The .300 Savage cartridge is a rimless, .30 caliber rifle cartridge developed by the Savage Arms Company in 1920. It was designed to replace the less powerful .303 Savage in their popular Savage Model 99 lever-action rifle. Despite having a short case and a rather stumpy neck, the cartridge is capable of propelling a 150-grain (9.7 g) bullet at over 2,600 ft/s (790 m/s) with an effective range of over 300 yd (270 m).
The original intent of its designers was to offer a cartridge that could approach the ballistics of the .30-06 Springfield, while at the same time using a smaller case that could be cycled through a short-action lever rifle. Although it fell somewhat short of its ballistic goals (by about 150 ft/s), its performance outclassed other contemporary .30 caliber lever-action cartridges including the .30-30 Winchester and .30 Remington. It soon became a popular deer and medium-sized game cartridge among North American hunters, and by mid-century nearly every major US firearms maker offered a .300 Savage chambering in at least one of its rifle models.
The .300 Savage distinguished itself further by serving as a peer to the .308 Winchester (7.62×51mm NATO) cartridge, a round that was developed for the U.S. armed forces in the 1950s and which is still in use today.
The Savage Model 99 lever-action rifle is no longer in production, and over the past two decades or so the .300 Savage has faded in popularity, eclipsed by its own progeny the .308 Winchester and other more powerful short-action cartridges. However, it continues to be marketed by several ammunition manufacturers, and remains popular in countries such as France, which prohibit civilian ownership of rifles chambered for military-issue cartridges such as 7.62×51mm NATO.
In 2008, Savage Arms released a special run of its bolt-action Savage Model 110 rifle called the 50th Anniversary Model, chambered only in .300 Savage. Only 1000 of these limited edition rifles were sold.
Despite its decline as a sporting round, the .300 Savage remains quite popular with handloaders who are able to use newer smokeless powders and more aerodynamic bullets to obtain optimum performance from it.