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Old February 27, 2013, 06:30 PM   #1
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J. Stevens Arms model 520 question...

I was recently gifted one of these shotguns, it has the "2 hump" style receiver. I believe, if the internets didn't lie to me, that the "2 hump" type receiver was phased out to the one hump in 1920? I have no sentimental attachment to this shotgun, I gifted a friend a Turkish mauser a couple of years ago as he was fond of it and I paid $50 for it. He inherited this shotgun, did not want it and offered it up. It functions great, I am considering having the barrel cut down to 20" for a home defense gun. How durable would this shotgun be re: holding up to modern 00 or 000 defense ammo?
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Old March 1, 2013, 10:38 PM   #2
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good to go

you should do just fine for 2 3/4 loads. attached is a picture of their original catalog, not sure if this is your gun, but all their 520 models were either "bored for nitro" or "proofed tested". nitro loads of the day produced similar performace in modern day loads. however, only some of their models indicate proof testing, check for proof marks. im not great on my history, but they may not have been required to proof back then. i wouldnt worry about it, especially since black powder loads werent the standard when this gun was produced. besides its based off of one of brownings durable design. i wouldnt hesitate to fire 2 3/4 loads. but if you still feel nervous, fire it with a string. i have about a spoonful of cold blue left to touch up that fresh cut barrel if you decide to cut it.
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Old March 3, 2013, 11:37 AM   #3
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I would be very reluctant (read: would NOT) shoot modern loads through ANY shotgun made prior to the ammo upgrades made to all commercial shotshell ammo in 1926 involving different powders & pressures than prior to then - which precipitated more then one company to discontinue a current model in favor of a newer/stronger model (Ithaca Flues/old, Ithaca NID/new) comes to mind).

YMMV, & if it does, please ensure your health coverage is PIF.

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Old March 4, 2013, 11:47 AM   #4
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I would agree that vintage guns (and their shooters) may not survive modern loadings, but in the case of these Stevens 520/620's, they are made out of a serious block of steel and built heavy as hell.

My son and I trimmed a couple down to 19" and we could not be more pleased with how they shoot and handle. The takedown feature is very sweet. We can pack them into a 20" X 6" X 2" case that looks very unlike what is contained inside. With practice, they go back together and are rockin' in less than 10 seconds.
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Old March 8, 2013, 09:14 PM   #5
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The Model 520 is built like a Tank. It was manufactured from 1912 to 1932 and still assembled from fabricated parts well into the mid 30's. If yours is marked J. Stevens Arms Company it is post WWI. Stevens made 191,000 of them and the Military bought several thousand.

The Model 520 was originally chambered for 2 3/4" shells so you should have no problems with any standard 2 3/4" loads.

Take down is simple and the gun has no disconector so if you hold back the trigger, it fires every time you rack the slide. Not a bad feature in a home defense shotgun.
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Old March 8, 2013, 09:38 PM   #6
Lee Lapin
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it has the "2 hump" style receiver. I believe, if the internets didn't lie to me, that the "2 hump" type receiver was phased out to the one hump in 1920?

The one hump version is often referred to as the 520-30, I always figured it was because they started making them that way in 1930 - but I could be wrong. Look at the left side of the receiver in front of the trigger guard and see if it's marked MOD. 520-30 - see the pics of the trench gun at for an example.

I'd get a good 'smith to look at it but as long as it is mechanically sound I'd figure it would handle modern shells just fine.
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Old May 3, 2013, 04:42 PM   #7
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I was just going to add mine says "520-30" on the reciever but it's the two hump style reciever.
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Old May 3, 2013, 05:10 PM   #8
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I have one of each style and they've had a buttload of modern shells fired through them.

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Old March 2, 2014, 12:55 PM   #9
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age of MFG

anyone have any friggin idea where I can find the approximate age of a Stevens trench gun 54XXX

I know they were made from 39 - 40's

any & all help appreciated most graciously

thank you DP210
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