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Savage/Stevens/Fox Model B: Undervalued classics?
Unread 09-29-2022, 05:43 PM   #1
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Wyatt Neely
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Default Savage/Stevens/Fox Model B: Undervalued classics?

As the various American doubles faded into obscurity or very low volume production by the 1950s, one manufacturer survived well into the 1980s. These were the inexpensive Savage/Stevens/Springfield/Fox Model B guns That were sold under both the actual manufacturer names, as well as various house brands in different hardware store chains.

These guns are often viewed as cheap beaters, though they seem to have their own cult like following in the collectible market, the cowboy action crowd also loves to chop them up . It is also worth noting that guns like the Fox model B also had some premium features on them such as auto ejectors and single triggers. My only gripe about these guns is wacky stock dimensions (The plastic "Tenite" stock actually feels the best to me, oddly enough.) and the barrels not dropping all the way open without user assistance (supposedly, there is a modification to correct this, but I have not tried it yet.) Do these guns deserve more respect, or are they still just cheap beaters?
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Unread 09-29-2022, 07:12 PM   #2
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Not cheap beaters, but far from a classic. IMO they allowed some folks to dip their toes in the side x side market at little cost. I owned a model B briefly and the only positive thing was it went bang when you pulled the trigger.
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Unread 09-29-2022, 09:01 PM   #3
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I really like the model b s I have owned several of them...my squirl gun is a model 311 410 stevens made in the 1950 s you still have to push on the barrels to open it all the way up...and its been shot a lot...charlie
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Unread 09-29-2022, 11:27 PM   #4
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Interesting things going on at Savage Arms Corp. in the later 1930s. For 1937, Savage introduced a line of hammerless break-action guns -- the Model 220 single barrel, the Model 320 side-by-side double --

Model 320, January 2, 1937.jpeg

and the Model 420/430 over/under double.

Over-unders 1937 catalog.jpg

Meanwhile Savage Arms Corp.'s wholly owned subsidiary, J. Stevens Arms Co., had introduced a new design of hammerless double replacing their G.S. Lewis "striker" fired J. Stevens No. 330 and Springfield No. 315 with the J. Stevens No. 530 and the Springfield No. 515.

Apparently, someone saw the light and very few Savage Model 320s ever saw the light of day and was gone by the 1938 catalog. Savage then took the internal parts of the J. Stevens No. 530, stuck them in a slightly nicer profiled and decorated frame and added this insert to their 1939 A.H. Fox catalogs --

1939 Flyer introducing Model B.jpg
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Unread 09-29-2022, 11:42 PM   #5
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They are plenty serviceable guns. They are economy utility guns that are not finely finished, but they are built well enough for durability.
The major platform was the Stevens/Savage 311. Which is the same mechanically as the Fox Model B. The model B was a dressed up version of the 311 and was offered as as a lower priced alternative to the Savage Fox (formerly AH Fox).

I think the survival of them for as long ad they did was more that they could be made in a manner that they were more profitable and it made sense to continue to offer them. Many other double guns left the market and the few left standing will get the business from those who want to give it.

And the Tenite stocks were only used on the Model 311 and that was in the late 40s-1950s I believe. They were not ever used on the model B.

The very first model Bs were decently put together guns and attractive looking. Walnut stocks, hand cut checkering, case hardening and a game scene etched on the bottom of the frame. Later versions really got cheapened down in these regards. Birch stocks, pressed checkering, blued or painted frames and cheesy chiseling or no ornamentation at all.
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Unread 09-30-2022, 12:16 AM   #6
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You are getting the cart before the horse, Brian. The Stevens Model 311 didn't exist until 1948. The gun with the Tenite stock was introduced as the J. Stevens No. 530-M in the 1940 J. Stevens Arms Co. catalog --

No. 530-M, 1940 Retail Catalog No. 40.jpg

The Springfield No. 311 remained a G.S. Lewis patent action with the coil spring driven strikers.

The No. 530-M remained the offering through the 1946 J. Stevens Arms Co. catalog. During 1947 Savage Arms Corp. consolidated their arms making at the old J. Stevens factories at Chicopee Falls, and in the 1947 catalog the Tenite stocked gun was a Springfield No. 311 --

Springfield No. 311, 1947 full page.jpg

By the 1948 catalog the Tenite stocked hammerless double was marketed as a Stevens Model 311 --

Stevens Model 311, 1948.jpg

By the 1951 catalog the Tenite stock was gone and the Stevens Model 311 had the walnut finished hardwood stock. So, they had three similar doubles with slightly different levels of finish -- The Stevens Model 530 & 311 and the Fox Model B. That lasted through the 1953 catalog. By the 1954 catalog the Model 530 was gone, but did remain on the 1954 Retail Price List.
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Unread 09-30-2022, 06:37 AM   #7
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I have a soft spot for the Tenite stocked .410 guns, as branded J.C. Higgins and sold by Sears and Roebuck. My first shotgun was one such and I carried it over hill and dale, in branches and swamps, and took my first doves, quail, rabbits and squirrels with it. It was a loaner from a benevolent neighbor who would drop by unexpected, occasionally, and ask to inspect it to see if I was caring for it properly. He took it back when I was about 12 and gave me a 20 ga. Rem. M11.

Years ago I decided to find myself a nice one exactly like it and, when I did so, I found them not to be undervalued at all, but too overvalued for my nostalgic taste.
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Unread 09-30-2022, 08:07 AM   #8
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I shot my first grouse with a tenite stocked 311 in 12 ga that my Uncle Keith lent me . I was about 15 yrs old, and could walk over the hill and get into rabbits, squirrel, grouse, and even quail. Shot my first quail with my H&R Bay State 12 ga single shot. No bird dogs involved back then.
An elderly cousin, who I always thought of as an uncle/mentor gifted me a Fox Model B 20 ga, after I was able to cure his double vision that had plagued him for years. He told me he had a 20 Fox he wanted to give me, and I was really excited, as at the time I was carrying a Sterlingworth 16 in the grouse woods. Was temporarily disapointed it was a Model B, but what I wouldnt give to spend a day with him again.
I lent both of those guns to my brother Dale, and doubtful I'll ever see them again, but happy he is shooting them.
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Unread 09-30-2022, 08:22 AM   #9
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Thanks Dave. I knew you would have the info on it.
My first double was a tenite stocked 311.
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Unread 09-30-2022, 08:48 AM   #10
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Dave, where did the 5100 come into the mix? I know that there are some Stevens 311 guns that also have 5100 marked on them.
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