being absent for many years, it is good to see the return of the
Stevens name to the world of shotguns. For decades, the
Stevens name represented quality products for the field. They
were guns built for the hunter. Stevens shotguns were more
likely to be found in the gun rack of a pickup truck rather than
the rack at the local trap club. They were guns for the common
man. They were affordable, but built to last. They were for the
hunter who was more concerned with bringing home the meat than
impressing the boys at the country club.
J. Stevens Arms Company was founded in 1864, and was
purchased by Savage Arms in 1920. Over the years, besides
rifles, pistols, and combination guns, Stevens shotguns were
built by the thousands. My first gun was a Stevens Model 95
single shot which I received at age eleven. I still have that
old gun, and it is just as tight and reliable as ever. Stevens
double barrel guns were built in several variations over the
years, ending with the discontinuation of the model 311 in 1989.
The 311 was a good, solid boxlock side-by-side that was the
workhorse of double gun world. It was nothing fancy, but was
strong, reliable, and affordable. There are thousands of them
still in use, and their prices are steadily climbing in the used
Arms has now introduced a successor to the 311, and that is the
new Stevens 411 Upland Sporter. I was first introduced to
the 411 at the 2003 SHOT Show
in Orlando, Florida back in February. I was immediately excited
to learn of the new Stevens double gun, then a bit concerned
when I learned that it was being built in Russia. I have nothing
against Russian guns, but they are not known for superior looks
or handling qualities. While being built like the proverbial
T-72 tank, many Russian shotguns balance and swing like a pig on
a shovel, and have stocks that are made of some of the homeliest
wood on the planet. After handling the prototype 411 that
Savage had on display, my fears were abated, and I requested a
test gun to be sent when the shotgun went into production.
recently received the new 411, and was greatly impressed with
the quality of the product, especially considering the selling
price of the shotgun. The 411 is built by Baikal to
Savage’s specifications. This is definitely not your typical
Russian double gun. The most readily apparent feature of the 411
is the quality of the wood used for the stock and forearm. It is
made of European walnut, is nicely finished, and has cut
checkering on the pistol grip and forearm. The pistol grip is of
the long-radius, or "Prince-of-Wales" style, but
without the round knob, which is a good compromise between the
tight radius grip of a target gun and the straight grip of an
English bird gun. For a field gun, it feels just right. The fit
of the stock to the action is a bit proud, sticking up slightly
above the metal in the tang area, but nicely fitted to the
decorative side plates. The cut checkering is functional, with
few overruns, and is a great improvement over the machine
pressed checkering found on older Stevens guns. The butt stock
is completed with a solid rubber pad. The stock has a drop at
comb of one and three-eighths inches, a fourteen inch length of
pull, and a drop at heel of two inches, with a slight cast-off
for right-handed shooters.
boxlock action has, as mentioned above, decorative side plates.
The side plates, trigger guard, and forearm latch are laser
engraved. The latch and guard wear a tasteful scroll design,
while the side plates are engraved with hunting scenes; a
retriever and duck on the right side and a pointer and pheasant
on the left.
action has a single selective trigger, with the selector at the
top of the trigger blade. It pushes to the left or right to fire
that respective barrel first. The automatic safety is located on
the top of the tang, just where it should be. The trigger guard
is, thankfully, large enough to accommodate a gloved finger, for
comfortable use in any weather.
barrels are twenty-eight and one-half inches long on the twelve
gauge, which is the only chambering available at this time.
Later, the 411 will be available in twenty gauge and .410 bore.
The chambers accept both two and three-quarters and three inch
shells, and are built to handle lead and steel shot. The barrels
are joined by a raised solid rib that is tapered toward the
front and matte finished on top to prevent glare, and has a red
front bead and a silver-colored mid bead. The 411 is
supplied with three screw-in thin wall choke tubes marked full,
modified, and improved cylinder. The forearm latch easily
removes the forearm for disassembly without tools. The metal
parts on the gun are of polished blued steel, nicely finished,
and without any flaws or tool marks visible. The overall
aesthetics of the 411 are very good, and would be acceptable on
a gun costing twice as much. It is also much better looking than
the 311 series of shotguns. The only aesthetic flaws that I
found was the use of Phillips-head instead of slot-head screws
at the rear of the trigger guard and on the forearm, but that is
just a personal opinion, and does not affect the performance of
twelve gauge 411 weighs just over seven pounds, balances very
well, and shoots exactly to point-of-aim for me, despite my
being terminally left-handed. The twenty-eight and one-half inch
barrels swing well, without being either overly heavy or whippy.
I fired the 411 with several different types of shells, and
there were no malfunctions of any kind. The trigger pulls
measured between just over six pounds to right at eight pounds,
with the second pull always being the heavier of the two,
regardless of which barrel was fired first. I found the
barrel selector to be ideal, and much easier to use than a
tang-mounted selector. Simply push to the left to fire the left
barrel first, and to the right to fire the right barrel first.
The Stevens 411 is fitted with selective ejectors, which worked
flawlessly, throwing the fired empties well to the rear of the
shooter, and lifting the unfired shells for easy removal.
have long needed a quality, reliable, affordable double barrel
shotgun in this country, and Savage has delivered with the new
Stevens Upland Sporter 411. The suggested retail on this shotgun
is only $395, and the real world price is several dollars less.
This is a rare bargain in today’s shotgun market. No longer do
shooters have to settle for an unwieldy clunker or spend close
to a thousand dollars for a decent double gun. I see the 411 as
serving the role of a good field gun, equally at home for upland
birds and rabbits, in the duck blind, or in the squirrel woods.
It is a good, all-around hunting gun, in the Stevens tradition.
It is a worthy successor to the 311.
out the entire line of products from Savage Arms online at:
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