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Old 11-18-2019, 07:26 PM
William Harper

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My time with the Stevens Favorite II



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My Fellow Shooters:
In late December 2003, four weeks after open heart surgery, I staggered into my favorite gun store and beheld a Savage Stevens model 30 R17 on the rack, a pleasant surprise since I had lost track of shooting for a while. I bought it and one box of Hornady's 17 HMR 17 grain load. I did nothing but study it for some months of early 2004. I did obtain a box of CCI's 17 grain spitzer HP load. By internet I found a review of the 30R17 and the Hornady load noting its fair blue job, dry walnut wood, and atrocious trigger pull. The accuracy cited was 2.7" at 100 yards which alarmed and disappointed me. This feeling drove me to the range in April 2004, where I shot from the bench in still air into 1.7" at 100 yards with the Hornady load and 1.9" with the CCI. As weather warmed I improved the little rifle's trigger pull and saw the groups shrink to 1.0-1.5" at 100 yards with the Hornady load. I improved the sight picture by ridding the front sight of its curious bead which left a nice square topped post. 2.5" dead center at 200 yards astonished shooters who were not used to seeing that kind of performance from any rimfire and were surprised by the existence of the .17 HMR. In full summer in blazing heat, the 30 R17 gave me 4.00 at 300 yards with the little red pointed Hornady 17 grain bullets buzz-sawing a .30" hole through 2" of soft pine.
At 400 meters on another range the 30 R17 Favorite gave a series of 6-7" groups smashing the little Hornady bullets to powder on the steel target plate, proof that the load was capable of badly wounding a rabbit at that range. I had improved the wood finish greatly and the trigger pull. I had also tried all available 17-20 grain bullet loads and was inclined by experience to settle on the Hornady load as ideal. What about a telescopic sight?
I mounted a BSA Sweet Seventeen on the 30 R17. To my surprise even from a bench rest the scope sight did not give me better accuracy. If anything the scope tended to make the little rifle awkward to handle adding weight and detracting from its attractive handling qualities. So I went back to the iron sights and the basic 4.25 Lb rifle weight so pleasant in the woods.
In squirrel hunting I found this little 0ld-timey single shot devastatingly effective to 100 yards if I took care to fire from a supported position patiently trying for the headshot that would see about one third of the average grey squirrel's head blown to vapor. At its light weight and ca. 37" overall, I found the little Savage 30 R17 an ideal companion in the squirrel woods.
Someone asked me if I tried it on targets at 500 meters? Yes. I found the 17 grain Hornady boat-tailed spitzer veered wildly past 400 meters. Although it would penetrate 3/8th plywood with a round hole, it did not make anything remotely resembling a group. A puzzle for someone else to solve.
It is still my favorite squirrel rifle.
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  #2  
Old 11-18-2019, 07:53 PM
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gcrank1

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After having orig. Stevens Mdl 44s and more than a few Fav's I tired of the lack of ready spares, aged metallurgy and the original design shortcomings. The J. Stevens commemorative came along and was played with a little bit, then someone offered me far too much to not sell.....
The 'new model' still attracted me and they made quite a few iterations, I waited for a case colored action, oct. barrel, walnut stocked version in 22LR to come along and one finally did. I found, like you, that it is at its best as a rifle not a platform for extra stuff, and at 87ish yds. it shot toe to toe offhand with some match guns with peep sights (a good day for me as Indian , and a decent arrow). Never had a 17 in anything but it sounds like a winner in yours
Mine aint going anywhere else either.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:07 PM
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gmd1950
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I've failed to wring in out appropriately, but limited shooting indicates it will be suitably accurate for Ground Hogs and such out to 100 yards even with my deteriorating old eyes, mine is in .22wmr.





Makes a handy little walking around rifle.
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  #4  
Old 12-02-2019, 05:46 PM
William Harper

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my time with the Stevens Favorite II

My Fellow Shooters:
The tiny .17 bore in the 30 R17's muzzle got my attention instantly when I first handled the dainty little rifle in late Dec. 2003. No one I knew locally was informed about the new Savage Favorites or the new .17 HMR cartridge. Mine had good action fit, metal finish and wood. The most negative feature was one of the most atrocious trigger pulls I have ever encountered in seventy years of rimfire shooting, a problem that I soon dealt with. The rifling was six equal lands and grooves with a 1 turn in 9" twist which I had not seen before in any rimfire rifle. Over the next eight years of shooting that barrel proved it could average right at 1" at 100 yards with the Hornady V-Max load. I harvested 48 gray squirrels headshot with one box of these excellent cartridges following a strict rule of shooting only from supported positions in picked shots. The two misses were fired offhand in battering wind at a mere 25 yards- most humiliating. Comparing range accuracy of the 30 R17 with two other chamberings of the same rifle- .22 LR model g and .22 WMR model GM- I discovered that the tiny .17 bore's probable greater barrel rigidity did not seem to contribute to any degree of greater accuracy than the larger .22s had with the best loads. What I did notice was the favorable advantage conferred by the high velocity and flat trajectory for hitting the gray squirrel's furry little noggin to 100 yards with what became my best squirrel rifle.
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