Q: I have developed an interest in single shot rifles, and I'm wondering if you have any recommendations for a .22 single shot rifle. I saw that Savage Arms has brought back the Steven's Favorite, but I don't know about the quality or availability. I don't know if there were any other options out there.
A: I'm not sure what your are looking for, but if it's plinking and casual shooting, the Savage/Stevens favorite and related models are fine and well made for that activity. If you're interested in target competition, the Savage/favorite will come up short. There are several falling block single shot rifles out there to choose from for that purpose. The most common and available are the B.S.A. line of Martini target rifles. These were imported by Al Freeland starting in the 1950's and continued until Al's death in the 1980s. Used Mark 2 (II), Mark 3 (III), Mark 4 (IV), and Mark 5 (V) are all available through gun shows and some retail retail outlets. These are quality firearms. I understand that Navy Arms is importing the BSA's from England since the ownership of firearms is all but gone in England. I have seen a few of these rifles and they are quite nice. The only new single-shot target rifle that I am aware of is the Ballard .22 R.F available from Ballard Rifle LLC. I have one of these and it is TOP DRAWER all the way. I encourage you to think over what you are interested in, and then get the best .22 you can afford. Then have fun. Consider getting involved in the .22 program ASSRA offers. You will have a good time, guaranteed. - J. Grant
Q: I've heard that someone is making a "small" version of the Sharps 1874 rifle. Who is it?
A: The "Little Sharps Rifle" is available from Dakota Arms Inc., 1310 Industry Dr., Sturgis SD 57785. This finely made rifle is scaled to be 20% smaller than the original, has high-grade stock wood, a 26-inch octagon barrel, steel butt, open rear sight and front bead. It weighs about eight pounds and comes in calibers from .22 RF to .38-55. Prices start at $3,100 and many extras are offered. For more information, contact Dakota Arms at (605) 347-4686.
Q: I have an old Hopkins & Allen "rolling block" .22 with nothing more than that name and an indian head stamped on the frame. Do you know anything about these and their value?
A: This rifle is a unusual and distinct variation of the Hopkins & Allen No. 722. It is styled like a boy's military training rifle. It has the regular No. 722 action, fitted with pistol grip stock, and a three quarter length forearm attached to a 25.62" round tapered barrel with a barrel band swivel. The rifle is 40.25" in over-all length and weighs about 4.6 pounds. The top of the barrel has the usual H & A name and address marking on it, but with no model or number designation. The only other marking is an Indian head stamped boldly on the left side of the receiver. It is chambered for the .22 Long Rifle Cartridge. This model was made Circa 1888-1915. The cost at that time would be in the range of $7.50 to $10.00 This rifle is not seen often and would make an interesting addition to any single shot rifle collection. An approximate value would be in the range of $100.00 to $200.00 The Hopkins & Allen Manufacturing Company was established in about 1868 in Norwich Conn. And was very active in firearms manufacturing until about 1917. Some references give the dates as 1867 to 1915 as their beginning and end. Not a lot is known about this company. During the first 20 years of their existence they were primarily engaged in the manufacture of inexpensive handguns of various types. -- J. Grant
Q: I recently purchased a Yost single-shot rifle at a regional Schuetzen match. When were they made? Were they considered good or bad? Is the trigger adjustable? And do you have pictures or a drawing? I always read the Q& A in my SSRJ!
A: The late Edward Yost, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin designed and built a small number of these Yost actions in the late 1980s. They were given a brief announcement in the Sept. - Oct. 1991 issue of Single Shot Rifle News, the forerunner of SSRJournal, and this photo appeared in the May - June 1991 issue. According to ASSRA records, the actual manufacture of these actions was accomplished by David Arawinko of Gross Plains, Wisconsin. Yost himself was a tool and die maker for Mercury Marine for 35 years. But his death on December 31, 1990 closed both Yost's life and the future of his single-shot action. To our knowledge, no further Yost actions or rifles were made. and rifles and brought them to the matches about a decade ago, and then he died. So few of these Yost actions exist that we don't know how well they were regarded by enthusiasts. A good gunsmith can adjust your trigger.
Q: I own a Winchester low-wall with a close-coupled double-set trigger, a 28-inch No. 3 barrel with a 10 o'clock maker's stamp. and the serial number, 419XX, ends in a "K." It has been "restored" with a stock refinish and high-gloss blue, but could the basic components be original?
A: I have never seen a Winchester serial number end in any letter of the alphabet. Although some custom rifle makers added their own ID to some reworked single-shots. At any rate, a low-wall with CCDST is extremely rare if such triggers were originally installed at the factory. I've never seen an example. And installation requires special machine work on a flat-side low-wall. It could have been done at Winchester, but it's hard to tell without seeing inside the gun. A No. 3 barrel is also extremely rare on a low-wall. I know of one and have seen photos of another. But I'm not 100% sure that either is original. Are you sure yours is not a No. 2? They look similar, and the 28-inch length is fairly common to a No. 2. Your rifle may be a special order gun with work performed by the model room at WRA. The number of your rifle, 419XX (K?), can be researched at the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, WY (307) 587-4771. If this gun was an original custom order, it would be well worth restoring to whatever specs you can glean from Cody. -- J. Campbell
Q: When breech seating bullets why is it important to seat the bullet 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch ahead of the cartridge case mouth. Every source I've read recommends some form of gap between the base of the bullet and the case but nobody has ever offered an explanation as to why. Peter S. - Australia
A: In my experience, the presence of a slight gap is really more a function of having the base band of the bullet well and squarely seated in the throat so that a proper gas seal is achieved. With most chamber/bullet combinations this appears to be within an eighth inch or preferably less. That being said, one other concern that dictates leaving at least a small space between the lip of the case mouth and the base of the bullet is the desire to avoid injuring this very critical portion of the bullet; even a sixteenth inch gap accomplishes this. - C. Shaeff.