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Old March 3, 2018, 02:08 PM   #1
BusyChild
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Fox Model B SxS - came ape

Hello everyone, I’m new to firearms and shooting so I apologize in advance if I use the wrong terminology but I’ll try my best.

So I got my hands on my grandfather’s Savage Fox Model B SxS 12ga. It’s been sitting in an attic for at least a decade. Before shooting it I watched some videos, cleaned it pretty thoroughly, and took it out to shoot. The first time I shot it I used some old shells that still looked in good shape: Winchester #4 Pheasant lead loads at 1 ¼ oz. I shot through a whole box of them and the gun shot fine.
The second time I took it out I only had one of those old shells left and a whole box of new Winchester #7.5 1oz. loads (lead) Super Target 1350. I put the old shell in the right barrel and the new shell in the left barrel. I fired the right barrel and everything happened as expected. However, when I shot the left barrel (the new shell) it fired perfectly fine but just after the recoil the whole gun fell apart into three pieces while I was still holding it. The forearm handle was in my left hand, the receiver was in my right hand, and the barrels kind of fell to the ground as each piece came apart.
I had never taken the gun apart before so I thought something cracked and broke possibly. Then I took it home and looked at a few videos and put the thing right back together no problem. No signs of stress anywhere on the gun.
I tried to do some research and I read a bunch of horror stories about new high pressure shells in old shotguns and how dangerous it can be, but this shotgun is from the 60s at the latest but could even be from the 70s, so I’m thinking it’s not THAT old of a gun. (I shot a new 00 Buck load through an even older Winchester Model 37 12ga. and it shot wonderfully).

So ,
Any ideas what the hell happened?
Is this thing safe to shoot; I’m literally gun-shy with it right now?

Thanks!
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Old March 3, 2018, 02:18 PM   #2
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Is it possible you pulled downward on the fore end wood when you touched of that second round?
Pretty sure there is not a latch on that model. Is there solid tension on the fore end such that it is solidly against the bottom of the barrels?
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Old March 3, 2018, 02:52 PM   #3
BusyChild
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I thought about that because you are correct there is no latch on the fore end wood. However, even when you pull it off you still have to turn the lever to break open the action before the barrels actually come off. And the minute you turn the lever to break the action the safety engages so even if I had somehow hit the lever I wouldn't have been able to actually fire the round because the safety would have been on.
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Old March 3, 2018, 05:30 PM   #4
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Someones going to come along and suggest you find a gunsmith. On the other hand I would check the lock up. I have one that the screw from the top snap was backed out a hair and would try to open when shot. I bought all new parts and discovered I just needed 1/2 turn more of the screw which is on the inside in a real pain of a place.

Does the gun rattle when you shake it from the barrels with the forend off?
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Old March 3, 2018, 07:10 PM   #5
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Yes there is actually a slight rattle sound when I shake from the barrel end with the fore stock removed...
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Old March 3, 2018, 09:47 PM   #6
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There is a danger in firing modern ammo in old shotguns with damascus barrels. But those were made in the 1800's and into the very early 1900's. Not sure about the exact date but I don't think anything after about 1920 or so.

The Savage Fox guns were made much more recently so most any modern 2 3/4" shell with lead shot should be fine. Those probably aren't rated for steel shot which came into common use in the late 1980's.

The truth is that those were cheap budget guns when made 40-50 years ago. They weren't designed to be fired a lot, but were fine for the casual 1 or 2 box a year hunter. If it were used much more than that it could very well be worn out.

Two completely different things had to fail for this to happen and it sounds like parts are worn excessively. Even if the forend came off the barrels should have stayed on the receiver until the lever was moved to unlock the action and tip the barrels down. If you had 2 things fail at the same time there are some pretty loose tolerances.
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Old March 3, 2018, 10:59 PM   #7
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Watch this about 7 minutes in.
https://youtu.be/O_gI3WX6Uww

Lots of wear can make things sloppy.
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Old March 12, 2018, 07:43 PM   #8
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common on that model. the forearm latch is worn. its loose on the bbl lug it hooks into. it looks like a little hook under the forearm. see it? there is a leaf spring that gives tension under the plate. replace them.
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Old March 13, 2018, 03:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
The truth is that those were cheap budget guns when made 40-50 years ago. They weren't designed to be fired a lot, but were fine for the casual 1 or 2 box a year hunter. If it were used much more than that it could very well be worn out.
Complete nonsense!!! Even the less costly Stevens 311 model was well built. Just not "fancy". The Fox B was a step up from the Stevens. Mostly in aesthetics. Neither was a gun "not built to last".
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Old March 15, 2018, 02:51 PM   #10
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My first shotgun was an old and rattly hardware store singleshot. With a heavy duck load it would open and eject the empty hull even though it didn't have an ejector, just an extractor. I thought that was a neat feature and showed my dad. He took it away and got me a Mossberg 190.

Your gun needs to be fixed because the recoil is unlatching it.
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Old March 15, 2018, 03:43 PM   #11
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Nope

No real latch per se on a 311 pattern shotgun. Yup the Fox model B is a 311 with it's hair done and makeup on.

Yes they are a good quality gun IMHO I have always called them a working mans double.

Spring tension, no latch. Just pull downward on the forend to remove it. That said tbey can and do wear out.

The gun was made for lot of years. I have two one from Western auto, and one from Sears.
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Old March 16, 2018, 07:00 PM   #12
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The Fox B, B/SE, and Savage 311 were very well made and robust SxSs. The fore end on the 311s was retained by a screw. The B's used an overcenter spring pressure retention method. If the gun is loose in the pivot, a small 0.001" to 0.002" shim may remove the wear. It should be fine with any 2-3/4" lead loads.
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Old March 18, 2018, 12:30 PM   #13
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I agree with Cheapshooter. If your Fox Model B is falling apart when you shoot it, it's because something's wrong with the mechanicals, not because it was made to fire only a couple or so boxes of shells a year. Even the cheapest American-made single-shots made during the era (i.e., the Winchester Model 37, the Harrington & Richardson "Topper" and the Iver Johnson "Champion", to name a few) were designed to fire thousands of rounds safely before needing repair.
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Old March 19, 2018, 01:32 PM   #14
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then its the spring. get a new one. good luck. most parts dealers strip old guns and sell the parts. ya never know if what youre buying is old too.
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