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New Stevens 44 1/2, new project (Read 4023 times)
eplexus
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New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Jan 15th, 2012 at 6:40pm
 
Greetings,
I'm a new member with a new project and I could use some advice and info about the rifle.

I recently picked up a Stevens falling block that was someone else's project. Now mine. I mostly picked it up for the action which is in good shape. It has a heavy barrel measuring .860" at the muzzle. Poorly fitting buttstock and plate.

The rifle's caliber is 32 Ideal and the bore is shot. Heavy pitting. The barrel and action serial numbers match and are 5474. When I remove the forend, the frame is stamped 44 1/2.

The gun is too far gone to restore to a collectable rifle. I intend to use it as a shooter in my local Schuetzen club matches and for general enjoyment. I expect to shoot at 100, 200, 300yd.

Where I need advice, is what to do for a barrel. Here are some of the options I've come with so for and would appreciate all inputs.

1. Set the original barrel aside and rebarrel for 32-40 or 38-55. I already have another 38-55 with dies and moulds. I suspect I'd need to change the extractor if I go with the .38-55.

2. Reline and rechamber the original barrel for 32-40 or 38-55. Same extracter concern. I'd also have the round portion of the exterior recut and blued, to clean up the outside pitting   

3. ?

Thoughts?

Thanks,
E
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ssdave
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #1 - Jan 15th, 2012 at 6:56pm
 
Rebarrel it with a high quality barrel and use it.  Recutting the extractor for the new cartridge should be routine for the gunsmith doing the barrel.  Should make a very good rifle.

dave
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ledball
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #2 - Jan 15th, 2012 at 6:57pm
 
Contact, singleshotrifles.com   they have everything you'll need, including extractors, barrels, and wood.  ledball
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MAD MIKE
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #3 - Jan 15th, 2012 at 7:00pm
 
Welcome to the forum. Good choice on the 44 1/2. I'd go with rebarrelling in 32-40, with a 14" twist, so you can shoot heavier bullets to 300 yards. I'm pretty sure the 32 Ideal extractor can be recut for the 32-40. Ill fitting wood can be fixed, but is thier enough wood to mate it a good fitting stock? A photo wood be helpful. If all else fails, call Paul Shuttleworth at CPA, he can fit you up with an extractor, barrel, wood & refinishing (even the proper coloring on the action.  Good luck,      ...MIKE...
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J Louis
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #4 - Jan 15th, 2012 at 7:24pm
 
E I would choose the 32-40 not only is it very accurate, it is very user friendly in regards to load development and felt recoil. The 38-55 is just as accurate in my book but the felt recoil will wear on you before days end. If you plan on shooting both offhand and bench the barrel length and diameter both come into effect in regards to overall weight. I would sacrifice length over diameter if you need to keep the weight down. If you plan on shooting bench the larger the diameter barrel the better. If you plan on shooting both I would not want a muzzle diameter less than1".

Right now I am seeing extremely good results with Douglas, Shilen and Ron Smith's barrel. The Douglas 15 twist is an excellent choice for a bullet in the 200gr. range and the 8 Groove Shilen 14 twist works very well for bullets in the 218gr. range and Ron Smith can provide you with a barrel to shoot a bullet in the 236gr. range. All three barrels are capable of shooting clean targets / 250's at 200yds when you do your part and it all boils down to a matter of bullet weight preference in my personal opinion.

I have had great success with the 32-40 and the 38-55 but the most consistent and user friendly that I have owned to date was a true 33-47, not the 33-40 and there is a big difference. The felt recoil of the 33-47 is just as pleasant as the 32-40 and allot less than the 38-55. The heaver bullet in the 247gr. weight range has a slight advantage over 32-40 in the wind. In regards to accuracy I truly believe based on my experience with the cartridge that it is also one up on the 32-40 in both accuracy and day in and day out consistency and it would be without a doubt my first choice.

J.Louis
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eplexus
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #5 - Jan 15th, 2012 at 7:28pm
 
I've looked at the CPA site and expect to give Paul a call. I've ordered parts from them before and have found them to be a top notch place.

Going with 32-40 would be fine. Any inputs as to barrel length and contour? Should I match the half hex original or go with an untapered bull?

The wood is OK. It's fit to the action is average with minor gaps. The buttplate was just not fitted well and has a 1/16" gap at the top. Just different curves. Shouldn't need much wood removed to match. No cracks or big dings.

Both the action and buttplate have an awful "case hardened" finish. Might have to do something about it. There's even a thumb print evident on the buttplate. LOL
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eplexus
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #6 - Jan 15th, 2012 at 7:35pm
 
J Louis wrote on Jan 15th, 2012 at 7:24pm:
E I would choose the 32-40 not only is it very accurate, it is very user friendly in regards to load development and felt recoil. The 38-55 is just as accurate in my book but the felt recoil will wear on you before days end. If you plan on shooting both offhand and bench the barrel length and diameter both come into effect in regards to overall weight. I would sacrifice length over diameter if you need to keep the weight down. If you plan on shooting bench the larger the diameter barrel the better. If you plan on shooting both I would not want a muzzle diameter less than1".

J.Louis


I enjoy the challenge of offhand and expect to use this rifle for a lot of it. I'd only bench it for load development. If I did go with a 1" bull, what length would you suggest?
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J Louis
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #7 - Jan 15th, 2012 at 7:40pm
 
E be sure to epoxy bed the butt stock to the action as well as the upper and lower tangs when you have completed the wood to metal fitting. Take a close look at your tang screws as well and if they are tapered like a cabinet screw you will want to replace them as they will back out under recoil over time and will destroy your groups. You want to use a screw with a straight shank and real course threads, Steve Durren a renowned singleshot gunsmith makes them out of lag screws/bolts to give you an idea on how course the threads should be. You would also want to have a blunt end on the screws and not a sharp point as it could act like a wedge and split your stock.

J.Louis
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boats
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #8 - Jan 15th, 2012 at 7:52pm
 
I have two CPA's one with a 32/40 barrel other 38/55  Generally the separation in usefulness is 32 for paper targets to 200 yards 38 Steel to 500. 300 to 500 perhaps a 40 would be better but the lighter recoiling 38 is my choice

Way I have always looked at it is figure the ballistics you need on target then use the lightest caliber that will deliver,  32's win most 200 yard Schuetzen matches.

Paul Shuttleworth is the guy for 44 1/2 renovations
Boats
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marlinguy
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Ballards may be weaker,
but they sure are neater!

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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #9 - Jan 15th, 2012 at 8:47pm
 
I'd go a new barrel in .32-40, and I'd get it in full octagon, then either leave it that way, or have it contoured to half octagon to match the original.
I prefer a 3 or 3.5 weight contour.
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eplexus
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #10 - Jan 16th, 2012 at 8:40pm
 
Thanks everyone for your inputs.
Here's where I'm at...

I'm working with CPA on a rebarrel to 32-40, 28" 1/2hex.

I'm also going to pursue reboring/rechambering the original 32 Ideal barrel to 38-55. Can't see doing nothing with the original trashed barrel.

My thoughts are that the 32-40 case can be made from the 38-55 and that the extractor on the 44 1/2 frame will work for both. I already have a good supply of the long 38-55 brass from Starline. I believe the rimmed base dimensions of both are the same and will support this.

Does this plan make sense?

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J Louis
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #11 - Jan 16th, 2012 at 9:07pm
 
I believe you have indeed made a very wise choice. When you get it together send me a PM with your E-Mail address and I will send you my test results with the new Alliant 300MP powder. I consider it to be the best choice at this point in time for both the 38-55 and the 32-40 and I am getting extremely good and consistent results with it.

J.Louis
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boats
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #12 - Jan 17th, 2012 at 6:11am
 
I have both 38/55 and 32/40 CPA Barrels 28 inch 1/2 Octagon # 4 profile.  Same extractor & block it takes all of 2 minutes to change barrels  # 4 28 inch contour in a .22 LR too also from CPA.  .22 you have to switch out the Breech block takes a few more minutes.  I think Paul can furnish a rim fire block for originals but not sure.

Back to the profile. My other CPA has a # 3 Rim fire barrel it hangs like the # 4 CF barrels, hole is smaller so adds weight. 

Brass is from the same 500 lot of W-W 38/55 the 32's sized down from 38's  I used a C-H form die but it's not required, lube with Imperial regular 32/40 F/L die set will do the job. Brass was trimmed so they are all the same length no more, 18 years ago when I bought that 500 case lot long brass was not available.  Main thing is to get them to fit your chambers length.

For the Re-bore I would go to John Taylor.

You are going to have a nice outfit

Boats
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eplexus
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #13 - Jan 17th, 2012 at 6:26am
 
Thanks J.Louis, I will definately do that.

The maker/twist/bullet data you posted earlier sounded like it was for 32-40. Can you provide me some bullet and twist rates, for the 38-55? I already have several 255gr Saeco 738.

Thanks again,

E
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eplexus
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Re: New Stevens 44 1/2, new project
Reply #14 - Jan 17th, 2012 at 6:31am
 
That's perfect Mr. boats. Exactly the confirmation I was hoping to hear.
I'll post up a couple more questions later on. Gotta get to work.
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