The Springfield Savage 511 – The Working Man’s Shotgun
I like shotguns, I mean I like them a lot. I own dozens, but this is my only double barrel shotgun. I purchased this Springfield Savage 511 for 30 bucks at a Flea Market and it was covered in several layers of spray paint. Lots of layers of paint. I took it with almost no idea if it would work, but a 30 dollar wall hanger was worth it. I’ve ruined 80 percent lowers that cost more than that. I was pleasantly surprised when I took it to the range. It fired instantly and easily. The next few weeks saw me scrubbing carefully with sandpaper and various paint removers.
It turned out to be three layers of paint. A grey external, a brown, and then finally green. It was hours and hours of sanding before I got it down to steel and wood. I then made my best attempt at refinishing the wood and metal with my limited understanding of how to do so. I stand by the results and I’m proud of this little Springfield Savage 511. Outside of shooting it, I had to dive into the gun itself.
The Springfield Savage 511
The Springfield Savage line are actually shotguns just made by Savage with the Springfield label. These were considered affordable, side by side shotguns for the working man. These are a dual trigger, boxlock SxS shotguns. Mine features one barrel with a modified choke and one with an improved choke. It’s not valuable, even if it came in perfect condition it’s not worth much at all.
The Springfield Savage 511 is a simple gun, it sports a tang safety that auto engages when the barrels are broke open, and extractors to make removing rounds easy. The barrels are 28 inches long and the entire package is solid and made from metal and wood. It’s an old gun, but its a well made gun. Some friends and I started shooting trap and skeet on occasion on Camp Lejeune and this was the gun I went with.
An American Tradition
It stood up to hundreds of rounds and still does. I don’t use it for much these days, but it remains a part of my collection. It carries with it the mystique of a working man’s gun. Some guns live as battle implements like the M1 Garand, others as pieces of American culture like the 1911, and some guns get forgotten like the Springfield Savage 511.
This is the gun that sat by the door in many a home. It took rabbits, deer, birds, and more to put food on the table of many a home. It dispatched snakes, scared off those with villainous intent, and served as a working man’s gun. It was never sexy or famed for any particular reason, but it was an American icon. The Springfield Savage 511 is just one of many guns that have come and gone from the American psyche without much fanfare.
The Springfield Savage series, which includes the higher end 311, was produced extremely high numbers for decades, some prior to the requirements for serial numbers. They are well-made guns that stand the test of time.
Shooting the 511
The Springfield Savage 511 is a very fun gun to shoot. You can blast both barrels at one time if you like to live dangerously. The Springfield Savage 511 points incredibly well. You can snap on target in half a heartbeat and send a heavy dose of lead downrange. Recoil is surprisingly low, but that is likely due to how heavy the gun is. It is well balanced and because it’s a SxS shotgun it doesn’t have a traditional receiver. This means a reduced overall length.
The Springfield Savage 511 is quick to shoulder and it’s easy to find that bead. Transitioning between the triggers is nice and fast and if whatever you are shooting needs a heavy dose of lead you can give them a second dose extremely quickly.
Reliability is top notch and the gun always goes boom. It extracts the shells with ease and you can spend a very comfortable day sending lead down range. It’s a smooth shooting shotgun, its quick to point, and easy to use. It’s an American icon that is underappreciated. It’s likely the cheapest SxS you’ll find short of something made in China. If you can find one I suggest you grab it and take it for a spin.