Stevens Favorite Model 30 Rifles

By Chuck Hawks

Stevens Model 30R17
Illustration courtesy of Savage Arms.

Today's Stevens Model 30 line, manufactured by Savage Arms, includes both takedown and standard models in .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR. The Stevens "Favorite" was indeed a favorite of both young and old rimfire shooters back around the turn of the 20th Century. In those days single shot rimfire rifles were both common and economical and widely used as training and hunting rifles. That tradition lives again in the Model 30 line.

The Favorite rifles coming out of the Savage plant today look much like the original versions. They are supplied with a blued barreled action and a walnut finished hardwood buttstock and forearm. The latter is of the Schnable shape. The wood is given what appears to be a very light oil finish. This finish is dull and rather lifeless. A few hand-rubbed coats of Birchwood-Casey or Outer's Stock Oil would help the appearance of this rifle immensely. The butt plate is black plastic.

The metal parts need more polishing before being blued. Coupled with the dull wood finish, the overall impression is of a rifle built to the lowest possible price point. I am sure that is basically the truth. Of course, so was the original Stevens Favorite. It's just that the industry standards of appearance were generally higher in those days.

Still, they are cute little rifles. Open rear and post front iron sights are provided, and the receiver and barrel are drilled and tapped for scope mounts. (A Weaver base was provided with our test rifle.) These rifles come with either half or full length octagon barrels 21" in length. They weigh only 4.25 pounds and are 36.75" in overall length. Length of pull is 13.5", long enough for most adults and serviceable for most teens.

Beyond the rifle's appearance, the next thing that gets the new user's attention is the stiffness of the operation of the lever. Opening the action of this rifle requires serious force. The lever and the breech block appear to be cast parts, and they operate like cast parts on which no one bothered to polish the engagement surfaces. For those who are willing and able, it should be an easy job to disassemble the action and polish the parts for smoother operation.

Once the hammer is cocked (that also requires excessive force), it takes more serious effort to pull the trigger. The Model 30 rifle reviewed on the Product Review Page had a trigger pull that measured 7 pounds on my RCBS Premium gauge. That trigger also had some creep.

Following is a brief description of the Model 30 variations available at this time.

Model 30G - This is the basic .22 LR version. It uses the solid (non-takedown) frame and comes with a 21" half-octagon/half-round barrel. UPC# 72100; 2005 MSRP $228.

Model 30GM - A solid frame version chambered for the .22 WMR cartridge. Supplied with a 21" full octagon barrel. UPC# 71000; 2005 MSRP $266.

Model 30R17 - Basically similar to the .22 WMR solid frame version, the 30R17 is chambered for the .17 HMR cartridge. It also features a 21" octagon barrel. This is the model reviewed on the Product Review Page. UPC# 73000; 2005 MSRP $292.

Model 30 - The .22 LR takedown version of the Model 30G. Supplied with a 21" half-round barrel. UPC# 72200; 2005 MSRP $249.

Model 30 - The takedown version of the Model 30R17 shares its model number with the .22 LR version, but is chambered for the .17 HMR cartridge. Like the 30R17, this version features a 21" octagon barrel. UPC# 72202; 2005 MSRP $314.

A single finger screw on the bottom of the action just forward of the lever is all that need be loosened to remove the barrel from the receiver on the takedown models. Takedown rifles used to be quite handy for traveling shooters, as they will fit inside of a suitcase. Today, however, it is generally illegal to transport a firearm in checked luggage (why, what harm can it do?), so that is no longer an option. The takedown feature remains an advantage for back packers, however.

Operation of a Stevens Favorite is simplicity itself. To open that action, swing the under lever forward, which lowers the breech block. Load by manually inserting a cartridge into the chamber. Close the action by returning the under lever to its fully rearward position. To fire the rifle, first cock the external hammer. Then squeeze the trigger. BANG! Repeat sequence as desired. Opening the action extracts, but does not eject, the fired case.

The hammer has a half-cock position, which is intended to prevent inadvertent discharge should the hammer slip from under the thumb while it is being cocked. Otherwise the half cock notch is not used--it is not a "safety" position on the new Model 30. The rifle is completely safe with the hammer lowered on a loaded chamber and that is the proper way to carry the new Model 30 when loaded.

The Favorite is so short and light that it is hard to imagine a less burdensome rifle to carry in the field. It would be ideal for a person of limited physical strength. If you are looking for an inexpensive, traditional, rimfire rifle that will continue to charm for a lifetime, and you are willing to do a little home gunsmithing to smooth out the action, you should take a look at a Model 30 Stevens Favorite.

Note: There is a full length review of the Model 30R17 Sevens Favorite on the Product Reviews page.

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Copyright 2005, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.