View Full Version : Dating a Stevens Favorite .25

September 17, 2009, 10:46 AM
I have a Stevens Favorite .25 that came to me thru the family. Stamped on the metal (directly where lever hits) is "W 278" Stamped on the barrel is "Chicopee Falls USA Pat Apr 1794" (yep, 1794)

Can anyone tell me how I can find the approximate date of manufacture?

Magnum Wheel Man
September 17, 2009, 11:00 AM
I just started buying a few of these old Stevens... it should say Model of 1910 on the gun if it's a Favorite...

does it look like this one ???


September 17, 2009, 12:12 PM
Very similar but I'd say mine is older...

The ONLY stamping is:
"25 Stevens" just the left of the back sight
"J Stevens A & T Co" and "Chicopee Falls USA Pat Apr 1794" just to the right of the back sight

"W 278" where the lever hits the strap.

That is the ONLY stamping.

On the butt is "Stevens Favorite"

Magnum Wheel Man
September 17, 2009, 12:28 PM
I believe the Crackshot came before the Favorite ( they may have overlapped a little )... my Crackshot has only patent applied for & has a 2 didget serial... I think Stevens went to a letter & 3 didget serial system initially but I'm not sure if they started with "A" & worked their way to "Z" or how they did it... I think my Crackshot was made in the early 1900's but before 1910....

so if your's doesn't have "Favorite" & "Model of 1910" stamped into it them perhaps it could have been an early model, but would still date around 1910

areyou sure it's a Favorite ???

this is my Crackshot, & it looks similar... but if yours has a lever it is not a Crackshot, but could be a model 44 or model 44.5


Magnum Wheel Man
September 17, 2009, 12:31 PM
This is a model 44...


September 17, 2009, 12:39 PM
re: sure it's a favorite?

As stated in my post.... on the butt it says "Stevens Favorite"

September 17, 2009, 12:50 PM
Does this help?


September 17, 2009, 01:36 PM
Correction... re-reading the Pat date it reads:
Apr 17 94 (not Apr 1794) which would be Apr 17 1894

Magnum Wheel Man
September 17, 2009, 01:38 PM
LOL... I'm sorry... must have posted nearly the same time... I thought the patent date didn't look right...

check out this rifle... ( note the patent date ;) )

this one is not stamped Favorite on the reciever like yours... BTW... often the brittle plastic butt plates cracked & were changed out, so asking again was a fair question...


September 17, 2009, 06:26 PM
Although the Favorite rifle was introduced in 1890, the earlier model wouldn't have had an 1894 patent date.

IMHO, your .25 cal Favorite is a No.17, introduced in 1894 & disc in 1935.
At this time, Stevens started (over the span of several years) to introduce different model numbered Favorites, like No. 17, No.18, & No.19.

That serial number would have been from the first year's production (1894) -since Stevens Arms & tool was an extremely prolific firearms manufacturer, being the world's largest at that time.

BTW - A No.18 Favorite would be identical to a No.17, except that it would have had a Beach combination front sight and a vernier peep sight.

The No.19 would have had a Lyman front bead and a Lyman #1 folding tang sight.

There are NO factory production or serial number records of Stevens A&T firearms, because they conveniently became "lost" (as the company explained to Congess after WWI), when they came under Congressional investigation for WWI profiteering.


September 17, 2009, 09:14 PM
thanks very much for the info! Appreciate it!

September 18, 2009, 10:45 AM
You're welcome, preacher. :)


NZEF 1945
September 4, 2010, 04:30 AM
It is not possible to date Stevens as the serial numbers were allocated abitarily so that the M prefix could be allocated before the B prefix and so on. I noted on another forum that some fellow claimed to own one of the very first Favourites as he had an A prefix rifle with a two digit number - sadly he had one that was well into the production of them and indeed it was quite a late one!

I believe that the Stevens Favourite was the result of a patent taken out by Otis W Horr of Chicopee Falls in 1885, patent number 323,926. When the first Favourite came out it was known as the small sideplate model and between its introduction in 1889 and 1894 only about 1500 were made.
They were serial numbered in the same range as Stevens tip ups so that one of the very first 1894 Favourites I have here is actually numbered 40455 - it is NOT the 40455th Favourite made however but rather the 40455th Stevens made using this serial numbering system.
We can say that the three main Model designations were the Model 1889, the Model 1894 and the Model 1915. There was no Model 1910. Due to design changes there was loosely termed I believe the Model 1898, the 1902 and the 1912.
Between 1894 and 1902 I have worked out 14 different changes but the most obvious is that of 1912 when they changed from half Octagon/half Round barrels to either Octagon OR Round and then in 1915 Stamped these rifles on the tang with Model 1915.
As another contributor above said there was the standard number 17 then the number 18 and the number 19 and he has correctly stated the points that made these number designations different - that is in the sights.
There was also the number 21 - this is confusing because the number 21 Favourite was originally the bicycle rifle with a shorter barrel than the 17 but later the 21 was the 'Ladies Rifle' with a slightly different profile. The bicycle rifle had a 20 inch barrell.
The main features of the first 1894 rifles were shorter lower tang, mainspring was merely wedged against a 'capstan' and not screwed in place, the extractor came up the side of the action, the middle of the breechblock had a tightening screw, the lever was thinner where it entered the receiver, the breechblock had a slightly more rounded profile, the receiver ring had sharp edge corners (later ones were angled a little to remove the sharp edge) the receiver where the breech block rests on the face of the barrel was sharp right angled (later it had a gentle curve, the receiver beside the rear of the breech block was slightly more rounded than later, the receiver below the barrel was solid full length, the barrel shank was in two stages so it was stepped down and the interior of hte receiver profiled accordingly, the extractor entered the barrel at 7 oclock and not form below through the middle of the breech block.
Hope all that makes sense!