Stevens 200 Review and Range Report


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CmdrSlander
December 28, 2011, 05:33 PM
http://www.kygunco.com/prodimages/24377-DEFAULT-L.jpg

Impressions:

Savage Arms has built a reputation as the source for reliable, inexpensive, and accurate (not to mention American made) rifles. Savage's "Stevens" line of budget rifles are the ultimate in low cost, low maintenance, reasonably precise rifles. Mine cost $319 (excellent Bushnell 3-9x40 scope included!) at Cabela's and fires the .223 Remington round from a 24" barrel with a 1 in 9 twist. The packaging the rifle comes in is flimsy and includes nothing but the rifle, the scope, and the requisite scope adjustment tools and trigger lock. Overall the rifle is quite solid, but the stock is poorly finished and should be replaced if one is chasing high accuracy and or looks, but that is a fairly low cost (around $99 for a walnut one from Boyd's) upgrade. As a complete package however (action, stock, barrel, mounts, rings, scope) the Stevens 200 feels quite sturdy. The finish on the barrel and action is consistent and protective, if not pretty. For my larger build, the rifle was not all that comfortable, but I very much prefer (and am used to) a thumbhole stock with a straight, high comb. For the average shooter, it is more than adequate. The action cycles smoothly and the trigger is 4.5-6 pounds, heavy, but fine for what is clearly an entry level hunting rifle. The infamous plastic bottom "metal" was very well made and just as sturdy as the actual metal bottom metal on pricier Savages.

Range Report:

The scope was troublesome to adjust and the cold weather did not help, however, 25-30 rounds later, the rifle was quite accurate, if not completely predictable at 75 yards. Better glass would, without question, improve the rifle, but as it stands, the Stevens 200 is probably more accurate than I, especially on a cold, blustery day, with too much caffeine in my system. Recoil was non-existant, and the trigger pull was, as stated, heavy but clean. My biggest complaint was the blind magazine, which I could not get more than two rounds into, however, I believe the cold contributed to that as well (cold weather + no gloves = numbness and loss of dexterity). I got several good groups, but only one which I shot in succesion (there were usually one or two flyers per 5 shot group). The heavy trigger and ill-fitting stock contributed to this, but even in its default configuration, the Stevens 200 is an accurate rifle. Not a target rifle yet, but thanks the common Model 10 action and high quality, free floated barrel, the potential is there.

http://i41.tinypic.com/25al0k8.jpg

Conclusion:

The Stevens 200 is distinctly average, which is wonderful considering its price tag. Subtract the cost of an optic and it is a $250 gun that will outshoot a $700 (cough***remington***cough) gun given the opportunity and with the right man behind the trigger. I will be posting a range report on the rifle with a new stock, which I expect to cut my groups in half, when it arrives. The Stevens 200 is a great gun for budget minded shooters, it is build in a highly modular way, which allows it to be upgraded to meet a shooters needs. Also, buying a Stevens 200 is a great way to get a Savage barreled action for a project, in fact, it is actually cheaper than buying a barreled action from Savage.

Ratings:

Looks: ++
Accuracy: +++ (accuracy is about average to sub-par in my experience, however other trusted reviewers with more shooting experience than I report sub-moa groups)
Reliability: +++++
Handling: +++
Overall: +++ (good)

Ammo used:
Hornady Steel Match .223, 55 Grain HP. (highly recommended, no problems, very clean shooting, and reasonable [considering the match grade bullets and time-tested, consistent, Hornady powder mixture] at $20 for 50 rounds)

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CmdrSlander
December 28, 2011, 06:56 PM
Anyone interested?

slowr1der
December 28, 2011, 07:22 PM
Great writeup. If it was me, I'd change the scope before I changed the stock. The reason I say that is, I had that same scope on a Savage package deal .22 rifle, and it was a huge piece of junk. I normally like cheap scopes more than most guys on here seem to, but that particular Bushnell was junk. Mine always held zero, but the adjustments were horrible and the glass wasn't all that great either. On mine, I had to make adjustments then fire a few shots and with each shot, the poi would move some each shot until it settled down. I could also tap it really hard and sometimes it would adjust after I made adjustments without me having to take a few shots. I just wasn't impressed at all, and found someone else who wanted to buy it, so I quickly let it go. It wouldn't surprise me if that wasn't partially the reason for your poor groups.

I'd also try some different types of ammo and see how they do.

That said, I agree with most of the review from what experience I've had with them. Great writeup, and I hope you enjoy the rifle.

I also think this is the way to go over the Edge/Axis, or even better yet I think the package deal 10's/110's for $400 are an ever better buy, but if you can't spend that I think the Stevens 200 is a much better choice than any of the other $300 rifles out there including the Axis/Edge.

CmdrSlander
December 28, 2011, 07:45 PM
Yah, that scope fought me every step of getting it sighted in, I would go to turn it one click and it wouldn't move, when I finally got it to move it went about 3 clicks etc... I think it will be okay now though, with it sighted and all. It is very bright and the crosshairs are crisp.

slowr1der
December 28, 2011, 08:32 PM
That's exactly the same experience I had with mine. It seemed to stay zeroed though, but I never trusted it and every time I made adjustments it was a huge pita.

heeler
December 28, 2011, 09:18 PM
In the big scheme of things they are a pretty good rifle.
Although I must admit the very first one I handled at Gander Mt. a few years ago or so actually cut my hand while handling the more than rough plastic checkered black stock,so much was this an issue that I had read of several owners taking fine grit sand paper to the new stock shortly after aquiring the rifle.
Frankly one of the very first things I would do is take the garbage Chinese quality scope off of it and put something far more worthy for the rifles ability.
Two weeks after I handled the above mentioned rifle a local a sports shop had these 200's in .243 and 7mm-08 only on sale for the stunning low price of $179.00.
Now that was a deal!!
Although I dont care much for the 7mm-08 I truely should have bought one in .243 just to put it back for old times sake.

NCsmitty
December 28, 2011, 09:43 PM
Range reports on bolt rifles are always interesting to me, and I appreciate the time taken to issue the information.

You'll find that budget scopes, like the one mentioned, respond better when you turn a couple clicks past where you want to go, then move back to the click spot that you want. This compensates for thread tolerances.



NCsmitty

CmdrSlander
December 28, 2011, 09:47 PM
Thanks NCsmitty, no trouble at all.

AABEN
December 28, 2011, 09:50 PM
I use a lot or BSA Platinum target scoops 6 + 24 + 44 1/8 adj On sale now for 56.00 at Natchez.

jjr0419
December 28, 2011, 10:00 PM
The stevens 200 is definitely a great rifle for the price. I replaced the trigger on mine with an adjustable one from Timney for around $100. I now have a 2.5 pound trigger pull compared to the factory trigger pull of 5.75 pounds measured with an RCBS gauge. I feel like its an upgrade worth the money spent.

heeler
December 28, 2011, 10:16 PM
Since the 200 is basically a Savage 110 without the Accu trigger,that is what I have heard at least,are they not adjustable,and I have heard they are.
Why would you buy a new trigger if in fact that is true??
Too much play..Gritty??
Very curious.

benzy2
December 28, 2011, 10:37 PM
They are adjustable and make for a great hunting trigger. If you want a target trigger they will not adjust light enough to safely hold the firing pin back. They become easy to fire with a sharp bump and if set too light they will fire with the cycling of the action. Some have tried different springs or spring materials and done well but the best option is to buy a purpose built target trigger that you know is up to the task of being a light pull while not being a danger to discharge at the slightest bump.

2ndtimer
December 28, 2011, 11:43 PM
My Stevens 200 is chambered in .243 Win. My oldest son has inherited the rifle for now. This after he sanded down the factory stock and then put a very nice camo paint job on it. I added a Hogue pre-fit recoil pad, and a Rifle Basix trigger which he has now adjusted down to about 3 lbs with zero creep. The only downside to it is that we have shot it enough that its' extraction has gotten lazy. I don't know if it just needs to have the ejector removed and cleaned out or if it needs a new spring. Never attempted a disassembly of a bolt before. May have to find a good gunsmith and have it checked out. It has certainly been a fine rifle for a bargain price.

hardluk1
December 29, 2011, 11:58 AM
I bought a .223 stevens 200 a couple years back. It to was a fair shooter. Tried a couple different bullet weight but was not real happy. My problem was the trigger pull. Just heavy and creepy. I bought a rifle basics trigger for around 85 bucks direct from them. Set at 2lb pull weight and no other change shooting wally world bought AR223 55gr american eagle ammo will now shoot 1/12" groups. Bought a box of 75gr match and shoot 3/4" groups.

Birdhunter1
December 29, 2011, 06:29 PM
Great write up on the Stevens 200, probably one of the best I've read besides what I've said.

I absolutely hated the factory stock, though it was as flimsy as a Ziploc baggie, however taking that rifle and putting it in a Boyd's thumbhole, bedding it, adding a good scope (mine didn't come with one) and working with the trigger it is a great rifle. Action still feels like a clunky thing, but it shoots awesome. This is the gun I grab to see if a shooting problem with another gun is me or the gun in question. This Steven's 200 the way I've built it just shoots the same everyday anytime.

Aside from the scope I've got $400 or so in it, maybe $350, and about 6 hours of fiddling with it to get it the way I want it. Shoots as good as any rifle I've shot aside from benchrest guns.

Bigfoot
December 30, 2011, 04:15 AM
Since the 200 is basically a Savage 110 without the Accu trigger,that is what I have heard at least,are they not adjustable,and I have heard they are.
Why would you buy a new trigger if in fact that is true??
Too much play..Gritty??
Very curious.

That might be because Savage has put different triggers in them. Some people get the old style three screw trigger which can be adjusted into a very nice hunting weight.

Mine did not get the good trigger, it's pull was 4 3/4 lb and gritty. I made a spring out of .039 music wire and got it down to 3 1/2 lbs. But I wanted a sweet two lb trigger so this week I installed an Accutrigger that I had laying around. Cut a coil and a third off it's spring and it's just under two lbs. No creep, clean break and the sear held up to me bouncing the butt off the floor from two feet up.

It's a Stevens 223 also. Tally lightweights and Leupold 3x9 Ultralight. Too nasty out there to go shootin, maybe I'll have these 68 and 75 grain Hornady BTHPs loaded up by the time the weather clears up.

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