The idea of a combination gun isn’t a new idea. Savage was the first, however, to make them available on a large scale to the American consumer market. It was called the Model 24, and it came in several different combinations, from .22LR/.410 to .308/12 gauge. This is the new Model 42, released this year in .22LR and .22WMR over .410.
Though there were some fancy engraved Model 24s, almost all of them were plain jane, run of the mill utility guns. The 42 also retains the utility status, but it is an attractive gun with bright red Savage logo on the polymer stock.
You manually flip the hammer to which barrel you want to fire. Every shot requires you to pull back the hammer, and it can be carried with the hammer down or cocked and locked with the crossbolt safety.
The manual plastic extractor isn’t really needed for anything but hight brass 3″ .410 shotshells. Everything else you can flick out with your fingernail.
The polymer rear sight is easy to adjust, but the .22LR shot about 10 inches high in the lowest position.
The front sight is not adjustable. It is however removable so theoretically could be replaced with a higher post version. The gun is suprisingly accurate considering the chinsy sights. See the targets below.
Savage Arms Model 42
Disney just bought the Star Wars franchise for the exact same reason that Savage has finally re-created the Model 24 combination gun, CONSUMER DEMAND. Even though the generations may change dramatically, a great idea never stops being a great idea, and the idea of a rifle/shotgun combination was always a great idea. The new Savage is called the Model 42 and for now it comes in either .22LR or.22WMR over .410 shotgun. Comparing the engineers at Savage, circa 1939, to George Lucas, isn’t a big stretch surprisingly enough. The American public bought over a million Model 24s between its introduction in ’39 and sunset in the 1980s, and over the last several years the Model 24 has become extremely collectible. Everyone seems to want one, hence, the birth of the Model 42, which has an MSRP of $480, and street price substantially less. The original Model 24 was what many considered the ultimate “utility gun” back in the day. This Model 42 is still kind of the same gun, retaining the utility value, while taking advantage of modern materials and firearm design. We found the gun to be accurate, versatile, and downright attractive for a low priced utility gun. If you have been “watching” all the Model 24s that have come on to GunsAmerica, wishing you had bought them before they became collectible, the Model 42 is every bit as much gun as the Model 24, and it won’t kill you to throw it behind the seat of your truck.
Our test gun was the .22LR version, but the .22WMR appears to also be out and available. Practically speaking, the choice between the two boils down to what you want to use the Model 42 for, and which barrel you want to use for which task. For instance, if you want to use the 42 to rabbit hunt, but you expect to maybe see a grouse, or even a coyote, or visa versa, the .22WMR is great for a coyote, but probably overpowered for your average cottontail. The .22LR is perfect for the rabbit, and some buckshot in the .410 is perfect for a coyote. We also patterned both 2 1/2″ #6 shot and 3″ #4 shot with the .410, and even without the ability to use screw in chokes, the buckshot, #6, #4, and even some Winchester PDX1 flat disk loads worked fabulously.
The original Model 24 grew to a huge line of guns, in various configurations and model designations over the years. The top barrel at one time came in .22LR, .22WMR, .222, 30-30, .308 and even .357 Magnum. The bottom barrel has been offered in 12 and 20 gauge, as well as .410 shotshell. We have not heard if there is any plans to expand the Model 42 line, but as a first offering , .22LR and .22WMR, along with .410, are good choices from Savage. The few people I have spoken to about the Model 42 have instantly said “I wish it came in a (fill in combination).” You can’t please everyone, but my guess is that a lot of people will go and buy a 42 in its existing configuration.
It is also impossible to ignore the survival gun potential for the Model 42, outside of hunting and plinking. You can carry an enormous amount of .22LR ammunition for very little weight, and shotshells are about the same weight as handgun rounds, with much more versatility and punch. If you went into the woods with the Model 42, a brick of .22LR and a couple boxes each of #6 birdshot and 000 buckshot, you aren’t going to go hungry, and there is not an animal in the woods you couldn’t kill with the right shot placement. Predators, from wolves to humans, would also be short work for the .410 with buckshot. About the only thing you might want to be careful of is bears, though at point blank range, a bear who tries to steal the trout I just caught is going to have a very bad day with the Model 42 in my hands.
The stock on the new Model 42 is polymer, and the forend is grooved for your fingers. The buttpad is fit clean to the buttstock, and overall the fit and finish of the gun is nicely made, tight and neat. The Model 42 weighs in at just under 5 lbs. loaded and the barrels are 20 inches. Any 2 1/2″ or 3″ shotshell fits the .410 barrel. We did not try .45 Colt. About the only problem I have with the gun is that the extractor is polymer. You don’t really need the extractor except on high brass 3″ .410 shells, so I would use it sparingly. It would be an expensive machined part in steel, so plastic was probably the best choice to keep the cost of the gun down, and it would matter a lot more if you actually needed it. For the most part you flip out all the .22LR and most of the .410 shells with your fingernail, and the same probably goes for the .22WMR. The sights are also plastic, and we’ll get to that.
Our Model 42 came with a target from Savage that showed it capable of shooting a .3 inch group, but the paper did not say at what distance this was shot. In our own accuracy tests at 50 yards, the most I generally attempt with open sights, the groups were in the 1/2 inch range with CCI Stingers, which the gun seemed to like the best. Compare that to the same shooter (me) using AR sights, and I know that I have shot the same AR with open sights at 50 yards and averaged 2″ groups, then put optics on it and shot sub MOA at 100 yards. It is arguable that Savage actually did test this gun with open sights at 100 yards and with the right ammo and the right (superhuman and YOUNG) shooter, got .3 inches. The Model 42 is a good shooter one way or the other, and .3″ at 100 yards would make it a world class tack driver. The only problem with the gun we experienced was that the .22LR shot about 10 inches high at 50 yards, with the shotgun barrel shooting dead on at 10 yards. This was with the polymer sight in its lowest position, so if you decided that you wanted to make the .22 shoot dead on and the shotgun barrel shoot low, you would have to file the rear sight. I suggest a guitar nut file from Stewart MacDonald ($12) in the .046 width, but you might want to try to measure the size on your sight yourself. If we decide to buy this gun from Savage that is what I am going to do. The best thing is to take the file to range and walk the shots down one at a time with the file, then clean up the top. The windage was almost perfect on our gun, but you could, if you wanted to, open the slot up some to better center the front sight. I would order a replacement sight first though, just in case.
As you can see from the pictures, you couldn’t ask the .410 to pattern or perform any better than it did at 10 yards. Some of the loads we used had been big disappointments when we shot them in the handguns they were made for. but in the longer Model 42 barrel, where more powder can burn before the projectiles leave the muzzle, those same “handgun” loads turned into ballistic rock stars. The bird shot, made for 24″ and up barrels, patterned well in the 20″ unchoked barrel, and the chronograph speeds were right along the lines of what it says on the box. Even if you re-sight the .22LR to shoot to point of aim, it shouldn’t be hard to learn to point shoot the shotgun accurately. Shotguns are made to point, not aim, and the just over 4 lb. trigger of the Model 42 is certainly not a hindrance, compared to other combination guns with terrible triggers that have come out over the years.
in the wake of Sandy, a lot of people who aren’t gun owners are now thinking about owning at least one gun in case something catastrophic happens in life. The Model 42 from Savage is about the perfect gun for such an unfortunate occasion. For lifetime gun owners looking for the perfect truck gun, pack gun, youth gun, or just all around “take it with me” gun, we view the Model 42 it the light of its predecessor the Savage Model 24. Just like the timeless ideas of Jedis, Wookies, Storm Troopers and Droids, the idea of an over/under rifle/shotgun combination gun is timeless and extremely useful as a lifetime purchase gun. And while some may turn their nose at a new Star Wars movies when they come out, or a plastic Model 24, those of us who just love good movies and good guns will line up at midnight Thursday night for the new Star Wars, and buy this neat little Model 42 as soon as we can get our hands on one. For a gun that was clearly produced to meet consumer demand, Savage did a great job with it, and the Model 42 will turn out to be just as much a classic as the original Model 24.