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A long time ago, when I was a young man at the School of Infantry, an instructor told us we were apes. He talked about how, with female Marines, he could explain to them how to do something, and they could typically do it. He told us guys that, as apes, we had to learn in a more tactile manner. I don’t know if it’s true that all men learn better with the item in their hand, but I do. I wanted to experience the difference between a rolling block and a falling block. Instead of reading about it online, I purchased a Remington Model 4 and a Stevens Little Scout 14.5 and figured it out myself.

The Little Scout is a fantastic rimfire rifle. Travis Pike Photo

The difference was pretty darn simple, and I ended up having two very fun rimfire firearms. I like the Remington, but since it’s limited to .22 Short and Long, I don’t find myself shooting it as often as the Stevens Little Scout 14.5 in .22 LR. The Stevens Little Scout 14.5, hereby known as the Little Scout, is a falling block rimfire rifle. Stevens made an entire series of these rifles. They fell into the genre of Boy’s Rifles.

The Stevens Boy’s Rifles

Back when we were a proper country, gun makers could produce firearms for kids with the idea of teaching gun safety and marksmanship as a skill. If you do that these days, you’ll have Chuck Schumer calling on the FTC to come after you. I wish I was joking, but I’m not. Hell, you can’t even advertise a short stock as a youth stock anymore. You’ll need to call it a Bantam stock. Rant over, but I’ve gotten into collecting these Boy’s rifles and find them to be fascinating. Plus, they tend to be plenty affordable. The falling block Little Scout is just one of many.

For less than 200 bucks a rimfire falling block can be yours. Travis Pike Photo

The Stevens family of falling block Boy’s rifles is made up of 14 rifles that started with the No. 12 and ended with the No. 71. They skipped a few numbers but ended up giving us two 14s. The 14 and the 14.5. The differences include caliber. The 14 chambered the .22 RF and had an 18-inch only barrel. The 14.5 chambered 22 LR, and therefore 22 long and 22 Short. The rifle also offered both 18- and 20-inch barrel options.

A single shot falling block doesn’t look like fun, but man it’s a blast. Travis Pike Photo

Stevens intended these to be fairly small and lightweight rifles that were affordable and easy to shoot. It’s not a fancy rifle, but it’s certainly well put together. These were all single-shot, falling-block designs. While some of the Steven’s Boy’s rifles, like the Crack Shot, had the falling block lever, it seems the Little Scouts were more budget-focused.

Back when we were a proper country, gun makers could produce firearms for kids with the idea of teaching gun safety and marksmanship as a skill.

Breaking Down the Little Scout

The Little Scouts lacked the lever, and instead, you have a small knob that the user pressed to force the block to fall. That exposes the extractor. It’s easy to unload and load the chamber. The Little Scout has a simple rear open sight and fixed front sight. The stock and the foregrip are both made from wood and look excellent all around.

Look at how small these sights are. Travis Pike Photo

You can tell the stock was designed for a smaller, younger shooter. I feel like an ape wrapped around the Little Scout. It fits my 12-year-old perfectly, and he rings steel with the little gun consistently. His young eyes work well with the ultra-small sights.

Boy’s rifles are made for the eyes of young shooters clearly. Travis Pike Photo

The Little Scout series are takedown rifles. A simple screw can be unscrewed, and the barrel separates from the action and receiver. This makes the Little Scout a compact rifle that’s easy to transport and very easy to store. It’s one of the simplest takedown designs out there.

It breaks down with ease. Travis Pike Photo

There isn’t much to the rifle. It’s very simple, and the charm is off the charts. When was the last time we saw anyone try to produce a falling block rifle on the cheap for rimfire enjoyers? The real charm comes in pulling the trigger.

To The Range With The Little Scout

The Little Scout is an old gun. The last of them were produced in the 1940s. They were designed for standard velocity .22 LR, and with that in mind, I’ve stuck to standard velocity. Using high-velocity stuff from CCI, Federal and Aguila might be a recipe for a disaster and a damaged gun. That’s no bueno for me and mine.

Recoil? What recoil? (Travis Pike Photo

With cheap, standard-velocity ammo, the gun shoots quite well. It’s very reliable, and I haven’t run into a round that wouldn’t fire when the hammer fell. Shooting the Little Scout is never frustrating and is quite a bit of fun. My son and I took turns and blasted away at a rimfire dueling tree, competing to see who got the most hits before the inevitable miss as the targets shrunk in size.

The wood handguard is tiny and tapered. Travis Pike Photo

The small open sights on the Little Scout are plenty workable within plinking range. Out to 50 yards, we consistently hit a small steel gong. The small sights make shooting tight groups a little tricky, but at 25 yards, you can produce a 50-cent-sized group in an off-hand shooting position. As you’d imagine, there is practically no recoil. The extractor makes removing empties easy, and it’s quick to reload and get back into action.

You can’t help but step back in time with this old rifle. Travis Pike Photo

This was my first experience with a falling block rifle, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had with a single-shot. It gave me and my son an activity we both enjoyed, something that’s becoming more and more rare as he gets older. For a mere 170 dollars, the Little Scout has provided me a ton of fun. In this economy, its certainly one of the cheaper thrills one can pursue.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. In my day we all started with single shots. Rifles and shotguns. We learned safety and skills. You can’t do a mag dump with a single shot.

    The perfect beginners gun.

    • I have one of the Australian equivalents.

      .22 Lithgow No1 single shot bolt action made in the same factory that made the Australian .303 rifles for WW2.
      Produced from 1945 to about 1955.

      It uses the same steel as the .303 for barrel and it almost impossible to wear out. Also popular with target shooters to have a scope mount added as more accurate than the user in most cases.

      Same problem here if you said children firearm the media would crucify you.

      I’m the second owner and have had it almost 50 years. Not sure which of the greats is going to inherit. There is a request list.

      • I shot on a really nifty bolt single shot 22 wood rifle. I was 10 or 11. And a cool 6 shooter 22. No ear or eye protection. I seemed to be a naturally good shot. Guns weren’t a bit deal. May dad had a NRA sticker on the front door🙄

    • I shot on a really nifty bolt single shot 22 wood rifle. I was 10 or 11. And a cool 6 shooter 22. No ear or eye protection. I seemed to be a naturally good shot. Guns weren’t a bit deal. May dad had a NRA sticker on the front door🙄

    • Iver Johnson Safety Hammer, Grandpa’s gunm, one of the most accurate .22’s I’ve shot. I’ve killed a lot of rabbits, squirrel, quail, coon, possum( say it ain’t so) snakes, rats and anything else that needed a bullet.
      My nephew has it now.

    • Christmas, 1968, my 8 year-old self received a Savage single shot 20 gauge that sent many a rabbit and squirrel to the great beyond. Hunted with it well into adulthood as I became the RidgeRunner that I am today, still runnin’ them ridges.

  2. I’ve had one of these since I was 9. Carried on the trap line before I got a revolver. I wouldn’t shoot HV .22 LE in it. They are a weak action and the barrel steel is very soft. With a lot of HV ammo they will shoot loose and the extractor mortise can peen. Also I think it lives somewhere between falling block and rolling block being that the hammer supports the breech block to lock the action. Neat little rifles and a joy to carry.

  3. “A long time ago, when I was a young man at the School of Infantry, an instructor told us we were apes. He talked about how, with female Marines, he could explain to them how to do something, and they could typically do it. He told us guys that, as apes, we had to learn in a more tactile manner.”

    Oh, gosh, opening with a “women are awesome, men are apes” anecdote. We certainly don’t get enough of that.

  4. “Back when we were a proper country, gun makers could produce firearms for kids with the idea of teaching gun safety and marksmanship as a skill. If you do that these days, you’ll have Chuck Schumer calling on the FTC to come after you.”

    Because Crickett rifles (Keystone Sporting Arms) don’t exist.

  5. I rembrandt an auction my dad and I went to. It had one of these riffles, I begged dad to get it for me, the bid went over $25 and that was the end of my happy ride home.

  6. I do believe that I have one just like it, left it with my son when we moved away from Connecticut. It was my fathers gun, he had it as a kid. I was never allowed to touch it and it was storred in the basement rafters for about 30 years. It is missing one screw (replaced by a brass one) and the spring is weak under the block so it has only fired .22 shorts. I’ll be up there soon and I will check it out again. Thanks for the “antique review”.

  7. My father had one, bought new from a local general store in 1936. I have the hang tag and original receipt (which is currently lost). This gun went missing back in 2002 after a move but was re-discovered in 2018, none the worse for wear. Its in great condition and shoots like a dream and is very accurate. I get it out once a year and put some round thru it – just to make sure it still works…

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