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Old May 19, 2013, 07:21 PM   #1
BerdanSS
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Need info about a new (to me) Stevens SxS

Bought a Stevens 311 SxS at a swap meet this morning. Gave $150 for it....metal, bluing, bore and case color are in great shape. Stock needs a little finish help but nothing serious, no cracks or deep gouges. Nice dark walnut color and grain to it. Probably going to true oil it.

All I know about it is it locks up as tight as a brand new one, 2&3/4" chambered 26" barrels...and the thing is built like a tank. It is marked Stevens, not JC Higgins or SEARS. Also everybody that stopped me after I bought it said it was a steal at $150.


No serial number to be found anywhere, that would put it pre mid 70s wouldn't it? While the barrels aren't marked with the choke restriction, the right one looks to be FULL while the left is Modified maybe?
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Old May 19, 2013, 07:30 PM   #2
BigD_in_FL
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Would make it pre-1968

Take the barrels off - choke designation might be on the barrel flats.

Typically, 26" guns were IC/M, 28" were M/F
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Old May 19, 2013, 07:32 PM   #3
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Thank you sir....my S# data is rusty at best I could tell it was an older gun but that helps me out knowing for sure.



All that's under barrels on the flats is : X L followed by A J both in circles all on the left barrel flat.



Top right SELECTED FORGED STEEL


Top left PROOF TESTED 12 GAUGE

2 3/4 INCH CHAMBER

Anyone have an idea of value? Seeing a lot of them on gunbroker with a starting bid or buy it now in the $350-$400 range

Last edited by BerdanSS; May 19, 2013 at 07:50 PM.
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:45 AM   #4
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$150 is a steal if it's in good working order. $350 seems to the average for a 12ga right now. There should be a number and a letter in a small oval on the bottom of the reciever, that letter will tell you the year, A was 1949, B was 1950 and so on, except they didn't use the "o" or "Q". They have a tendancey to be choked a little on the tight side.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:51 AM   #5
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You got a steal IMHO. They're going for 350-400.00 at my LGS.

The first gun I ever bought for myself was a Sears-Roebuck double 12, with 30" barrels choked Mod/Full. It of course was simply a Stevens 311 rebadged to say Sears. In the Sears catalog in those days, with a 26" barrel they were IC/Mod. 28-30 barrels were M/F. Probably pretty much standard for Stevens in those pre GCA-68 days (about 1966). I seem to remember that mine had a S/N but I might be wrong about that.

I sold mine years ago. I keep looking for one marked "Sears", but all I ever see are Stevens.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:32 AM   #6
PetahW
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Your 311 was made in 1958 - the same as mine.

I recently was able to buy my 20ga Sears version, which has the 26" bbls, from a neighbor.



CajunBass is correct, all Savage/Stevens SxS's were made with certain chokes only in certain bbl lengths:


18-1/4" = CYL / CYL (311R - Riot Gun)
26" = IC / MOD
28" = MOD / FULL or FULL / FULL
30" = Full / FULL



.
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Old May 21, 2013, 09:08 PM   #7
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Okay, Right barrel a dime will just slip inside. Left barrel a dime will no go in..So, Right is MODIFIED and Left is FULL?

Going to try and get some pictures up tomorrow, The stock/forearm both have LOADS more grain and figure to them than about 90% (ish) of the other 311As I've been seeing. My buddy who is a wood guru seems to think they are walnut, Most I've seen though, look like cherry or birch.
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Old May 21, 2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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Not necessarily - if you want to determine what the chokes are, you need to measure the bores in the barrel and then at the end of the barrel to determine the constriction. Even with that, taking your ammo and your gun to the pattern plate will determine exactly what the gun does
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Old May 21, 2013, 09:14 PM   #9
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My buddy at the LGS has a choke gauge, I was planning on taking it to him tomorrow to be sure. Most if not all shotshells available around me are the new "non toxic" steel stuff from Winchester.

I plan on true oiling the stock. The overall condition is good but the top coat is pealing in spots.
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Old May 22, 2013, 02:30 AM   #10
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28" F & F

I've been on the lookout for a 28" gun in F & F or F/M for some time but cannot find one in good enough shape or priced right.

Those 311's were very common when I was a kid, working man's gun and most got hunted hard.
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Old May 22, 2013, 04:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Your 311 was made in 1958 - the same as mine.
How did you deduce that from the information he gave? The date code is not on the the water table where the barrels open up. Its on the underside of the receiver between the trigger guard and hinge. It consists of a letter and a number in an oval. The number has no meaning I know of. This 311A was made in 57.


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Old May 22, 2013, 08:30 PM   #12
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Hawg,

Mine is marked in the same fashion with: 17H It's too faded to be 100% but I'd say it's an H I believe that would make it a 1956?


bamaranger

I seem to be double lucky then, Mine doesn't look to have seen any hard use other than finish wear on the stock from what looks like prolonged fondling by it's previous owner(s)

Last edited by BerdanSS; May 22, 2013 at 08:40 PM.
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Old May 24, 2013, 06:05 AM   #13
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Do not shoot steel shot from this gun.......
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Old May 24, 2013, 06:42 PM   #14
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Some of the older guns had real walnut. From the 1950's I'd not be surprised if it were. I've had 3 of these guns over the years including the very first gun I ever bought. Saved money mowing grass in 1974 for one bought new. I kept that gun for 10 years before giving up on it. It never did work right and the 2 older ones I bought used weren't much better. These were cheap budget guns when new. Most of them are at the end of their useable service life. At $150 you didn't go wrong. If I still owned one that had a family history I'd hold onto it and cherish it. But there is no way I'd buy another that I actually intended to use.

I'd bet on the 26" barrels being IC and Mod. Almost all of that length were. The 28" and longer were all Mod and Full.
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Old May 24, 2013, 06:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Mine is marked in the same fashion with: 17H It's too faded to be 100% but I'd say it's an H I believe that would make it a 1956?
H is 1956. As was said do not use steel shot and the stock is walnut.
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Old May 24, 2013, 09:17 PM   #16
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In January 2012 I picked up this 16 ga. Sears JCHiggins 101.7 (Stevens 311A) with 28" barrels and "F" date code (1954). Griffin and Howe had listed it on Guns International for $250 plus shipping. I was able to get it for $250 including shipping, which I thought was was a real bargain. I checked their web site and at the same time they were were offering a matched pair of "vintage" English 20ga. sxs's for $255,000!


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Old May 25, 2013, 09:11 AM   #17
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Don't use steel shot because of its age? I haven't made it to the shop yet to have it checked (and won't shoot it until I do) but the thought seems to be that its a Mod. / Imp Cyl.

Is anyone else having a hard time just walking in a store and finding 2 & 3/4 lead shot? Jeez'o'pete even the 100 round value pack target loads are steel. All local walmarts have had exclusively Winchester for months now. I found a single box of federal HGL 6s at meijer a few months ago and grabbed them.


JMR40 By "never worked right" you mean you couldn't hit anything with it
(purely in jest sir)

But seriously, I felt like I walked into a colt hornets nest with an Olympic. Any more into what was wrong with them? Springs or other parts wear/break a lot? Mine seems like a well put together gun in this world of cheap, electric penciled, imported crap.

Last edited by BerdanSS; May 25, 2013 at 09:25 AM.
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Old May 25, 2013, 09:21 AM   #18
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So, what damage does steel shot do to these "old" guns? I could see a possible issue with full choked guns, but wouldn't the plastic shot cup protect the barrels in IC/Mod choked guns?
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Old May 25, 2013, 09:32 AM   #19
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That's kinda why I was confused. I have a choke for an 835 waterfowler that is marked "For Steel Shot" but also a x-full turkey that (quite obviously) says "no steel shot".

I would have to assume it's because of the age, because:

If you can't shoot steel out of any ol regular < Mod choke...then fellers, we're in trouble. Cuz I've shot CASES of the Winchester non-tox stuff out of my Winchester auto-loader.
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Old May 26, 2013, 04:22 PM   #20
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The older barrels are softer than modern ones and steel shot is harder, plus steel shot has to have more velocity to perform well. Eventually you will have a damaged barrel if its not proofed for steel shot.
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Old May 30, 2013, 08:58 PM   #21
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Great old gun

I currently have 2, a 12 Gauge 26" I/C MOD with Walnut stock and marked JC Higgins. It's around 90% condition, good gun.
I also have a later 30" 20 Ga. MOD FULL marked Revelation which was a Western Auto store brand. This one has a Birch stock and pressed in checkering. It was my first real firearm. I changed this one to a straight grip and added some weight to it. It's a 3" chamber and will get your attention with magnum shells.

These gun's are the classic workingman's double. Savage-Stevens made about a zillion of them. Don't know if they made them for Wards, I have seen Sears and Western Auto, and of course Savage-Stevens.

They handle like a pig on a shovel, but are rugged and reliable. Shot my first round of trap with the 12 ga. using the modified barrel.

I soon learned there are much better guns for shooting trap! That said I prefer these oldies to the plastic junk that passes for a shotgun today.
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Old May 30, 2013, 09:35 PM   #22
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Hawg Haggen wrote: "The older barrels are softer than modern ones and steel shot is harder, plus steel shot has to have more velocity to perform well. Eventually you will have a damaged barrel if its not proofed for steel shot. "

Hawg,
I have seen a lot of posts from folks on other web sites who have shot steel for years in older guns. With the advent of plastic shot cups that should keep the steel shot from touching the bore, I have a hard time believing that shooting a few boxes of steel shot shells each season in Mod, IC or more open choked guns would cause that much damage.

How does higher velocity (higher pressures?) cause bore damage? Possibly bulged barrels, but unless the barrel wall thickness is very thin, I'd be more concerned about cracking the old, possibly oil-soaked, wood in the stock.

Has anyone seen first hand the type of barrel damage that actually occurs when shooting steel? Or is it a case of "better safe than sorry"?
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Old May 31, 2013, 10:28 AM   #23
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.



What occurs is that the steel shot is driven right through the plastic shotcup sides, and makes front-to-back parallel scores in the forward half of the bore, and especially the chokes - which can be altered with enough shooting w/steel shot.


While the problem is somewhat mitigated with an open-choked bbl, the bore still becomes deeply scored.


.
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Old May 31, 2013, 06:31 PM   #24
BerdanSS
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Thanks for all the info guys HAWG, thank you Sir for clarifying that for me.

Well I just picked up three cases of assorted # lead federal game loads so the steel shot thing is a non issue now. Dadgum walmart still only has the Winchester "non-toxic" stuff
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Old May 31, 2013, 06:52 PM   #25
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The early steel shells were bad for scoring barrels, but the newer ones have much tougher shotcups. I have yet to see a shotcup that the steel pellets made it thru the wall in the last ten years. BTW, I am not pimping for steel. I hate it and do not shoot it.
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