Stevens Model 15 | Weapon Trivia Wednesday

The Stevens Model 15, more properly the Stevens-Springfield Model 15,

Stevens Model 15| Weapon Trivia History

The Stevens Model 15, actually to be completely accurate the Stevens-Springfield Model 15, was released in 1938. First published in the Spring 1938 Sears & Roebuck Catalog, it was originally priced at $3.19.

Stevens Model 15 | Single Shot Boys Rifle

The Model 15 was intended for the boy’s rifle market and was favored for use by the Boy Scouts of America. Most of the Stevens Model 15s had a 22 in. barrel and an overall length of 37 in. They usually tipped the scales at 3.75 lbs. Technically a bolt-action, it was a simple single-shot design, one that locked by turning the bolt handle downward. Its short design allowed the bolt handle to lie directly above the trigger. This Stevens-Springfield Model 15 rifle had 24 parts in total. For a boy’s rifle that meant very few to break or lose.

Actually, in that regard, it’s almost a perfect Marine’s rifle!

The Stevens Model 15 (Stevens-Springfield Model 15) single shot .22 caliber rifle, originally intended to be a youth rifle, was favored by the Boy Scouts. Some gun history for you from Breach Bang Clear on Weapon Trivia Wednesday.
The Stevens-Springfield Model 15 single-shot .22 caliber rifle was originally intended to be a youth rifle and was popular with the Boy Scouts of America.
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The stock was made of birch, stained to a dark walnut color, and the metal was basic blue with some versions featuring butt plates.

The Stevens Model 15 (Stevens-Springfield Model 15) single shot .22 caliber rifle, originally intended to be a youth rifle, was favored by the Boy Scouts. Some gun history for you from Breach Bang Clear on Weapon Trivia Wednesday.
Model 15s had birch stocks with blued metal barrels and parts. Some versions had butt plates, many did not.

The shooter loaded a single round of .22 Short, .22 Long or .22 Long Rifle into the chamber and closed the bolt to shoot. With the bolt closed, a cocking knob on the rear of the bolt pulled back. Four and a half pounds of pressure on the trigger let the striker lose and the round went downrange.

Wow, plenty of fun!

Declining Interest in the Model 15

Many of these rifles were built over a long period, but they fell out of favor as new-fangled models came to market. Repeaters by other companies for a few dollars more in the post-WW II economy killed sales and desire for these little rifles. As basic as these rifles are, and as many of them were made, there simply isn’t much collector interest in them. We paid $20 for ours and the shipping cost more than that.

Still, they represent the first step many boys made on their journey to become shooters, hunters, or soldiers.

The Stevens Model 15 (Stevens-Springfield Model 15) single shot .22 caliber rifle, originally intended to be a youth rifle, was favored by the Boy Scouts. Some gun history for you from Breach Bang Clear on Weapon Trivia Wednesday.
Later repeaters killed most interest in the Model 15.

Actually, there is a lot of potential in these old rifles. They are surprisingly accurate and, despite being marketed as a boy’s rifle, most adults have no problem shooting them.

Removing the stock screw on the Stevens Model 15 allows the rifle to be broken down into a small and compact package. This makes it ideal for the hiker or backpacker who wants to tote a small, single-shot .22 on the trail. Although it was probably made that way for cheap and easy manufacturing, it does show how a rifle most people would walk by 100 times at the gun shop could still find gainful employment!

The Stevens Model 15 (Stevens-Springfield Model 15) single shot .22 caliber rifle, originally intended to be a youth rifle, was favored by the Boy Scouts. Some gun history for you from Breach Bang Clear on Weapon Trivia Wednesday.

The Stevens Model 15 (Stevens-Springfield Model 15) single shot .22 caliber rifle, originally intended to be a youth rifle, was favored by the Boy Scouts. Some gun history for you from Breach Bang Clear on Weapon Trivia Wednesday.
The Stevens Model 15 breaks down very easily, making it ideal for an outdoorsman to bring along.

The quality of what was marketed as a discount rifle is surprisingly decent. The fact that the Stevens Model 15, though now an octogenarian, is still capable of accurately putting lead downrange is a testament to old-school firearms manufacturing.

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Mike Searson

Mike “the Mook” Searson is a veteran writer who began his career in firearms at the Camp Pendleton School for Destructive Boys at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire life, writing about guns and knives for numerous publications and consulting with the film industry on weapons while at the same time working as gunsmith and ballistician. Though seemingly a surly curmudgeon shy a few chromosomes at first meeting, Searson is actually far less of a dick and at least a little smarter than most of the Mad Duo’s minions. He is rightfully considered to be not just good company, but actually fit for polite company as well (though he has never forgotten his roots as a rifleman trained to kill people and break things, and if you look closely you’ll see his knuckles are still quite scabbed over from dragging the ground). You can learn more about him on his website or follow him on Twitter, @MikeSearson.


Mike Searson has 94 posts and counting. See all posts by Mike Searson

8 thoughts on “Stevens Model 15 | Weapon Trivia Wednesday

  • May 13, 2020 at 7:18 pm
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    I have a Springfield 15 that my dad traded for about 55 to 60 years ago. It was my squirrel gun as I grew up hunting with my dad . Dad traded a 32cal pistol for it . The owner before me could strike a match at 15 ft with that rifle. I got the 15 out today looked it up and read the comments people made about the rifle. I was thinking about getting a air rifle but after shooting shorts in this gun I figured why waste the money as quite and as accurate I had the best choice. I cherish this rifle and hope the family does too.

    Reply
  • April 27, 2020 at 11:42 am
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    Hi everybody. I’m from St. Charles, MO (First State Capitol!).
    Best Christmas I ever had when I was 12 years old and opened this big package and there in a box
    was a Stevens Model 15A. Santa’s stock really went up that year. My dad, who was a dead shot,
    taught me to shoot and took me rabbit hunting. To paraphrase Carl Perkins, “I ain’t never shot a
    rabbit.” I was not a good shot, tho I enjoyed plinking at cans and bottles. Lots of fond memories being
    outdoors with that rifle.
    My dad may have had that model when he was a boy in South St. Louis. He said you could get one for $3.50. His pal John’s
    father had a hardware store where you could buy guns and ammo back then. This would have been
    the 1930s. They would get a case of .22 long rifles every Sat. and go shooting along the Miss. river bank.
    500 rounds, every week. After a while you start to improve.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 11:14 pm
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    I got my Model 15 as a first rifle at age nine. Mine was ordered from the Speigel catalog for $11.25. I am eighty now and save for an extractor that my tool and die maker grandfather made for me it has provided good service and still works. Now valued as a family keepsake. NRA Life Benefactor Member. Former member 1st. Marine Div. Rifle and Pistol Team. God Bless America. Join the NRA and fight gun control. 🙂

    Reply
  • January 19, 2020 at 8:08 pm
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    My first 22 to use was a Model 15 ( J Stevens Arm & Tool ) . My uncle used it as a teen ages before WW II . He was crossing a fence and stuck the mussel in some snow causing a bulge just in front of the front sight , when he shot it . I constantly shot birds out of a tree ( on the farm ) to feed my cat , had to clip them in the head so they would flop around . Darn cat would only eat them if they moved ! My uncle’s oldest son now has that gun , I now have a model 15 A and model 15B both can drive tacks ! To bad that these guns or not in production, cheap and fun to use .

    Reply
  • January 17, 2020 at 9:07 pm
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    Yours is the first model 15 I’ve found online that looks like mine, with the stock that looks like it was made from a 2×6 with slightly rounded edges and flat sides. Is this version of stock an early or later model of the model 15?

    Reply
  • April 23, 2019 at 3:05 am
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    Yes, that’s normal. The sear catches the striker at the back of the receiver via a notch in the striker. Rotating the bolt to open it while cocked will cause the sear to disengage the notch and allow the striker to move forward. Furthermore, the design allows for the trigger to be pushed FORWARD and release the striker, causing the rifle to fire if loaded and cocked.

    I got one of these rifles in 1969 for two dollars, second hand. It served me well for years. The rear sight elevator was a slip of stamped metal, and got lost along the way. I used a wooden match stem for an elevator, and it worked like a charm. You hear of rifles labeled as “tack drivers”, but that rifle truly was one. I used to tap spent .22 cartridge cases into fence posts, and could drive them on in with it from 20 yards away. If I could see it, I could hit it with that rifle. I’ve killed squirrels with it at 40 yards when all I could see was their head peeking around a tree trunk. It was utterly deadly to squirrels, rabbits, snakes, and groundhogs.

    Mine was stolen by some miscreant in 1998. 21 years later, and innumerable firearms later, I still miss that rifle. Cheap though it was, it was probably the most accurate weapon I’ve ever owned.

    Reply
  • April 12, 2019 at 7:50 pm
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    I was doing a function test on a closet find model 15 and found it would discharge when opening the bolt while cocked. Is this normal?

    Reply
  • January 19, 2018 at 10:32 am
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    These are great rifles. They fire both .22 rounds, short and long. A friend gave me one, stating the barrel was ‘shot out’. I cleaned it up and my sons proceeded to show me how much better shooters they are by nailing bulls eyes at 50 paces…

    Reply

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