Stevens 555 Enhanced

Savage Arms Stevens 555 Enhanced
Courtesy of Savage Arms

There is a big difference between cheap guns and inexpensive guns. With modern computerized machinery, especially when used in a country with moderate wages like Turkey, it now is possible to produce low-cost shotguns of a quality level impossible just a decade or two ago. The Stevens 555 over/under is a perfect example. It is made by KOFS, Ltd., in Isparta, Turkey, and imported by Savage Arms.

The 555 comes in two grades: the basic grade, which costs $692, and the 555 Enhanced, which is $863. The basic gun has extractors, plain walnut and an unengraved black receiver, while the 555 Enhanced has upgraded wood, an engraved silver receiver and ejectors. The basic gun was introduced in 2014; the 555 Enhanced is new. Our review gun is the Enhanced model, which is mechanically identical to the basic gun except for the extractors/ejectors.

Savage Arms

Minimalist by design and in materials, the aluminum receiver weighs about 1 pound less than one built of steel. The hammers hinge on the bottom tang, and the sears hang from the top. Though basic, it functions just fine. Photograph by Bruce Buck

The 555 replaces the weighty Savage 512. Like the previous gun, the 555 comes in 12, 20, 28 and .410. Intended as an upland gun, the 555 avoids the common problem of inexpensive guns being overweight by using an aluminum receiver and forend metal. Our 28" 12-gauge Enhanced was listed as weighing 6 pounds even but actually weighed a hair more than 6 pounds 5 ounces. Like compulsive dieters, manufacturers almost always fib on weight. For a 12-gauge O/U to carry in the field, that weight is very nice indeed.

The aluminum receiver is the reason for the gun’s light weight. The receiver design is typical of many Italian guns in that it has replaceable steel hinge stubs, like Berettas, and a single, broad sliding lock engaging a slot at the bottom of the monoblock, like Brownings. The monoblock also has two fixed lugs that engage cutouts in the bottom of the receiver, though that is steel against aluminum, so it will wear. As with most other aluminum-receiver shotguns, there is a reinforcing steel strip inletted vertically into the standing breech that encompasses the firing-pin holes. Other than a removable floorplate, the receiver is one solid piece of metal, ensuring that there is no flex between the top and bottom receiver tangs. The entire receiver weighs 1 pound 1 ounce, about a pound less than one made of steel.

The interior of the action is basic but a little different. The hammers hinge on the bottom tang, while the sears hang from the top. The trigger is mechanical, and there is no inertia block. The selective connector between the aluminum trigger blade and the steel sears is held in place by an oddly curved coil spring, but it works and reliably engages the second sear. The barrel selector/safety on the top tang is similar to Browning’s. The selective ejectors on the Enhanced model are standard stuff and cock on closing.

The forend iron isn’t iron. It’s aluminum. That means the wear joint between the receiver and forend is soft metal on soft metal. But the forend cocking stud is steel, as is the forend latch. Also, what really counts is that the monoblock is solid cast steel, as are the receiver hinge stubs that engage it.

The barrels themselves are pretty conventional—which is a good thing—and 28" is the only length offered in 12 gauge. There are vented side ribs and a vented top rib that is an untapered ¼" wide, flat and unobtrusive, as the rib on a game gun should be. There is a small brass bead up front and nothing cluttering up the middle. The barrel exterior finish is a matte black—again not out of place on a field gun.

The barrels are 4140 chrome-moly steel, and the bores are chrome-lined. The chambers are 3", to satisfy the masochists out there who want to shoot heavy shells in a lightweight gun. Bore diameters were .723" on the bottom and .726" on the top. Yes, it would be nice to have them both the same, but .003" difference doesn’t matter in the real world.

Savage Arms Stevens 555 Enhanced
Courtesy of Savage Arms

The gun comes with five 2", flush-mounted screw chokes. They are in the style of Beretta MobilChokes but are not interchangeable with them. The dimensions on our set of chokes were Cylinder, .722"; Improved Cylinder, .723"; Modified, .714"; Improved Modified, .695"; and Full, .684". Note that the IC and M are considerably more open than is customary. Choke designations are marked by notches on the front lip, so that you can see what you have installed without removing them. The choke wrench is one of those flat stamped bits that you would expect on a gun of this price.

The walnut is one of the things for which you pay the extra $171. Compared to the plain wood on the standard 555, our Enhanced test gun had wood with interesting figure. I’d give it a three out of five stars. Not bad at all. The finish was low-luster-oil-like and, as with many current European guns, did not fully fill the grain. Still, it looked fine. Checkering was laser-cut in a very-fine-lines-per-inch pattern. Slightly coarser checkering would give a better grip. Stock dimensions on our gun were: 14½" length of pull, 1¼" drop at comb and 21⁄8" drop at heel with slight right-hand cast and 7° of pitch. This is both a touch higher and a little more pitch than most mass-produced guns. The pistol grip was relatively full, not relaxed. The stock had a ¾"-thick, black rubber recoil pad with snaggy, unrounded edges and one of those pointy toes that pokes into the pectorals of muscular shooters. Wood-to-metal fit was a little too proud, but it was adequate and gap-free.

In addition to the ejectors and prettier wood, the 555 Enhanced comes with a laser-engraved silver receiver instead of a plain blued one. The full-coverage acanthus scroll engraving was OK if you don’t mind the shiny silver receiver in the field, but the simple black receiver of the plain-grade 555 would have achieved a more classic look. The bottom of the receiver was slightly rounded for a comfortable field carry.

Snap Shot

Make & Model: Stevens 555 Enhanced.

Gauge: 12.

Action: Over/under boxlock.

Metal Finish: Silver receiver with 100% engraving, matte-black barrels.

Barrel length: 28”.

Weight: 6 pounds 5 ounces.

Chokes: Five screw-in, flush-mounted tubes.

Stock: Pistol grip, oil finish, 14½” x 1¼” x 21/8”.

Accessories: Chokes, choke wrench, choke case, owner’s manual.

Price as tested: $863.

The gun comes in a cardboard box complete with the chokes and wrench. That’s about it. The only other accessory is the particularly uninformative manual, which lacks even a parts diagram. The included warranty is for one year.

If I have been a little hard on the gun so far, it’s because I’m comparing it to the much more expensive guns normally reviewed here. I also try to point out where some money has been saved to meet the price. But when it comes to shooting, nothing counts except performance. Not price. Not looks. Not quality.

The Stevens 555 Enhanced is flat out a shooter. I can’t comment on its long-term reliability, because I don’t keep a review gun that long. But while I tested it, it was mechanically correct in all respects. Everything worked. Nothing broke. The chokes stayed snug. Barrel convergence was good. The ejector timing was a touch off at first, but it corrected itself as the gun wore in. The trigger had perfectly nice 5¾-pound pulls on both sears, which is just fine for the field. It did have a good bit of slop and creep. I’d care more about that in a target gun, but in field conditions it wouldn’t be noticeable.

What really stood out when shooting the gun was the balance and handling. Shotguns with alloy receivers and standard steel barrels generally are nose-heavy. With a light gun, a bit of weight up front is a good thing as long as it isn’t too much. The 555’s balance was very nice. The balance point was about ½" in front of the hinge. The more important moment of inertia was delightfully moderate. The barrels were quick to move but had a certain steadiness. While I was able to shoot the gun only at clays, I believe it would be marvelous in the field. It certainly handled well for both near and far shots in sporting clays and FITASC. That said, with that aluminum receiver, it is not primarily a high-volume clay-target gun. It’s a hunter.

The light carry weight would be most welcome toward the end of a long day’s pheasant hunt. Recoil shouldn’t be an issue, if you are sensible in selecting the ammo. The gun will function with heavy 3" loads, but you might not. A full-tilt 3" shell will have about three times the recoil of a moderate target load in this gun. Not fun at all. But more realistic upland loads should be no problem. My usual pheasant 12-gauge weighs 7 pounds and is comfortable enough for a day’s hunt with 3¼-dram, 1¼-oz loads of No. 5s. The 555 is 10% lighter and should be just fine.

In all, I was very impressed with the performance of the Stevens 555 Enhanced. The balance was surprisingly good and made the gun easy to shoot well. The light weight was noticeable when carrying but not when shooting. The gun functioned properly in all respects. It’s not at all bad looking with the upgraded wood. And then there is that $863 retail price. Even though it is inexpensive, it is definitely not cheap.

For more information, contact Savage Arms, 413-568-7001.

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  • I purchased the Stevens 555 October 2017. The initial fit and finish looked pretty good. The trigger felt OK right out of the box, but its a shotgun, not a target rifle, so I was good with OK. The first issue came when I was cleaning it. I pulled the chokes to swab the barrels, but it was when I recieved a cut from sticking my finger in the muzzle end of the choke. Turns out, there was a nasty burr all the way around the inside of the opening. I looked like the put it on a flat grinder and didn’t do any finish work. I checked and all 5 were like this. I called Savage, and the person on the end of the line could care less about talking the issue through, she just wanted to send me replacement parts.
    Opening day of pheasant season in Kansas was a bit cool and misty. It didn’t rain, but was a thick foggy soup that would coat your glasses, but not enough to bead up and run off the bill of your cap. The field was flush with tight sitting pheasant and we had a good time. Weather like this is usually not a problem for my firearms, because between each field I wipe down wood and metal. It was after the second field, still in the AM, I noticed the grain was starting to raise on the wood stock. I am a woodworker (milling, turning, furniture, etc), so I know quite a bit about wood finish and protection. The wood on the Stevens feels like what you would expect my Remington 870 to feel like after 30 years of dove/pheasent/quail/duck/goose/turkey seasons. That night I put it under the light and was able to see what little craftsmanship was exerted in finishing the wood. However, the shotgun did perform as intended, but I kept thinking about how disappointed I was. It’s like getting that first big scratch in your car, but this didn’t even walk 2 miles yet.
    I got home with a cooler full of birds and sitting on the table was a package from Savage. Those were my chokes! Keep in mind, the shotgun was purchased with 5 chokes, two in the barrels and 3 in a case. In the package was 3 chokes. I opend the package and the replacement chokes were WORSE THAN WHAT I HAD PURCHASED! The picture (attached) is a view from the bore end to the muzzle, which clearly shows a burr all the way around the inside circumference of the tube.
    I am NOT pleased. I understand this is a Turkish build, but so are most fine dbl shotguns. However, my beater/truck gun Baikal (Russian) shotgun has faired for more than fields of knee high cut corn stock or waist high milo, but the finish/feel of the wood is still in great shape and the thin walled choke tubes certainly were finished.
    Now I face a dilemma: Do I call Savage/Stevens and have them do something about the finish work or do I utilize my time and talents to refinish the stock? I have already seen their “fix” for shoddy machining/metal finishing on the choke tubes. Is it a case of fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me?

    • I bought a 555 410ga for my wife and it really shoots well. The stock is oiled but I took 000steel wool and paste wax and it polished down to a very nice satin gloss and a very smooth feel. The wax will also help with moisture retention. Moisture now beeds on it and it should also help with minor abrasions.

  • I think if you want a lustrous hand rubbed finish with filled pores, you’re going to have to do it yourself. They probably just dunk them in a finish tank and call it good.

    Same with the chokes. Bring out the Dremel/emery cloth.


  • The youth model I bought for my daughter has 10-lb trigger pull. Shipped the gun to Savage to be fixed; nothing was done since. I was told this is within specification. How in the world can they market a youth gun with such a hard trigger???

    • I bought a 555E in 28ga off the internet because I couldn’t find what I wanted in a store close to me. The trigger pull is terrible so I sent it back to Savage to get that fixed along with other issues. The other issues were addressed and the gun sent back. The trigger pull wasn’t touched. After a lot of difficultly I was able to talk to a real person at Savage. Rebecca looked up the report from the service done. The report said the trigger pull was within specification. I bought a trigger pull gauge. I tested 3 different over and under single trigger guns in my collection. All were 4 pound +/- 0.1 pound trigger pull. I then checked the trigger pull on the 555E. It was 8 pounds +/- 0.2. All were checked 5 times to make sure. I am sending it back again.

  • I received my 555E in spring of ’18. Loved the light weight and balance. Shouldering the gun seemed very natural and comfortable for me. I put about 20 to 30 rounds of trap on it throughout the summer to get used to the gun for it was far different than the Mossberg 500 I had used the last 25 years or so. Carrying for pheasant hunting was a breeze and nocked down my share of birds with high accuracy rate. This year first time out at a trap house I had never shot before broke 49/50. I agree with the article that it is a flat out shooter. I have not noticed issues that have been mentioned in previous comments.

  • As of May 9th I have heard nothing since I sent the 555E 28 ga. back to Savage for the second time. I find it hard to recommend purchasing another Savage although my first 22 single shot was a used Stevens in 1958. I have a collection of doubles and several other older Stevens/Savage. To bad this one has been such a disappointment. Communication with the group is non existent with one exception. My opinion the company reputation has eroded over time. I won’t purchase another unless it is used and to add to my old collection.

  • I also bought a 555E in 2019. Before buying the gun I contacted Savage because of bad reports
    from others about excessive trigger pull. The lady I spoke to in “customer service” said she would check with the gunsmith and put me on hold. Several minutes later she returned and advised me that all this make were coming through with 5-7lb trigger pulls. I bought the gun, and when it arrived I discovered that the trigger pull was actually 8.5 lbs. I tried shooting the gun, and after one box of shells decided that this was not acceptable. I called Savage with my complaint and spoke to a “Nick” in customer service. He spoke to a gunsmith and stated that if I would return the gun to Savage, they would work on the gun and return it to me with a 5-lb trigger pull. 8 weeks and several calls later, I spoke to “Nick” again. This time he tells me that they looked at my gun and there is nothing they can do to lighten the trigger pull.
    He then claims that he never promised me a 5-lb trigger pull and that there is nothing more he can do for me. They are sending the gun back to me. Poor customer service and outright lies.
    When I get the gun back I intend to trade it in on something else. It was a waste of my time and money to buy this gun. I will never buy anything made or imported by this company based on their poor customer service

  • I have owned a Stevens 20 guage 555 Enhanced o/u for three years. Living in southwestern Oklahoma, we, unfortunately, don’t see many bobwhite quail anymore. Why, no one seems to know.
    My two sons and I are able to seek other places to hunt where prairie chicken, sharptail, chukar partridge and blue grouse live.
    These birds are, of course, located in northern New Mexico and Nevada. My little 20 has served me well in two hunting seasons. We have a battery powered clay pigeon thrower enabling us to simulate skeet and sporting clays. Using a 2 3/4 inch 7/8 oz. load all three of us have been able shoot decent scores. Each September, we see many flocks of mourning dove around here. Sitting on the tailgates of our farm trucks, using our Labrador Retriever to retrieve, I, with my Stevens 20, will usually shoot 15 or so doves from a 25 round box of shells. My sons, each using 12 gauge Remington 11-87s, are better shots than me and can nearly one dove for each shell fired.
    I certainly recommend the Stevens o/u in any gauge to any enthusiastic bird hunter or clays enthusiast.

  • I own a Stevens Model 512 in both 20 ga and 28. They have different finishes on the receivers, but I like both guns. They are both reliable. I may buy the 555E.

  • I bought a 555 white at cabelas it has auto ejectors also,i also ordered a 16 ga 555e looking forward to both light guns,ps sold my 828u from benelli thx stevens the 16ga will be a dream

  • Unless I have a shotgun or rifle custom built and pay 5K or so, I expect a rough rack grade firearm. I just received a Savage 555E in 410. Out of the box, first impression, it’s a very pretty shotgun. Triggers weight in at an ounce or so over 6 lbs. and an ounce or so under 6 lbs. No complaints. Before I ever put a shell in the chamber, I will strip it down, de-burr, hone and polish all mating surfaces, clean it and most importantly, learn/understand the mechanical process by which it operates. I like linseed oil but in this case tone-oil will be applied to the stocks, many coats. In other words, I’m going to finish a very economical shotgun and build on what is there. In the end it will work flawlessly, have a smooth clean action and be reliable. I’m 70, retire in January 2021 and it’s my retirement gift from my wife. I’ll let you know how it does on clays.

  • I have completed the polishing/finishing process on my new Savage 555E 410. Most of the flat parts were laser cut and tumbled deburred. The aluminum receiver is not de-burred well at all. Lots of burrs on drilled holes, predominantly on the side of hole where the drill bit bunched through. Few surfaces were hand finished and those surfaces that were, were rough. I polished all meeting surfaces, camming surfaces or rubbing surfaces to a 4 to 16 finish. No springs, etc., were modified. The trigger weight went from 6 lbs. to 5 lbs. simply by polishing the sears and hammers and other related surfaces. And the Tung-oil really sets the walnut off. Beautiful wood. Can’t wait to shoot it.

  • Got to shoot my new 410 555E yesterday, but I am getting ahead of myself. Upon further inspection I noticed the chambers were very rough. Dummy shells were difficult to extract and the ejectors could not pop them out. Sometimes I could not pull them out with my fingers. Using a dermal, I polished the chambers, starting with a light polish with 400 grit and working my way up through 800, 1000, 1500 and 3000. Final polish was with a fine polishing compound. They are probably a 4 to 6 finish now. Back to shooting. The shotgun functioned perfectly, and the ejected shell casing flew 6 or 7 feet when ejected. Now on to pheasants.

  • Hi Guy’s I just bought a 555 from Cabelas it is a 28ga . I am unsure if it has auto ejectors . I was wondering if the ser # I’d that the first is 19E . The receiver is silver . Thank you Bill

  • Bill, My 410 is a 555E, serial number starts 20B. If receiver is silver (AL) it is an E as the standard 555 has a black receiver. Open and close barrels. Pull trigger twice and open barrels again. If you hear a loud click, it is auto eject.

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