Inherited a couple of ancient target 22's

TurdFerguson

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Dad had these restored almost 30 years ago. After he passed they were supposed to go to my uncle and his kids who really didn't want them. I guess I'm the new owner, I know they belonged to a relative on my Grandfathers side but thats all I know.

Anyways I have a Stevens falling block and a Marlin 39a both with target sites. The Marlin's case hardening is starting to wear even though the gun hasn't been shot and the Stevens action is starting to get stiff. Both have flip up target front sights and Marble rear sight on the Marlin. I would like to shoot them especially the Stevens. Any suggestions? Anyone know anything about the Stevens?


Ive noticed at the ripe old age of 32 I am becoming a Fudd lol more wood than polymer, though more semi autos vs bolts....
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TurdFerguson

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I believe this might help re: the Stevens. Stevens developed the .22LR in the 1880s and put it into production around 1888-'89 with single-shot falling-block rifles. Yours, based on its patent date, would appear to be a 1894 Stevens Favorite.


Thank you for the link. Not a lot of info out there on them. I'm guessing modern 22LR would be a no no? I assume a diet of standard velocity 22 would be the way to go? If I can find it...
 

Son of Dorn

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Thank you for the link. Not a lot of info out there on them. I'm guessing modern 22LR would be a no no? I assume a diet of standard velocity 22 would be the way to go? If I can find it...
The falling block action in general is pretty strong. They were made by various companies in the late 19th century and early 20th for anything from .22LR like yours to high-calibre elephant-stopping cartridges like the .470 Nitro Express (and bigger). Modern subsonic .22LR might be okay. Best thing to do would be ask some gunsmiths.
 

WaywardSon

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Those are gorgeous! They probably have some great value. What it is I do not know. I would take them to a good gunsmith and have them disassembled, gone over, cleaned & lubed. Have the 'Smith instruct you on ammo choice.
That case hardening is beautiful. You scored.
 
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Jscb1b

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I inherited my dads remington 33. It is beat up worn out ragged assed looking and priceless. Cherish the memories of your dad!
 
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E-Tool

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    I was gifted a stevens just like that as a kid, I would guess it was a reproduction. I gifted it in my early 20s to a friends kid. I kinda miss it now that I have boys. I killed a snipe with the rifle and intold rabbits and squirrels.
     

    TurdFerguson

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    I'll give a local smith a call Monday, he's worked with rifles like these in the past. He might be able to give me an idea of what is safe 22 to run through them. I have a partial box of standard velocity 22 I was using in my woodsman.

    I know the reasons would be different, the woodsman has light springs that wont handle the highvelocity stuff. I would have to assume it would be fine in these. I assume regular 22 would be ok, but I really don't want premature barrel wear or a broken firing pin lol.
     

    MK20

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    Any .22 will be fine. Those rifles were also made in .32 rim fire. Since it is not a semi auto and has nice big oversized locking surfaces you should be fine. I wouldn’t shoot exclusively CCI stingers out of it but any bulk Ammo is good. Early autos were sometimes sensitive to the cycling velocity of hv ammo.
     

    roostercogburn98

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    Falling blocks are fun little rifles to shoot. I have a Winchester falling block chambered in 22 short from around 1918/19 ish and is a blast to shoot.
     

    fdkay

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    I remember when I was a young lad, about 14 years old (circa 1974). My Dad and I stopped by a gunshop, to buy my first gun. They had a Stevens favorite that I fell in love with (it was new manufacture, yours may be more recent than you think). My Dad talked me out of it and into a remington model 580, single shot bolt action.
    The 580 is based on the 788 design, it has six locking lugs on the rear of the bolt, it is VERY accurate, but I always wished I'd gone with the stevens, it was a beautiful little rifle.
    About 15 years ago, my dad brought a new manufacture Stevens favorite and gave it to me. He told me that he always felt bad about talking me out of the favorite when I was young. It certainly isn't the equivalent of the older rifles, the finish is rather utilitarian, and the wood is very plain, but it is a dandy little rifle.
     

    Blackgloves

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    My brother got my Dad's S&W revolver. i borrow it from time to time. Awesome carry 1 1/2" revolver.
     

    MarinePMI

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    As stated, any 22LR standard or high velocity ammo would be fine in the Stevens rifle. The Marlin should be the same, though those early Model 39's are quite collectible.

    One word of caution though, do NOT dry fire these guns. Older guns had utilitarian designs and less QC, so continual dry firing of these older guns can (and generally will) peen the chamber out of round. Always ease the hammer down with the trigger depressed (on an empty chamber of course) if you intend to store them decocked.

    ETA: Oh, and an easy way to tell if that Stevens is a modern reproduction or not, is to check for a serial#. Stevens/Savage didn't serialize their rimfire rifles until required to, by law (after 1968).
     

    powdahound76

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    Both are nice and that Stevens is so darn cool!!

    Be awesome to bag some small game with such a rifle.
    My brother has my Great Uncle Mike’s old Winchester.
    We struggle to find time and need to get it out and wack a squirrel or 3.
    Like we did when it was dad’s as kids.
     

    Foul Mike

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    I am damn sure not an expert and just going from memory here so you should check this out some more.
    The Mod.39 was meant to use Standard Vel ammo, not high as the bolts tend to crack with HV.
    Marlin made a change in or around 1939 and added a HS prefix to the SN. High Speed
    Any of them with HS prefix are GTG with Hi. Vel. ammo, rifles prior to that it is best to stick with SV.
    You might wander over to RimfireCentral and check the Marlin lever rifle section. They have a sticky in there to date the rifle by SN
    Let us know what you find out. Nice rifles. The 39 is real easy to take down for cleaning and lube.
    I would shoot only SV until I knew for certain. If you needed a bolt I am sure it would take you a while to find one if you ever did so better safe than sorry.
    39a and 39m will shoot any 22 ammo. I have one of each and love them.
    Again, I am not an expert, just running off memory and I have CRS.
     

    Foul Mike

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    I think I would not trust Fed.Automatch to be what he needs with my experiences with FedAutoM.
    Free rifle---Go buy some nice ammo for it. That is the investment. Treat it right and it will treat you right.
    Don't hurt it with, "this was available." Get the right stuff to start with.
    The rifle is old enough and in a shape I would love to have, and probably not shot for years.
    Why push it now? Get some good known true SV ammo and be sure.
    The rifle will shoot better than he does with the right stuff or at least mine do for me. FM
     

    craigos

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    both of those are gorgeous ... if you ever want to let one go :) the Marlin :)
     
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    awonder

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    I am always amazed at the number of pansies that inherit these awesome pieces that don’t want anything to do with them. Good on you for getting your hands on them.
     
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    TurdFerguson

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    I am always amazed at the number of pansies that inherit these awesome pieces that don’t want anything to do with them. Good on you for getting your hands on them.

    Eh they really just don't have a place to really shoot. That and they knew I liked to shoot. They did keep my grandfather's 1911 which is ok.