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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.

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  1. Hmmm. Aluminum receiver.

    Let’s see how long it remains tight, on-face, especially if shooting brisk loads. I see that they put a steel pivot pin into the aluminum receiver, which looks a bit unappealing.

  2. I don’t understand the propensity of people to spend anywhere from $700 to $3,000 on over-under (or even side-by-side) shotguns. They are incredibly simple and should cost less than inexpensive pump-action shotguns.

    Can someone explain the appeal that I am obviously missing?

      • I’m not a sxs expert by any means but I do recall reading that the alignment for the barrels is a labor intensive process

        • This ^. And yes, the alignment is critical. Fully joined barrels (solid metal in between) are the most expensive type – cheaper manufacturers will cut corners by joining barrels at the muzzle and breech and filling in-between with a tacked-on trim plate.
          Fit of the receiver and locking mechanism can be very demanding too – overall, making a pump-action shotgun is childs play in comparison.

        • If barrel alignment for a side-by-side shotgun is labor intensive, that is only because those manufacturers are dumb. All a manufacturer needs to do is build an assembly/alignment jig. Once built, slap two barrels onto the jig and braze/weld away.

          Sure, making the jig would obviously cost some money. And the manufacturer would allocate that cost over the thousands of shotguns that they would produce.

      • Hi Dan,

        You bring up an interesting question: how much does it cost a manufacturer to produce a shotgun barrel? I don’t think it costs very much for two reasons:
        (1) It isn’t much more than a polished steel tube.
        (2) You can purchase Mossberg replacement barrels for roughly $150.

        I would be stunned if it costs a manufacturer much more than $50 to make a simple smooth straight barrel.

        Anyhow, that still doesn’t explain why people are so enamored with double-barrel shotguns and willing to pay well over $1000 for them.

        • The gunsmith cost (which is not your cost) for a Mossberg 500 20″ barrel, bead blasted, blued, with a vented rib, is $220.

          Again, that’s my price, not your price. The Mossberg blued barrel bead blasted, which is not usually seen on a double gun, and it is only 20″, instead of 28 to 32″. It has no monoblock, nor any fitting to the receiver necessary, no polishing on the outside of the tube prior to blueing, etc, etc.

          OK, let’s look at a polished/blued barrel. The gunsmith price on a Beretta A400 polished & blued 28″ barrel, with stepped trap rib… runs over $650.

          If you think putting together a pair of tubes for a double gun is so easy, get going on it. There’s a huge price differential – if you can deliver a pair of polished tubes, with ribs, that are polished inside and out, with fixed chokes (eg), all the machining done for the lifters or ejectors to drop in, and ready to be fit onto a SxS or O/U receiver (which will take some more work) for under, oh, $400 at a profit, you’ll have a well-trod path to your door.

          I’ll give you a hint: Your biggest and most difficult job will be getting a barrel polished where you can sight down the barrel and not see any dips, waves, wrinkles, etc. There’s a reason why so many gun companies today use bead-blasting as their finish before blueing – it hides a truckload of sins.

      • Nice to see you finally have a website, DG.

        Only suggestion I have is to maybe thicken up (make heavier?) the font. Right now it kinda blends in with the background. The text size (point?) is good, since my eyes aren’t getting any better as I age…

        • OK, I’m happy to do that. Have any preference in font/size that you find easier to read? If it’s in WordPress’ list of font choices, and it isn’t offensive to me or other older folks, I’ll change it.

          Everything there so far is the WordPress default. I’ve had only the time to sit down, type a stream of thought, do a little editing and hit “publish.” The SxS entry, I went back and edited today.

    • Besides handling, weight, balance, long term reliability, long term value, pretty, upgraded wood, balance and possibly made for you, there’s a ton of reasons why you spend a lot on an over and under.

    • Its matter of taste, affordability, its not that complicated. Why do people buy Porshe’s over Corvette’s? They like them better and can afford them.

    • Made by Kofs, Ltd. in Isparata Turkey.
      Took entirely too much time to research that information – seems to be missing from most articles (glares at Dan).

      • Maybe you missed the image above that says “Savage Arms-Westfield, MA, KOFS, Turkey”. Or where I wrote:

        “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.”


        “Stevens (or rather KOFS) managed to equip the 555 E with a more-than-decent trigger.”

        I think I made it pretty clear that this is a Turkish gun. As are a huge percentage of budget-priced shotguns on the market today under brands like Stevens, Mossberg, Weatherby, TriStar, Stoeger, CZ and many more.

        • (scrolls up and sees picture of the barrels label markings)
          Okay. My bad, sorry Dan. Keep up the good work. Going back to my video games now.

    • Turkey has been manufacturing arms for centuries, and many of them are of excellent quality. I note that the wood to metal joints on this shotgun and that wood quality are both far better than my Miroku built 1892 Winchester. Plus the walnut for high end long guns comes wither from Turkey or France, so this is the real deal, not “walnut stained hardwood” you often see in budget guns.

    • Oh well. People buy Russian, British, German, and Chinese guns and they’ve all killed their share of Americans. Turkey has probably contributed to less deaths than any of those nations. Americans love German guns and the krauts have killed the most Americans out of any foreign country. At the end of the day though, the best killer of Americans, is other Americans.

  3. I have several Turkish shotguns (Huglu CZ’s) and they are very good guns. Browning makes a steel reinforced receiver gun as well called the Feather. I have one in 20 ga and it is a dandy. That said, I would never buy an aluminum receiver gun in 12 ga. Wayyyyyy too much recoil even with 1oz loads.


  4. “Unlike the base models in Stevens’ 555 line, the E (for enhanced) version sports nicely figured laser engraved filigree on its aluminum receiver.”

    Well, CNC laser engraving is the way save some serious scratch since those engravers are annoyingly insistent about being paid for their work.

    There may be another motivation. As someone mentioned a few days back, an engraved gun ‘hides’ the dings and nicks a field gun inevitably gets.

    And face it, aluminum is about the easiest metal to ding up…

  5. Anyone seen the ejectors on this rifle?
    Would like to know how they are removed. Nothing exists for this gun. Even the manual is for the standard 555.

  6. Does the enhanced model have the double fire problem like the regular 555 model I keep reading about?

    • We have two regular 12ga 555s in the family that get plenty of use shooting trap. No issues with double firing. Very nice guns.

  7. I had the privilege of shooting a Beretta over and under years ago and I took advantage of that generous offer frequently. Is there a Beretta thats affordable?? Is there something in its class without the tag??

    I have a Savage 223 and It does what is does just fine.

  8. Hi Dan,
    I’m a little suspect regarding Turkish guns. You made it clear this is in the better category and every review I’ve read on this gun have been four-star or better. But I still wonder about barrel durability over the very long haul. If I’m shooting in the field and also in the skeet range and putting several thousand through her each year, do you see it withstanding that sort of demand? Are the barrels hardened?

  9. I just bought one in the youth model 20 gauge. The trigger is so hard that my daughter complains about a trigger forming on her finger.

  10. I have the plain 20 gauge and I love it! The wood on it is gorgeous and it is incredible to shoot. I often take it quail hunting instead of my Franchiis or Benelli Ultralight. You can pick one up (the plain version) on line for around $550.

  11. Talk to several people who bought a Stevens 555 and you will find that the gun is notorious for doubling. Stevens has been sending these pieces of junk back to the owners and telling them that there is nothing wrong.

    • Same style of comment I got when I sent my 20ga 555E into them because I noticed the Fireing pins were not located in the center of the holes on the receiver. They sent it back stateing it was in tolerance. Wish I had seen it while I was purchasing it, would have put it right back on the shelf. The pins ( top & bottom) are both off center & will lead to problems down the road. Sure wish I had a way to get a replacement. Now the 410 model that I purchased at the same time is perfect. Any suggestions Dan Zimmerman???

  12. I just purchased a 555e 410. I got it mainly to shoot skeet. the gun is stamped 2 3/4 and 3 in. Can I shoot 2 1/2 in.

  13. I’ve read about double firings but have yet to experience one after hundreds of rounds. That said I still find myself grabbing my 555 over my other guns.

  14. I just picked up the 555 plain jane 20. It’s got really nice wood and weighs 2# less than my CZ 20. Holy smokes this thing is light. Fit and finish is on par with any gun I’ve owned. This inexpensive (notice I didn’t say cheap? there is a difference) model is a game changer. I prefer the standard model with it’s matte finish receiver. It’s a gun that’s meant to be used and still looks classy doing it. So while all the yuppies are pontificating handling qualities of their B guns, admiring their 2K and above Silver albatrosses, I’m out there hunting. This little 20 is a value leader for those of us who actually hunt. If it gets scratched, dinged and beat to hell? all the better, its a tool, not a social status.

  15. My 555 stock missed quality control, stock has blisters and uneven finish, will they replace or refinish it? Fore end looks like it came from different lot all together, nice grain and finish. Mechanically good so far, but shouldn’t have to work on new gun.

  16. Best value in guns period,i,m a world class skeet and hunter of all game this gun has everything

  17. Got a 555white it has auto ejectors for 650 us dollars,also getting a 555e great value everyone stop complaining these guns are a trmendous value period

  18. I think an over under shotgun has better balance that pumps or autos,they dominate shooting competions,like trap and skeet,they generally cost more but are much nicer looking as well the stevens 555 and 555e cost about same price as a beretta a300 or a rem auto like 11_87 or v3,my 555 white has ejectors and 5 choke tubes for 649.00$ thats a world beater price compare to a browning its cheap in cost

  19. I have been happy with my basic 555 but can’t find a skeet choke for it. Any suggestions? Thanks

  20. Is the Stevens 555 Enhanced a good gun for shooting clay. Why or why not? Is there a different 12 gauge you recommend similarly priced?

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