• Stevens 555 Over/Under Shotgun Review

    The fine folks at Savage Arms have been trying to regain a foothold in the American shotgun market for a little over a decade now. In 2004 Savage brought forth its first non-bolt action shotgun in over 15 years - the Russian made (Baikal) Stevens Model 411 Upland Sporter side-by-side 12-gauge shotgun. It was a nice looking, well made scatter gun with an MSRP of just $395, but it disappeared from the catalog after just one year.

    Next up was the very nicely made Italian (I. Rizzini) Savage Milano over/under shotgun that came out in 2006 and was offered in .12, 20, 28 and .410 gauge for three years before being discontinued at the end of 2008. The Milano had an MSRP of around $1400 and a street price of under $1,200. At this price point it filled the rather large gap between the budget over/under’s such as the Mossberg Silver Reserve or Stoeger Condor and the higher end over/under’s such as the Browning’s and Beretta’s.

    The Milano was replaced by the Turkish-made Stevens 512 Gold Wing in 2008. The Gold Wing was a considerable step backwards from the Milano, and while more appealing to many customers due to its entry level price the quality wasn’t the greatest. Even so it remained in Savage’s lineup for the next five years and was finally discontinued at the end of 2013.

    In 2011 Savage made the move to get back into the pump-action shotgun market with the introduction of the Chinese made Stevens Model 350 – a very cheaply made knock-off of the Ithaca Model 37. The following year Savage expanded their pump-action market by adding the Stevens Model 320 shotgun to their catalog, which is essentially a knockoff of the old Winchester 1300. Both the Stevens 320 and 350 pump-action shotguns remain in production in several configurations for everything from home defense to hunting to tactical applications.

    In 2014 Savage announced a new over/under shotgun under the Stevens brand to replace the discontinued 512 Gold Wing. This new model was designated the Stevens Model 555 and was initially offered in 12 and 20-gauge, but Savage has since expanded the line to include both 28 and .410-gauge options for 2015. The shotgun we are evaluating here today is the 12-gauge version of the Stevens 555.

    The Stevens 555 is manufactured in Turkey, and while it's no secret that the quality of Turkish made shotguns isn't the greatest that's not the case with the 555. The new Stevens is made by KOFS, Ltd., a well-respected company who manufactures the components for their firearms in house rather than just assembling parts from third-party suppliers as most other Turkish manufacturers do. This gives them full control of the quality of each and every piece from start to finish. Based on owner comments and reviews I’ve read around the web the Stevens 555 has proven to be well built and has garnered few complaints from its owners.

    The Stevens 555 features a lightweight aluminum alloy receiver with steel inserts located at the breech face, latch and latch plate, and joint pins. Receivers are sized accordingly for the gauge which helps eliminate unnecessary bulk and weight and feature a nice matte black baked on finish.
    A single mechanical trigger is used and the example I received had very crisp pull just over five pounds. A manual safety is employed on the 555 which eliminates the need to remember to flick it off after reloading, and it also incorporates the barrel selector.

    The 30-inch barrels chrome –lined barrels feature 3-inch chambers and hinge on a pair of steel trunnions rather than a conventional full pin which gives the action a fairly shallow depth. No ejectors are present, but a sturdy extractor has no problem lifting both fired and unfired shells from the chambers. A 0.275” ventilated rib runs the length of the barrels and terminates at a brass bead front sight. A ventilated mid rib between the barrels aids in cooling and adds a stylish touch to an otherwise bland area of the firearm. The barrels wear a nice satin black finish that matches the finish on the receiver very well.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. 03mossy's Avatar
      03mossy -
      Good write up! I handled the 20 gauge version of these last Friday at Cabelas and was pretty impressed with the fit and finish and the way it handled. Sure would be a joy to carry in the grouse woods verses my black eagle.
    1. culpeper's Avatar
      culpeper -
      Nice review on a good gun and glad to see an improvement to the 512, which was two steps forward one step back after the Milano.

      Been shooting the Mlano for a long time now via trap shooting and a little hunting each year. Has never given me a problem. Too bad it didn't sale like they wanted. It is a nice gun for the original price. It is so good I'm not even in the market for one. Savage needs to go back to Italy and try again. Who knows maybe now is a good time.
    1. J.Baker's Avatar
      J.Baker -
      I really think the biggest reason the Milano didn't sell well was because Savage did very little to promote it. I still think they were probably one of the best mid-range O/U shotguns ever offered in the U.S. with the only close competition being the old SKB's.

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