View Full Version : J. Stevens Rifle Question

November 14, 2008, 10:41 PM
I just got my hands on an old rifle that belonged to my grandfather. The rifle is a J. Stevens .25-20 single shot lever action rifle. Serial Number 61613. It has a heavy bull barrel which is octagon to the end of the forearm and round the rest of the way. It also has a scope mounted on it which is approx 20 inches long that slides back and forth through the mounting rings to adjust it. I have spent some time researching on the web without much luck. I did see on a old home movie from the 80's where he made mention it was a "1895 with a big bull barrel", but that is it. Any idea how old this rifle may be based on the SN? Any info on these type J. Stevens rifles would be a great help. Thanks.

November 14, 2008, 11:40 PM
We really need a good picture of this gun. Also, what is the barrel length? What type stock? A coupla models that "sort of" match your description are the No. 49 and No. 50. There is also a chance of it being a No. 51, 52, or 53. Some of these guns are extremely rare, and would need a careful appraisal to determine value. At any rate, I would not attempt to alter the gun in any way until the true value is established.

November 14, 2008, 11:44 PM
sounds like a Favorite, Takedown or Crackshot.

Neat little falling block actions.

November 14, 2008, 11:44 PM
Stevens made dozens of single shot rifles with a falling block action. Some are very valuable ( several thousands of dollars ) With out pictures the best I can do is to refer you to The Standard Catalog of Firearms. they list most of the Stevens rifles with pictures and a brief description. Don't try and pertty it up. A little oil and wipe down for now untill you know what you have.:)

Jim Watson
November 14, 2008, 11:55 PM
A .25-20 is probably one or another version of the Stevens Ideal. There were two actions, the 44 and 44 1/2, which were entirely different even though numbered so close. These were made up into the several different model numbers listed by elrod. The Walnut Hill was the most famous and would be worth a lot if in excellent condition.

November 15, 2008, 07:33 AM
Trying to post a pic here of the rifle.


Jim Watson
November 15, 2008, 09:55 AM
All I get is the red X.

November 15, 2008, 09:58 AM
See if this works now.

Jim Watson
November 15, 2008, 11:24 AM
Coming in 5x5 now.

As best I can tell (and I am not a Stevens collector) it is a standard Number 44 Ideal. It is practically impossible to pin down the date of manufacture closely on old Stevens, the caliber was not much used after 1904 but the serial number seems high for that.

Stevens had their own line of scope sights and this might be one of them, but the only one I could find a picture of was trademarked. There were others of similar design, but old scopes and sights are a field all their own and while I have little on Stevens, I have almost nothing on sights.

The No 44 action is not real strong. It will handle the .25-20 Single Shot ok as long as it is not loaded heavy. Black powder would be safest but mild smokeless loads can be used.

November 15, 2008, 12:45 PM
The scope is also J. Stevens Arms and Tool Co. No. 338.

Jim Watson
November 15, 2008, 01:35 PM
That makes it a real sweet outfit.

I cannot pin down the No 338 because Google gets all excited over the .338 Win mag. From Ned Roberts description, it sounds like one of the Stevens Ideal series of scope. Interesting thing, in later years (1939 catalog) there was a Lyman No 438 scope of very similar appearance.

November 15, 2008, 09:01 PM
The rifle seems to be in good working order and I'm itching to shoot it. Looks like I have to just bite the bullet (pun intended) and order some single shot rounds online. Too bad it's $60 for 20 rounds. I've been researching reloading dies for my RCBS Rock Chucker and that puts me in the $300 range for just the set of dies and shell holder. :eek: I guess I'll just drop the $60 and see how much fun the rifle is to shoot before I fully commit.

Jim Watson
November 15, 2008, 09:50 PM

CH-4D dies are not the finest in the world, but they are only $78 plus $8 for a shellholder at Buffalo Arms.

They have .258" bullets, too.

Call them up, the owner, Dave Gullo, is very experienced and will help.

November 15, 2008, 10:41 PM
I will certainly check them out. I was pricing out the pieces on Midway's website. Seems like all the RCBS that they have for the .25-20 single is all custom order from RCBS and takes about 90 days or so to get in. Each die there is $93 so the cost of the set really adds up.

November 26, 2008, 02:42 PM
Without more detailed pics of the left side and barrel inscriptions, I would say your rifle is a Model 44 Ideal in .25/20 Stevens Single Shot - the only .25 caliber cartridge offered in that model at the time (1896-1933) - outfitted with a Stevens 388 telescope ( 8X, 20" long, 3/4" tube, 16' FOV@100yds) in #8 mounts.


December 6, 2008, 08:11 PM
How would I find out if this rifle needs a black powder round or if a smokeless powder round would be ok?

December 6, 2008, 09:07 PM
Given the age of the rifle and the caliber, I would use only blackpowder. No pyrodex or 777, the new replacement powders generate too high pressures for your rifle.
Stick with the real stuff, blackpowder.

December 7, 2008, 09:59 PM
In case you haven't already figured it out, Stevens 25-20 Single Shot is not the same round as the 25-20 WCF. It is a straight-walled cartridge, not bottlenecked like the 25-20 WCF.