Expert advice, appraisals and fascinating firearms stories
Firearms expert Dave Anderson appraises readers’ vintage guns, including a single-shot Savage pistol, a Bullard lever-action rifle and a pair of Winchester rifles
Whether you have a question about antique guns, modern firearms, ammunition or reloading, expert Dave Anderson is here with the answer. Please send your detailed questions and applicable, high-resolution photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I found this little gem (above) in my dad’s safe after he passed. It says it’s a .22-calibre, but I’m not sure about the manufacturer, value or history. Are you able to answer these questions for me? Thank you.
This appears to be a J. Stevens Target Single Shot. The J. Stevens Arms and Tool Co. was founded in 1864, and acquired by Savage in 1920. This single-shot pistol was made from the early 1900s and remained in production, or at least in the Savage catalogue, until 1939. They were relatively inexpensive, but well made, and fairly popular. Quite a few were used on traplines, as well as on farms and ranches for pest control.
There is some collector interest, with values highly dependent on the gun’s condition. From the photos you provided, there seems to be some signs of rust and some damage to screw slots. Plus, the elevation screw is missing from the rear sight. Its value would likely be in the range of $150. It’s certainly is not junk; it would make for a nice family keepsake.