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  • Last Post 24 April 2019
loophole posted this 21 April 2019

After casting and shooting cast bullets for over 40 years, I keep finding out things I should have learned years ago.  Often I know that most of you probably know what I have stumbled across, but I cannot find any reference on the site.  I owned a Stevens 44-1/2 rifle years ago and foolishly traded it.  Recently I bought another one, and studied the rifle closely.  I noticed a screw in the bottom of the receiver, and decided to find out what purpose it serves.  I stumbled across the fact that it can be removed to allow the barrel to be unscrewed from the receiver, and that all 44-1/2 rifles were made this way.  A good vintage single shot rifle probably will cost $2000-2500 or more. 

CPA has been making Stevens reproductions about 10 years, and their quality is reported to be excellent.  They sell for about $2000 and up.  They also fit barrels to originals.  I have ordered a 32-40 barrel for my rifle.  Less than a third of the price of another rifle, and of course I don't have to buy another tang sight. The also build a rimfire block and extractor and can fit a 22lr barrel. To me this would be a good reason to pick the Stevens over a Highwall or Ballard or rolling block were I interested in shooting a single shot.

Loophole

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GWarden posted this 24 April 2019

I'm a great fan of the CPA, excellent accuracy and great people at CPA. Person can't go wrong with one of CPA'a fine rifles. The rifle in the pic is a CPA in .22rf.

bob

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longhunter posted this 23 April 2019

What a great post.

I to am a CPA fan. I got mine in the 80's.  It is one of the last of the first run rifles..

I have 4 bbl's for it. .22lr, 25-20 WCF, 32-40 and 38-55 WCF.

Accurate and fun to shoot.

The 32-40 I breach seated and compeated for years in ASSRA matches.

Shot the 38-55 in Black Powder matches. What fun!.

A great action and a versital  rifle.

 

 

Jon Welda CW5 USA Ret. 608 797 0056

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loophole posted this 22 April 2019

I don't know much about the 44, but when I looked into Stevens rifles I found only warnings about 44's rebarreled in centerfire cals.  Apparently its like cast iron Ballards--centerfire barrels will fit, but they have often blown up.  

Loophole 

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joeb33050 posted this 22 April 2019

I've seen at least one 44 blow up. I, and others, believe that ANY Stevens 44 is safe for 22 lr only.  Even the ones with the spud on the hammer.

It's your EYES!

joe b.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 22 April 2019

hi joe ... great info on the 44 1/2 .... hey i can't see the pic ; also the links are blocked to me.

on the other hand, maybe i can't stand the tease ... i would have to sell about 12 of my plinking deer rifles to buy a used 44 1/2 ... or anybody wanna trade their stevens 44 or 44 1/2 for my split stock swede 96 in 30-06 ??  

**************

an action for a 30-30 case would make available a big range of medium capacity barrels .. 22 wasp >32-40>38-55 ...   maybe a 416 in a heeled bullet ...

************

might mention there are some nice looking stevens 44 ... ok for 7 gr. unique ( g ) .

there is a 44 making the rounds here at gunshows ... usually the seller "doesn't know much about it"  but would take $499...  shows up at next gunshow down the road .... heh ...

ken

 

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joeb33050 posted this 22 April 2019

Ken and Marlin Bassett, (inventor of pillar bedding), shot big = ?4" dia. barrel picket bullet BP guns. I talked to them at the Fort Ticonderoga match one year, and marveled at the accuracy of those rifles  shooting the improperly-shaped bullets and round balls. Several of the rifles used conventional primers in an adapter.

From the book:

Stevens 44 1/2

 

A Pair of Stevens Model 51 Rifles

 

There were a number of options available to the purchasers of these very expensive target rifles.
The two rifles illustrate these options. Nickel plating on the trigger guard and butt plate as well as special checkering borders was a few examples. Both rifles are in 32-40 Winchester but the scoped rifle has a 1-20 twist rather than the more typical 1-16 twist of the other rifle.

 

(Photo of a pair of Stevens 44 1/2 Model 51 rifles courtesy Hal Prucha)

 

            Stevens actions have a rocking motion to the breechblock as it closes, that makes breech seating with a plugged case simple. (See HOW TO MAKE A PLUGGED CASE)

 

Another feature of Stevens actions is that the barrel is easily removed from the rifle. It is then possible to have several barrels in different calibers or in different weights that fit the same action. For example, it would be possible to fit a .32-40 offhand barrel, a .32-40 heavy bench rest barrel and a .22-rimfire barrel to the same action. The appropriate extractors and both rimfire and center fire breechblocks would be required also.

 

            There is some discussion about whether Stevens 44 1/2 actions are prone to break firing pins. I will add to that discussion by saying that in my three Stevens 44 1/2‘s I broke about a quart of firing pins. I had them made by good gunsmiths, I bought them from reputable suppliers, and I made them myself. There is clearly a trick to making and fitting these firing pins and I clearly don’t know that trick.

 

 

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frnkeore posted this 22 April 2019

" By the way, is Bresien the follow who made fine muzzelloading barrels with false muzzels? "

Yes, he also made false muzzle barrels for single shot rifles, too.

Frank

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loophole posted this 21 April 2019

Thanks for telling me more about these rifles.  My first Stevens was an 044-1/2 in 22SS.  No one made cases for them, and old ones cost over a dollar each 'way back then.  I traded it off--it joined the long list of bad decisions I made in my shooting career.  For you young folks, remember that it is far easier to correct a mistake in buying a rifle than to make up for an error in selling one. 

At a gunshow not long ago I got to examine a 44-1/2 32-40 shuetzen rifle with a matching 22LR barrel made by CPA.  Workmanship as fine as Shiloh.  My friend who owned the rifle had it built to shoot in matches which were held since about about 1980 at the Asheville Rifle and Pistol Club, and which drew shooters from several different states.  Before he got to shoot it in a match the idiots who now run the club made it impossible for the shooter who had been running the events to continue, and he had to discontinue the match.  My friend decided to sell the rifle because he is not able to find a match close enough to shoot in.  The incompetence of the leadership of this club does more damage to shooting than the leftists do.  Sorry for the rant.

I think traditional schuetzen rifles are ugly as a mud fence, no matter how well made.  I can't shoot offhand any more--I never found a comfortable way to use the hook buttplate on the bench--but if I had the money I would buy this one.  Anyone interest?  I can ask my friend to give you a call.  

By the way, is Bresien the follow who made fine muzzelloading barrels with false muzzels?  I had a friend from NY who had one of these barrels and he asked me to build him an unlimited flintlock with all the tricks I had learned building varmint rifles--glass bedded, stock shaped like a benchrest rifle stock, Palma sights.  I was reluctant to build build such a mongrel, but out of curiosity I accepted the challenge.  The rifle won a few matches but it was no more accurate than several traditional muzzelloaders it competed against.  Never did see any need for a false muzzle with round balls

Loophole   

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BudHyett posted this 21 April 2019

The Stevens 44 1/2 action manufactured today by CPA is slightly larger and capable of taking the .45-70 head size. With this capability, a shooter can have one action for cartridges ranging from .22 LR to .45-70 and capable of hunting North American game and shooting many different target competitions. Nice thought.

The weakness of the action is broken firing pins. I have seen a shooter at Raton change a firing pin in 5 to 6 minutes between relays. Anytime I have changed a firing pin, I came to believe Murphy was the supreme optimist when summarizing his rule. 

My Stevens 44 1/2's were bought at the end of my gun buying career. I might have bought fewer rifles were I to have purchased them earlier in my life - then again, maybe not. 

Country boy from Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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frnkeore posted this 21 April 2019

And in '86, I bought one of the very last (if not thee last) Bresien actions. After getting it assembled, I bought he butt stock and butt plate for it from Paul Shuttleworth.

Frank

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joeb33050 posted this 21 April 2019

Just a note. Many years ago Ken Bresien in Batavia NY relined the 22 barrel and made a 32-40 barrel/breechblock/lever for a Stevens 44 1/2 for me. He took me through his shop. He showed me the broaching machine, hydraulic, that he made to make 44 1/2 actions. I understand that that ended up with Paul Shuttleworth-the beginning of CPA.

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R. Dupraz posted this 21 April 2019

Paul and Gail Shuttleworth started building CPA rifles in 1986 and I have had a heavy barreled 38-55 for probably 20 years now. It was used mostly to shoot NRA three position BPC Mid Range matches

Breach seated smokeless 100 yds during load development.. 310 grain Hoch. 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 21 April 2019

Eat my Heart Out !!   i was granted permission by god to shoot one of these quite a bit when i wuz a kid .. in 32-40 ... ( as well as that po bo cousin, the stevens 44 ) ....

even on days when i forget where i left my shoes, i still remember the fascinating way that block goes up and forward to lock the action ... 

someday when out with your fine assemblage, please put one down range just for me ...  wherever i might be, i bet i will hear it ....

ken

oh, if ever at a gun show and you find some #80 sporting ..... be sure to scarf it up and conjure up a few mild target loads  .... that old gal will appreciate it ...  and so will you !! ...

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