Late fathers old, torn up .22 - What is this gun?


Sean Dempsey
September 9, 2008, 11:01 AM
Found yet another busted up old rifle in my dads house, this time it's a .22

Stevens - Savage Arms - Model 87 A

Thing is tore up and filthy, gunked up in the action, but I think I can clean it and oil it up back to working condition. Stock is beat to hell, and the thing is rusted to crap.

And all that makes me think this thing is frickin *awesome*.

So, anyone ever heard of any of the names above? It might be a cheap, piece of crap .22, or maybe it's an old, quality build. I have no idea yet... I just know it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and then shot!

This thing look familiar to anyone?

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September 9, 2008, 11:39 AM
It is a quality rifle. It is all steel, not like the alloy of today. Get a breakdown and clean it inside and out, you will like how well it functions if its all there.

September 9, 2008, 11:44 AM
Clean it up and you will be surprised. There is just something about the feel of an older .22. With all my fancy ones, my old $80 Glenfield 25 is still my favorite, and my most accurate.


September 9, 2008, 11:47 AM
Quality gun. A coworker brought me his last year to "fix" for him. It just needed a good strip and clean. Good rifle.

September 9, 2008, 01:08 PM
I have one pretty similar to that, although mine is badged as J.C. Higgins. Rebranded Savage made for sale at Sears. My dad had forgotten about it and pulled it out of the closet not long ago. It had a little surface rust and needed a cleaning, but the scope is spot-on, and it feeds Remington bulk stuff just fine. It's a blast to shoot. It's as good as my Marlin Model 60.

September 9, 2008, 01:18 PM
I recently inherited one just like it, after a good cleaning it runs just great.
Next project is to refinish it doing as much of the work myself.

Aka Zero
September 9, 2008, 02:30 PM
If it shoots straight, it good enough to be called a quality .22.

It's hard to kill an old rifle. I never knew you could get failures in a gun (movies + my old tube fed Winchester 22). Went though many bricks of ammo, only time it malfunctioned was if you didn't let the action drop fast enough loading the first round.

Sean Dempsey
September 9, 2008, 02:33 PM
On an all wood, 1 piece stock like that, can I sand it down and refinish it?

Also, what is the best way to remove rust and corrosion from the metal? Now I really want to get this thing working and pretty. Heritage, and all.

September 9, 2008, 02:41 PM

On the stock, a simple and better way than sanding would be to simply strip the stock using oven cleaner. This will remove the old finish as well as pull out any oils/greases soaked into the stock. Wipe most of the water off of it and let dry in the window of a car in the summertime heat with some old towels wrapped around it. Once you're done with that, go lightly over the dried wood with 180 grit sandpaper. Finish with Behr 600 oil finish or equivalent.

On the metal, if you have pitting, you'd be better off using Naval Jelly or other rust neutralizer to neutralize the rust, then sandblasting with fine grit to remove the scale and old finish. Then you can paint over the metal using one of the modern paint and bake finishes available through companies like Brownell's. The original finish was likely hot salt blueing, something that's expensive for the average joe to do as well as hard to get good results with if you don't know what you're doing and cold blues just are not a quality finish for long term use, additionally the pitting from the rust the rifle likely has on it wouldn't look good blued, but a quality paint will cover and fill in most of the pitting, leaving you with a nice looking rifle again.



Aces & Eights Custom Guns

September 9, 2008, 03:30 PM
The barreled receiver will drop out of the stock with the removal of the large screw in front of the trigger guard. I didn't spend a lot of time refinishing mine, but gave it a basic sanding and then used some cheap all-in-one stain to give it a better look. Took less than an hour to sand and coat, then I let it sit overnight. It's not professional by any means, but it's a good deal better than it was.

wayne in boca
September 9, 2008, 03:32 PM
My first rifle was an 87A,got it for $7.00 .Miss it.

September 9, 2008, 03:35 PM
I have an 87a, that is just the 87 though.
Stevens/savage made some good rifles.
Dont ever get rid of that thing.

September 9, 2008, 04:01 PM
clean it up and shoot it. looks well worth it

September 9, 2008, 04:15 PM
thats a cool old rifle!
about 10 yrs ago, I got a bunch of various guns when my grandpa passed.. one eas a single shot, bolt action .410 shotgun with just a pistol grip wood stock, and an 10 or so inch barrel, all factory.. thing was made by none other than Sears/roebuck, a friggin clothing store!

September 9, 2008, 04:52 PM
innerpiece, it was probably made by Savage or some other company to be sold by Sears. My J.C. Higgins 10116 is a rebadged Savage that is almost identical to the one this thread is about. The J.C. Higgins brand was sold exclusively at Sears.

September 9, 2008, 08:27 PM
My very first rifle bought new in '57 in a pawn shop for $20. A Stevens
Model 87 B. Scoped it with an N mount Weaver B6 and put thousands
through it. Stock refinished and mine was not walnut, but beautiful grained
what looks to be maple. Forearm tip orginal was painted black. Only part
replacement that caused jams when the lifter raised the cartridge from the
magazine tube upward. The spring clamps to the end of the mag. tube on a
slot on both sides. Still like new with no rust. Brighter blue turning gray.
Very accurate. That spring replacement was the only failure in 50 years.
Not bad !

September 9, 2008, 11:00 PM
it should be a Springfield/Savage , or vice versa, it should also say whether it is long rifle only, or short, long, long rifle- s,l,lr. it has the cool shark fins on the left side, for venting of crap/pressure release. it is of course semi auto.
nnnnoowwwww then, it may or may not be reliable with short ammo, so you need to clean it real good, take it out of the wood, and blast it with tooth brush, break cleaner, bore cleaner , etc. once it is all clean, LIGHTLY LUBE THE ACTION AREA!!!! just a littl drop here and there, inside the receiver, around the bolt assy., both sides, not too much more really. then try long rifles, then try longs, then try shorts; if you can get yours to work reliably with CCI shorts, solid points, or hollow points, consider yourself lucky because most of these are now too weak in the springs, and other parts, to properly use shorts.

Sean Dempsey
September 9, 2008, 11:37 PM
I cleaned the crap out of it, then lubed up all the working parts. Went out and ran 30 rounds of LR through it - worked like a charm. Did a few shots with a careful aim, but I really just wanted to check it's function. So I rattled off 15 rounds as fast as I could, never failed.

The trigger is funky, the way it stays open, but oh well, doesn't really effect it's performance. Gonna take it to the range tomorrow and see how accurate it still is. It has an adjustable elevation on the rear site, so I'll see where I can find the zero spot.

Pretty cool. Makes me want to restore the stock a little bit now.

September 9, 2008, 11:42 PM
Although my J.C. Higgins 10116 says it will take .22 S, L, or LR, it says it will only operate in semi-automatic with LR. Haven't tried it with legit .22 Shorts, only .22 CB shorts, but the little CB didn't properly operate the bolt. Not threadjacking, but here is what mine looks like (almost identical to the Savage, the only thing I see different is the bolt handle). My dad put a scope on this thing 30+ years ago and it's still accurate. Yes, there is still a little surface rust, but it's clean inside now and it works great.

September 10, 2008, 01:20 AM
Yes, they are almost a classic! They were widely copied, which is usually a good indication of a reliable design. An Australian company called Sportco used to make one back in the 1950s called a Sportomatic, they were very common when I was a kid down there.

Float Pilot
September 10, 2008, 01:33 AM
Back in the early 70s my best friend had one. It was a great rifle and we killed many a grouse and rabbit with it. I just saw him for the first time in 32 years, this summer. He still has that rifle and it still knocks em dead.

I wish you lived close by, I end up rebuilding rifles during the winter months. If there are some big dings or dents in the wood, you can steam them out after removing the original finsih. It does not cause you to loose wood as sanding does.
Then you steel wool the grain until it is smooth and refinish.

Fine steel wool and a good light gun oil, or gun solvent will remove light rust spots on the blued areas. You may even be able to clean the de-rusted areas with acetone or MEK and then use some cold blue paste on the now shiney spots.

September 10, 2008, 02:02 AM
thanks for the info Shade00

September 10, 2008, 12:16 PM
shade - yours is an 87a, and his is a model other than that from the 87 line.
the only discernable difference is the bolt handle.

September 10, 2008, 12:57 PM
Is this the one where you can press the bolt handle in to lock it shot, basically making it a manual action for that shot?

I had a similar rifle (Higgins?) at one point, and the bolt was lockable. A buddy bought it from me, and was thrilled that he could lock the bolt to get the max oomph out of subsonic rounds, but then unlock the bolt and plink with HV .22 fodder.

Sean Dempsey
September 10, 2008, 01:23 PM
Yeah the both is lockable closed, and lockable open. Not sure why you would lock it open, but you can.

It stays open until you release the trigger, too. Weird.

September 11, 2008, 01:56 AM
My original rifle is a Stevens model 34 bolt. It still shoots incredibly at 100 yds after 40 years. Treasure that old Stevens.

Gone Huntin
September 16, 2008, 09:20 PM
Its a great gun. I've only used lr in mine, and it shoots dead on after I got used to the fine bead.

September 17, 2008, 09:36 AM
I have one of these too. the barrel is trashed, but its a neat gun. Compared to the way I expect a semi to work, its a real oddity.

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