StainLess Steel MediaWidenersRotoMetals2Repackbox
Titan ReloadingGraf & SonsLee PrecisionMidSouth Shooters Supply
Inline Fabrication
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Stevens .44 Shot - leave "as is" or install barrel liner?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    South Alabama
    Posts
    2

    Stevens .44 Shot - leave "as is" or install barrel liner?

    Hello all! This is my first post!

    Recently found a J. Stevens drop barreled shotgun, marked .44 Shot. A very small, smoothed-bore. Did some research and discovered they were very popular "garden guns" used for rodents and small birds. They were a predecessor to the .410, which was a European shell. The bore is good with minimal blueing remaining and the lever action (barrel release) is a little loose but otherwise in good shape.

    Here's the question - I was considering having a liner installed and improving the sights, possibly as a 25-20 or a .32. Does anyone know if there is sufficient value for these which would make it a bad idea? I like the style of the gun but don't have much need for another small caliber shotgun.

    I would appeciate any advice you Boollit Masters could share.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    Posts
    6,103
    An original Stevens .44 shotgun which has not been rechambered to .410, as many were, is worth enough to a collector that you could probably sell it and buy a new gun.

    Or you could have John Taylor fabricate and fit a new barrel for it, in the caliber of your choice, and keep the original barrel unmodified. That is what I did with my H&R .44 garden gun. A .32 S&W Long, .32-20, .38 Special, .44-40, all make good choices.

    Attachment 221870Attachment 221871
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    NoZombies's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    N. Florida
    Posts
    2,136
    If it's the action that I suspect, I don't think I would trust it with a 25-20 or anything more powerful than the original shell. 32 S&W long, or something along that vein would probably be fine, but I'd go the route of having a separate barrel fitted, rather than relining the original, which you note is in good condition.
    Nozombies.com Practical Zombie Survival

    I collect all things .32. If you have something you don't need, please let me know!

  4. #4
    Or have a removable insert and extractor, leaving Stevens's work unimpaired. You aren't going to fire this one until it is very hot, so it could be grooved for rubber O-rings which make it a tight push fit.

    I agree that it would be a good idea to limit it to a low-pressure cartridge, such as the .32 S&W. If it was a .25-20 some intellectual yet unborn would surely try it with high pressure reloads. Stevens made the Favorite action and some of their other inexpensive firearm receivers in malleable cast iron, which was fine for its intended purpose. I don't see why they wouldn't with this one, and it may have a large-diameter or loosely fitted firing-pin too.

  5. #5
    Cast Boolits Owner



    No_1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    N.E. Florida
    Posts
    7,058
    My daughters boyfriend has his grandfather's Steven's 44 Shot. He shoots .410 in it and I have had the pleasure of firing it twice. I can tell you that it is not hard to fall instantly in love with a super lightweight single shot in .410.
    "Things always get better once thought, time, and money are applied in the correct amounts at the correct time"
    - No_1 -

    "The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion."
    - Albert Camus -

  6. #6
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,309
    Quote Originally Posted by NoZombies View Post
    If it's the action that I suspect, I don't think I would trust it with a 25-20 or anything more powerful than the original shell. 32 S&W long, or something along that vein would probably be fine, but I'd go the route of having a separate barrel fitted, rather than relining the original, which you note is in good condition.
    I would heartily agree! I don't believe the Stevens marked ".44 Shot" are done on the Stevens 44 action. They are a tip up design and I believe they were similar to the Favorite action. I just sold one of these, and they are highly collectible if in decent shootable shape. They are the same cartridge as the .44-40, so actually a .44-40 shotgun, vs. a .44 of some other cartridge.
    I'd leave it alone and find another stronger action for a .25-20 rifle.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    Posts
    6,103
    Agree that if it's the Favorite, falling block action, it should be limited to the .32 S&W Long or .38 S&W. The break-open shotgun actions are actually stronger, and will handle the .38 Special or .44-40 with standard pressure loads and no issues.

    A picture for positive identification of what the OP has would be helpful.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    NoZombies's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    N. Florida
    Posts
    2,136
    I strongly suspect that it's the action pictured below based on the OP's description of a finger lever that releases the barrel. Stevens also made a bunch of these in 44 XL shot.

    The "marksman" action is definitely not up to high pressure rounds, thought may be slightly better than some of the favorites.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	stevens.jpg 
Views:	18 
Size:	59.1 KB 
ID:	221893

    (Not my photo, borrowed from a GB auction)
    Nozombies.com Practical Zombie Survival

    I collect all things .32. If you have something you don't need, please let me know!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    Agree that if it's the Favorite, falling block action, it should be limited to the .32 S&W Long or .38 S&W. The break-open shotgun actions are actually stronger, and will handle the .38 Special or .44-40 with standard pressure loads and no issues.

    A picture for positive identification of what the OP has would be helpful.
    Not even those revolver cartridges for the Favorite action, I think. It is very small, a rolling-block which looks like a falling-block. It is unsuitable for any modern production cartridge except the .22 rimfires, and I would say not even the .22WMR.

    The 44 action, which we mustn't confuse with the cartridge, comes with various model numbers. It is a very similar but larger action, possibly of better metal though I don't know that, and certainly better made, with dummy screw slots on large-diameter, hardened pivot pins which are actually drawn in by identical-looking screws from the far wide. Stevens catalogued this one for small centrefire rifle cartridges, but I don't think anything but black powder pressures were intended. It might be suitable for light .44-40 shot loads, but not, I think, for the chance that someone might fire a modern .44-40 bulleted round in it, and I don't remember whether the block descends far enough to accommodate its rim diameter.

    The Stevens 44 action is something of a paradox, in that much smaller variations frequently got a different whole number. This is a genuine and extremely good falling-block action, in which a slight forward movement of the block pushes a cartridge home. It was once highly valued for conversion to modern rifle cartridges, but halfway-reasonable specimens are now too valuable in their own right for that.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Chev. William's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Sun Valley, California
    Posts
    1,580
    To some extent I agree that the "Favorite" action has Several variations running from the original of ~1886 through 1894 to 1915 versions with the Latter being the strongest of the three.
    A 1886 being the earliest and weakest version. I believe this should be limited to Sonic velocities or lower.
    A 1894 is the middle range and had some variation over its manufacturing life. They have Breech Bolts of about .450" to .475 width with the top cut into an concave curve in side view.
    I have versions in .22, .25 and .32 sizes. I believe this version should also be limited to Transonic or slightly supersonic velocities.
    A 1915 is considered the strongest of the three "favorite" actions and has breech blocks with a Straight top in side view and about .500" wide. Again, I have .22, .25, and .32 sizes but have heard of .44 size versions existing.

    The 1915 Favorite, I believe will handle .22WRF and .22WMR, .25 Stevens and .25ACP, or .32 Long and .32 COLT Long (the same case body diameters) but is NOT recommended for rechambering to .32 S&W or similar case diameter cartridges. I believe velocities are dependent on the bore size with .22WMR on the small and fast limit and .32 Colt Long at the large and slower limits due to Bolt Breech Face Thrust.

    A Model 44, or "Ideal" action is about 125% the size of a "Favorite" and does have the strength for .32 S&W or .32 Special cartridges. It was also chambered in 44WCF in the past.

    All of the above have a Breech block Pivot forward of the Breech face and below the Barrel Tenon .

    A Model 44-1/2 is a stronger, and different, design as it has a Breech Block that slides in a nearly vertical movement rather than the pivoting movement of the "Favorite" family.

    Chev. William
    Last edited by Chev. William; 06-13-2018 at 11:23 AM.

  11. #11
    I was aware of your experiments with centrefire replacement cartridges for the Favourite, which is why I specified modern production cartridges. Yours, keeping the pressure down to rimfire levels, should be fine.

    We should be careful with the mention of 1894, since that date is stamped on most 44 rifles. But that is the patent number. the 44 or Ideal came under consideration when indoor .22 rimfire league shooting was getting underway, since it had the advantage of forcing the .22 bullet into the rifling on closing. But trigger pull caused British production of Francotte's small Martini, and conversions of the full-size action, to win out. In fact engaging the bullet in the rifling probably dates the introduction of crimped-in bullets to 184 or earlier. Stevens started out with an uncrimped bullet, which would have been messy and perhaps dangerous to unload without firing.

    I never liked the Remington rolling-block design, as it seems wrong (though it works) to support the thrust in a direction so different from that in which it is delivered. It strikes me that a high-powered version of the Stevens design, with the pivot further forward but with a solid locking-block holding up the breechblock, would have been a better design.

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    South Alabama
    Posts
    2
    Thanks everyone for the responses. The photo posted by No Zombies appears to be the exact action. I'll be taking Outpost 75's advice and leave it "as is" in the hopes that I can sell or barter it off for a nice .25-20.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Puyallup, Washington
    Posts
    1,929
    I have seen several of these actions in rim fire and I know they were also made in 44 shot, always wondered if the 44 shot was a little bigger than the rimfire. I have two of the rim fires. Also have a 44 shot barrel for a 44 action. It would not be hard to make a new barrel but I would be inclined to go with a 32 S&W and nothing bigger. The extractor would need to be replace as well for the different rim size. This way the old parts could be set aside for any collector value.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    Chev. William's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Sun Valley, California
    Posts
    1,580
    According to Frank de Haas' Book on Single Shot Actions; the Stevens Marksman action, with its Break open Barrel with Lever Linkage activation and closing is stronger than the "Favorite of 1894 and earlier.
    Mr. de Haas also mentioned that, in his opinion, the Marksman action was suitable for conversion to .22WMR use.

    i also have a rebuilt 'Marksman' still in .22 Long rifle that is only fired occasionally now.
    In this linkage, the screws take the brunt of holding the Barrel in battery via its 'over center' locking design. Both the weight of the barrel and the Breech thrust seem to only tighten the locking as long as the screw fits are right.

    Chev. William

  15. #15
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Massachusetts, South Shore
    Posts
    67
    I have a similar rifle but made by H & R. After research I decided not to shoot .410 out it because it's not a modern made gun and I spent some time fixing the stock. Didn't want to create new cracks etc. What I did was; using 44-40 cases make my own shot loads and also round ball loads - using black powder. The shot sits on top of a paper wad and is sealed at the top with latex caulk. The .440 balls just gets pushed into the case. Now I take it to the camp and fun shoot with it!
    Steve

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    Posts
    6,103
    I load .44 shot for mine using the Starline 5 in 1 blank cases. Here is how I do it:

    Loading .44 Game Getter Shot from Starline 5 in 1 Blank cases

    Starline “5-in-1 Blank” cases fit in anything from a .38-40, .44 Special or .44 Magnum, .44-40 or .45 Colt as well as my .45 ACP Blackhawk! While using large flash-hole cases for full charge loads, exceeding black powder pressure is hazardous, they work fine in mild Cowboy charges when the shot payload is lighter than a standard bullet for the caliber.

    The .44 Game Getter held 1/3 oz. of shot, about 150 grains, vs. a 200-grain bullet in the .44-40. A half-ounce .410 2-1/2" load is about 220 grains. I tried up to 6 grains of Bullseye, Red Dot or similar powders, but no more. It turns out that 5 grains of Bullseye or TiteGroup patterns best. Velocity is less important than pattern effectiveness, because these loads wil be used at short range, so a handgun shot load at 800 fps actually penetrates as well at 25 feet as a .410 load at 1300 fps does at 25 yards.

    The Starline blank cases are tapered to fit into a .38-40. To load them that way insert a .45 cal. Buffalo Arms card was over the powder, by bending into a horse shoe shape first, poking in sideways until you get past the case taper, then turn the card wad with 5" Kelly forceps and press against the powder with a dowel.

    Attachment 222056Attachment 222057Attachment 222058

    It is much easier to expand the cases with a .44-40 or .44 Mag. expander plug so they are more nearly cylindrical and flared a little. Then the over-powder card can be thumbed into the case mouth with the thumb and then pressed down against the powder with a 3/8" dowel. Using a card below the 410 shot cup is absolutely necessary to prevent powder leaking past the obturator which causes "bloopers" and could leave a wad lodged in the barrel. A Federal 410SC shot cup is then inserted and seated firmly. DON'T cut off the wad fingers. I explain...

    Attachment 222059Attachment 222060Attachment 222061

    Pour in about 1cc No.8 or smaller shot and insert a Walters .36 card wad over the shot or piece of 000 buckshot into the end of the shell. If you don't have either the RCBS ".44 Game Getter Long Shot" OR .45 ACP Shot die sets, you can make your own roll crimp die by cutting 1" off the bottom of a Lee .308 Win seater die and inserting a blank Lyman or RCBS bullet lubricator top punch under the seating stem, adjusting it down to the midpoint of the shoulder in the cut-off .308 die, which positions the card squarely as you "bump" the case mouth of the 5 in 1 blank case against the shoulder of the die to form a professional looking roll crimp.

    Attachment 222062Attachment 222063Attachment 222064

    I've found it easier to NOT trim off the protruding fingers of the .410 shot cup before loading the shot. I leave the shot cup long and protruding, then fill the shot cup approximately FLUSH with the case mouth, judging the fill inside the shot cup. The protruding petals of the shot cup then support the insertion of either a .36 cal. card overshot wad, or a cast .36 cal. lead round ball.

    Seat the wad or ball in the shot cup and crimp, with either the RCBS .45 ACP shotshell, or the older RCBS .44 Game Getter Long Shot crimp. The seating stem presses the card wad or ball flush with the case mouth as it is crimped. This is much easier than trimming the wad fingers and fooling around trying to get a good crimp. The excess plastic is trimmed off flush with a sharp knife afterwards, giving a well closed shell with professional looking appearance.

    Speer .44 (or .45 shot in .45 Colt) capsules also work OK. They and hold about the same 1/3 oz. payload as the old .44 Game Getter shot cartridges.

    In a smoothbore barrel, the effective range of .44 shot loads is 15 yards in a cylinder bore and 25-30 yards from a full choke. Firing them in a rifled barrel disperses shot patterns, reducing sure, small game range to about 25 feet. Loading shot larger than No. 8 reduces pellet count which defeats the small game purpose. I chose No. 8, typically 410 pellets to the ounce, so 1/3 ounce contains about 136 pellets. No. 7-1/2s would be only 116 pellets in a 1/3 oz. payload.

    For survival kit "Shot and Ball" crimp a .390 (no shot cup/brass case) or .360 (inside shot cup) ball to close the shell instead of a card wad. This helps make the load withstand rough handling and also waterproofs it. It also gives the load large varmint potential to 25 yards, while keeping a small game pattern effective to 30-50 feet from a smoothbore shotgun or 25 feet from rifle or revolver .

    Shot patterns from rifled barrels are patchy, with weak center density. The slow 36" twist and shallow rifled Marlin Microgroove .44 barrels don't disturb the shot as much and produce decent patterns to 25-30 feet. Short 5-10 yard “fence line range” patterns suitable for rabbits or birds are reality. While conventional card and fiber wads with no shot sleeve permit loading a full 1/2 oz. of shot, I use the Federal .410 shot cups to contain the shot in the Starline 5 in 1 cases, because the wad is smaller than bore diameter of a .44 or .45 rifle barrel and produces more even patterns. A slow twist, shallow rifled Marlin .44-40 or .44 Magnum Microgroove barrel patterns better than a faster 16" twist .45 Colt, which flings wide patterns and is useful only to 15-20 feet.

    Attachment 222065

    The 5 in 1 shot loads pattern splendidly in a cylinder bore .410 producing 90+% patterns at 25 feet striking on a 10”x10” repair center!
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Massachusetts, South Shore
    Posts
    67
    Found the loaded cases but not the data. Most likely somewhere around 20 or grains of FFF. I'll confirm when I find my notes. I had to paper patch the round balls to keep them tight in the case. Loaded these a year ago and the latex caulk is as tight as the day I made them. Now I got the itch to load more for my July camping trip!
    Steve
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	44-shot.jpg 
Views:	11 
Size:	52.2 KB 
ID:	222088

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy Gunslinger1911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    751
    Cool !. I have one of these, same as in post 8. Was my great grandmothers. Somewhere I have a couple original shells (thick paper, bullet shaped, capsule sticking out of the brass). I'll have to see where I stuck them.
    A while ago I had the idea of using 44spl brass for some low power shells. 44 spl chambers ok, 44 mag does not.
    Cogno, Ergo, Boom

    If you're gonna be stupid, don't pull up short. Saddle up and ride it all the way in.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Switzerland of Ohio
    Posts
    2,701
    The Model 101 in .44 Shot is the same as the Model 12 Marksman (.22LR or .25RF), but with a centerfire firing pin location, and a different barrel. I personally think, (and DeHaas agreed with me) that reaming these out for the .410 shotshell is a VERY bad idea. The barrel retention (a simple setscrew) is not up to the increased pressure. DeHaas opined that the action might be up to .38 Special if only the lightest loads were used. I won't even go that far.

    I have three 101s, and three Model 12s, in .22 and .25 RF. The hammer blow delivered by the Model 12/101 is its' Achilles Heel. Very weak.

    Kudos to Outpost75 for that masterful tutorial on how to make proper 44 Shot loads. Gotta try that in my Model 101s. Somewhere here I have several dozen all-brass .410 cases that I bought intending to trim them for the purpose, but never got any farther than that.

    FYI the Favorite is far weaker that the Model 101. It was sold in .32 RF, and nothing more than that should ever be tried in that action. The geometry of the linkage won't stand it. (It's still a Favorite of mine - I have half a dozen in all three of the original rimfire calibers.) The 1915 Favorite is stronger, but still not even close to the Model 101, and I agree with Allyn Tedmon that it's yougly.
    flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check