Savage/Springfield 87M Rifle – Military Training Rifle?
Originally Published Apr 2014
One of the most perplexing mysteries in the field of collecting U.S. military training rifles has been the existence of the Savage/Springfield 87M .22 Cal. rifle. Origins of the rifle design go back to a rimfire rifle produced by the Savage Arms Company from 1938 to 1968, also known as the “Three-in-One” Rifle. Over a thirty year period, this rifle reached a total run of 1,500,000 rifles, surpassing any totals of popular rimfire rifle models produced by major firms like Winchester and Remington.
Collector values of the sporting versions of these rifles remain low due to the fact that they were produced under many names (Savage, Springfield, J. Stevens Co.), had too many model numbers to keep track of, sold at half the retail price of other rimfire rifles, and had such high production numbers.
The “Three-in-One” label was given to the action design which enabled the rifle to fire single shot, straight pull bolt action, or semi-automatic. The basic rifle was tubular magazine fed but also available in box magazine versions and could fire .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle cartridges. Bolt action single shot and straight pull firing was accomplished by pushing the bolt handle (knob) into the bolt body, and semi-auto fire was accomplished by leaving the bolt handle out. Thus the rifle had three firing modes.
The military style training rifle Model 87M appeared very early in rifle production in 1940-41. The rifle had a walnut handguard and stock, and military bands with a steel buttplate. The design of the wood and front sight protector unmistakably resembles the M1 Garand just entering U.S. military service. No official information is available to suggest that the Model 87M was designed for military training use, but the deduction is that no other reason is sustainable in the light of the thousands of commercially produced rifles purchased and used by the military in WWII. The production run on the Model 87M was very short, accounting for its rarity to collectors today.
An actual military connection came in a form of a 12” barrelled, box magazine version equipped with a silencer tested by Army Ordnance during WWII. The OSS also tested many silenced .22 Cal. weapons during the war.
Right Rear Side of Rifle
Right Side Center with Handguard
Rifle Receiver Close up with Knob Handle
LEFT SIDE FRONT OF RIFLE – “GARAND” STYLE SIGHT PROTECTOR & TIP OF TUBULAR MAGAZINE
LEFT SIDE CENTER OF RIFLE WITH MILITARY STYLE HANDGUARD