American Boys rifles are generally denoted by a single-shot small caliber single shot rifles most commonly .22 rimfire although some were also available in .25 or .32 rimfire. The era of Boy's rifles is considered to be from 1890 to the beginning of the US involvement in World War II in the early 1940s.
Many Boys rifles are clearly marked with familiar household names not limited to gun collectors including Quackenbush "Saftey Rifles", Remington "No 4", Stevens "Favorite", and the Winchester "Thumb Trigger" and others only familiar to gun enthusiasts like the Clive, Davenport, Hamilton guns, Heal, Meriden, Page Lewis, and Nicholson. Unfortunately however there are also many Boys rifles that are not marked with the maker's name, model, or even caliber, which can be very difficult to identify.
In the beginning, Boys rifles were all single shot and mostly falling block, with the thumb trigger being unusual as well unique only to Boys rifles. Later when the bolt action became common, Boys rifles started to appear with bolt actions. Then even later, semi-auto repeaters started to emerge as Boy's rifles.
Most Boy's rifles were inexpensively made and should be thoroughly inspected by a knowledgeable firearm expert (gunsmith) for safety before firing. Consideration also needs to be given not only for the material age but also for the appropriate ammunition manufactured at that time. Boys rifles were designed to be inexpensive enough for young boys or parents to afford.
Most Boys rifles were of appropriate size for young boys and girls and generally manufactured in northeast and midwestern America. Due to lower quality materials of their construction, improper care and cleaning by youngsters, corrosive powders and in early examples the use of black powder they are commonly found in rough condition and typically well worn. Therefore those in better condition are highly sought by collectors and can demand many thousands of dollars.