up in rural western Pennsylvania and running a trap line, I needed more than just the .22 rifle. The local gun shop owner had the solution and sold me a Savage Model 24D configured with a .22 Magnum over a 20 gauge shotgun. That was one of the most versatile guns I had growing up and was ideal for a variety of outdoor activities.

Savage manufactured over a dozen versions of the Model 24 in a variety of rifle/shotgun configurations, but all were discontinued over the years. In 2012, Savage introduced the Model 42 chambered in .22 rimfire over .410 shotgun, a modernized version of the venerable Model 24. Borrowing a line from an Oldsmobile commercial, "This isn't your father's Model 24."

While the concept of a rifle/shotgun isn't new, Savage takes advantage of modern engineering, design and materials in the manufacture of the Model 42. Even the appearance has been updated giving it a distinctive look.

Article Video

Physical Dimension The Model 42 is small only measuring 36" long, 1 3/8" thick and 6 1/2" tall. The handgrip is about 1 1/4" thick and forearms grip area is only 1" thick. The weight is a mere 4.6 pounds.

Caliber Choices The Model 42 is currently available with a .22LR or .22WMR over a 3" .410.

Barrels The barrel length is 20" for both the rifle and shotgun. They are made from carbon steel and have a black oxide matte finish. The rifle barrel has a 1 in 16" twist; the shotgun barrel is a smooth bore with no choke constriction. The outside diameter of both barrels is the same at .56". The muzzle crown on the rifle barrel has been rounded so the bore is slightly recessed.

Article Photos

Savage Model 42

Stock/Forearm Made from a strong nylon polymer material, the stock and forearm have a black matte finish and account for a lot of the weight savings. A piece of foam is inserted in the stock to deaden any hollow sound. The tapered recoil pad measure from 3/4" to 1 1/4" thick, more than ample for this gun. Swivel mounts are installed in the stock and forearm at the factory. While some people will find the red 'Savage Arms' on the forearm not to their liking, I think it looks pretty neat and matches the red bands on the forearm and stock.

Action/Trigger Assembly Pulling rearward on the release in front of the trigger guard opens the action. The .22 and .410 shells are removed by pulling back on the extractor bar with your thumb and finger. The extractor bar, made from the same nylon polymer as the stock, catches the bottom if the .22 shell rim and the top of the .410 shot shell rim. A single trigger releases the hammer that has an integral barrel selector to determine which barrel is fired. When the selector is up, the top barrel fires and when down, the bottom barrel fires. Both barrels cannot be fired at the same time. The safety is a 'hammer block' type located between the hammer and the trigger. Trigger pull measured in the middle of the trigger was right at 5 pounds.

Sights The front sight is a blade; the rear sight is notched and adjustable for windage/elevation. Both the front and rear sights are made from the nylon polymer.

Fact Box

"This isn't your father's Model 24."

At the Range

For testing the .22LR accuracy, the factory rear sight was replaced with a 1x45 red dot. Mounting was made possible by installing a rail manufactured by Evolution Gun Works. After bore sighting and adjusting for 25 yards, an assortment of .22LR shells from Winchester, Federal, Remington, RWS and CCI. Three shot groups measured from .5" to .7". Bullet weights of 40 gr. and muzzle velocities under 1250 fps tended to be more accurate than lighter bullets and faster muzzle velocities. While it may not be the most accurate .22LR rifle, the 3-shot groups were consistent no matter what was shot.

For testing the .410 barrel, a variety of shells from Winchester, Federal and Remington were fired with shot sized from #4 to #9, lengths of 2 1/2" and 3", and Winchester PDX1 Defender. Since there is no choke restriction, the Model 42 was tested at 10, 12, 15 and 18 yards. The shot size and manufacturer did not make any significant difference when fired at the same distances. At 10 yards, patterns were about 10"; at 12 yards, the patterns opened up to around 16"; patterns around 20" were the norm at 15 yards; 18 yard patterns were averaged 24". The optimum range for patterns was 12 yards with #7.5, #8 and #9 shot having the best distribution of shot for general use. The Winchester PDX1 Defender (12 plated BB shot and three .40 cal disks) was impressive with the best patterns at 15 yards, one of which was 3 1/4" with the disks and 4 1/2" with the BB shot.

The big question is, "What would the uses be for a Model 42?" First off, it would be a great gun for youths. It's light; it's small; it has the flexibility of a rimfire rifle and shotgun in one firearm (perfect for squirrel hunting). Secondly, anyone running a trap line will also appreciate the small size, the light weight and the versatility. For campers and hikers in remote or unfamiliar areas, having a Model 42 around the campsite would come in handy for protection against dangerous or unwelcome animals. Finally, for any type of survival situation, a Model 42 would be one of the best choices a person could make. (Historical fact During WWII, Savage manufactured and supplied a combination rifle/shotgun to the Army Air Force as a survival gun for pilots who were shot down).

I do not see the Savage making the Model 42 with the intention of being a single projectile 'tack driver' or a shotgun capable of tight patterns at extended ranges. I do see the Model 42 being designed for flexibility and versatility, suitable for use in all types of weather conditions and small in both size and weight. If these were Savage's objectives, they hit a home run with the Model 42. MSRP for the Savage Model 42 is $480. For more information, check out the Savage Arms website at:



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