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Old January 25, 2010, 12:15 AM   #1
Jeff #111
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Picked up a LeFever Nitro today. Questions.

Picked up a LeFever Nitro Special (12 gauge) today at the local Cabelas for $379.00. It's in pretty good shape.Used, but not abused I suppose. Serial number is 145XXX. I know that the Nitro Special was actually made by Ithaca after it bought the LeFever company from 1921 - 1949, but what else can you tell me about the Nitro Special? I've been wanting a double shotgun for a couple years now and at $379.00 I figure it's a good start. Any info would be appreciated.
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Old January 25, 2010, 12:27 AM   #2
Slopemeno
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They're great shooters. I had the use of a 20 gauge example for a couple of decades, and it was a sweet shooting gun.
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Old January 25, 2010, 12:29 AM   #3
Jeff #111
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So then they're strongly made shotguns? In other words they won't shoot loose? I understand that my specimen is almost ninety years old, but I plan on shooting it a little bit at least. Maybe 7 1/2 shot. Thanks for your response.
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Old January 25, 2010, 03:08 AM   #4
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Just shoot standard 2-3/4" shells, not the magnum loads. Be nice to it and it will last a while, try to hot rod it and it will shoot loose pretty quickly. A friend of mine has one, he has owned it since before he went into the Navy in 1950. He shoots the cheap game loads in it.
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Old January 25, 2010, 06:56 AM   #5
darkgael
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LeFever

I have one now for a few years. Sweet gun. I take it out for ruffed grouse (one week left). It comes to my shoulder like it was fitted for me.
I use 2 3/4" Falcon-Lite loads from RST or my own low-pressure brass hulled loads.
Pete
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Old January 25, 2010, 10:03 AM   #6
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Both RST and Polywad, among others, make low-pressure loads for older guns that work great.
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Old January 25, 2010, 12:09 PM   #7
PetahW
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A Lefever Nitro Special, if in mechanically sound condition, can be safely used with any modern ammo it's chambered for - in a 12ga, that's 2 3/4".



FWIW, all SxS doubles should be checked for a tight/loose hinge via removing the forend, turning the shotgun upside-down, and trying to wriggle the barrels while the opening lever is held in the open position.

They should also be checked for being on/off "face", via viewing the joint between the action face and the rear of the barrels, from the side, with the gun/barrels "closed", and a strong light behind the gun.
Any opening, or angle should be evident.

Never dry fire them - changing FP's is a PITA.

OH ! And.......never pull both triggers at once.
( Don't ask )

.
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Old January 25, 2010, 12:28 PM   #8
Jeff #111
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PetahW
Quote:
FWIW, all SxS doubles should be checked for a tight/loose hinge via removing the forend, turning the shotgun upside-down, and trying to wriggle the barrels while the opening lever is held in the open position.

They should also be checked for being on/off "face", via viewing the joint between the action face and the rear of the barrels, from the side, with the gun/barrels "closed", and a strong light behind the gun.
Any opening, or angle should be evident.

Never dry fire them - changing FP's is a PITA.

OH ! And.......never pull both triggers at once.
( Don't ask )
Did the check just like you instructed. It's tight.Thanks for the info.

When I purchased the shotgun a I also got a couple 12 gauge Snap Caps. Something told me that dry firing wouldn't be too good and I don't like the idea of leaving an action cocked for an indefinite time. I've always figured it might be hard on the spring.

Darn just one trigger at a time? I had this image of me letting go with two barrels at once. Ouch.
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Old January 25, 2010, 01:50 PM   #9
darkgael
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two

Actually, you might not notice a whole lot of difference, depending on the situation.
If you were just doing it to do it or had it happen accidently while shooting one of the clay games, then I'll bet that it would get your attention.
But...I had a 12 ga. double on me once. I was out hunting upland game some years ago. I had no dog with me and was walking through some pretty thick stuff, barberries and blueberry and huckleberry. It was all about knee high. I was concentrating an stepping over something underfoot when a turkey flushed right out from under my feet - yep, didn't even see it; it blended in that well. It looked about as big as a B-52. I brought the gun up and BANG. I did notice that it sounded a bit louder than normal. I missed the B-52. When I went for the second shot, there was nothing. Broke the gun open. Two fired shells. Arm was OK. Never happened again. My guess is that the trigger selector got stuck between the triggers (a single trigger gun obviously).
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Old January 26, 2010, 01:08 PM   #10
Dave McC
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The NS is a good gun. Enjoy.

A couple minor things...

First, like all older shotguns, a check over by a decent smith is a must. Besides the possibility of being off face or loose, there's some possible issues with triggers/sears and safeties that have never been cleaned.

A ring test will tell is something's coming undone in the barrel assembly.

Remove the barrels and hang them off your left index finger or a looped string. Tap them with something non marring like a pencil. If they ring clear, you're good to go. A buzz or dull thud can indicate something's wrong.

Most Nitros I've run across have been choked on the tight side. You may want to open the choke in one or both barrels for your type of hunting or clay slaying. This can help a lot when in the uplands.

A couple things I would never do with or to an NS.....

Cut the barrels. Built when even entry level doubles were made with some attention to balance, the NS swings well and points like a finger for most of us.

Use slugs or steel shot. Not a good tool for those and I'd hate to see a bulge happen.

Install choke tubes. While I like these on most guns, double guns this old and well made deserve preservation. If you want a do all, get a pump.

I would,since factory stocks tend to shortness and plain wood, bite the bullet financially and have Wenig make new lumber to my personal specs, but if it hits well for you as is leave it alone.

Enjoy your great old gun. You are the custodian....
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Old January 26, 2010, 08:52 PM   #11
Slopemeno
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Points like a finger...

Couldn't have said it better myself. That thing was lethal on anything flying past. I probably put a couple of thousand rounds through it. Mostly the cheap stuff in 7 1/2 persuasion.

And yes, firing pins are a challenge to change.
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Old January 26, 2010, 11:34 PM   #12
Jeff #111
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Thanks Dave. Haven't done the ring check yet, but it appears to be on face and tight. I'm 5'6" with a barrel chest and short arms so the stock is actually a nice fit for me.Guess that tells you how people were built in the 20's.

Like I said I've been wanting a double for awhile and this is a good start I think. Good way to learn about doubles as well.

At the same Cabelas where I picked up my NS there is a Holland & Holland Royal Ejector 12 guage for sale. It's been marked down to $29,000.Wow what a bargain. I almost took that one home but opted for the NS instead. Next week I'll pick up the H&H.


Yeah right.
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Old January 27, 2010, 07:25 AM   #13
darkgael
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H&H

Quote:
a Holland & Holland Royal Ejector 12 guage for sale.
Only in my dreams. That 29K is, actually, quite a bit less than the gun sells for new. New they are in the vicinity of 100K.
Pete
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Old January 27, 2010, 11:38 AM   #14
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That H&H sounds like a good starter gun... I oughta pick one up for my daughter... but it would have to be new... In my DREAMS...
Brent
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Old January 27, 2010, 09:03 PM   #15
Dave McC
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Jeff, you're very welcome.

IIRC, Michael McIntosh had something on these in his book about fine US made doubles. Check Amazon, I can't recall the title.
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Old January 30, 2010, 11:21 PM   #16
paddle007
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Enjoy it.

My father gave me his old Nitro Special before he passed. I used to carry this thing all through squirrel season and am tickled pink to have it. My memory tells me it did fire both barrels a couple of times. It just hurt when I was young and would probably really hurt at my age. Anyone have suggestions where to buy parts, like maybe the trigger springs? Going to attempt to remove a barrel dent tomorrow with cerrosafe.
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