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red_stevens
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Cope book "Stevens Pistols and Pocket Rifles
Aug 18th, 2009 at 11:11am
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I have this book and have started collecting these guns.  As I have seen more and more examples and accumulated more knowledge I am discovering many many errors in Cope's information.  It is a good book and probably the best guide to these guns but be aware that it has lots of errors.  I believe Cope based the info in the book on what he could observe from limited examples, original Stevens catalogs, and on feedback that collectors provided him.  Unfortunately, there are no factory records to work from and surveys are not very reliable if the sample size is to small.  Stevens collectors on this forum:  I was wondering if the same experience with his info has been discovered by you all as well.  
Examples:
Stevens Gould frames being exclusively iron  - definately not true
Production numbers which don't seem to coincide with the number of guns for sale.
Barrel stampings of the company name as it changed through time.
Firing pin types especially with regard to the Conlin and Gould pistols
and there are more.
Red
  

Just beginning to collect Stevens target pistols and Pocket rifles.  WTB a Gould#37, #35 with 8 or 10 inch barrel or any pocket rifle in good condition or restorable.
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Gone Fly Fishing
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Re: Cope book "Stevens Pistols and Pocket Rifles
Reply #1 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 12:56pm
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   Hello Mr. Red Stevens:

                                  I have not had the benefit of ever having seen, nor read, Mr. Cope's book which you claim is flawed by virtue of his use of incorrect information.  My question is, does the publication address the J. Stevens Arms rifles, the full size shoulder rifles that is, or is the data of which you speak limited to hand guns, including so called "pocket rifles" ?

Thanks for alerting the S.S. rifle folks here to your findings.

C.M.M.
  
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red_stevens
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Re: Cope book "Stevens Pistols and Pocket Rifles
Reply #2 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 2:44pm
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The book ( out of print and around $75-$200) does not cover the Stevens line of single shot rifles only pistols and pocket rifles with removable skeleton stocks which Stevens called "rests".  There is a section in the back which reprints the 1897 catalog and it features their tip-up rifles and also a section which reprints the telescope catalog from the 1908-1910 period.  If you want a reference for rifles I would suggest the book "Savage and Stevens Arms Collector's History" by Jay Kimmel.  It has lots of info on the 44, 44 1/2, and boys rifle lines including many reprints from several Stevens Catalogs and is reasonably priced.  The Stevens Catalogs can be purchased from Cornell Publications and are outstanding and fairly inexpensive.  Several of these are well worth investing in if you collect or are interested in Stevens.  I think there is another thread currently on this forum that also discussed Cornell Publication.
Red
  

Just beginning to collect Stevens target pistols and Pocket rifles.  WTB a Gould#37, #35 with 8 or 10 inch barrel or any pocket rifle in good condition or restorable.
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toolmkr
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Re: Cope book "Stevens Pistols and Pocket Rifles
Reply #3 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 2:46pm
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I have not seen enough Stevens pistols in order to agree or not, but it looks like if a #35 off hand target model with the later more flared grip cap version was checkered then it might be passed off as a Gould model. I would only buy the #37 if it came with the windage adj. rear sight. I do have Cope's book and believe it worth the cost.
  
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red_stevens
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Re: Cope book "Stevens Pistols and Pocket Rifles
Reply #4 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 3:55pm
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The Gould and #35 issue is the most difficult.  According to Cope the Gould must have a bushed firing pin and a serial number below 25,000.  He states that all #35 pistols have serial #s above 25,000 and all Goulds have serial #s below 25,000.  I have found this to be true.  However, Cope also states that Goulds must have a bushed firing pin as the #35 had the cross screw retained firing pin.  There lies a contradiction because there are both Goulds and Conlins of later production which have serial #s below 25,000 that have the cross screw retained firing pins and not the bushing retained pins.  I have seen many of these guns which are definately Goulds or Conlins.  My most recently purchased Gould has the bushed firing pin, a serial # 12,4xx, the windage screw adjustable rear sight, checkered grips, but it has a brass frame.  He states Goulds all had iron frames.  At first, I thought it might be a Conlin.  Cope states that Conlins had both iron and brass frames and that someone removed the spur from the trigger guard but the trigger guard is not messed with  and has the slightly different shape of the Gould trigger guard with the matching last 3 digits of the serial # stamped on the inside.  All the numbered parts on this gun match.  It is certainly original.  Maybe there were some brass frames unused from Conlins that were used to make Goulds right at the beginning of Gould production.  I have no idea what the earliest Gould serial # is but I would not be surprised if mine is close. 
Also, you can see some differences in checkering styles on the early Lords, Conlins, and Goulds as compared to the later ones.  I think this may be due to a change in craftsman doing the work.  I have not seen any catalog illustrations showing the later checkering styles.
I am out of space.  To be Continued maybe with photos if folks are interested.  I am to long winded.
Red
  

Just beginning to collect Stevens target pistols and Pocket rifles.  WTB a Gould#37, #35 with 8 or 10 inch barrel or any pocket rifle in good condition or restorable.
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slumlord44
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Re: Cope book "Stevens Pistols and Pocket Rifles
Reply #5 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 9:07pm
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Definately show us pictures. I have the Cope book and find it useful. My primary interest is in the Stevens rifles but I also have a few of the pistols. Sometimes what seems to be an error is acutaly a lack of ALL of the info. It is a shame that Stevens was not good about stamping model numbers on there guns. It sure makes things interesting for us today! I find it more difficult to identify the pistols than the rifles but I have more experience with the rifles and more references. On of the books I realy like is Savage and Stevens Arms & History by Bill West printed in 1971. It covers rifles, pistols and Savages. I think one of the problems with errors in reference books is the Stevens did a lot of special order things that never showed up in there catalogs and there are no factory records left. There were also running production changes that were often not documented anywhere. The factory never considered that there would be nuts like us worried about the details 100 years later. For some of these the actual guns are all that is left. We are lucky that this forum is available for us Stevens collectors to share infromation. I encourage everyone to tell us about the unusual guns that you have and their unique features.
  
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red_stevens
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Re: Cope book "Stevens Pistols and Pocket Rifles
Reply #6 - Aug 18th, 2009 at 10:32pm
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I did not mean to say the Cope book is not a valuable reference tool.  It is the best on this subject available.  I just keep finding examples which are contrary to some of the info in the book that appear to be honest correct guns.  I will post photo of guns that I have found which support these issues.  Its always fun to look at photos.  I will try to learn how to put them in my post instead of on photobucket.
Red
  

Just beginning to collect Stevens target pistols and Pocket rifles.  WTB a Gould#37, #35 with 8 or 10 inch barrel or any pocket rifle in good condition or restorable.
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