A field gun needs to be three things: comfortable, accurate and light. When you’re trudging across Nebraska plains in search of grouse or pheasant, you want your shotgun to point and swing smoothly and naturally without weighing you down. At the same time, if that over/under’s price doesn’t lighten your wallet quite so much, result. Enter the Steven 555 E.
Like so many affordably priced scatterguns, the 555 E is a Turkish import. In my experience, Turks produce two types of shotguns: firearms with impressive aesthetics and excellent reliability or guns with perfunctory finish work and slapdash construction. The 555 E leans towards the former.
Which is easy enough to see. Unlike the base models in Stevens’ 555 line, the E (for enhanced) version sports nicely figured laser engraved filigree on its aluminum receiver.
The engraving gives the 555 E a higher end look, elevating the gun from workhorse toward heirloom status.
The Enhanced version includes upgraded walnut. TTAG’s T&E 555 E was attractively figured and finished to a low luster, with clean consistent wood-to-metal joins.
The E models have ejectors rather than extractors. As a trap shooter, I’m firmly in the extractor camp. For fast shooting and reloads in the field, though, ejectors are the way to go.
The 555 E’s machine-cut checkering isn’t as deep or tactile as you’d get in a hand-cut gun; I’d prefer something a little more aggressive. But what do you expect in an over/under retailing for under $700?
The vent rib in on the 12 gauge version’s 28-inch chrome-lined barrels is finished with a brass bead. Side ribs are vented, too. Stevens also offers the 555 E in 20, 28 and .410 gauges.
The gun comes complete with five flush choke tubes (cylinder, IC, modified, IM and full), making it suitable for anything from low house skeet crossers to circling teals.
The Stevens is chambered for 2 3/4 and 3-inch shells, but there’s a caveat there.
Thanks to its steel reinforced aluminum receiver, the 555 E is officially rated at a svelte 6.5 pounds. On paper, that’s a good pound to a pound-and-a-half lighter than its budget-priced competitors (e.g., CZ Redhead, Mossberg International Silver Reserve or Stoeger Condor).
My 555 E tipped the scale at barely over six pounds. On the plus side, you’ll be able to sling the 555 E over your shoulder and carry over hill and dale all day long. On the down side, physics being the harsh mistress it is, you will feel it when you pull the trigger.
By giving up 1.5 pounds to its chunkier competitors, the 555 E makes shooting 2 2/4-inch loads something of a shoulder-punishing endeavor. Load the Turkish shotgun with heavier 3-inch loads and she bucks like an amphetamine-fuelled bronco. It’s best to feed the 555 E the kind of upland loads for which the gun was designed.
As for patterning, I shot a variety of target and bird loads, including Federal’s new Hi-Bird #6’s, just the kind of loads you’d expect to shoot in the field. The Stevens produced consistent, even 50/50 patterns. Put bead on bird and that chukkar is yours.
Stevens (or rather KOFS) managed to equip the 555 E with a more-than-decent trigger. It breaks at about 5.5 lbs. with minimal creep. The trigger guard is just roomy enough to accommodate a gloved hand.
Despite being a steel-barreled over/under with an ultra-light aluminum receiver, the 555 E isn’t front-heavy. It’s balance point sits at the front edge of the receiver, enabling easy, natural pointing and swing.
Equally satisfying, the tang-mounted combination safety/barrel selector is right where God intended it to be.
The Stevens’ 555 E ticks all the right boxes: it’s comfortable, accurate and light. It’s an affordable, attractive everyman’s over/under that looks good at the club and carries well in the field. You could spend more and get more, but you also could spend more and get less. Which makes the 555 E another excellent value shotgun from the former Ottoman Empire — provided you feed it carefully.
Specifications: Stevens 555 E 12 Gauge Over/Under Shotgun
Gauge: 12 (also available in 20, 28 and .410)
Chamber Size: 3 inches
Barrel Length: 28 inches
Total Length: 44 7/8 inches
Length of Pull: 14 1⁄8 inches
Weight: 6.5 pounds
MSRP: $865 (about $695 retail)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Fit and Finish: * * * *
Attractive engraving and upgraded, figured walnut make for an impressive looking budget-priced smoothbore. You can see every dollar of the $170 premium you pay over the base 555 shotgun models.
Reliability: * * * * *
It’s an over/under shotgun. It fired hundreds of different rounds and reliably ejected the shells. Case closed.
Ergonomics: * * *
The 555 E’s 14 1/2-inch length of pull works for smaller to average shooters. Larger lugs with longer arms may feel a little cramped. No length or pull or cast shims included.
Customize This: *
Nope. The 555 E is what it is.
Overall: * * * 1/2
Choose your loads carefully, and you have yourself a eye-catching lightweight field gun you’ll be proud to tote across fields and through brush in search of winged prey. Load it with heavier stuff and she’ll pound you shoulder like a .50 cal. The Stevens 555 E gives you everything you’d want in a budget over/under in an impressive looking package.