Stevens 200 Rifle Review
At the most basic level firearms are a tool. This message is sometimes lost in the wide array of situations that firearms are discussed and used. Sometimes you don't need a lot of frills when making a new tool purchase, you just need the tool to do exactly what it is supposed to do, even better if you can save some money in the process. If this description fits your hunting rifle needs, the Stevens 200 won't disappoint.
Stevens is a brand owned by the Savage Arms Inc and the 200 is the only model in the rifle lineup. A couple of reviews ago, we took a look at the new Savage Accustock Weather Warrior and noted the innovation that Savage has brought to the market. However when you review the current lineup of Savage rifles you will notice that almost all (especially those with synthetic stocks) come equipped with the Accustock and all models are now using the Accutrigger. What if you just want an inexpensive rifle that is identical or at least close to the Savage 110 of previous decades? The Stevens 200 fits the bill.
Stevens is a brand owned by the Savage Arms Inc. Stevens bears the Savage logo.
The Stevens 200 is offered in a long or short action. Savage also offers the Stevens 200 in an "XP" package which includes bases, rings, and a scope. All models, including the XP package, are available with either a camo stock or the standard gray. Street price for the standard, non-packaged rifle is around $300 in either a long or short action.
Stevens 200 XP Short Camo
Stevens 200 Short Standard Gray
Stevens 200 XP Long Standard Gray
The 200 is offered in a variety of cartridges. The long action is currently available in 25-06 Rem, 270 Win, 30-06 Springfield, 7mm Rem Mag, and 300 Win Mag. The short action is available in 223 Rem, 22-250 Rem, 243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, and 308 Win. All short actions as well as non-magnum long actions come with 22" barrels, magnum long actions have 24" barrels. Short actions weigh in at a light 6.5 lbs while long actions are only a quarter of pound heavier at 6.75 lbs. All actions are right hand only.
The finish on the 200 is a simple matte blue that has a somewhat rough texture like other unpolished blue finishes. The stock on the 200 is basic and comes only in an uninspiring bluish gray or camo. In magnum calibers the stock will most likely flex some under recoil thus have a negative impact on accuracy. The upside is that since any stock that has inletting for the older savage style action should work as a replacement. Bell and Carlson, H.S. Precision, Boyds, and McMillan either make a cataloged stock or can make a custom stock for the Stevens 200.
The old style barrel nut is used on the Stevens 200
The 200 action is nearly identical to an older Savage action. It uses the old
style bolt release on the side of the action, thumb safety at the rear of the bolt.
The action is also a "round back style" unlike the much older "flat back" style.
The Stevens trigger is similar to the old style Savage trigger which is usable but heavy and has creep, which is fine for most people. If you purchase a 200, just test out the standard trigger, if its unacceptable you can either try to improve it yourself, or take it to a gunsmith. Another option is to install an after market trigger from Rifle Basix or Timney both of which will reduce creep, overtravel, and trigger weight. The improved trigger will also help improve accuracy.
Plastic trigger guard
Speaking of accuracy, don't be surprised if your 200 shoots a 2" group at 100 yards out of the box. Be pleasantly surprised if you can get it down to 1" or less with reloads or a specific factory load. By today's standard some may be appalled with a 2" group, however most hunting shots are 150 yards or less, which makes 2 inches more than acceptable. Like other Savage actions, these guns can be rebarreled fairly easily with the right tools and the willingness to try.
All Stevens 200 models use a blind magazine, meaning there is no hinge floor plate or detachable box mag. Like other blind magazines, this makes the job of unloading the magazine a bit more tedious, but here again the after market has come to the rescue. When installing a new stock, there are various kits that allow you to install a detachable box magazine on your Stevens.
The Stevens 200 has a blind magazine. Although you can see in
the mold where knock outs for a hinge floor plate could be.
The recoil pad is basically hard rubber. It does reduce felt recoil some, but not nearly as much as the Savage new recoil pad system. Again the recoil pad is definitely useable; however there are a number of aftermarket slip on or custom fit pads to help with recoil in magnum cartridges.
Hard rubber recoil pad, which won't help much with recoil in magnum cartridges.
Here are some reasons why you might purchase a Stevens 200.
- You want a basic tool that gets the job done.
- You simply want a basic old style Savage action to build into a completely customized rifle.
- You need a new rifle that you can upgrade down the road, but has a low entry price.
- You have a new hunter that needs a light rifle and may not be interested in hunting for the long haul.
- You simply want to try one of the cartridges that the Stevens 200 is chambered in, but don't want to put a lot of money into the rifle initially.
In conclusion, if any of the scenarios fit your situation you should seriously consider the Stevens 200. Fortunately there is also competition for your dollar in this market. You may also want to consider the Marlin XL7, the Weatherby Vanguard, or the Mossberg 100 ATR. Of these models the strongest argument for the 200 is the wide array of after market support to upgrade and customize the 200.
For more information visit the Savage Arms web site www.savagearms.com.
The bolt face and bolt assembly is identical to a pre-accustock Savage, making bolt face changes simple.