Home | Ezine | Forums | Links | Contact
NitroExpress.com: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic

View recent messages : 24 hours | 48 hours | 7 days | 14 days | 30 days | 60 days | More Smilies


*** Enjoy NitroExpress.com? Participate and join in. ***

Double Rifles, Single Shots & Combinations >> Single Shots & Combination Guns

Pages: 1
CptCurlAdministrator
.416 member


Reged: 01/05/04
Posts: 4708
Loc: Alleghany County, Virginia, US...
Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic
      #305062 - 10/09/17 04:40 AM

Ok, this is not British Best. It's machine-made American.

Stevens produced their finest design falling block single shot rifle - the Model 44-1/2 - from 1902 until 1916. About 13,000 were produced. They competed with the Winchester 1885 High Wall and Low Wall.

One advantage of the 44-1/2 is the manner in which the breech block tilts to the rear. This feature allows it to "gobble up" a cartridge that has not been fully seated in the chamber. The action is quite strong, though it is not as large as the Winchester 1885.

Known for their accuracy, many left the factory in full-blown schutzen configuration.

These rifles are relatively hard to find in good condition. Many years ago I had the good fortune to own a 44-1/2. That one started its life as a .22LR, but the bore was badly corroded. The friend from whom I bought it had the original barrel bored out to .357 Magnum and the breech block converted to center fire. It was topped with a Burris compact 4x scope. I used that rifle for almost everything. In a weak moment back about 1992 I sold it and regretted selling it ever since.

Last May I ran upon a nice original 44-1/2 rifle chambered for the .25-20 Single Shot cartridge. It was equipped with a tang mounted rear aperture sight and remained in excellent condition. I snapped it up.

There is a company now making a new version of the 44-1/2 and doing service work on vintage rifles also. CPA Rifles in Pennsylvania. https://www.cparifles.com/ They offer new barrels that are shaped exactly to the original contours. It occurred to me that a new barrel in .38-55 Winchester would do everything my old .357 Mag. would do, and then some! Without wasting any time I sent my rifle to CPA for a new .38-55 barrel.

Another great feature of the .44-1/2 is that barrels are interchangeable by hand. You remove the breech block and extractor, back out the lock screw on the bottom of the action, and the barrel unscrews like a take-down rifle.

Well, CPA didn't waste any time getting my new barrel fit. It's part octagon and part round with the exact same outside dimensions as the original barrel. The original forend fits perfectly. It's made from a Douglas XX .375 blank so that the full range of .375 bullets can be used.



I researched the .38-55 for a good “try” load. I had a box of Hornady 220 grain .375 bullets on hand, so decided to use them. I decided to load 35.0 grains of IMR 4895 and a WLR primer.

Getting it sighted in required fiddling with the elevation adjustment of the rear sight and drifting the front sight into proper position. The first range session got it roughed in. One thing I noticed was that the tang rear sight was fairly loose in its adjustment. I knew I would need to make a little rod to insert into the assembly for the staff to bottom against firmly. One thing I noticed in this first session was that the rifle really wanted to shoot accurately.

When I got back home I took some careful measurements and made the stop rod mentioned above. I left it slightly long knowing the next session would be a bit high on target. From the second session I would be able to calculate how much to shorten the stop rod, thus lowering the rear sight.

The second session was shot at 100 yards last Saturday. As I anticipated, the group was a bit high. It was also a bit to the right. While at the range I drifted the front sight and shot another group. Windage was good now. Wow! What fine groups this rifle wanted to shoot!

At home I filed down the stop rod to almost where I thought it should be, still leaving it slightly high in anticipation of a final adjustment.

To the range I went again on Monday. I fired two 5-shot groups. The first was under poor light, but the group was fantastic – three shots in one hole with two shots slightly outside. I put up another target. Now the light improved. The next five shots went into one ragged hole.





Here's a close-up of the same target. A penny covers the group!





Yes, I think I am going to like this rifle and cartridge quite a lot.





My next effort will be to see how it shoots with its .25-20 barrel. Stay tuned!

Curl

--------------------
RoscoeStephenson.com

YOUR DOUBLE RIFLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.



Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Daryl_S
.577 member


Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 16787
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: CptCurl]
      #305065 - 10/09/17 06:18 AM

NICE - well done and good history as well, Curly.

I found a load in my 1978 .375 Winchester which was actually quite low in pressure, but gave excellent accuracy with the 220gr HP Hornady.

42.0gr. H335 with a CCI250 primer. Due to the low weight of powder charge, the magnum primer might have been superfluous.

Vel. from my 20" bl. was 1,920fps. I shot two moose with this load, 1st shot through both shoulders bullet stopping under the hide on the outside of the shoulder, made 1 1/2 steps dropping dead. The next, shot through the lungs from the second rib, forward through the rear of the onside lung, through the off side lung into that shoulder, made 4 steps and dropped dead. That bullet exited sideways - I was impressed, but only one rib was hit, no other bone. Both moose were roughly 95 yards distant.

It is a quite low pressure, low (for the .375) velocity load that works.

I am sure it would be fine in your rifle, Curl.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
CptCurlAdministrator
.416 member


Reged: 01/05/04
Posts: 4708
Loc: Alleghany County, Virginia, US...
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: Daryl_S]
      #305068 - 10/09/17 06:31 AM

Daryl,

Here's the bad news: Hornady discontinued the 220 grain FP bullet.

I have a few left. Next I will try the Speer 235. It has been a superbly accurate bullet for me in the past.

Sierra makes a 200 grain bullet. I have some of them and will give them an audition.

I will probably try some cast lead bullets also.

Wish I had a moose to try them on.

Best,
Curl

--------------------
RoscoeStephenson.com

YOUR DOUBLE RIFLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.



Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
93x64mm
.400 member


Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 1003
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: Daryl_S]
      #305069 - 10/09/17 06:36 AM

CptCurl - you have a winner there!
You certainly still have it too.
Love the idea of interchanging barrels, even if it just the ability to do so.
Glad to hear that you found what was "lost" makes up for those "bloody silly" moments we all have.
Finally got to pattern my 'new' H&R Model 1915 410 a few weeks back, I learnt to shoot on a Model 1900; but my cousin sold it off.
Been waiting 25 years or so to get a half decent one......know how you feel mate!
Looking forward to more on this one!
Cheers


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Bidgee
.375 member


Reged: 08/04/15
Posts: 701
Loc: Slightly west of Dubvegas, NSW
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: 93x64mm]
      #305087 - 10/09/17 02:33 PM

That's a nice looking rifle and a handy calibre as well! I hadn't heard of the Stevens 44-1/2 before.

Good write up!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Daryl_S
.577 member


Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 16787
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: Bidgee]
      #305094 - 10/09/17 03:32 PM

Much stronger than the previous Model 44, which was a low pressure action only.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
CptCurlAdministrator
.416 member


Reged: 01/05/04
Posts: 4708
Loc: Alleghany County, Virginia, US...
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: Daryl_S]
      #305136 - 11/09/17 08:52 AM

Well, today was the day to try the .25-20 barrel.



As mentioned above, this is chambered for the .25-20 Single Shot cartridge. When it came out, it was simply called the .25-20. Winchester liked it and wanted something like it to chamber in their Model 1873. Trouble was, this round is too long for the 1873 action. Not to worry, Winchester shortened it and made it a little fatter. The result was the .25-20 Winchester that we know so well. After that, the Stevens cartridge was known as the .25-20 Single Shot. Winchester far outsold Stevens, so the dominant cartridge became the .25-20 Win.; the .25-20 SS sank into oblivion. Ballistically they are about the same.

For a first try I decided on 11.5 grains of H4198, a CCI 400 primer, and a Sierra 75 grain HP bullet. Overall length was 2.175". I loaded ten of these rounds using new Jamison brass.



At my range I set a target at 50 yards and bore sighted the rifle as best I could. The .25-20 barrel has a traditional blade front sight. That is more difficult for me to shoot than having a globe aperture front sight like the Lyman I put on the .38-55 barrel.

Nevertheless, I snuggled behind the rifle and let three rounds fly. I got a nice little group just a few inches below the bullseye.





The rifle obviously wants to behave!

I screwed the tang peep sight about a turn on its shaft and proceeded to fire a 5-shot group at the same 50 yard target.





This thing clearly wants to perform! Here's the full target showing both groups mentioned above. I laid a penny beside the first group for perspective. The diameter of a U.S. penny is .750"





Yes, I know this thing wants to shoot well! What I need is a nice globe front sight like what I put on the .38-55 barrel. I have one, but the trouble is, Stevens used a larger dovetail than our now-standard 3/8". I need to find something to fit.

At this point I had two cartridges left. I thought about plinking a rock sitting just past the 100 yard target stand. Then I thought I should be more serious and shoot these two remaining cartridges for group at 100 yards.

To index a blade front sight it sometimes helps to have a square target. All I had was a diamond shaped target we use for scope sighted rifles. It's made to have its points coincide with scope cross hairs. I put it at 100 yards tilted 45 degrees so it would be a square. Here it is still stapled at the 100 yard target, with my two shots just below.





And here they are with a penny for comparison. Just two shots, but the rifle certainly wants to return superb accuracy.





Finally, a few glamour shots.









I think I like this rifle!

Curl

--------------------
RoscoeStephenson.com

YOUR DOUBLE RIFLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.



Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Daryl_S
.577 member


Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 16787
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: CptCurl]
      #305137 - 11/09/17 08:56 AM

You are fortunate, indeed. I REALLY like that rifle. WE will have to shoot it when WE visit.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
CptCurlAdministrator
.416 member


Reged: 01/05/04
Posts: 4708
Loc: Alleghany County, Virginia, US...
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: Daryl_S]
      #305139 - 11/09/17 09:13 AM

Quote:

You are fortunate, indeed. I REALLY like that rifle. WE will have to shoot it when WE visit.




The sooner the better!

Curl

--------------------
RoscoeStephenson.com

YOUR DOUBLE RIFLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.



Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Ash
.400 member


Reged: 10/05/11
Posts: 1376
Loc: QLd, Australia
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: CptCurl]
      #305162 - 11/09/17 09:32 PM

I need one of these for my wife. Probably just going to get her a Favourite in .22lr

--------------------
.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
blackbahart
.224 member


Reged: 29/10/15
Posts: 15
Loc: British Columbia Canada
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: Ash]
      #306275 - 12/10/17 04:01 PM

just picked up a 44 1/2 in 40/65 .Was redone out east with a new barrel liner and fresh c/c and wood https://imgur.com/a/HZckx [image]https://imgur.com/a/HZckx[/image] been trying new host and toohting pains


Edited by blackbahart (14/10/17 08:06 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rigbymauser
.400 member


Reged: 15/05/05
Posts: 1491
Loc: Denmark
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: blackbahart]
      #306383 - 14/10/17 02:29 AM

I bought one in a .32-40. Never got to shoot it. This thread has revived my interest in Stevens. A friend had a pockethunter pistol. Thanks for sharing.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
93x64mm
.400 member


Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 1003
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: CptCurl]
      #306399 - 14/10/17 08:53 AM

Quote:

Well, today was the day to try the .25-20 barrel.

As mentioned above, this is chambered for the .25-20 Single Shot cartridge. When it came out, it was simply called the .25-20. Winchester liked it and wanted something like it to chamber in their Model 1873. Trouble was, this round is too long for the 1873 action. Not to worry, Winchester shortened it and made it a little fatter. The result was the .25-20 Winchester that we know so well. After that, the Stevens cartridge was known as the .25-20 Single Shot. Winchester far outsold Stevens, so the dominant cartridge became the .25-20 Win.; the .25-20 SS sank into oblivion. Ballistically they are about the same.

Curl




Well I learnt something today, I thought it was the same as the 25WCF!
So what is the .25-20SS & what 'basic' brass do you use to form these cases?
Not bad shooting by the way with this barrel as well CC!
Very, very nice piece of kit!!!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
TH44
.333 member


Reged: 21/02/09
Posts: 487
Loc: West UK
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: CptCurl]
      #306403 - 14/10/17 09:37 AM



From "The Handloaders Manual of Cartridge Conversions" with thanks, for size reference

The authors state that no brass is usable but...

Bertram does the cases

Good luck

TH44


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
MikeRowe
.333 member


Reged: 23/11/11
Posts: 345
Loc: Arkansas, USA
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: CptCurl]
      #306411 - 14/10/17 12:44 PM

Quote:

Quote:

You are fortunate, indeed. I REALLY like that rifle. WE will have to shoot it when WE visit.




The sooner the better!

Curl





He came and cleaned out my fridge this summer......sounds like you're next on the list,Daryl!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Daryl_S
.577 member


Reged: 10/08/05
Posts: 16787
Loc: Beautiful British Columbia, Ca...
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: MikeRowe]
      #306417 - 14/10/17 02:27 PM

He was here - it's my turn to repay the favour - maybe next fall, by the looks of things.
I must remember to take a bottle of 16 year old Gibson's Finest - a 40 pounder (oz'er) at that.

--------------------
Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
CptCurlAdministrator
.416 member


Reged: 01/05/04
Posts: 4708
Loc: Alleghany County, Virginia, US...
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: Daryl_S]
      #306470 - 16/10/17 05:45 AM

I have been shooting this rifle with its .25-20 SS barrel a bit lately.

I did replace the original Rocky Mountain blade front sight with a nice little globe sight I bought from Lee Shaver Gunsmithing. That helps the sight picture quite a lot.

With two weights of Sierra bullets I had on hand I am consistently getting sub-MOA groups using the aperture insert in the front globe along with the tang aperture sight. Here is a five shot, 100 yard group I fired just two days ago. It is about 3/4" center to center and shot with the Sierra 90 grain boat tail hollow point.





In my efforts I also have been getting the sights set properly. Windage is adjusted by drifting the globe front sight in its dovetail. To ensure accurate elevation adjustment I have been making rods or pins to drop in the barrel of the Lyman tang sight for the staff of the aperture to bottom firmly against. Proper elevation is obtained by filing this pin.

I haven't decided on my final load for the .25-20 SS. When I finalize my load I will adjust the sights to print dead-on at 100 yards.

I sourced my brass from MidwayUSA. They stock Jamison brass at a reasonable price. https://www.midwayusa.com/product/427630/jamison-reloading-brass-25-20-single-shot-bag-of-20

Mike, if our plans work out I expect you here to clean out my refrigerator next March before going to the Baltimore Antique Arms Show.

Daryl, I do hope you will find your way down here next fall.

Curl

--------------------
RoscoeStephenson.com

YOUR DOUBLE RIFLE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.



Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
93x64mm
.400 member


Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 1003
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: Stevens 44-1/2 - An American Classic [Re: CptCurl]
      #306471 - 16/10/17 07:00 AM

Plonk one of those little pills behind a deer's ear or between its eyes & you'll fill your freezer!
Nothing wrong with this old gal...she's still got it!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1



Extra information
0 registered and 8 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  Huvius 

Print Topic

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled

Rating:
Topic views: 1007

Rate this topic

Jump to

Contact Us NitroExpress.com

Powered by UBB.threads™ 6.5.5


Home | Ezine | Forums | Links | Contact


Copyright 2003 to 2011 - all rights reserved