Rifle configuration generally denoting small caliber single shot rifles designed for youth circa 1890-early 1940s.
U.S. manufactured Boy's rifles are generally single shot, small caliber, rimfire rifles. The era of Boy's rifles is considered to be from the mid-1880s to the beginning of the U.S. involvement in World War II in the early 1940s.
Many Boy's rifles are not marked with the maker's name, model, caliber, or serial number. Therefore, identification and evaluation should be left to an expert in the field for those unmarked guns. Many are clearly marked and are familiar to many gun enthusiasts. Many marked Boy's rifles are included in this book, e.g., Remington No. 4, Quackenbush Safety Rifles, Winchester Thumb Trigger, Stevens Favorite, et cetera. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, many brands of Boy's rifles are not listed in this book, such as the various Hamilton guns, Davenport, Page Lewis, Meriden, Heal, Nicholson, Clive, et cetera.
In the beginning, Boy's rifles were all single shot and mostly falling block actions. Later when the bolt action became common, Boy's rifles started to appear with bolt actions. Then even later, repeaters started to emerge as Boy's rifles.
The most common caliber was .22 rimfire in all cartridge lengths. Some were available in .25 or .32 rimfire.
Most Boy's rifles were cheaply made and, therefore, barely safe. Those that have seen excessive wear or have a loose action are definitely not safe to be used with modern ammunition. They were designed to be inexpensive so children could afford them. Most were of diminutive size to suit young boys and girls. Most were made in the northeast and midwestern parts of the U.S.
It is not uncommon to find these in rough condition with poor bores. This is primarily due to the low-quality steel used, lack of proper care by youngsters, and lack of proper cleaning (many Boy's rifles were used with black powder and/or corrosive ammunition) and are not worth much. However, one in excellent or close to like new condition with box and literature can command many thousands of dollars.
The publisher would like to thank Mr. John Groenewold for providing this information.