Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Stevens model 73 Project part 1

Another project, this one a single shot .22 rifle.

It is a Stevens (Savage) model 73, see my feature gun post on this rifle here.

The rifle was missing the bolt and butt plate, but otherwise appeared complete. The previous owner wished me luck in finding a replacement bolt for it....challenge accepted :).

The first thing I do is try to date the rifle. The Stevens/Savage model 73 was made between 1965 and 1980, this particular gun has no serial number and was thus made before 1969. the Gun Control Act of 1968 required makers to put unique serial numbers on all firearms, the GCA went into effect in late October 1968.
So this gun was made between 1965 and 1968, that is about as close as we will get.

This is what the gun looked like when I brought it home

The stock has plenty of dings, dents and scrapes

The butt plate is MIA, but someone managed to save the screws...perhaps this was another one of those Savage "unbreakable" butt plates...

I was lucky enough to score a decent condition bolt on ebay for just $36.00 with free shipping. I did not want to spend too much on this gun as they really aren't worth very much. 

I also found this Stevens/Savage butt plate at the gun show for $1.
The factory screws that came with the stock did not quite fit the holes/recesses, so I sourced these oval slotted #12 screws that fit and look better than the Phillips head factory screws.

My plans are pretty simple:

  • Fix the issues with the bolt and trigger group to ensure the gun will go bang when we want it to
  • Refinish the stock, attempt to stain or dye it or maybe go with the natural blond color?
  • Reblue the barrel and other steel parts
I checked the bore with a live .22 LR cartridge, there is no erosion at the muzzle.

I also cleaned the bore and checked the rifling, hard to get a clear picture, but it is shiny and the rifling is crisp...

I disassembled the gun, apparently you need to do this to remove the bolt, which makes performing a through cleaning a real hassle.

Test fitting the bolt, the lug fits in a recess on the back side of the barrel (opposite the ejection port)

Right side of the barrel/receiver extension

When checking the hammer and trigger, I could not get it to cock the hammer, I think we are missing a part or it was assembled incorrectly. I also noticed the extractor on the bolt was shot, I'll see if an NOS one is available. The firing pin was also jammed up and possibly broken, I have it soaking in Hoppes #9 for now

according to the diagram below, we should have all the fire control group pieces....

Getting the bolt apart showed that it suffers from a broken firing pin and a weak extractor. The ebay seller was kind enough to refund the cost of the parts needed to fix it...:)

The little round pin is actually the ejector.

This is what the firing pin is supposed to look like:

During the project, I found another bolt at the gun show for $1

This was missing the extractor, but the ejector and firing pin were salvageable, the ejector spring, not so much

The bolt appeared to be painted.

I dug through my springs and found a replacement

The retaining roll pin (1/8" diameter) will be replaced with a stainless one, that will be trimmed to fit

Ejector and firing pin after cleaning up

I polished the front part and sand blasted the handle and rear part

Stay tuned....

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