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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Stevens 311A that was passed down from grandfather. Some years ago it got a bulge in the barrel so I had to cut it from 28" to 21". It is pretty much out as a hunting tool now (although I guess I could use it for those crapping "kicking quail" that they pass off as birds at hunting clubs now).

I now keep it in my bedroom to "clear the hall". The problem I have is the breakover action. With the original length, it would open fully, eject the shells, and allow for clear loading. The weight of the 21" barrel is not enough to full open the breach. I have to force the barrel down to engage the ejectors and fully extend the action. If I am hunting two-legged snakes, I want that action to open with one hand.

Should I replace the spring, and if so, what spec should I ask for? Or can I shorten the spring the existing spring? And, how hard is it to access and work on that spring? I have always kept the gun clean, but know the receiver has not been taken apart in at least 60 years.

Thanks
 

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How big was the bulge ? Too late now but often a good gunsmith can ease a bulged barrel back into shape. Had one done on a damascus barrel set once.
A simple trick if you only have it for the purpose you described is to tape a strip of lead under the barrels up at the front end till you find the weight you need to make the barrels ALMOST self opening, then J&B it in place.
Hopefully the first rounds will not require a reload should you need to 'clear your hallway'.
 

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Lube the pivot points. Tie a tobacco pouch near the muzzle. Add lead shot until you get it just right. Then make it more permanent like Sus SUSjested.

Cheezywan
 

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The barrels are what is cocking the mainsprings and the mainsprings and ejector springs. That's what's giving the energy to fire the gun. You're going to have to supply the energy in cocking it that gravity did before..... or have a gun likely not to fire the shell.

You do NOT want to go rooting around in the chitlins of a 311 unless you have or make a mainspring compression tool and have a press or drill press to work it in. They can be a gold plated, illegitimate bear to get back together without the right tools.

You must have the Model 311BST. I lusted after one of those after I received a used 311 (no ejectors) as my first shotgun at ten years old.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I did take the gun to a noted gunsmith to access the bulge. He said "no hope" and actually did the cut off. I will determine how much weight is needed in a day or so. One point of clarification, it currently breaks open, but only about half way.
 

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If it cocks half way and stops one arm of the cocking fork has probably slipped by the hammer. If it slipped one way, it should slip back with some judicious use of specialized gunsmithing instruments like a small pry bar. Once back in position ahead of the both hammers, you can try to figure out how to prevent it happening again.

You can remove both sears (bottom rear pin) and work on the cocking lever, but do NOT remove the hammers unless you have 1) a drill press. 2) a hammer pushing tool, and 3) three hands.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oddly enough, it takes 2.5 pounds added to the barrel to fully open the breach. I don't think I want to add that much weight.
 

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Just wondering. If you open it full (cock it), close it, then open again without firing. How difficult to open fully when cocked?

Cheezywan
 

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I guess I miss-understood by what you meant 'only opens half way'. If it gets HARD to open half way, its because the cocking lug on the bottom of the barrels has taken up the slack between it and the cocking arm you see between the water tables, and the cocking arms have contacted the face of the hammers and started pushing them back against very powerful coil springs in each side of the action.

FWIW-- Purdey's patented the 'self-opener' double barrel in the late 1890s but the system doesn't work well in a box-lock shotgun. The self-opener cocks the mainsprings more than half way with the top-break lever, which has a LOT of leverage and not much to do anyway.
 

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There is a lever or lug or spud under the barrels that engage with a re-cocking lever between the water tables (on that gun). That re-cocking lug tips one end of a lever upward. The other end of the lever is forked and each fork pushes against the face of the hammer to re-cock the gun. After the gun is cocked, it should flop open, but one or more hammers to re-cock means (unless you have a self-opener) there will be some effort needed to push the barrels down to re-cock, no matter if they were cut or not. That's just the way they work!

Side hammer shotguns don't have any impediment to opening so flop right open. Auto ejectors adds a little requirement for extra force. (I'm actually not sure what cocks the ejector springs in that gun but can tell by the drawing if you need it.)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If I open it full (cock) and close the breach and then reopen the effort is the same. It will open about halfway and then I have to push down on the barrel to open fully. Also when fully open it wants to return return the half-open state, i.e., if I shake it, it will spring back to the half-open position.
 

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If I open it full (cock) and close the breach and then reopen the effort is the same. It will open about halfway and then I have to push down on the barrel to open fully. Also when fully open it wants to return return the half-open state, i.e., if I shake it, it will spring back to the half-open position.

Stevens $7 Fix

stevens 311 modification
 

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When it's all said and done, "clearing the hall" should never require more than two shots with a shotgun under any circumstances. I'd just leave it alone if it were me.
 

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carolina gunner-- Are the hammer cocked after you open and close it? If so, it has to be the ejectors that are under spring load. Check the sears on those. I suspect they're not cocking which puts pressure on the standing breech by way of the extractors.
 

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I did take the gun to a noted gunsmith to access the bulge.

He said "no hope" and actually did the cut off.

Your gunsmith was correct.............................

Dents are usually easily repairable with a dent raising tool; but bulges are irrepairable because if the bulge is pushed back down, the next shot will usually burst the barrel wall there.

Your shortened barrels only seem to travel halfway after the shortening, but in reality are limited by the spring pressure they're working against.


One of the cures, besides longer barrels (for leverage) is to make ALL the pivot points for both the barrels & the lockworks as smooth as possible, and adding some weight to the barrel tips, as noted above.


An experienced doublegun smith might be able to rework the mainsprings and/or cocking levers, but the cost of the repair will most likely exceed the value of the 311.


.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks to all for the good advice and transfer of knowledge. I appreciate it!

I think I am going to live with it as is...and clear the hall with two shots. And like NSB noted that should be enough. I guess if I didn't think it was, I wouldn't be using a Double.

Of course I'll pick up my S&W model 27 to take along with me :)
 

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I'm glad my 1954 311 is still OK. I would hate it if anything happened to it.
 
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