Stevens Model 200 Camo

I like inexpensive rifles. They make me feel like'º a kid again when all my rifles were hand-me-downs from family members and all I wanted was something to help me get a deer in upstate New York. Today, of course, we're starting to see more rifles on the affordable end of the spectrum due to the economy, and we're also starting to see more ready-to-go packages that include rifle, scope, rings and bases.

Such is the case of the new Stevens Model 200 Camo package deal--a rifle/scope combo that can be the right rig for rookie and veteran hunter alike, priced at less than $500.

The Stevens Arms and Tool Company manufactured some interesting guns during its time, with the first one introduced by Joshua Stevens himself around 1871. Stevens was acquired by Savage Arms in 1920, and today the brand is an important part of Savage, mostly as a line of economical rimfires.

The Model 200, however, is a centerfire and is now available a striking new camo pattern made for Savage by Next-Camouflage. The pattern fills in the Model 200's checkering pattern perfectly, with no distortion--which to me is a good trick considering pressure has to be put on the pattern itself as it is pressed into the stock. The only interruption in the pattern's applications is a seam at the top of the comb.

The Model 200 has a blind magazine, and the pistol grip cap sports the Savage Indian logo. As on the fore-end, there is more than ample checkering on the pistol grip.

The Stevens 200 Camo comes with a Bushnell 3-9x40 aboard, and it shares the fire-control features Savage shooters are familiar with.

The stock itself is classic in design, without any California comb or checkpiece, and no fancy fore-end tip. There is a natural rubber recoil pad, and sling swivel studs are not only included but also get the camo treatment.

The action is pure Savage, complete with the older, grooved version of the barrel nut that mates barrel and receiver. On standard cartridges, the barrel length is limited to 22 inches; as of now there are no camo models available in magnum chamberings.

Short-action chamberings in the Stevens 200 Camo include .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester. Long-action calibers include the .25-06 Remington, .270 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield. Magazine capacity is four rounds for all chamberings.

Like Savages, the Stevens' bolt features a set of twin lugs. The first set is dual locking and has the blade extractor and plunger-type ejector housed within the bolt face.

Right behind that is the gas baffle, which is unique to Savage. Held under tension with a spring-steel washer, it forms a protective barrier in case of a case failure. Twin gas ports drilled into each side of the front receiver bridge help vent gas in such an event.

Like a Savage, the Stevens employs the same twin sets of dual locking lugs that safeguard shooters in the event of a case rupture.

Specifications | Stevens Model 200
Type:dual-lug bolt-action centerfire
Capacity: 4 + 1 blind magazine
Caliber: from .223 Rem. to .30-06; .243 Win. tested
Barrel length: 22 in.
Overall length: 42.75 in.
Weight: 6.75 lb. without scope
Finish: matte blue
Stock: camo synthetic stock
Sights: scope included
Price: $499
Manufacturer Savage Arms | 413.568.7001

The 200 has a blind magazine and non-adjustable trigger. Its light stock means it kicks a bit, but it also means the rifle will carry well.

There is no jewelling on the bolt; it is left in the white and sports the word "Stevens" along its flanks. The bolt handle sweeps slightly to the rear and includes a modest amount of cast-in checkering on the bolt knob. It is finished in a matte blue-black, which complements the satin bluing on the receiver and barrel.

Stevens retains the three-position tang safety a la Savage: All the way to the rear locks the sear and bolt; mid-position allows you to open the bolt with the sear locked; and fully forward is fire.

No, for under $500 you do not get an AccuTrigger, and this conventional trigger broke at nearly seven pounds with just a hint of slack. I took the gun apart to examine the trigger and found the assembly uses stamped parts, which means it's not adjustable and you'll ha

ve to live with the seven-pound pull weight.

The camouflage pattern is well-executed, with no distortion even on areas such as the fore-end where it's pressed into the checkering.

On the right side of the receiver is the combination bolt release and cocking indicator. When the bolt is cocked, this lever rises to an upward attitude, enough so the shooter can feel the difference in its position. To remove the bolt, draw it to the rear and push down on this lever while at the same time pulling back on the trigger.

The gun comes with a matte-finished 3-9x40 Bushnell scope cinched down in Tasco-styled rings and Weaver bases. Scope covers are supplied.

For a gun chambered for the .243 Winchester it did kick off the bench due to its lighter-than-air synthetic stock. But I could not complain about the accuracy I got, especially with Cor-Bon ammunition. For hunting, this gun will do just fine, particularly with the heavier bullet weights.

I think it would be hard to beat the more than reasonable price on this Stevens, and harder still to beat the gun's quality at this price point. This has to be one of the best value-added hunting guns around today.

Accuracy Results | Stevens Model 200 Camo
.243 Winchester Bullet Weight (gr.) Muzzle Velocity (fps)Standard DeviationAvg. Group (in.)
Winchester Power Point 80 3,249 272.00
Cor-Bon DPX Hunter 85 3,344 10 1.25
Remington Core-Lokt 100 2,898 21 1.75
Notes: Accuracy results are averages of three three-shot groups at 100 yards. Velocities are the averages of nine shots clocked over an Oehler Model 35P chronograph, 10 feet from the muzzle. Air temperature was approximately 75 degrees.

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