Author Topic: A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles  (Read 667 times)

Offline scooby

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A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles
« on: February 25, 2017, 10:46:26 AM »
I shot each one of these this afternoon for entertainment purposes. And then I recalled Mike116 sugesting that I take a group photo of my modle 16's. Well, I done so, but also included my other two modles.

The top one is the second modle 16 that I aquired last winter.
Second down is the very first modle 16 that I bought 20 plus years ago in a pawn shop.
Third down is a modle 16 that I picked up in May last year.
Fourth down is a modle 14 1/2 that I found in June last year.
Bottom on is a Favorite that I have had for a few years.



All three of the modle 16's required some work. The top one took a lot of work on the finish due to corrosion and needed an extractor. I also replaced the worn breech block with a better one. Thanks to Mazo, I received those original parts. And even though I have been shooting the second one for years by using my finger to open the block and extract an empty shell, it was missing the side lever, had a broken extractor and needed a replacement cross screw for the receiver. I recently located those original parts on the web and now have the action fully restored. I also found an original butt stock to replace the sore looking one that was on it. The third one only needed an extractor and firing pin. Then I did some light rehab work to the finish and wood. As for the 14 1/2, I have a good rundown for it already posted with pics in this same section that you can check out if you are interested. Lastly, the Favorite is as I found it, except for replacing a non correct Marbles rear sight that some one had installed years ago. This little shooter is in very good condition.


A look at the barrel stamping on the second modle 16 that came into my possession. There is no other stamping what so ever on the rest of the rifle. This one is a first version prior to Stevens ever receiving a patent. From my latest findings, I have determined three different variations for these little 16's. With that, not all parts are interchangable. The other two 16's have entirely different mainsprings and side levers. None of the mainsprings are interchangable between the three pieces.


Here is another close up of the first version's action. Note the tang safety. This one does not have a half cock notch in the hammer. Instead, it was designed to be fully cocked and then the hammer was locked in place with the safety latch. It also has a smaller diameter cross screw than the later versions. The cross screw was fully threaded, as was the pivot hole in the breech block. The whole works were then held in place by threads in the opposite side of the receiver. This piece had seen a home repair job a long time ago. A common nail was used to replace the cross srew and all or the original threads in the frame and breech block had been destroyed. As a result, I ended up redoing the system with my own homemade remedy that worked out very well. The other two have a cap that treads onto the end of the cross screw to hold it in place. The cap sets in a recessed hole in the opposite side of the receiver and the breech block free floats on a non threaded shoulder section of the screw.


Here is a close up of the receiver of the third one that I aquired. There are still traces of case hardening on this piece. They are a neat little rolling block action, the only rolling block to my knowledge that Stevens ever made. I got in an argument one time with an old timer that had a bunch of Stevens rifles. Turns out, he had never heard of a modle 16 side lever. But then again, they were only made for 13 years.


Here is a side view of a 16 with the action fully open. To operate, the hammer is cocked, and then the side lever is pushed downward, which rotates the block and the extractor away from the breach. It is a rather fragile system given the dimiutive size of the parts. Most extractors on these old guns are broke off and the locking slots on the inside of the lever and on the side of the breech block are worn to excessive size causing a bit of slop. This was due to trying to extract the cases from dirty chambers that were not maintained. This is the reason for the short production life of the modle 16. But of course, one that is properly taken care of would continue to function just fine, but few of these old rifles were ever taken care of back then.


Here is a look at the "Little Scout 14 1/2" with the action open. This is a falling block system. After cocking the hammer, the side post is pushed straight down which lowers the block downward into the receiver and pushes the extractor straight back


And lastly, a nice touch added back then by Stevens to the butt plate of the "Favorite" modle. This piece shoots extremely well and is one of the rare pieces that did not see a lot of use and was also well cared for. One like this is hard to find and catches a premium price. The rough ones are easy to find though at the gun shows and will do just fine if one is willing to do a bit of rehab to them. Replacement parts are also easy to find.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 10:57:53 AM by scooby »

Offline Hewy

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Re: A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2017, 11:08:25 AM »
Great collection. What is the history of Sevens, I know could look it up
on the internet, but rather hear it from you.
I had a Cooey .22( Candian made)when I was 12-13 years old, like to find one.
Nice post scooby.
Hewy
BETTER TO GETTIN than GETTIN GOT.

Offline mazo kid

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Re: A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2017, 11:15:50 AM »
Scooby, nice collection of Stevens rifles. Thanks for posting those photos!

Offline scooby

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Re: A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2017, 11:47:57 AM »
Thank you Hewy and Mazo. And thanks again Mazo for the parts to get one of them up and running.

So Hewy, here is a short history on Stevens. Joshua Stevens was a toolmaker by trade and in 1864, he decided to go into the firearms business for himself in Chicopee Falls, Mass. He started his company with the production of the tip up single shot pistol. He is known to have worked with other gun makers such as Colt, Wesson, Allen and Whitney prior to starting out on his own.

By 1880, he got into building falling block rifles.. His goal was to produce more affordable rifles than Winchester, and he accomplished that. Even though he produced cheaper guns than Winchester, he also made some very expensive single shots for the more affluent customer. By 1892, his company had produced over three and a half million falling block rifles of all configurations.

He is known for developing the .22 long Rifle cartridge in 1887. He flooded the market with affordable single shot .22 rifles as well as .25 and .32 rimfire calibres. They were simple, yet effective rifles that could be had by most farmers, ranchers, trappers, and outdoor enthusiast of the common type. He also manufactured affordable single shot shotguns for the same types of people.

By 1896, J. Stevens retired and sold out to his book keeper and other partners of the company. From that point on, the company later merged with Savage Arms, changed names, opened factories over abroad, stopped production of civilian firearms in World War I when Westinghouse came on the scene in order to produce military arms, only to refocus back on the civilian market once again.

What we know as Savage arms today is a result of the original company formed by Joshua Stevens. He does not get the recognition by historians that Colt and Winchester do, but he played just as an important role in firearms production and development as they did in my opinion.

Offline mazo kid

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Re: A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2017, 09:53:42 AM »

I have the series of books written by James Grant; they are all about the old single shot rifles. I think it is the first book, appropriately called "Single Shot Rifles", where he describes in detail all the different models that Stevens produced.

Offline mike116

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Re: A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2017, 01:48:57 PM »
Cool pics and history Scooby.   I've been keeping my eye out for a decent Stevens Favorite to let the grandkids use.   I find that most of them are nearly beyond rehab as far as my ambition goes.

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2017, 06:17:53 PM »
That is a good looking fambily, Steve!
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Offline Mad Dog Stafford

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Re: A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2017, 08:31:01 AM »
I think my Dad has one.... ???  I will check next time I'm over there.

Nice guns!  L@.

Offline sltm1

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Re: A Group of Stevens .22 Rifles
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2017, 09:28:31 AM »
Great collection and pic's! Thank for the history lesson also.......now I want one !!!