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Old July 14, 2016, 04:42 AM   #1
Bill Akins
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Location: Hudson, Florida
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Restoration of Browning Stevens 520 shotgun

Recently I picked up two of the old Browning designed, double hump, slide action, 12 Ga, Western Field (Stevens 520) at auction. This first one is marked "Western Field Montgomery Ward & Co" and although not marked, it is known as the model 30. It is full choke, 30" barrel, and has the in the trigger guard safety (called "suicide safety" similar to early Rem model 11 safeties) so it is the oldest model with that safety since later models came with a behind the trigger guard button (crossbolt) safety (as is the other one I'm restoring) and still later with an upper tang safety. It has nice brown patina. No rust hardly at all so its finish won't be touched other than to clean. I fired it and it operates very smoothly. Although I know from the in the trigger guard safety that this is one of the earliest models, there is no way to know the exact date of any of them prior to the early 1920's because Stevens had a fire that destroyed all their production records prior to the early 1920's. We know they were selling them in 1904 though because catalogs exist from that date showing them. Some folks say they were selling them in 1903 too. So all I can know about this one is that it was made sometime between 1903 or 1904 up through til the early 1920's when they changed the in the trigger guard "suicide safety" to the behind the trigger guard crossbolt "button" safety. But because of the fire (I think it was 1922 the fire happened), we only know about production dates of the ones AFTER the fire. Seems Stevens was being accused and investigated for overcharging the government on a WW1 contract and coincidentally they had a very convenient fire destroying all production records before that date. But I'm sure there was no connection of the fire to the investigation (huge eye roll). After all, "what difference at this point does it make?"....except to collectors who today have no idea nor records of when their Stevens 520's were made prior to the 1922 fire.
Here's some pics of it from the auction same as it looks now.







This next one is also a "double hump" receiver style (earliest of the type's receivers) and is marked "Montgomery Wards Western Field model 35". There was also a single hump "flat top" model one (commissioned by the military as a "trench gun"), and a curved standard receiver looking one too called the Steven's 620. They were sold under many brand names like "Sears Ranger", "Wards Western Field", "Stevens 520", "Western Auto", "Savage", "520", 520A", "model 30", "model 35" and several others I can't recall. But they are all the same basic John Browning design easy take down barrel, bolt locking in cutout on upper receiver, that Browning sold his patent to Stevens in 1903. For more info on the different models see these links.....

Threads and disassembly
http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=269484

http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/sh...odel-30-a.html

http://forums.gunboards.com/showthre...Stevens-520-30

Parts
http://www.gun-parts.com/savageshotgun/

Military manual for 520/620 Stevens shotguns
http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/car...9_285_1942.pdf

Articles
http://www.guns.com/review/montgomer...western-field/

http://www.gunvaluesboard.com/steven...uide-2617.html

Browning patent
https://www.google.com/patents/US781765?dq=781765

Unlike my first above one, this one has the crossbolt button safety behind the trigger guard. This is the one I am restoring. I picked it up very cheap as a parts gun since the gunshop selling it at auction said it did not operate and was selling it as parts or a wallhanger and called it a "gunsmith special" Lol. I disassembled it and found out why. Broken firing pin and worn out slide action bar notch and loading tube nut had the little protrusion broken off that holds the slide bar in position as it goes into the receiver.. That was all that was mechanically wrong with it and relatively cheap and easy to fix. I already have the parts ordered and on the way from Numrich as well as a new Boyds butt stock since the old one wasn't even the correct butt stock and did not match the tangs and looked like a stock from another model gun entirely and modified to fit....but fit badly and looked like its butt plate had been cut off with a hacksaw. It would work, but looked butt ugly (pun intended). It had a lot of moderate (but not extremely deep) rust all over it and someone had cut the barrel (bead sight on order too) and added a Mossberg heat shield to the barrel in a lame attempt to make it look like the "trench gun" model. Bubba struck again. I originally bought it for parts for my first above one. But after a thorough inspection, I decided it was worth restoring on its own and not to use it for a parts gun. It actually was rusted/pitted a bit more than it looks in the auction photos so I had no qualms about restoring it nor ruining its historical value since that had already been ruined by Bubba. From one of the articles in my links, the author says the model 35 (this one) was made between 1938 to 1939. Here's the pics of what it looked like on the auction.







Continued next post due to six images per post limit.


.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; July 14, 2016 at 07:39 AM.
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Old July 14, 2016, 04:44 AM   #2
Bill Akins
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Continued from previous post.....









You can see from the last pic that it had a lot of moderately deep rust all over it. She looked pretty sad as a Bubba victim.

Below, how she looks now after a through cleaning, removal of the heat shield (I won't be reinstalling it), and several hours of initial buffing to remove rust and pits. I haven't finished the final polish buffing yet but she looks TONS better. And now it is easy to clearly see all the markings. I'm undecided on the finish to put on it, but I may even keep it "in the white" and just wax it.



If you look closely on below pic you can see the little "keeper" protrusion on the tube locking nut that positions the slide bar as it goes into the receiver has been broken off. You have to be very familiar with the gun to know and notice that. New nut arriving today.


Continued next post due to six images per post limit.....


.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; July 14, 2016 at 05:06 AM.
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Old July 14, 2016, 04:45 AM   #3
Bill Akins
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Continued from previous post.





Don't that Browning receiver with its double hump remind you somewhat of the Browning military BAR receiver? The later single hump "flat top" one the military commissioned as trench guns reminds me of my Browning auto 5 and my Remy 11's. It has been said that Browning made this slide action pump as a cheaper alternative to his auto 5 and the Remy 11 semi autos. Talk about a retro antique looking slide action shotgun huh? I just love the way it looks. Ugly to some, a beautiful retro looking antique to me. Also this was the very first hammerless (non exposed hammer to be exact) slide action shotgun.


See how the bolt locking lug locks in the cutout at the top of the receiver? All the versions of this did, from the earliest Stevens 520 ones to the last Savage model 620 models. They were also all quick take down barrels on all them. Barrel, fore end and loading tube all comes off quickly as a unit.


New Boyds butt stock, loading tube nut and front sight bead (that I will have to drill and thread the barrel for) parts from Numrich will arrive today according to UPS tracking. I still need to get the firing pin and slide bar but already have them located on ebay since Numrich was out of them. I will update this thread as the new parts come in and I finish my final buffing and polishing. Maybe even a vid of it firing later on. All for now.

P.S. Almost forgot....These can be "slam fired" (not correct term but you know what I mean)....trigger held down and pump fore end and it will fire....just like an Ithaca.



.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; July 14, 2016 at 07:56 AM.
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Old August 2, 2016, 11:16 AM   #4
The Rattler
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Stevens Refurbishments

Looks like a very interesting project. Let us know how it's going.
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Old August 3, 2016, 06:06 PM   #5
Bill Akins
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The Numrich parts came in. The stock from Numrich is the Boyd's stock and is the same price at Numrich that Boyds charges. The loading tube nut and front sight bead came in too as well as a spare bridge I bought for the bolt carrier/accelerator or whatever the correct term is. The tube nut needs a little jeweler filing done on it on one spot for its keystone part on one side to fit tightly, but I haven't had time to get to filing it yet. I did measure and align and drill the hole for the threaded front sight bead but I didn't have a 3x56 tap for its threads and need to order one to thread the hole. The stock fits pretty well but the wood is about 3/16ths high on one side where it meets the receiver and a little higher than that in a couple of other spots. But I can easily sand that down. Better to have more wood than needed than not enough. Overall I'd say Boyd's did an excellent job on these replacement stocks. Nice grain. Very well machined. I still need to either weld some more metal onto my slide bar's hook so it won't continue to slip off and not bring the bolt forward, or order a new one and I still need a firing pin to replace my broken one. I'll order those next. But here's the pics of what it looks like now so far.

New old stock tube nut from Numrich. Notice the thin vertical projection on its right side? That's what positions and keeps the slide bar aligned as it goes into the receiver. That thin projection was broken off the nut when I got it. New front sight bead present in pic too as is spare bolt carrier/accelerator bridge I picked up just in case I needed one later. Need to get the 3x56 tap to thread the hole I drilled in the barrel for the front sight bead.


New Boyds replacement stock from Numrich. Nice grain.




Nice machining on the Boyds stock. Boyds makes very nice stocks. We selected Boyds to make our original Akins Accelerator wooden bumpfire rifle stocks.






Continued next post.....


.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; August 3, 2016 at 06:27 PM.
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Old August 3, 2016, 06:11 PM   #6
Bill Akins
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.....continued from previous post.













Continued next post.....


.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old August 3, 2016, 06:22 PM   #7
Bill Akins
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From this non operating antique junker listed as a "Gunsmith special wallhanger" on gunbroker that I got for $50.00.....



and this....


and this....



To this....


Just takes some TLC, a little time, buffing, and a few replacement parts to often times turn what others thought was just a junker wall hanger or parts gun back into a beautiful operating antique firearm. I'll update again when I either weld fix my old slide bar hook or order a new one and either weld fix my firing pin or order a new one. Might do a video of it firing eventually too. All for now.



.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; August 3, 2016 at 06:32 PM.
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Old August 4, 2016, 08:25 AM   #8
FITASC
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Quote:
The stock fits pretty well but the wood is about 3/16ths high on one side where it meets the receiver and a little higher than that in a couple of other spots. But I can easily sand that down.
That's called "proud" and the wood is like that to allow a refinishing down the road where you will sand it some.

NICE JOB!.
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FITASC: Fédération Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse. http://www.fitasc.com/uk/home/view
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Old August 4, 2016, 01:30 PM   #9
Bill Akins
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Yes I know FITASC. But the wood is only high on one side. The other side isn't. Also the wood is a little low in the tang area so a little bit of the tang sticks up higher than the wood. But I have to give Boyds some latitude here because it still fits pretty well even though there were numerous design changes to the original Browning designed Stevens 520 so I can see how there would be slight variations in dimensions from one model to another. I can't remember every single model designation, but offhand I can remember Browning/Stevens 520, Sears Ranger, Wards Western Field model 30, Wards Western Field model 35, model 520A, model 620 and I know there were others. So overall I give Boyds credit for their replacement stock fitting as well as it does and I'm grateful it was available for such an old shotgun.


.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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