A Stage Coach Project

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by Sharps40, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    This is a good teaching project. Unless I am mistaken and its truely a dog, all the repairs will be home amateur handwork somewhat as follows

    Shorten barrels and fill gap

    Long forcing cone

    Polish bores, chambers

    Fix safety

    Put barrels back on face

    Fix trigger guard

    Replace springs

    Fix small crack in tang

    Fix crack in forend

    Refinish forend

    Replace buttstock

    Refinish buttstock as needed to match forend finish

    Add bead and fiberoptic sight

    Brown or blacken barrels

    Brown or blacken action

    Add sling swivel mounts

    Shoot

    A rattle trap of a Stevens 5100 12g. Literally, rattles!

    It comes disassembled for a reason.

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    A very early gun, the forend wood should be repairable, one small crack.....the buttstock has old putty repairs, missing wood and a long central crack, likely from some one falling across or using the gun as a pry bar.

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    Action was long ago reblued purple. We'll fix that, rust black. The safety detent is missing in action. The top snap spring is long gone. The right firing pin is so dirty it sticks. But, the essential functions are there and I believe it'll be a fully functional action with new springs, inspection and cleaning.

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    A small crack in the action.....not worth welding. Probably caused by the trauma that broke the buttstock. I'll stop drill it and silver solder the remainder....should be right as rain....its a non critical area and less than one third of the width of the lower tang is penetrated by the crack.

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    The bores are sewer pipe dirty. (But upon cleaning, lovely and essentially pit free. They'll need polish inside but no dents, no rust and came out bright and excellent with a bore snake only)

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    After the old reblued, someone tried to drive out the hinge pin since this one is loosie goosie. It didn't work, not because they punched the wrong side. but because these guns have a pin to be drilled out before you drive out the hinge pin. I'll fix it, tight like new.

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    Barrels shortened to 18.5" before final finishing to length. A snap on light pipe sight will sit behind a traditional brass bead later.

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    Should be slick when done. New buttstock will be needed. Springs and bead are in bound. I'll make the hinge pin and we'll fix anything in the action that's worn out. Barrels will be browned. Action Rust Blackened.

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  2. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Seeing what we have to work with.

    A double thickness of paper shim removes all the slop joining the barrels to action. Will probably install a new hinge pin.

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    Once joined, the bite needs work, the top snap is at 7 oclock, 5 or 6 will be better.

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    The locking lug has been badly abused in the past in an attempt to tighten the action without replacing the very loose hinge pin (rejoining the barrels) first. With luck, its repairable.

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    This one needs a bit of everything so might as well see if the barrels can be rejoined and the bite tightened before spending any more money or effort.

    For starters, the pin in the knee may touch the hinge pin or may pin the hinge pin. Kind of like the firing pin bushing cross pin on the ruger blackhawks, it ain't always pinned cause it ain't always drilled right or even all the way..... But since this one has marks on the hinge pin, I'll drill it out in case its actually holding the hinge pin in place.

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    Usually, the hinge pins come out left to right, this one moved better and easier right to left. It is not a tapered hinge pin, in this instance and mikes about .310" diameter.

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    Two sheets of paper shim removed most of the looseness, that's about 7 to 10 thou of shim.....I slowly spin a spud by hand in the hinge pin hole. The spud is tapered. (Don't use power, if the lap sticks, it'll break or ye'll get yer hands caught in flying parts.....) Take your time, lap the hole smooth and my taper is about 10 thousands.....I made the lap on the drill press. The grit is 220 in oil. I am opening up one side just enough to take a 21/64" drill.

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    Just to be sure, I turned out a .318 hinge pin from a grade 5 bolt, (great hinge material, bolts.) and it took out much of the side to side play but not enough. So, I ground the point off the 21/64 drill, jigged up the action and at 250 rpm and durn carefully, drilled the hinge pin hole in the action to 21/64. (The barrels were NOT installed during the drilling. I'll lap them and the forend in later.)

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    With the drill bit reversed in the hinge hole, the barrel is tried.....snug. They rejoin nicely and firmly with no side to side play. However, I'll still have to try to fix the bite of the top snap. Joining the barrels won't always tighten the bite, specially as bad as this one is worn.

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    At this point, the action has to be tapped shut with the handle of a screwdriver....but it does close. Also, as you can see, the forend does not fully snap to the barrel. But better tight than loose and so, I'll be making up a 21/64" hinge pin for the action and then doing some disassembly to see if I need to repair the lug on the barrels, the top snap or both in order to get a good bite and a 5 or 6 oclock position of the top snap. So far, so good and its not a parts gun yet.

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  3. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Now that the barrels are notionally joined to the action without slop, its time to work on the bite of the top snap in the barrel lug.

    The barrel lug was previously peened (see midwayusa two excellent videos on british doubles - joining barrels and adjusting the bite).....unfortunately, the hinge pin was not reworked and most of the peening moved metal down instead of up. There are two places to tighten the bite, moving the lug up and then filing it flat for full contact and then shimming or replacing the top snap if its heavily worn. This may take up well with just lug work but on disassembly I'll see if the top snap needs work or replacement too.

    For now, I have to clearance the bottom of the lug for free movement of the extractor. So much metal was moved down in the last peening that the extractors jam and can't be removed.

    Here the bottom of the lug is clearance, where metal was displaced, to free up the movement of the extractor.

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    Now the extractor is free to move in and out and to be removed.....the bottom of the lug needs no more work than a bootstrap polish with sand paper to smooth up its contours, very little metal was removed.

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    Here I have gently peened the upper level of the lug at the end and both sides with a hammer and cold steel chisel. Enough metal must be moved to raise not only the edges but the center of the top (engagement) face of the lug. I may be able to move it all, I may not and then have to look over repairs or replacement of the top snap. Either way, I move forward slowly with displacement of metal upward and eventually, (after looking over the underside of the top snap for wear) filing the top of the lug flat for full mating against the underside of the top snap.

    For now, 4 strikes with the hammer and chisel across the length of the end and both sides of the upper portion of the barrel lug, very light clean up with files and a test fit to the action. At this time, I have yet to move metal up in the center of the bearing portion of the lug.....almost but not quite.

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    A quick test fit, enough for now......I'll finish fitting the hinge pin and forend iron and then check the other half of the bite for wear, the underside of the top snap. But, I have a fair 5 oclock position on the top snap for now and I think if I am careful, the bite can be restored to a good 5 or 6 oclock position with full engagement.

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    So far so good.

    Fitting the forend iron. The new fatter pin pushes the barrel back some, pushes the forend iron forward some.......

    It should sit down fully on the barrel lug like this.....

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    It didn't before....been moved forward a few thousands and the rear of the notch needed a bit of relief to restore its proper seating.

    The rear edge of the notch that fits around the barrel lug is slightly relieved with a small file....

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    Forend back on and sitting proper and snug against the barrels. A good snap on, snap off fit.

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    A bolt was spun in the drill press, checking often with the mic and final polished in place with sand paper. A grade 5 bolt is more than tuff enough and inexpensive enough to make it worth the 20 minutes or so it takes to get a hinge pin made up. Check and fit as you go, approach slowly and you'll have a fine hinge pin when all is said and done. Here its test fit.....after which its bashed in with a medium Smasher Whacker for a final and snug fit in the action.....action supported on a steel block, naturally. I finished with a .324 pin and I had also thought perhaps a .326" pin would be needed but I'll proceed with the smaller pin for now and see what I come up with for final fit.

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    The extra ends are cut off close with a hacksaw and the process of filing and sanding them into the contours is begun.

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    The final product. Looks fine after some initial sanding. The pin ends will finish up with the final polish......next will be spotting in the face to see if it needs a bit of adjustment at the breech to action area, it was moved a good bit backwards and likely is not totally on face yet. But, so far so good.

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  4. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Placed a small parts order. On the way is the left side trigger return spring, a pair of NOS firing pins (the originals were previously "Improved" to a rather pointy shaped tip, I assume to get gooder ignition with all the forward and aft slop in the assembly) and what appears to be a very fine condition top snap lever.....with luck it'll be much less worn than the one thats installed now and perhaps save having to shim one or the other of the barrel lug or original top snap lever.

    I'll still need a trigger guard but I believe there is some workable stuff in the junk box, one rather like the original stamped sheet metal guard and another nicely cast model, much more like what would be found on a Fox Model B or similar upgraded shotgun.

    The original and worn out safety button is somewhere on the shop floor. Not sure that I'll look for it.....a nice bit of hand work might be to make up an aluminum, brass or steel safety slide from scratch.

    Looking over my forend and stock.... I have a split hardwood forend and a broken and puttied walnut stock. I am leaning towards a set from Boyds in nice straight grain walnut. But those decisions will be later.

    For now, I have a Lil Hunter to take to the Taxidermest to choose her first Deer Mount and perhaps find time tonight and tomorrow to final spot the barrel breeches to the action.

    Look carefully at the photo below. With the new larger hinge pin in place, the top of the barrels is above the top of the recoil shield. This is good. The new larger pin has moved the barrels back and the action does not quite close. I checked the bearing of breech to action and only the bottom 1/3 of the barrel diameters is making contact with the action face. Room for final fitting.

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    Again, look carefully at the photo below. There is a gap between the bottom of the barrels and the top of the water table. There must always be a gap, this one is a bit large because the barrels are not fully fitted to the action yet. Once fitted at the loop to hinge pin and as needed, at the breech face to action, the gap should close a bit but not completly. A properly joined set of barrels touches breech to face and has a slight gap bottom of barrels to water table.

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    Briefly, So far I am rejoining the barrels to the action using the following 3 steps.

    1. Use grease to glue paper shims in place in the loop to estimate the size of the new hinge pin. I used about .007" of shim....so, Shim x 2 + original pin diameter in inches = approximate diameter of new hinge pin. In this case, .007" x 2 + .310" = .324" hinge pin diameter.

    2. Make and install new hinge pin.

    3. Fit forend iron. (The forend fitted up is necessary for final fitting the loop to hinge pin and as needed, breech face to action.)

    The steps to do next are as follows.

    4. Fit barrel loop to new hinge pin. (I'll smoke and file/polish it in for better contact of the loop to the new pin. It is likely that only a small portion of the loop is currently bearing on the new larger diameter pin. With fitting, the barrels will move slightly forward and down and more of the breech face should touch the face of the action. It is likely the tops of the barrels will become even with the tops of the recoil shields and the gap between the bottom of the barrels and the watertable will decrease but should not fully disappear.... i.e. the bottom of the barrels should not touch the water table at the rear/breech end.)

    5. Once 1-4 is done and only if necessary, I will smoke in and file/polish the breech face and extractor face to the action. (This is potentially the last step in joining the barrels. Last Step.....Last step. Remove too much from the breech or remove it before fitting the loop and you may need either or both of a rechamber to make room for cartridge rims or have to refit a new and larger hinge pin to move the barrels back again.) Remember, #4 may well be the last step and 5 not needed. Do #5 last and only if needed.
     
  5. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Fitting the loop can be done without a reamer.

    Here, unfitted, the gap at the rear of the barrels to the water table.....021"

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    The loop is smoked.....barrel installed, forend installed and the action opened and closed. On removal, the silver (full removal of soot) or brown areas (partial removal of soot) are filed with a fine cut half round file. It is then resooted and reinstalled, worked again and disassembled and filed again.

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    After first filing, the barrels have closed up at the rear to .019" gap underneath.

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    Then .015" gap.

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    At a very tight .013" gap at the rear.

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    Here is the wipe....about 90% contact with the new hinge pin. You can't get much better than that by hand. A light polish with a round and 400g and this will be done. Remember, run light grease or oil on the pivot point and knees.....it keeps the softer lump from wearing out.

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  6. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Now, the gap under the barrels is .013" and I have 90% contact between loop and hinge pin.

    Time to fit the barrels to the action. The ends of the barrels are battered. We'll see what we can do and they should drop further down as they become more fully on face. Right now, the bottom of the barrels is contacting the action face, still preventing the action from closing fully.

    Remove the extractor and the lifting lever pin. Soot the breech faces of the barrels well. Assemble and work the action open and closed, locking it and making sure the forend is installed again with each assembly.

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    After repeated tries, smoking the breech, closing the action, opening and filing away only the bright silver sections (full removal of soot) I reach a point where the barrels are smoother at the breech, most of the battered areas removed and as you can see, closure now removes soot evenly all around the ends of the breech. Strive for a close fit. I like to get better than 50% of the circumference of the barrel in contact with the face. Sometimes you can get fuller contact like this. Just depends on the action and barrels. Remember, a gap ain't bad, if the headspace is right and the gun will shoot for long and long, but for best strength, the barrels breeches need to touch the actions face and more touch is better.

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    As you can see, with fitting, the gap at the rear of the barrels to the water table closed down to about .006".

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    And the gap between water tables at the front of the water table, closed down to .0025".

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    Last step is to make sure the extractor is thinner than the remainder of the breech after facing it to the action, so the extractor won't bind the gun shut. This one is good. Plenty of clearance from face of extractor to end of barrels.

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    So, I'll call these barrels fully joined. I checked with snap caps and dummy shells. The gun opens, closes and extracts fine.

    Now to wait for the new top snap and see if I can get the bite just a bit better off. I'd like to end up at 5 oclock with the top snap lever, I'll settle for 6 oclock and could force myself to live with 7 oclock since the barrels are nicely rejoined and should shoot for thousands of rounds if the joints are kept clean and lightly lubed. Break action guns wear out not from shooting but from not wiping them clean and putting a drop of oil or grease on the pivot points before use. Its a strong simple action and so simple to clean and lube that we abuse them.

    Well, now that half of the hard barrel working is done (rejoining is completed, bite is pending), and while I await the delivery of several action parts, I suppose its time to finish up the front end. (all the work listed is proposed under the assumption that the bite can be brought back to somewhere between acceptable and like new)

    Next jobs will be to:

    1 Install the bead front sight, a simple brass bead on the tip rib, centering, taping and drilling a hole 6x48 for the bead (also providing a stop for the snap on front sight light pipe to abut.)

    2. Make up a front sling swivel mount between the barrels using the final section of the left over TC muzzleloader under rib as the mount.

    3. Checking the muzzles for square cut and as needed truing them up and deburring the inner and outer circumferences.

    4. Packing and filling the gap between barrels at the muzzle with epoxy.

    5. Ream and polish long forcing cones just ahead of the chambers.

    6. Initial polish of the bores interior surfaces.
     
  7. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    The barrel to water table gap before final fitting of the loop and breech face to the action.

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    The 99% resting place of the barrels after fitting the loop and breech face to the action. With just a skif of metal removed in the right places on the loop and the breech faces, the rear of the barrels dropped about .015" to full contact with the recoil shields.

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    I wonder if the recoil shields should be scalloped?
     
  8. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    A little work this evening.

    Front bead sight.....scissors jig does not fit the barrels or the low rib so counting grooves in the rib to find and tap a spot on center for a #31 hole that gets tapped 6x48 TPI. Naturally, an even number of grooves and the center falls on the top of one instead of in between!

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    After drilling and tapping, the bead is installed and the snap on snap off sight levered into place behind it.

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    View from the shoulder end...big bead for old eyes and the snap on light pipe just because it fits.

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    Like the Classy Coach, a bit of left over TC Muzzleloader Under Rib is drilled and contoured for use as a front sling mount between the barrels.

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    A bit more shaping of the mount to do and a sling swivel mount to screw and solder in place but with the screw heads domed here for a bit smoother shape.

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    And finally, I finished honing in the loop for the hinge pin. The pin is .324" and just to be sure I'm going to be happy in the long run, I'll make up a .326 or .328" pin and check the fit/closure. I'd rather have it a bit tight and let it work in to perfection than to chance a pin fit that's right on the edge of being too small. Besides, its only a 20 minute job and bolts are cheep, worth some experimentation.

    I did smoke the barrel extension and check the fit of the top snap lever in the bite. No Go. No contact what so ever! So, I can't see further abuse of the extension. I'll have to hope a replacement lever or shiming of either of one of the levers or even dovetailing and soldering in a piece of tool steel in the extension will provide me enough metal to establish a good bite to hold the action firmly closed........otherwise......parts gun!
     
  9. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Much better. Made up a pin tapered from .326 at the tip to .336 at the fattest end. The bearing point between the water tables measures .328. Polished it out at 400g in oil and it fairly shines. Fit is great and with a drop of oil the gun opens and closes quite smoothly. Fit was so good I gave it a tremendous crunch with the Medium Smasher Wacker to set it in the action. No flop and the breeches still sit pretty darn good for a gun made in the late 30s or mid 40s.

    So, for tonight, patient rework, not unexpected and worth a bit of extra effort. Now both the pin and the loop are well polished into place and the bearing is nearly full. Not as perfect as a hinge job done with a reamer but, this ain't no Perazzi or Ljutic neither.

    The new polished pin, scavenged from a 1964 C10 front suspension, turned on the drill press with files and polishing paper and the dimensions checked regularly to bring in the size and taper I wanted over the 2"+ length of unthreaded shaft. Don't throw away good grade 5 or grade 8 hardware......they also make fantastic firing pins. Lightly tapped in place to check for looseness in the joining.....it ain't loose!

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    The original pin in the right knee that held the original hinge pin in place was drilled out. I redrilled the hole #29 to about 2/3 through the new hinge pin. Tapped the hole 8x40 and counter sunk the hole to bury the screw head so it don't rub the fore end iron.

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    An 8x40 screw head is back cut to fit the tapered shape of the bottom of the drilled recess, the top of the screw domed and thinned a bit and then its run in and snugged down. A touch of blue Loctite later will secure it and later, if someone wants to replace the hinge pin, they will thank me for not installing a blind pin that has to be drilled out again.

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    I have a snug .010" gap at the rear of the action to allow for fitting the bite later when the new top snap comes in.

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    Barrels are snug as a bug on their rejoin to the action, whole assembly works smoothly with a drop of oil in the right places, soot transfers where it should and I'm anxiously awaiting the ordered parts, tentatively scheduled to arrive this week.

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  10. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    Sharps,
    Looking great so far! Keep up the good work and keep us informed!

    I have my one of my Grandfathers old Hammer Doubles that I need to make a stock for since it is totally missing. I really do not know where to begin! But someday I need to get on it a try!

    Looking forward to your project proceeding until completion! Send more pictures!

    03
     
  11. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Hmmmmmm....thinkin about scallops and beaded edges on the action again.....but, that durn bite just has to be first. Worst case, there is a nice set of spare Fox Mod B barrels with a lovely unmolested bite for sale.....




    I wonder if I can brown the barrels and leave the rib black.....
     
  12. superc

    superc Member

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    Good job.
    LoL, this is so Deja Vu to me. Mine is/was a Stevens 311A. Making it a coach gun30 years ago was as easy as a falling band saw. 18 1/2" barrels like yours. Fiber Optic front sight like yours too. Then I decided I wanted it to be more versatile. Found a Stevens barrel that looked right. Nope. The new barrel is from a 311F.

    You are definitely correct about about the Midway videos. I found 'Gunsmithing the 'British Side by Side Shotguns' to be fairly informative once waded through.

    Problem I hit on the 311F barrel is Steven's fault. The barrel itself is fine. Locks up with a nice solid clunk. My problem was between A and F Stevens changed the forend. I know (and see) why they did it. The original the screws went into the wood itself. After 40 years or so they wobble loose. Today, plastic wood fixes that right up. 50 years ago another solution was needed. So they redesigned the forend. The attachment screw now sits into a steel plate (little nub of a thing in my picture called a forend insert which the A, Numrich drawings to the contrary doesn't have) that slides into a dovetail notch in the model F forend. Also the cocking plunger is now 0.10" longer. And the other screw that went into the muzzle end of the forend, now that comes in from the forend bottom and bolts into the steel of the forend iron. On the A it goes down through the iron top and is a screw into the wood. So this gives me 1 1/2 shotguns. One perfect coach gun, and one long barrel gin but without a usable forend. So rummaging around and somehow I came up with a new size cocking plunger which I can cut down, but do I want to? Maybe I should just focus on getting one of the newer type forend irons (already got one of the new forends and the forend inserts).

    I think the way this will work out for me, since I was lucky in that the F barrel fits the receiver as well as the A barrel does, I will have two forends. One for each barrel.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Yep. My old forend just screws onto the iron with wood screws and the tips are pokin thru to the hand side!

    I'm prolly gonna replace both pieces of wood as the stock is walnut firewood or at least knife handles/pistol grips and the forend is the original birch with a large crack.

    I have been toying with getting a spare set of barrels, perhaps a 20 and setting one side up with a rifle cartridge...mebby a 45 colt or 4570/20 combo
     
  14. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    No fighting tonight all is well and still waitin for parts that USPS said would be delivered today.....dayum priority mail, only guaranteed to reach the post office on time.....usually takes another day or two to get the last 5 miles from there to my mail box.

    For tonight, finishing up the home made front sling swivel mount. I'll make it QD. Won't be buying any parts though, a trip to the junk box supplied me fine with a too large old school fixed loop screw (10x32 fixed loop and I need 8x32 QD stud) to modify and a pair of nifty Uncle Mikes QD Rings. Long time ago I spent $5 at Numrich and received a large box of assorted loops, QD swivels, studs, sling screws and mounts.....ain't bought none in about 20 years. I just pick what I need or modify one to suit. Tonight is modify.

    So....an old style fixed loop spinning head sling swivel stud with the loop and spinny head removed. Leaves me with too big a head and too big a screw. So, first, over to the drill press to spin the head down some with a file. After which, I reversed it and turned the 10-32 threaded stud to .190"....the major diameter for 8x32 thread. Then run it into the die to put on the right size thread.

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    After using the scope mounting scissors jig to drill a hole where I wanted it, a check of the fit.....needs to loose some diameter and length. So, back to the drill press and file.

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    Spinning the head down and shortening it and contouring it with files and sand paper at 3000 rpm. ..... Gets done fast. Don't need a lathe neither. About as easy to do with a hand drill.

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    Final check fit looks great.

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    After threading it to the home made base with a bit of flux, I solder the stud into place so it will never back out or pull out of the base.....

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    Looks good. I'da been happy to have this shorty with buckshot when I got that bear. Heard it moan, knew it was dead. Walked over, checked, set rifle down unloaded, dragged Mr. Bear up onto the log for a photo, he moaned, I jumped, screamed and fell backwards in the crick with no rifle within 8 feet......nothing. Seems it was the air rushing out of the hole in his chest made the moan. Had I had this shotgun handy, I'da prolly shot it in the head while on my butt in the creek!

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    And just because it was raining and I have no spare parts yet.....I picked a length for the forcing cones and proceeded to ream them both into place. Just need to polish them out in the morning but they look pretty good. $90 for the reamer and tap handle, new in box.....that's bout $15 per forcing cone for the 6 I have cut to date. One day I'll find a set of TruChoke thin wall tooling at a similar deal, and I'll give her a whirl for sure.

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  15. superc

    superc Member

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    "the tips are pokin thru to the hand side! " Same here. I resolved that, since the holes had also grown too wide by a) grinding down the tip of the screw to shorten it a little bit, b) injecting plastic wood into the screw hole till some came through the hole on the bottom, c) putting the screw back in and removing any excess plastic wood.

    As shown earlier I have the wood for the newer forend design, but I noticed last night while searching Numrich for the 'official' Stevens nomenclature for the 'forend insert' that they are definitely running short of some parts for these Stevens 311 guns. LoL, my 311A is so old (pre-serial number) that the forend of the model 311F is considered the 'old' design by Numrich and the version you and I have isn't even shown (we got the stone age version). The model F forend itself has apparently been replaced by a much newer type (presumably for the H series) that uses a multi piece forend iron and yet another wood cut pattern for the forend itself.

    I will concede the forend design using the 'forend insert' as done for the 311F, is probably an improvement as the repairs to the forend screws in the wood of the 311A, on the 311F design that repair will never be needed. However the newest Stevens forend design for the 311H with a multi-piece 'forend iron' and a pre-loaded spring assembly appears to more about allowing quick and dirty manufacture than it is about building a gun that will last for 100+ years.

    One weird benefit I seem to have gotten from applying plastic wood to the worn over-sized screw holes in the forend and allowing everything to dry overnight is today the 311A forend fits the 311F barrel just as well as it does the 311A barrel. ? No, I have no idea why, but I am not complaining.

    My Stevens 311A with the long barrel

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    My Stevens 311A in coach gun configuration

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    Both barrels lock up properly.

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    I am lucky I guess. Held up against the light. there isn't a trace of light protruding at the 'water mark' at the barrel's bottom with either of the two barrel sets.



    One of my complaints with both barrels is they do not hang fully open easily. This is a known issue with the Stevens 311 guns. A fix exists. Trails End magazine published the fix in their October/November 1999 issue. A link to it is found here. See the jpg's at the bottom of that page.

    http://marauder.homestead.com/stevens311.html

    Essentially the fix is grind down the small end of the cocking plunger by about 1/10" as shown in the article. This moves the point of contact closer to the edge of the cocking lever, thereby increasing the leverage so the gun cocks easier, and it also allows the barrels to hang a little lower when the gun is opened, which makes extraction and loading easier.

    I note that Numrich acknowledges the different lengths of 'cocking plunger' for the 311s. One having an OAL of 1.720, with the other having an OAL of 1.850.

    Cocking Plungers in place before modification.

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    <While I was at it, in both barrels I also ran some oiled Q-tips through the opening the plunger slides in and found and removed a lot of dirt.>

    Here are the two factory types/lengths of 'cocking plunger' for the 311

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    Here with about 0.05" removed from the plunger length the short barrel now opens wide enough for shells to easily be exchanged.

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    I haven't decided yet about thinning down my stock to make it more 'English' as described in that article. I (again) note that Numrich appears to be running short of stock wood for the 311, but of course the woods offered by Stevens (low grade black walnut and birch) weren't that pretty anyway.

    What I am seeing (complicating everything IMO) is Stevens/Savage never made a S/S Rifle/Shotgun Combination (Cape gun). All they ever made was Over/Under configuration, models 22, 24V, et al. So there exist no pre-made, impact regulated rifle barrel pairs for the 311. Likewise a, factory made for the 311, Cape Gun combo of a rifled barrel and the shotgun barrel also doesn't exist. Honestly, I believe Stevens dropped the ball by never offering that as an option. 30-30 and 12 gauge, or .35 Remington and 16 gauge might have appealed to a lot of one gun owners. I think 20 gauge and .357 Magnum would have also appealed to some folks.

    One is basically limited to building their own combination from scratch, or using a removable short sub-caliber insert. There are some Internet articles regarding the sub-caliber inserts which for the most part don't highly rate them for reasons of accuracy, or rather cite a major lack of it. However most of those tests involve 2 3/4" pistol caliber inserts. Many of them are smooth bored and unrifled. They go bang, but they lack accuracy.

    I suspect the shorter sub-caliber inserts may, if not O ringed or brazed, upon firing bounce around a bit inside the shotgun chamber which is not conducive to accuracy. Then again there are companies that do offer inserts that are both longer in length, have rifling, and they have O rings too to reduce the bouncing around in the chamber. For instance, http://www.mcace.com/shotguninserts.htm with 18" inserts being available.

    I found this story about a man who got two 45-70 barrels and was attempting to build a double rifle with them for his Stevens 311.

    http://www.georgiapacking.org/forum/showthread.php?p=2796100#post2796100

    I am not sure I would follow that approach, and I don't know how it turned out. It looks from the photos as if he is intending on turning the barrels down to .79 caliber then sleeving them into the rear of a 12 gauge barrel assembly while discarding the front and inventing some other kind of arrangement to join them at the front and of course making a new ejector too.

    I most usually hunt in a thickly wooded area with a lot of thick raspberry brush. Most of my shots on deer are at 40 yards or less. Sometimes much less. This is why my scoped M1A National Match doesn't come in the woods with me often. With a scope zeroed in to be dead on at 500 yards, in my woods, the M1A becomes 13 pounds of useless. So I look at the sleeve inserts for calibers like .308 Winchester in the 12 gauge, and for me, they serve no great purpose.

    I. for myself, am asking what would I want the second barrel on my 'cape gun' to do that a 12 gauge shotgun shell, be it slug, bird shot, or buckshot can't? Frankly, I doubt there exists any conceivable rifle caliber that equals the devastation of a close range 12 gauge slug, or a charge of buckshot. Especially if we talk about discarding sabot slugs. Is there a pistol caliber that exceeds the knock down of a load of buckshot? So finally I am left with one purpose for an alternate caliber.

    For those opportunities where I want less lead on target, not more. Like when I am in the tree stand waiting on the deer to come by and a big turkey lands on the branch 30 feet away and stares at me, and I suddenly realize this is one of the rare days the two seasons overlap. And I wonder if it is possible to hit the turkey with the hollow point slug in a way that drops the turkey, but doesn't vaporize him either. I have had this 'make a decision' time before. It would have been nice if I had a low powered .22 or .38 Special sized alternative sitting in the other barrel. So I think about those 10" or 18" rifled sub caliber inserts with O rings.

    .22 LR, .30 Mauser, .38 Special? From a rifled 10" insert as a low powered alternative to a heavy blast from the 12 gauge barrel? Sure, that becomes practical. If it can put 5 shots on a playing card, from the bench, at 25 yards, I would want it. If not, then I will just make do with the second barrel of 12 gauge.
     
  16. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Finally. Parts. New used top snap lever and its larger and unworn and I believe this shotgun may well (I hope) leave the "Parts Gun" tag in the trash.

    New used lever is always right in the photos.

    Here, the underside showing significantly less wear and "fixing" applied to the new used lever.

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    Here on the top side, the New Used lever has not been "Fixed" by filing/polishing it down, or at least, not worn out! The old lever is a good bit thinner than the replacement. Likely age, wear and tear and past "repairs" to the gun.

    [​IMG]

    The new used lever in place. Barrel shut and no work to the barrel extension done yet. I may still shim the barrel extension with tool steel, its been so abused, but I think this one is gonna be okay.....long as I dont' mess up!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    "One of my complaints with both barrels is they do not hang fully open easily. "


    I just put the wolf mainsprings in the Fox B we did for the wife. Eases cocking pressure, sort barrels hang open nicely, function is totally reliable and no parts to grind down. So, from a mechanical and locating parts perspective, its fully reversible later.....simply take out the wolf mainsprings and it'll go back to being stiff to open and requiring a bit of effort to hold it open for loading/unloading.
     
  18. superc

    superc Member

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    Ouch. I know the kind of pressure the Stevens main spring sits under. I would rather not loosen the hammers or mess with the main springs if I don't have to go there, because my memory of helping my uncle repair a hammer 45 years ago says replacing and repining the hammer is a total pain. (a tapered pin to start lining up the holes with helps enormously)

    The article I cited makes mention of the cowboy action shooters putting in lighter springs, but of course they also sometimes get misfires too. Having several cocking plungers to hand I tried it on one first. If I had hit a snag, well I still had some spares. As the article says, in factory configuration the plunger is resting on the middle of the lever. Shortening the plunger moves the contact point closer to the lever tip, increases the opening leverage and allows the gun to open wider. What can I say? It works.

    I like the way you did the front swing swivel. We both liked Uncle Mikes for that. 30 years ago I had no tools so I just stuck mine into the forend. I know, it can result in sudden disassembly. Well I have carried the gun on my shoulder afield with the sling a few times. There was one time about a decade ago while I was hauling a deer out and the gun snagged on a branch and the forend disengaged. But I felt it happening and nothing hit the ground. That's been the only time I have had an issue. My "sling" btw is 16 feet of rope. It is kind of hard to explain. Let's just say I have found sometimes having a little rope around to tie things up with comes in handy. <That's a trick knot my grandfather taught me a long, long, time ago. It slides like a noose, but locks too, and removal is just two flicks of the thumb at the right place.> I ran the other sling swivel into the side of my shoulder stock as pictured.
     

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  19. Sharps40

    Sharps40 New Member

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    Shortening the pin at the arrow, slightly, opens the gun further and can allow it to remain fully open even with the heavy factory springs. How much to shorten....depends on the gun. Cut and polish and try.

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    As you cut, polish, try, watch the engagement at the arrow.....leave enough overlap to properly draw the hammers back.....watch the extractor, is it up high enough for shell rims to clear the top of the action and finally, will the lighter barrels hold the action open against the heavy mainsprings without help from your third hand.

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    Clean out between the barrels at the muzzle end.

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    Tightly pack in 0000 steel wool soaked in flux, if you'll be soldering the ends shut....note gold color of the solder holding on the ribs. This barrel is hard soldered/brazed. It can be hot tank blued and the gaps at the muzzle can be carefully soldered shut with soft solder if you like.

    I just use JB weld, original slow set, not the quick set. Easy, blends well, holds permanent. So, I pack in tightly some DRY 0000 steel wool....keeps the epoxy from running down the barrels.

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    For JB Weld, I push the steel wool down about the length of the short arm on an allen wrench.

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    Mix, fill, tamp with a tooth pic to get out the air bubbles, add more.....build up a bit of excess and clean it off the rib before it hardens.

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    Hang it up and leave it alone for 5 to 6 hours till it firms up. It will be full strength in about another day.

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    Meantime, some other issues to consider.....

    Broken left side trigger spring retainer ear....

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    Safety spring broken off in its hole and wedged in tight and made of spring steel so it ain't likely to be drilled out!

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    Both original and replacement lever bind in the top of the action at the same place. It appears the top of the action may have taken a blow in the past and one side has been swaged into the top snap levers, cutting the score marks you see here. Not only is the blue removed, the sharp edge is cutting into the top snap levers. Some clearancing is indicated before finalizing fit of the barrels to action.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. superc

    superc Member

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    Yes, that is what is called the $7 fix and is also what is shown in the article at the bottom of
    http://marauder.homestead.com/stevens311.html

    It is what I did for both of my barrels as even the long 28" bbl had a tendency to not open fully. Here is the short barrel of mine with a snap cap in place showing how much extra clearance results from the 'fix' and what the plunger to lever relationship is afterwards. We will never know why Stevens wanted the guns to be semi-closed versus wide open, but this seems to be a common issue with all Stevens S/S guns.
     

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