I have a J Stevens 22 long rifle marked "Stevens Favorite" on end of stock and stamped 287 on the underside by the trigger. The plate also states pat Apr 1794. Wondering what it might be worth?
The 287 would be the serial.
That would be Pat APR 17,94
So I believe it's a Model 1894, in good condition it's should be $350-400
I have one I bought 15-20 years ago for about $85. Mine has the number 1287 on it. The Historian at Stevens/Savage told me that those guns did not have serial numbers, it is an assembly number. I feel mine is worth about what you paid, so I'd say your are in the ballpark.
I have an exact 22 long rifle as you have, lever action with a 785 serial number. It was my grandfathers (born 1870) and I used it to squirel hunt as a kid. I am now 69 years old and was surfing to find out more about this rifle. I remember my dad said we had to use 22 short cartridges even though it said long rifle as they probably didn't make long cartridges in 1894.
I sure hope you have a son or daughter who will cherish the way you do! I unfortunately didn't have anything to pass down but I sure am planning to, at least things we have learned to shoot on and have shot together.
Most people don't realize when the 22 was actually invented. It was back in 1859 and shortly after the first firearms chambered for them started showing up. Unfortunately back then it was black powder (or fortunately since they didn't know how to make good steal or even much about metallurgy i.e. what happens when you grind etc etc) they were not very strong. This is why the rimfire size grew and grew but it got to the point that the size of the case (thickness) needed to hold the power made the power (hit) required to fire the rimfire prohibitive.
Sorry I digress ...
Anyhow the extra long and long rifle (somewhat the same but different) were both developed in the 1880's but again black powder initially. Later around mid 1880's smokeless powder came out, which of course is a lot stronger and this is when problems started to arise.
Long story short (maybe to late) unless a rifle is made after 1930 or so, if you put in a modern long rifle you could be in trouble. Some rifles like a Remington 22 pump don't seem to much care but if in a rifle like a Marlin 39 (not 39a - that's the change) I've actually seen broken ones it does.
I know they stopped making "extra longs" in the 30's and I know Remington stopped making "longs" rather recently but other manufactures have continued, hope they continue to do so or there will be a lot of very nice unusable rifles out there.
Can you get parts for this gun. We have found one that has a serial number 43255.
Original parts are occasionally available on ebay, www.gunbroker.com and www.gunauction.com.
Some Replacement parts also available from the following suppliers: http://www.wisnersinc.com
http://www.gunpartscorp.com/Manufacturers/ SavageStevensSpringfieldFox-33479/Rifles-40502/ Favorite17-39889.htm
Also google antique Stevens rifle parts or antique gun parts.