Savage 6 “Click Clack” “Gill Gun” 22

Sorry for all the nicknames in the title, but I just wanted to make it easier for people who buy these 22’s secondhand to find some information on them. The Savage 6A is a semi automatic, tub magazine-fed 22LR rifle with some really interesting features. This particular Savage 6A was handed down to me by my Grandma and it’s seen a fair share of use. These rimfires are also sold as the Springfield Model 87 and Ranger 110.

Savage 6A Features

  • Tube magazine under barrel holds 15 rounds of 22LR
  • Bolt can be locked open or closed by pushing in the bolt handle/knob
  • Action can be removed from stock by loosening single knurled action screw on the bottom of the stock
  • Bolt can be removed from the rear of the receiver with knurled action nut.
  • Quick adjust rear sight elevator, front sight can be drifted side to side for windage

The action is the most interesting (to me) part of the 6A because the bolt itself will stay back after firing until you release the trigger. This gives the rifle action a bit of a “click clack” sound when firing slowly.

Technically, you can use the bolt handle lock to enable this rifle to shoot short and long 22’s in a manual mode, but I can’t see why you would when 22LR’s work just fine and don’t need the fiddling. While the ability to lock the bolt forward has minimal novelty to me, the ability to easily lock it back is a lot more useful.

Savage 6A

Common Savage 6 Problems

Lifter issues, lifter spring, weak magazine tube spring, and with my rifle, the cartridge guide spring. I replaced the cartridge guide spring with another from Numrich and this helped immensely.

More information:

Savage 6A Usability

Loading the Savage 6A is like loading any other tube fed 22: convenient and inconvenient all at once. Convenient because it holds many rounds and doesn’t wear out your finger tips like loading some 22 mags. Inconvenient because when topping up the mag tube out in the field, it feels like you need 3 hands. There’s also the huge safety issue with loading it while the chamber is still loaded: you can easily sweep your hand with the barrel, so don’t do it. Instead, it’s safer to lock the bolt to the rear first and then load up the tube.

The spring steel on my safety has started to fail after decades of use, so it doesn’t hold the safety in place stiffly enough. Otherwise, the location is fine.

Walking around the woods with a Savage 6A is something I appreciate now. The full sized stock and beefy feel are great as an adult, but it’s definitely not a choice first 22 for a kid. The round bottom of the stock balances nicely in the middle and is easy to haul around the woods. Mine didn’t come with sling swivels, and I’m kind of glad about that because I don’t really need a sling on a 22 that I’m going to bomb around the woods with. Of course, it’d be easy enough to install aftermarket sling swivels if you’d prefer.

Reliability on my Savage 6A has been a bit hit and miss. First, the shell retension clip started failing and getting rounds really badly jammed up on the lifter, and more recently it’s failed to pick up rounds towards the end of the mag. It might need a new magazine tube spring in the future to improve feeding reliability. The ability to lock the bolt to the rear when repairing is pretty handy.

Cleaning the Savage 6 style 22’s is pretty easy. The action comes off the stock with a single thumb screw, and the bolt assembly comes out the back with a knurled nut at the back. The ability to lock the bolt to the rear also comes in handy when cleaning the bore. Cleaning the gills and chamber area is a bit of a pain in the butt. The gills seem to attract crud from outside as well as powder from shooting.

Summary

Savage 6-based semi automatic 22’s are not the absolute best 22s out there today. We’ve come forward in materials and design to where our 22’s are lightweight, accurate, reliable, and are simpler as well. But used ones out there are typically available for lower prices and there’s something to be said for a full sized, wood stock 22. Because it was handed down, this is the only gun I own that is safe from being sold and will likely be handed down, so it’s still got a lifetime of hunting rabbits and gophers in store.

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