The Stevens 301 Single Shot Shotgun

Stevens 301

Earlier this year, Savage Arms introduced a new single shot shotgun under the Stevens brand. The Stevens 301 shotgun rolled out at the start of the year and was part of the company’s display at the recent National Rifle Association Annual Meetings in Atlanta, GA.

The 301 is available in three of the most popular shotgun chamberings: 12 gauge, 20 gauge and 410 bore. Other than the kind of shell you feed it, the guns are pretty much the same.

All guns feature a break open action, and hold but a single shell. Although this doesn’t sound terribly fancy, it is a proven design that has been reliable in the field for many decades. There are a lot of people who first learned how to shoot and hunt with a 410 single shot.

All three versions of the gun have a 26″ long barrel that is made of carbon steel. Each gun has a black synthetic stock and a matte black finish on the receiver and barrel. Although the company does not state the specifics, it seems the gun comes with a modified choke installed.

In addition to the simplicity of operation, another thing that tends to draw a lot of people to a single shot shotgun is the affordable price. The full manufacturer’s suggested price on this gun is $173 for any of the three models.



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • PK

    “MFG. By Sun City Machinery Co., LTD. P. R. C.”? Made in the People’s Republic of China?

    No, thanks. Pass. I’ll wait for someone to fill the NEF/H&R shoes inside the USA, as they did in the early 90s after the closure in the 70s.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c70a89e0815d88cac985b645a1a66f76d36271dcffd35b5c58fc32ceca1f85ba.png

    • Anonymoose

      The Stevens shotguns are all Chinese iirc.

    • Andrew

      Henry has started selling USA made single shot shotguns and rifles. But they cost twice as much.

      • PK

        A decent bit more than twice the MSRP, it seems. $427 for the Henry, $173 for the Stevens, but as you point out the Henry is at least made in the USA.

        Still, I think I’ll wait and see who fills the NEF/H&R shoes with a similar cast steel receiver and no-frills USA made single shot.

    • J.T.

      That’s a shame.

    • BravoSeven

      My first firearm was a NEF single shot 12 guage. It was longer than I was tall when my dad bought it for me. My shoulder still hurts thinking about the first time I pulled the trigger. It will always be the gun I refuse to part with.

      • PK

        I hear you on that! The NEF and H&R lineup is one of the only collections I have that would be frankly painful to part with. They’re handy, built like the proverbial outhouse, and (when I bought most of them) they were always quite inexpensive.

        The long barreled 12ga, under 6lbs for some years of production, sure does kick!

        • George Smythson

          And accurate… My H&R Ultra Slug hunter is one hole at 50 yards with Winchester Super Xs… and has taken nearly a dozen deer since I bought it a few years ago…

          • Dean Seaman

            George,
            Wasn’t the Ultra Slug the one with the extra thick barrel, so as to add rigidity to the gun and make it more accurate?

          • George Smythson

            yup… 10 gauge blank drilled to 12 gauge bore…

          • Dean Seaman

            Yeah baby! That’s what I thought. Thanks for the badk-up.

        • Dean Seaman

          Still looking for a 30″ barrel for my 20 ga.

          • PK

            My solution is to buy up all the NEFs I can find for a reasonable price, stub the barrels, and make what I want/need.

            I’ve seen a lot of 30-36″ 12ga, but I have yet to see anything over 24″ in 20ga. You may be best served by taking a barrel to a gunsmith and having it stubbed and sleeved to a 20ga 30″ as desired.

          • Dean Seaman

            Well, they used to be offered over at Numrich, but were discontinued a few years ago.
            Day late and a dollar short, I guess,
            …FWIW, my 20 ga. barrel is 25″ but they also made a 26″ er for many years.

  • Paul White

    anyone seen these in the wild yet and have an opinion on quality?

    • David Silverstein

      It’s a break action shotgun, so the quality will be more than sufficient. It’s a synthetic stock on matte black carbon steel, so the finish is nothing too fancy. If your looking for an heirloom, you might be in the wrong segment of guns. This is a base model, get her done, hunting gun.

  • Sunshine_Shooter

    No 10 gauge? Booooo.

    • PK

      Or 16, or 28. Those three gauges seem to be hit or miss as far as anyone actually making inexpensive offerings. They just aren’t as popular as they once were!

      • iksnilol

        A shame, 16 gauge is amazing.

        • Sunshine_Shooter

          That’s what I’ve heard. Like a .41 mag, not too much but not too little either.

    • Haulin’ Oats

      Lets make 10ga the new 10mm aka the comeback kid!

  • codfilet

    In the ’80s, I paid $45 for a US-made H & R Topper single-shot 12 ga, at Meijers. Color case-hardened receiver,too. Look how things have changed.

    • Dean Seaman

      Ha! You got it buddy! I got mine as payment for helping a co-worker move.

  • codfilet

    Will my 20% off coupon from HF work for these,too?

  • Raptor Fred

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    ╱┃┈┏━━━━━┓┈┃╲
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  • Tim

    Love single shotties. “Well-loved” NEFs and H&Rs or the exact same design (and U.S.-made) are abundant & can be had for half the price, though.

    Hmmmmm……probably time to pick another one up!

    • PK

      You might be well served indeed to pick them up for $100 or less, yes. Quite a few models and options seem to be quickly gaining value on the open market. I was surprised to see how much the 10ga and 28ga models go for these days!

  • Felix

    I could see myself chopping the barrel down to 8inches and shooting Aquila mini shotshells outta one these… but the stamp costs more than the gun

    • Nashvone

      Not to mention that mini shotshells cost a fortune compared to the full size shells.

    • iksnilol

      So what if the stamp is more than the gun? It’ll be fun and you get to have more money over for ammo.

      + I think you can reload the mini shells.

  • trjnsd

    I bought one of these from SEARS in about 1980, for $25! Still have it. Still has its cheap walnut stock and forend, and still shoots just fine. Great for practice. Light weight and very compact (once the 26″ barrel was reduced to 22″..).

  • iksnilol

    Single shotties are good for hunting (not self defense obviously)… Get that 20 gauge, shorten the barrel so that when you break it open it doesn’t extend past the stock… and then you’ve got a really handy weapon.

    I’ve always liked them.

    • Anonymoose
      • iksnilol

        But he had a two-shot.

        • Anonymoose

          Yeah, but in the first one he had an NEF single-shot 20 gauge.

    • UCSPanther

      Canadian reservists and militiamen assigned to guard POW camps and infrastructure such as bridges during WWII were frequently issued single shot break action scatterguns.

      • Dean Seaman

        How interesting it would be if the standard infantryman’s long arm was a break action single shot shotgun with an IC choke.
        Eveyone has the same gun (NATO!), so it comes down load development….let’s hope we don’t have to fight the Germans again…they’ve got Brenneke’s! 😉

  • jonp

    If i’m going to buy a Chinese made shotgun the it’s going to be the lever action copy not a single shot.

  • Nimrod

    Lots of H&Rs/NEFs still around. I frequently see (and usually buy) them at yard sales for <$100. Buy the different barrels off ebay and cut them down to 18" and swap them onto the receivers. Little single shots make good walk in the woods guns and handy multi purpose trunk guns

    • UCSPanther

      I see older Cooey and Winchester single shots still floating around for bargain basement prices at gun shows and in used gun racks at the shops. Despite the rise of pump actions and semi autos, the old single shot stubbornly persists due to its simplicity and reliability.

  • Haulin’ Oats

    This is the perfect gun for Taofledermaus as it lets him insert odd shaped projectiles in to his gun on the cheap.

    • Dean Seaman

      I think about that just about every time I watch one of their videos. I suppose one has to work with what’s on-hand.

      • Haulin’ Oats

        I know hes bought some new pump shotguns over the years but it’s been a puzzle to me as to why hes never used a breach loader. Because some of his loads barely fit in the ejection port of the remington/mossberg receivers.

        • Dean Seaman

          Good point. Maybe you should write them.
          Could be the idea just has not occurred to them yet.

          • Haulin’ Oats

            The idea of a breach loader just seems so obvious and that a Smart Guy like Jeff aka taofledermaus has probably already given it some thought and still probably insists on his pump for whatever reason.

            In otherwords, I’ve watched his videos for years and pondered this very question. Perhaps it’s about time I write and at least ask. (also, I know he reads this blog and comments from time to time)

    • Jeff Heeszel

      The problem with a single shot is the barrel has a built in choke and most stuff would not fit through the barrel. We normally need a cylinder bore. If we shoot long stuff where we need to remove the barrel, it take about 20 seconds to do that. I spend much more time tweaking the cameras between shots.

  • Triplanetary

    For me it’s the quality of the merchandise and not whether it is made in China or not. I owned American cars in the 70s and 80s and blindly loyal I will no longer be. Make it right and I’ll buy it.

    • David Silverstein

      I’m with you on that. I used to be a die-hard Ford guy. Then I realized I could get a more reliable car for about 25% less by going foreign. And the features that are extra on a Ford are often standard on foreign cars. I still think Ford’s (most of them) look better, but I can’t afford to be that vain. I wish I could support the American economy every time I need a car, but until American cars compete again in terms of quality or price, I can’t justify it in my personal economy.

      • Dean Seaman

        It doesn’t matter anymore. Most of the foreign car companies have plants in the US…THOSE are the cars we are buying.

        • David Silverstein

          It kind of matters. It’s American workers getting paid for assembly work, which seems to be the chief concern of a lot of people. But the corporate taxes are all paid based on domiciliary country. And the profits leave the country, although the big car makers are all stock companies. But nobody can afford to split hairs in their own personal economies. Everybody needs more car and more reliability for their money. There are only a few segments of the car market in which the domestic manufacturers have that. Trucks are the most obvious one.

          • Dean Seaman

            No, it really doesn’t. We’re building the cars here, so workers are getting paid.
            It’s a global market these days. Everyone has a hand in everything at some point down the line.

  • dltaylor51

    You can go to any pawn shop and buy an armload of nice well made older break open single shots for less then the cost of one of these new lifeless feeling modern shotguns,a lot of the old ones even have some really nice wood on them instead of plastic.

  • PK

    Interesting! Thanks for the leads, I’ll have to look into both of those.

    As far as the NEF/H&R lineup goes, I’ve intentionally gathered nearly all years of production for both rifle and shotgun frames, all sizes of barrels in terms of diameter, examples of the every category of pressure/type of chambering, and so forth.

    With some serious measuring and headscratching, reverse engineering the jigs, tools, molds for the receiver… well, it’s possible, anyway. I’m not that old yet, and I figure if I can present the whole idea to the right backer, I can get them made in the USA once again.

    • Dean Seaman

      EXCELLENT! I wish you the best of luck in that venture and I truly hope you can bring it to fruition sooner than later.