Join Date: May 14, 2000
Location: Montgomery, AL, US
Cheap, old .22 single shot rifle
I have exhausted every single internet source I can find to identify an old .22 rifle, and I'm just flat stumped. Here's the link to the rifle, with photos. If anyone here can identify this rifle, well, you'll be the only folks in the history of the flippin' internet to do it!
A friend showed up with this little rifle a few months back. It’s an old, very cheap .22 single shot. The only markings on the metal are "PREMIER" on the side of the receiver and ".22 Long Rifle" on the barrel.
This is a cheap old .22. The parts are stamped, and even the trigger guard is screwed into the stock with wood screws. However, it does have a nice, long, heavy barrel, and I couldn't stand to not fool with it.
The gun had been stored in an old warehouse for decades. A dirt dauber had even built a nest in the muzzle. The gun was grimy, greasy, and just plain dirty. It was also rusted shut.
I started taking the thing apart, and it was very simple to do. It's a single shot, and I managed to get everything apart, cleaned, and reassembled. I even sanded down the old stock and refinished it. Everything is slick as a cat now, except for one thing ...
It won't fire. ... More specifically, it appears that the firing pin strike is too light. I’m working on that. In the meantime, any idea what this rifle is? I have seen lots of stuff that was close, but nothing with a stock and action characteristics like this, and nothing with a weird bolt handle like this one. The bolt is a two-piece affair. The firing pin looks at first blush like it ought to be the extractor - it has a lobe at its back end that fits into a recess in the back half of the bolt, and its main body lies inside an external dovetail in the front half of the bolt, its end protruding out into the concave bolt face.
The combination sear and trigger spring is flat, and it is screwed onto the bottom front of the receiver (this one with an obvious replacement screw and a lock washer!) It was so weak that I had to do a little bending on it to coax a bit more tension out of it.
One cocks the piece by pulling on the rear of the bolt. The back half retracts and the sear catches a grove in the bottom of the back half of the bolt and locks it back. The back half takes the firing pin with it. The sear is integral to the spring and does not move. As the trigger is pulled, it levers the flat mainspring downward taking the sear with it, and the back half of the bolt is released. As the rear half of the bolt moves forward at the direction of a coil spring inside the back half of the bolt, it takes the firing pin with it, pushing it down the channel in the front half of the bolt and into the rim of the cartridge.
I have also noticed that the front half of the bolt is actually just a hair loose, even when closed, and the bolt handle has nothing to close down on - it just sits there against the side of the port, and when the rifle is dry fired, the handle even moves up about an eightj of an inch. (Yes, I know, ... it's worn out.)
Here's as far as I have gotten: Premier is a brand name for guns sold by Montgomery Ward and, probably, made by J. Stevens. Most of the attributes of my rifle are like the J. Stevens guns, except (1) the bolt on mine is a simple, short column and not a knobbed bolt handle, and (2) the stock is very shallow (meaning from top of receiver to bottom) and has no real relief cut out for the bolt in closed position.