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Thread: Stevens 44 .32 rimfire action

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy uncle jed's Avatar
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    Stevens 44 .32 rimfire action

    Hello the forum. New member here. How much chamber pressure can this action hold up to? I still need to get hammer and trigger but the receiver and breech block are both in good shape. It seems to luck in pretty snug. Thanks a bunch in advance.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    The Stevens 44 are great little single shoots, but they are cast actions they where designed for black powder pressures!! I have had a bunch of them over the years and there fun to play with I have one that was a 32RF but I relined it to 22 Win Mag. The other I relined to 25-20 WRF. They are a type of rolling block or some folks call them swinging block, either way there not known to be a real strong action. So what ever you do with it keep the pressure down.

    Bob

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Yup. Black powder pressurers only. They seem to do well with the .22 Long Rifle and the .22 Mag. Not too sure about the .17 HMR. 25-20 and 32-20 in the lighter smokeless powder loads but never the hotter loads. Dehass said one would do well in .38 Special and well it might.
    If you wanted to put an actual pressure limit on one, 18,000 to no more than 19,000 might be safe enough but then there are many other considerations such as properly fitted breech blocks with bushed firing pins, etc.
    They are a neat looking action, very traditional in appearance, but because of the breeching method and the brittle nature of the cast componants one is very limited as to what you can do with them. Best left in origional calibers and used with light loads. If you want a Bee or Hornet rifle with the Bee and Hornet pressurers, then you a better off finding a Small Martini action to play with. Safer too !.


  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I recommend the .32 S&W long for that action. loads that meet SAAMI spec are well within the strength of the action, and it would keep it as a .32 and a very neat squirrel gun.

    But then, I'm kind of a fiend for the .32 long.
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    Boolit Buddy uncle jed's Avatar
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    I had previously researched the pressures for the .32s and came up with 14500 to app. 16000 and was wondering about the .44 special or the .32 acp both of which in lighter weights on the .44 seem to be within tolerance on pressure. How much would the push factor on the .44 special affect it? thanks uncle jed.

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    It depends on whether you actually have a favorite, 44, or a 44 1/2 model action. They all look close. The 44 1/2s were used with rounds up to the 45-120. If it's a 44, I have an original in 32-20 I've shot for years. I did even have a 44 in 32-40, but only loaded it to black powder specs. If it's a Favorite action (smaller) line it to 22 LR. I would not recommend going to a 44 Special in anything but a 44 1/2.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recommend a.44 Special for a Stevens Model 44 action - since, besides being cast, although it may look like a Model 44 falling block action, in reality it's a weaker design - the swinging block, with it's pivot point below & forward of the rear of the barrel.

    It's not only the pressure, the case head thrust of the larger .44 CF cartridge case must be considered.

    ALL Favorites should be limited to RF only.

    .

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    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Duplicate post - Sorry
    Last edited by uscra112; 08-25-2011 at 10:04 PM.
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Whether the action was machined from a casting or not is neither here nor there. The action is still steel, and not anymore brittle than many actions with better reputations. Stevens actually sold the 44 action chambered for .32-40 and .38-55. Those tended to "shoot loose" very quickly, but I have never in all my years seen a credible report of a frame failing.

    As was pointed out, however, the design of the breechblock is weak. Unless it is very painstakingly fitted, it transfers almost all of the thrust of the cartridge to the pivot pin below and in front of the breech face. What force isn't busy doing that is compressing the link and trying to shear the link pins, which aren't robust enough to take the beating of large cartridges. And that's what usually goes bad if you beat the action too hard.

    Best centerfire cartridges for it - bar none - are the Stevens .25s (.25-20SS, .25-21), IMHO. Without doubt the .32 S&W Long is an excellent choice. .32-20 is OK (I have one), and .38 Spl. loaded down to 10K psi would be safe. I wouldn't do it, however, because +P loads might get in there, and that would loosen things up in a hurry. Any .44 is asking for trouble.

    Your .32 rimfire barrel is a rather slow twist. Only light boolits will work if you try to use it.

    It's possible to make .32 Colt centerfire cartridges work in the rimfire chamber. Brass is made by swaging down .32 S&W Long, and the Lyman heeled boolit 299154 lubed with LLA works pretty well. (I've got a Bay State that uses that setup.) There's a guy up in Wisconsin who sells both brass and boolits on Gunbroker.
    Last edited by uscra112; 08-25-2011 at 10:10 PM.
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I have done some work on the 44's and they are suitable for B/P pressure in the 32-20 25-20 range of cartridges. The last one I did was a rime fire to centerfire conversion that was relined and chambered in 32-20 and it came out a super accurate little gun. If you want a bigger ctg say 32-40 I would really go to the 44 1/2 action.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Actually the commercially available (and reloadable) CF .32 Short Colt will readily chamber & fire satisfactorily from the Stevens 44.

    All that's needed is to do a central firing pin conversion - which is what I did with my Remington #4 .32 solid-frame roller.

    .

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy uncle jed's Avatar
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    Actually the rim fire barrel is no longer with the receiver. I ordered barrel blanks from Green Mountain and was curious as to which would be more practical as I will have to get all the machine work done for either one. the .44 barrel blank has 1/20 twist, the .32 has 1/9.5 twist

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Just be careful I would not barrel that thing into a 44 special. I had a fellow from NM bring me a rifle that he said it had a bad chamber. It turned out to be a Stevens 44 that someone had barreled to 22 Hornet. He said when he first got the gun it was ok then after a while it started cracking cases. The action never failed but it was so loose that with the leaver up you could move the breach block back and forth about a 1/16 of an inch with it loaded!! I was able to save the gun and turned into a 22 Mag as far as I know he is still shooting it.

    Bob

  14. #14
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Wow! That's a FAST twist for a .32 ! But you've got the makings of a rifle suitable for the 200 yard ASSRA competition, if you can just keep the pressures down. Some of the hot shooters there use the .32-20 cartridge with 165 and even 180 grain boolits in a fast twist barrel. Duplicates .32-40 boolit but in a smaller case, more friendly to smokeless powder.

    There are other variations on that theme - the .32 Miller Short, for example, based on a much-shortened 5.6x50R case. There's another one based on necking-down .357 Maximum brass.

    Go hunting on the ASSRA web site - there'll be lots of info to keep you out of trouble for a while.
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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    Boolit Buddy uncle jed's Avatar
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    Not trying to stir up a hornet's nest with me being a noobie pr probie as Gibbs would say, but with the SAAMI specs at 15,500 for the .44 spec. and 16.000 for the .32-20, which would impart more thrust on the breech assembly? Thanks uncle jed

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy uncle jed's Avatar
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    Actually mistyped the specs on the 32-20. The show to be 16,000cup instead of psi. thanks Uncle Jed

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    Boolit Master
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    44 spl has more bolt thrust.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy uncle jed's Avatar
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    O. K. so given that the .44 special is too much for the mod. 44, how would it be with .342acp instead?

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    Boolit Master
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    Since the .32 ACP and .32 rimfire are very close in head diameter, but the .32 ACP has slightly higher pressure, it would probably be alright with handloads kept to or bellow Saami specs, but I would prefer to chamber it for the .32 S&W or .32 S&W long and mark it as such myself. the Saami spec for both of those would be bellow what was common for the .32 RF.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy uncle jed's Avatar
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    Yeah, that was part of my reasoning, but mainly I was thinking on the .32 acp because I have a pistol chambered in that caliber also. That was also why I was wondering about the .44 as I have a revolver in .44 spec.

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