By Robert Dunn
AGI/GCA Video Producer,
AGI Pro Course Graduate, GCA Charter Member
I guess at this point in my life, I could be considered a collector of firearms. Within my collection, I have a collection of long recoil operated shotguns. This would include Browning Auto 5s, Remington Model 11s and my most recent acquisition, a Savage Model 755A. All of the previously mentioned shotguns are based on John Browning’s designs. Like Remington, Savage Arms also licensed the design from Browning. The Model 755, at first glance, does not look like the other “humpback” shotguns I love so much, but the way the gun functions is very similar to the rest of the pack.
The 755’s older brother, the Model 720, has the familiar “boxy” shape of the receiver, like the Auto 5 and Model 11 shotguns. The 720 shotgun, manufactured between 1930 and 1949, was designed to be an economical version of the Browning A5. The Model 720 was used during WWII as a riot gun and for training purposes. Savage also manufactured the Model 745, which has an alloy receiver and a two-shot magazine.
The Model 755A and the Model 775 were marketed as Savage’s “Streamliners” and were manufactured between the years of 1949-1958. These models were called streamlined because their receivers did not have the humpback shape to them, they have a sleek smooth shape to the receiver that flows into the wood of the butt stock. The standard Model 755 utilizes a steel receiver and is good for long range shooting and heavy loads. The 755 would be a good shotgun for the duck blind or taking geese. The Model 775 has an aluminum alloy receiver, which makes it a full pound lighter than the 755, and it is good for hunting upland game and skeet shooting.
The 755 and the 775 have walnut stocks and forends. Their receivers are decorated with engraved scenes of ducks on the right side and hunting dogs on the left, as well as some filigree work on the top. Both shotguns use a cross bolt safety that blocks the trigger. The two models were offered in 12 and 16 gauge with plain round barrels made of a special alloy steel. These shotguns are long recoil operated, meaning when the gun is fired, the recoil forces the barrel and bolt assembly rearward at the same time, which will in turn extract the spent shell, eject it and cock the hammer. The recoil spring, having been compressed, will then cause the assembly to move forward, thus chambering a live cartridge for the next shot.
Like the Browning A5, the gun uses a brass friction piece, spring, and friction ring to adjust for shooting light and heavy loads. When shooting heavy loads, the friction ring is placed forward of the brass friction piece and with light loads the friction ring is placed against the front of the receiver. Two points to remember are the flat side of the friction ring is always touching the recoil spring and the other point is the bevel or tapered end of the brass friction piece is always facing the rear of the barrel ring. So, if your light loads are not cycling the firearm, make sure to check the placement of these gun parts!
My 755A project began as a bag of parts. I assembled the gun to see just what I needed to make this shotgun complete. The parts had been laying around my workshop for a couple of years, as I had other guns ahead of it because of love and money. A few events took place in my life that made me act upon completing this shotgun. To make a long story short, I am making a move from Oregon to Georgia and this was the last project I had the time and money to complete before the closing on my house. I had made several lists of the gun parts I could afford to purchase on several “bag o’guns” projects I had laying around. The 755 was the only one I could justify spending on before my move to the great southern state of Georgia. With the list in hand I placed my order with Numrich Gun Parts Corporation.
While I waited for the parts to arrive, I started work cleaning up the gun itself. The shotgun had been spray painted really well and it had even deceived me that it had been Parkerized. Upon closer inspection. I realized it had been spray painted, so I got to work taking the paint off of the receiver, barrel and all the other parts. I did this by using sandpaper and steel wool, just as I would have done if the gun was covered in rust. What I learned was the paint was actually much harder to get off of the gun than the rust and corrosion on other guns I have restored in the past!
Once I got the gun stripped of its paint job, I cold blued the entire gun. I then reassembled the firearm and patiently waited for my parts order to arrive. I had ordered a butt stock, a front sight, a few screws and an action spring. The order came in two shipments and what I then realized was I had failed to order an action spring tube! With only two weeks until the closing date of my house, I promptly ordered the action tube.
While I was waiting for the action tube to arrive, I decided the match of stain between the butt stock and the forend was not acceptable to me. I began to sand and prepare the forend for it’s staining and then applied Tung Oil to the forend and buttstock as a final finish. The action tube got here just in time for me to assemble the shotgun and test fire it! I then took some photos of the completed project to share with you. I will always remember these trying times when I shoot my Model 755. Maybe one day, my firearms collection and I will be back in Oregon.