The Savage Model 24 Combination Gun
Picture taken from: http://www.cylindersmith.com/savage24/FAQ.html
This is a guest post by Crazy Horse.
When JJ asked me to contribute to his website we were discussing real survival situations, specifically what could the average person have with them to help in a reality based situation. As with most all discussions of survival situations the topic of weapons arose. I opined that if I could have only one long gun, (and I’m a guy with a lot of guns), I would probably pick the Savage Model 24 rifle & shotgun combination. I know I will get assailed by the black gun crowd, but I am talking about a piece of equipment that can feed you and your family. It is a gun that I know is highly effective here in the mid-west and likely any where in North America for putting food on the table. Obviously, I am not talking about a weapon to support a defensive position or lead an assault with, but something to help keep you alive and feed your family. The Savage Model 24 is fairly accurate, it isn’t a MOA gun, but is certainly sufficient for the most commonly encountered hunting and very basic self defense situations. The Savage Model 24 is also a very simple weapon which reduces the potential for misfires, jams, failures and parts breakage. Its simplicity also makes it a great weapon for youngsters to learn to hunt with as well. In a survival situation all members of the family who were capable, would need to contribute to the effort. For those of you not familiar with this fine piece of now discontinued weaponry it is an over and under which has a shotgun barrel on the bottom and a rifle barrel on the top, and it is discharged by a hammer which contains a selector switch allowing the shooter to choose either one or the other. See the picture above.
History of the Savage Model 24
These combination guns were initially issued to the United States Army Air Force and eventually the US Air Force in the Pacific theater. The issued Stevens (Savage) .22/.410 combination guns were intended almost solely as foraging guns for small game. They initially differed from civilian guns only in having an Ordnance bomb stamped on the receiver near the hammer. The .22 L.R. was problematic from a standpoint of the Hague Accord rules against expanding bullets, so a bizarre full metal jacketed bullet was devised for this application. Ultimately the weight, dimensions and rimfire cartridge were all rejected by the Air Force, and in the early ’50s, a purpose built survival rifle was chosen–the M-6. The M-6 Survival Rifle fires a .22 Hornet FMJ over a 3″ .410 barrel, and is of all metal construction (see below). (Cite: .
Picture from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:M6_Survival_Rifle.jpg
My first gun was and still is because I have kept it for almost thirty years is a Savage 24 D, chambered in .22 long rifle and has a .410 on the bottom barrel. Growing up in the rural midwest it is needless to say, but I have taken dozens of rabbits and squirrels along with more than a few quail and dove. As a survival tool, this gun is very versatile and it will allow the shooter to take both small to medium sized animals and most any birds. One of the best advantages to a person in a survival situation is that this combination is chambered for commonly available ammunition and that ammunition is light and small enough that it can be packed in relatively high amounts without causing an undue burden. The Savage Model 24 was also chambered in some additional calibers which could allow for the taking of larger game and some may think those calibers would be better than the .22/410 for survival. The Savage 24 can be found in the following caliber combinations:
.22 Hornet/20 Gauge
.222 Rem/20 Gauge
.22 Hornet/12 Gauge
.222 Rem/12 Gauge
.223 Rem/20 Gauge
.223 Rem/12 Gauge
.357 Mag/20 Gauge
I also own a .223 over a .12 gauge, which with the surge in varmint hunting has evolved into the most expensive of the combinations. This is also an excellent combination for a survival gun, but you do add a significant weight and size burden with the larger ammunition. But you also get significant power increases as well. Personally, the burden of the extra weight is one I am willing to deal with for the additional power and range this ammunition offers. With a .223 soft point and a load of 3″ lead two’s, this would be the only gun you would need to carry.
The disadvantage of the Savage Model 24
I started varmint hunting near the town I lived in and used the shotgun barrel more than anything else for fox’s, feral cats and the occasional coyote. The one item that always bothered me was when I tried to use it as a rifle and placed a large variable scope on it, the shotgun would recoil into your eye if you weren’t careful. Having an optic on the gun obviously also reduced the speed & efficiency of the getting on target with the shotgun. The evolution in ACOG & AimPoint type scopes, other advanced optical sights and after market rail systems, now allows the shooter to mount an optic out further forward on the gun so you can shoot with both eyes open and not worry about being hit in the eye. A newer optic like that may be an option on an older gun like this, if you prefer to use an optic instead of just open iron sights.
The .223 Caliber/.12 Gauge combination would be my one gun survival tool. But I would certainly not shy away from any of the others Savage Model 24 combinations either. How can you argue with a .357 or 30-30 over a 12 or 20 Gauge shotgun for taking deer and small game. These combinations also have great availability of ammunition. These great guns are out there and you can usually find a decent deal at your local gun shop. But if you are shopping on line be prepared to pay for the less common .222 or .223 models. The Savage Model 24, is my choice for a reality survival tool.
Where can you find one now?
Since Savage discontinued them, I have not found an exact new reproduction, but Rossi does makes some budget friendly matched sets that come in similar combinations as those listed above. You can find the Rossi Matched sets by clicking here. What would be the one gun that you would carry into a wilderness survival situation?
Thanks for reading!