This is a really tough lever action rifle to find these days; an early Savage Model 1895 rifle in .303 Savage with a 26" octagon barrel. Serial number is in the 5400 range. This one comes with an old 1972-dated Factory notecard stating it was produced around August, 1896. The 1895 was produced for just a short time before the Model 1899 was introduced. These were never the prettiest girl at the dance and so they often get over-looked by Winchester and Marlin collectors. However, what many of us don't realize that this rifle was well ahead of its time..a mechanical marvel in some respects...so much so that it was produced for nearly a century. No doubt, this was the cutting edge back in 1895 when it was introduced...a strong Lever action rifle with a hammerless design, rotary magazine, and used smokeless powder ammunition. The one thing you love about early Models of various products is that many give you something extra...additional features, colors, higher quality, etc. Collectors seem to gravitate towards these features...something unique found solely in the infancy of production before the bean-counters took over and started cost-cutting to increase profits. The Savage Model 1895 was no different...the defining feature of this model is the bolt with a visual cocking indicator located on top that says "S" for safe (I presume) and "O" for when its ready to fire. Neat idea that works...but was quickly abandoned with the new Model 1899. Another feature the 1895 had and the 1899 kept was the cartridge counter on the left side of the receiver which told the user how many rounds were left in the rotating magazine. Unfortunately, as interesting as the Model 1895 was, and still is, they just didn't produce many and they're a bear to find! Some sources say 5000 while others say 8000 were produced. The last one of these we had was back in 2005 which took us nearly 2 years to locate. We passed on a couple of doggy ones with heavy modifications and refinishes. This one required two more years of searching. A lot of folks don't know this, but these early 1895's were actually built for Savage by Marlin in New Haven, CT. If you look closely on the bottom of the barrel beneath the forewood, you'll even find the Marlin factory proofmarks. They even came with standard Marlin-Ballard sights.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Good+. Shows lots of hunting use but not abused or modified. The barrel is mostly grey brown with some thinning original blue. Frame has worn to silver. Nice markings, good edges, and very good screws throughout. Barrel address reads: "SAVAGE REPEATING ARMS Co., UTICA, N.Y. U.S.A." / "PATENTED FEB. 7. 1893. JULY 25. 1893. CAL. .303.". Original rear sight is the correct Long-style Marlin Ballard with most of its original blue that has been slightly modified. Front sight is an old Sheard sight mfd by Marble with a bronze bead. Action works nicely. Good+ to Very Good bore...still fairly bright with decent rifling. No rings or bulges. Very good wood overall that has fairly decent wood to metal fit. Looks like its been lightly cleaned at some point in its life. No cracks....and that includes the wrist area. This is the first 1895 we've found that didn't have a crack in the wood running from behind the upper tang. Just a solid example of a very early Savage lever action with a scarce antique serial number.