Slightly hard to review thanks to the iffy photographic conditions (I really need to obtain or develop a lightbox), but that"s the lettering indigenous the height of the barrel, and it says,

J. STEVENS ARMS company CHICOPEE falls MASS. U.S.A.* clearly shows LOADING REPEATER PAT. APR. 30-07 *

The Stevens company, under its miscellaneous names, has an exciting history. That was founded in 1864, so towards the end of the polite War, by one Joshua Stevens, who had actually previously been just one of the co-founder of the Massachusetts arms Company. (His partner in the earlier agency were a pair of various other mid-century gunsmiths you may have actually heard of, Horace Smith and also Daniel Wesson.)

It"s slightly difficult to imagine nowadays, but Massachusetts and Connecticut offered to it is in the love of the American weapons industry. Chicopee drops is not far from Springfield, wherein both the U.S. Government"s Springfield Armory and, well, blacksmith & Wesson were located (and S&W"s that company headquarters still resides). Colt"s production Co. Was (and the headquarters remains, for however long the company manages to survive) in nearby Hartford, CT. Eli Whitney created the good American businessman pastime that bilking the Defense department in new Haven, i beg your pardon was later on the home of Henry and then Winchester Repeating Arms. Sturm, Ruger & Co. (about whom much more in a later on installment) was founded in Southport. And also so that goes. Nowadays, there room still part corporate workplaces in the region, yet manufacturing is practically exclusively done elsewhere.

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At any type of rate, the J. Stevens Arms and also Tool Company, which at some point dropped the "and Tool" from its trade name, gone into the industry with a tip-up pistol and moved indigenous there into repeating rifles and also whatnot. The initial Stevens Tip-Up ultimately evolved into a design variously referred to as the No. 35 and the Favorite. You may remember the name native an earlier Gun that the Week. In 1916, the Stevens functions was bought the end by a recently created division of Westinghouse, the electrical equipment company, which had just winner a contract to develop scads and scads that Mosin-Nagant rifles for the militaries of Russian Tsar Nicholas II.

We"ve seen just how that story ended—Nicholas ceased to be tsar in ~ a year (and ceased to be alive within two), and his replacements decreased to respect the contract. After a bailout native the U.S. Government, Westinghouse climate got ago out that the total business and also sold the Stevens plant to Savage Arms, a agency with what could be the many unfortunate surname in American industry. (It"s actually named after its founder, Arthur Savage, but, well... Yeah. They even used a stylized Indian head, like offered to be on U.S. 5¢ coins, as their logo. It to be the 1890s. What have the right to you do.) Savage is quiet in company today and still sells commodities under the Stevens name.

The clearly shows Loading Repeater, frequently (and eventually officially) shortened to visible Loader, was introduced in 1908, and also products based on its activity were in manufacturing through 1934. (This type, i beg your pardon was well-known in the brochure as the model 70 or No. 70, was replaced in 1931 through a slightly various version, the No. 71, but the activity was the same.) It"s difficult to day them with much certainty many thanks to both the ns of the company"s records from prior to World battle II and also the reality that—puzzlingly—they recurring serial numbers, but from this one"s markings we have the right to work the end that it was made sometime in between 1920 and also 1925-ish.

We know it"s from before around 1925 due to the fact that the markings on optimal still say "Visible Loading Repeater"; this was readjusted to visible Loader a small while after ~ the Savage takeover. Nobody appears to know precisely when, however the usual best guess is circa 1925. We recognize it"s from 1920 or later because that"s when the Savage takeover happened, and also the left next of the receiver has a quite tasteful SVG cartouche:

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That"s right: The gun claims Stevens on that in two different places, the height markings we"ve already seen and a banner top top the righthand side of the barrel base:

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But it doesn"t speak "Savage" all over on it. Simply that understated little monogram. This was the only visible clues of the take over in the beforehand days. Imagine a modern manufacturer to buy out one of its competitors and also leaving that branding alone as completely as that.

Anyway! Onward to mechanically considerations. The No. 70 is a pump-action .22 rimfire rifle v a single-action trigger. Together the markings on the left side of the barrel show, it deserve to (like the Favorite) operate with .22 Short, .22 Long, or .22 lengthy Rifle:

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One exciting thing around the No. 70 is that also though it"s a repeater, that doesn"t treatment what combination of those cartridges friend use. If you have actually a pair of .22 Shorts, a few Longs, and a long Rifle or two, you can load them every indiscriminately. The activity operates in a street that will accommodate the longest that the 3 (Long Rifle), however not so long that the shortest (Short) won"t likewise work, and also since they"re all low-pressure rimmed cartridges, the length of the actual room doesn"t issue much.

Speaking of which, let"s get a closer look at at the action. Below it is closed:

And open:

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Note the it doesn"t open really far, however then that doesn"t need to, due to the fact that .22 lengthy Rifle is not very long. Refer to this ammunition comparison indigenous a previous episode to refresh your memory on that.

The receiver on this gun is symmetrical; there is nothing various going on over on the left side.

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I didn"t bother trying come conceal the serial number in this shot, due to the fact that frankly it doesn"t matter. There were at least four No. 70 rifles through this exact same serial number, because Stevens supplied a letter-and-three-digits serial number is numbered scheme, under which a complete of 25,974 unique serial number were accessible (assuming each letter"s block started at 001, no 000). Once they struggle Z999, they"d just go earlier to A001 and also start again. Total production the the No. 70 was, as best as anyone deserve to guess, somewhere north of 100,000, which suggests that each number was offered at least three and also probably 4 times.

I should note that this to be perfectly legal in ~ the time, in a method that it would absolutely, entirely not it is in now. Firearms manufacturers in the united States prior to 1968 were not required by law to give their products serial number at all, and also those which determined to (and to it is in fair, many did) were under no obligation to do them unique. In Stevens"s case, they only seem to have actually numbered their commodities for inner reference, and since much fewer 보다 25,974 rifles were ever before going to it is in on the company"s own publications at any type of one time, the device was considered adequate. If one of these rifles to be to it is in exported to a international country and also then reimported come the united States, that would have to be approve a new, distinctive serial number by its importer, but as pre-"68 domestic production, they"re grandfathered.

Getting back to the mechanics, one more thing that deserve to be checked out in these shots is that, in common with numerous pump- and lever-action rifles indigenous this period, the single-action hammer is mechanically cocked by gift displaced through the cycle action. The can likewise be cocked manually, for instance to restrike a dud cartridge (though the is normally futile, it has to be said).

From over and behind, some details have the right to be seen, including the mouth that the chamber and also (at the bottom of the frame) the ago of the firing pin, i m sorry is struck by the hammer to fire the round.

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Another function the No. 70 shares with many other pump and also lever firearms is its tubular magazine below the barrel. In this rifle"s case, loading is completed not v a gate, together in the Winchester 94, yet by partly dismantling the magazine. In ~ the former of the tube is this knurled knob.

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With the retaining nub turned out of the slot, the entire magazine follower assembly have the right to be removed and also a variety of rounds (I"m uncertain just how many; it different by the length of the rounds you"re using, and also as detailed above, you can mix and also match if you like) put into the magazine tube by hand.

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When the monitor is replaced, the rounds inside the tube depress the spring-loaded plunger you have the right to see at the end, which is the yes, really follower and what pushes the rounds into the action. It"ll host as lot ammunition as will certainly still leave room for the completely compressed spring within the monitor tube once you"ve completely meshed them earlier together and collection the locking nub. This is a cumbersome system—nowadays developers of integral magazines at least shot to make certain there isn"t a critical part that the firearm that actually comes all the way off and can theoretically be lost—but climate the No. 70 was never intended to it is in reloaded under any sort of time pressure. These were expected for shooting in ~ tin cans on a fence somewhere, or in ar fair shoot galleries (which used to it is in a thing), not serious ar use.

A closeup the the open action shows how this mechanism works, and reveals why the rifle was referred to as the visible Loader:

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Because the loading mechanism is, in fact, completely visible within the action. That rounded-end cylindrical bit you see at the bottom the the room is the newspaper follower, that spring-loaded plunger visible in the dismantled-magazine photo. As soon as the newspaper is loaded, the plunger"s spring pressure makes certain there"s always a fresh round down there, wait to it is in loaded, and then it emerges into position once the last round is chambered so that the north doesn"t fall earlier into the magazine as soon as it"s extracted. In operation, you have the right to (if you position the rifle correctly) actually see the entirety extraction-and-loading cycle in action.

There is no manual safety ~ above this rifle, which appears odd to modern-day sensibilities, offered that Stevens consistently stressed the safety of the product in advertisements. There"s a fairly robust integral safety system, though, i beg your pardon is in reality what lock were talking about; that won"t stop accidental or negligent discharges, yet that was taken into consideration the shooter"s full responsibility earlier in those days. What the rifle"s integrated safety device is supposed to do is ensure the it can"t fire in an unsafe condition, and it go that quite well. Basically, if the hammer is cocked, the breech is locked shut and also the slide will certainly not operate. This method that even if the shooter accidentally uses rearward pressure on the on slide while shooting—which is relatively easy to do, since that"s normally where your sustaining hand stays—the breech won"t unlock and the rifle cannot fire out of battery. As soon as the hammer drops, that will, however by climate the bullet is on its means and the room pressure has fallen to for sure levels. This system would probably not be advisable because that high-pressure cartridges,¹ but for .22 rimfire it"s perfectly adequate and also works well.

Unfortunately, not a lot else functions really well on a visible Loader. The architecture is a little too ambitious mechanically. No. 70s worked very well once they were brand-new and scrupulously cleaned, however dirt and also wear both reason the system to become finicky. Together you can imagine, offered that the newest visible Loader left in the civilization is at least 82 years old, they"re every pretty worn through this point, however even as soon as they were younger, the shortcomings that the operating system earned them the (sometimes semi-affectionate, normally not) nickname "Miserable Loader".

Mind you, also when they were in perfect functioning order, castle weren"t perfect. They have a twin extractor, because that instance, so exploit is typically no problem, yet there"s no ejector; the next round coming up is meant to eject the empty. Periodically that works! occasionally it doesn"t. (This is likewise naturally one of the functions that tend to work-related less and also less well together the rifle it s okay dirty. Or if the ammunition is of bad quality.) because the follower only moves follow me the axis that the magazine, the obviously doesn"t popular music up once the last round is fired, an interpretation the critical empty doesn"t eject at all; it just sits in there until you pick it out v your fingers or turn the rifle over and also shake the out. (Annoyingly, since the device isn"t enclosed in ~ all, a live round can likewise fall out if you guideline the rifle far enough at the right moment in the cycle.)

Mine likewise suffers native a problem relatively common to older, much more worn No. 70s, in that component of the operating system no longer fits or functions securely. The means the pump works in this rifles is surprisingly complicated for what lock are. Here"s that right-side check out of the receiver again:

Notice the from top to bottom there, we have actually the barrel, the newspaper tube, a little bit of the mechanism, and also then in ~ the bottom the structural rail the pump slides on. That bit in between is a small camming bar that move in a facility way during functioning, and if it"s the end of position an ext than just a little bit, the won"t on slide properly and also the mechanism jams. Keep in mind that because it"s worn, it"s frequently out of position an ext than simply a small bit. Sometimes, if it"s out of place in simply the dorn way, it comes out altogether, rendering the entirety works nonfunctional until it deserve to be finagled back into the place. If it fell out in a grassy field or sandy area, an excellent luck finding the again!

I bought this rifle 15 or so years back because the wasn"t an extremely expensive and I think these old slide-action .22s are cool, however to it is in honest, many thanks to the limitations explained above, ns don"t shoot that much. It"s sort of a pain in the ass. All the same, since of my recorded weakness because that oddballs and underdogs, it"s welcome in my cabinet.

--G.

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¹ note that there are contemporary "hypervelocity" .22 LR cartridges obtainable that construct much higher pressures than would have been believed reasonable 100 year ago, and also those have to not be provided in these old rifles, however then that"s a reasonably reasonable precaution come take when using any kind of vintage firearm that contemporary "souped-up" ammunition is accessible for. Early .38 distinct revolvers, for instance, have to on no account be used to fire modern "+P" .38 distinct ammunition, also though it"s still significant .38 Special—the pressure it generates is too high to it is in safe.