Partial history of the Stevens 87a
I have read reports of this rifle as being introduced in 1938 and ,with few modifications, being continued to 1968. a fair run,and one which I am not sure needed to be interupted ,but I'm not a manufacturer and have no Idea what it cost to produce this rifle and how many were actually sold ,or how it could have been made better and more economically.I do know that I bought one made before 1948,for Sears,it was called the "Ranger" Mod. 101-16,it is the exact same rifle as the Stevens 87A,and the Savage 6A,I know it was made before 1948 because in 1948 Sears changed the name of its rifles to J.C.Higgins. In the early 50's ,as scopes came into vogue,the rifle was modified with tip-off grooves in a standard 3/8" width to accomodate the new sighting systems before that they were sometimes "drilled and tapped"[D&T'd] by gunsmiths and maybe[?] the factory for a side mount scope mount these early scopes were usually the cheap 3/4" 4x15 scopes until people demanded better scopes for the .22[which it highly deserved]unfortunately I have not been able to find[to this point] any scope mount for this rifle made for the larger 1" scopes now available ,but, I have seen at least one on a rifle in an auction picture so they must exist.I am presently waiting on an answer from Weaver as to if they make one ,but, apparently ,one customer is not worth an answer as its been a week now! In the 60's,I believe, they were given another modification with the more streamlined and economical plastic bolt plug which gave it a more modern appearance.At varous times during it's production the bolt knob has been changed and made more modern and easier to grasp,however I like the wierd way mine looks as it is the big old one.It fires long rifles as a semi -auto, but, longs and shorts are fired more as a bolt action ,which the design accomodates by having the provision, when locked and loaded ,to be able to push the bolt handle in to the bolt to lock it closed and after fireing pull it out ,back and forward to chamber the next round this is,at least in my experience a function unique to this action and a handy one for hunting where noise is a consideration.I have heard they are a cranky action,however when I bought mine it was dirty and after the first 10 rounds and some WD-40 I fired 200 rds. with no stoppages or malfunctions of any kind and with the iron sights kept a group of 1 1/2" at 25 yds.this was just cranking and banging away and I'm sure was not as good as this rifle is capable of .The ammo was Rem.peters at way minus $2.oo a box so was in no way real prime ammo either, but ,was I shooting at sqirrels I'm sure would be quite functional.I hope this helps you out.Shootrj2003
Stevens also made this rifle for Montgomery Ward Known as the Wards Western Field model 87A which had a plastic stock that looks like wood.