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Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun

Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun

The Savage Model 42 Combo is the sort of gun that most Brits won’t initially understand. But if you study this diminutive .22LR/410 over-under combo it exemplifies everything the Americans look for in a survival gun, a camp gun, a gun to teach Junior the ways of the wilderness, a pocket-sized combo with which to hunt critters, a gun to stow away on your ATV or something to carry in your truck as you drive around the ranch. In other words all the things shooters over here can’t really do… But as a gun to teach the basics of hunting or something to carry when out for an evening’s stroll around your shoot, the Model rifle in concept, the finger- 42 actually makes a degree of sense, although the £712 price tag does tend to take the edge off it. You also have to bear in mind that since the top barrel is .22LR, the Model 42 qualifies as a Section 1 firearm and not a shotgun so a slot on your FAC will need to be sought.

Fixed Format

Aesthetics-wise Savage’s Model 42 has the looks of a small rifle, especially when it comes to the stock. Furnished in black synthetic, a deep angular soft rubber recoil pad adds over an inch to the stock, a narrow red spacer joining the two together. Virtually encapsulating the gun, the plastic furniture extends around the majority of the black anodised boxlock action and just over halfway along the 20-inch barrels. Unusually, whilst the 42 is inherently a grooved grip gives the Savage the feel of a shotgun, albeit the height of the stock is nowhere near that of a smoothbore.

Given that the exterior is completely black apart from red detailing and the big, bold Savage Arms name set into the forend, what little bit of metal is exposed is, not surprisingly, black. Both the exact same diameter, the bottom barrel is the 410 choked approximately 3⁄4 whilst the top barrel is the .22LR, although for those who’d prefer it, can be had in .22WMR. A fixed barrel band complete with raised, elongated bead keeps the barrels a fixed distance apart, whilst it is worth noting that both barrels shoot flat with no obvious convergence point, each barrel forming what is more or less its own independent gun.

Very Hands-On

Shifting to the action, located at the front of the trigger guard, the Savage is opened by pulling the short curved under lever backwards, that in turn unhooks the internal claw that locates against and over the locking lug that extends from beneath the lower chamber. Unless the gun is cocked this allows the barrels to pivot downwards as per a standard o/u shotgun and gives access to the top .22LR chamber that also houses the rear notch sight and the lower 3-inch 410 chamber. A novel fixture is the case lifter system that the shooter operates themselves by gripping the two serrated surfaces set between the chambers and gently sliding upwards. This then allows the shooter to either unload the gun or extract the spent case or cases, a touch fiddly if like me you wear gloves when shooting.

Located directly beneath the external rebounding hammer, the large cross-bolt safety requires the shooter to make a determined effort to deploy it in either direction, the physical location meaning the catch doesn’t fall easily to any finger or thumb. The other point of note is that it clicks rather loudly especially when being disengaged, whilst the external hammer design means the trigger blade is set quite a distance back from the action which at times, due to the grip’s gentle radius, causes the hand to be slightly hunched up.

Barrel selection couldn’t be simpler, just a matter or rotating the anvil through 90-degrees when the hammer is cocked – a process that becomes second nature and remarkably quick once you’ve started shooting with the Savage. Transferring quickly also means that, whilst the 42 is in effect a single shot weapon, getting both the shotshell and the solid projectile off within seconds of each other combine to make this little combo a remarkably effective close-range hunting weapon.

Woodland Walker

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In most instances the usual shotgun measurements don’t apply, although there are some physical dimensions that are worth mentioning. Weight-wise the 42 tips the scales at 4lbs 10oz, the balance point just in front of the hinges. The overall length is 351⁄4-inches whilst the length of pull is 131⁄2-inches to the trigger. And it’s the trigger that should be a cause of concern to Savage, since it takes just short of 10lbs for it to break. Granted there’s no creep but by the time you’ve applied the amount of pressure required whilst keeping the gun on target, there’s every chance your quarry will have departed unscathed. Okay, you do get used to it, and a manually cocked hammer gun does need an extra degree of safety to be built-in. Likewise, I’m reliably informed that it can be considerably lightened by a competent gunsmith, but as it stands the trigger is just too heavy.

Once you’ve got used to it though, the 42 is actually an entertaining little gun. Even though you’ve only got one of each, and unless you’re near enough for your intended subject to be reasonably sized the open sights come together to blot out your target, the 42 is remarkably effective. The 3-inch 410 chamber means you’ve always got enough shotgun power to take down an unsuspecting crow or magpie whilst the 22LR ensures the grey squirrels feeding on the ground or that inattentive bunny will become history very quickly. Whether you elect to fit a sling using the integral swivels or carry it like a shotgun, the 42 is light to carry and quick to deploy.

A few minutes on Huntroyde’s pattern plate at 40 or so yards confirmed that the pattern from the Eley 410 loaded barrel perfectly encircles the impact point of the RWS hollow- point charged 22LR, the distance more or less the maximum the 42 has been designed to work at. The main bulk of the gun sits in the leading hand whilst, even when using the most potent ammunition, recoil isn’t so much negligible it’s actually non-existent. Once you’ve remembered that it’s your chin that rests against the comb and not your cheek, the 42 becomes very quick and accurate to mount to the degree that you don’t always need to align the sights to ensure you eliminate your target.

Equally, if you keep the 42 loaded and open with the safety-catch off, as you close the gun with your forward hand, the thumb of your back hand can very quickly rock the anvil and cock the hammer all in one quick move. In other words, by the end of your first outing with this little Savage, you’ll be handling it and shooting with it like you’ve been shooting with it for years. And the more you shoot with it the more accurate you’ll become which means you’ll be able to extend the ranges at which you and the gun can confidently work.

Conclusion

One thing you have to remember about the Model 42 is that, although it might look like an o/u shotgun, it isn’t designed to be repeatedly taken down once assembled. Similarly, whilst there’s the distinct probability that the Savage Model 42 will be far cheaper to buy over in America where it’s built, the price over here stands a chance of deterring potential customers who in all likelihood would thoroughly enjoy owning and using the gun. On the plus side the 42 fulfils one of the key things I look for, in that it’s genuinely different and, to some extent, quirky compared to the usual run-of-the-mill guns; the combination of .22LR and 410 actually does work well.

Finally, the 42 demands that you reacquaint yourself with what could well be some long-forgotten skills. Given that both gauges are about as small as you can get, it’s down to you to get as close in as you can get, which means those now all too familiar long-range shots just don’t happen. Instead you have to wait quietly in your chosen location or stalk quietly in, pitting your wits against a wary opponent. Get it wrong and you’ll wonder why you bought the Savage, but get it right and the 42 could well become your most frequent hunting or pest control companion.

PRICE: SRP £712 (as tested)
CONTACT: Edgar Brothers 01625 613177 www.edgarbrothers.com

  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

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  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

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  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

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  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

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  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

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  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Savage Model 42 Combo Rifle/shotgun - image {image:count}

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gun
features

  • Name: Savage Model 42
  • Calibre : .22LR/410
  • Capacity : 2
  • Barrels: 20-inch
  • Action: Over-under
  • Stock: Synthetic
  • Weight: 4lbs 10oz
  • Chokes: 410 shotgun – fixed 3⁄4

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