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Old January 26, 2016, 12:40 PM   #1
Big Tom
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Can a Stevens Model 311 shoot slugs in both barrels?

So I recently inherited some of my grandfather's firearms after he passed away. A JC Higgins 12 Gauge, Remington Nylon 66, and a Stevens Model 311 in .410. I was thinking of using the model 311 as a home defense shotgun but only if I can shoot slugs out of it. I bought 2 boxes of Winchest 3" magnum Hollow Point slugs but my dad said he was not sure if it can only shoot buck/bird shot or only a slug out of one side of the barrel. Anyone know about these Stevens Model 311's? They are really nice firearms from what I can tell. And I've always wanted my own side by side in my collection.
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Old January 26, 2016, 03:14 PM   #2
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Yes you can, but you will need to check point of impact from both barrels. At home defense distances it may not matter much, but as you get out there I bet you find one barrel shoots closer to POA.
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Old January 26, 2016, 04:02 PM   #3
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I'm curious as to why you would want to use slugs in a HD shotgun. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of using a shotgun in the first place.
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Old January 26, 2016, 04:23 PM   #4
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Not in a 410 - more like a bigger 45Colt as far as the slug goes; more energy on impact with a slug than shot.
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Old January 26, 2016, 04:35 PM   #5
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Not in a 410 - more like a bigger 45Colt as far as the slug goes; more energy on impact with a slug than shot.
Even with the added energy, a .410 would be a poor choice for a HD weapon if something better was available. The OP said he also inherited a Higgens 12GA - much better choice.
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Old January 26, 2016, 05:56 PM   #6
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the JC Higgins is only a 3 round capacity and chambers up to a 2 3/4" shell. Thats part of the problem but also I am recoil sensitive to long guns with lots of kick (not the case with handguns oddly enough as I've shot .44 magnum and 3" .410's out of a derringer with little issue).
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Old January 26, 2016, 07:19 PM   #7
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If the JC Higgins is a bolt action it might not be safe to shoot period.
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Old January 26, 2016, 07:39 PM   #8
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ANY gun will need to ensure it is safe to shoot.
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Old January 26, 2016, 08:54 PM   #9
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Some of the JC Higgins bolt action 12's were recalled because they were prone to breaking behind the bolt handle. That part of the receiver is all that locks the bolt.
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Old January 26, 2016, 08:59 PM   #10
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to be clear the Higgins is a pump shotgun. Oh and it is missing the front sight too so not sure about that for home defense lol
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Old January 27, 2016, 08:48 AM   #11
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Thats part of the problem
Exactly what is the problem with a shotgun that has a 3-shot capacity and only chambers a 2 3/4" shell. Are you saying you really want a 3" capacity even though you are recoil averse?
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Old January 27, 2016, 09:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
the JC Higgins is only a 3 round capacity
And the double barrel Stevens is at an advantage with TWO????

The 12 ga pump is definitely your best choice. How many times do you plan to use it that your recoil sensitivity would over shadow possibly saving your life?
If you must use the 410, maybe some of the buckshot options now popular in the Judge type handguns would be a better choice. Particularly if you don't live in some mansion with gigantic hallways, and cavernous rooms.
One other option, and in this particular case a valid exception to Rule #1. That 410 double, if in decent shape has a value higher tyan say a 20 ga. Pump which would make a better HD gun with less recoil than a 12 ga.
Unless of course there is sentanental value in it being an inheritance.
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Old January 27, 2016, 10:28 AM   #13
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Does it have a plug?

Most pump shotguns have a greater capacity than three. Most also come with the magazine "plugged" to limit the mag capacity to comply with federal waterfowl laws.

In most every case it's a wooden plug that is easily removed, just make sure you put it back in if you choose to go duck hunting.

It likely holds 5 maybe even 6 with the plug removed.

What length are the barrels on your 311? 30" barreled 311 are usually mod and full choke, 26" are usually IC and mod.

I've got an old 311 with the Revelation brand on it sold by Western Auto hardware stores back in the day. Have another by Sears same basic gun.
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Old January 27, 2016, 01:29 PM   #14
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Oh and it is missing the front sight too so not sure about that for home defense lol
Why not? Folks who shoot shotguns for game and targets don't need them; why would you at HD distances?
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Old January 27, 2016, 01:56 PM   #15
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A 3" .410 in a Stevens 311 will not be a big recoil generator, and would probably be fine for HD. They are not Purdeys, but they were decent guns and quite reliable. If that's what you want to use, I would. I am not of the school that thinks you need shortened barrel(s), extended magazines, bayonet lugs, breacher chokes, and lights on an HD weapon. If you learn to keep two extra shells between the fingers of your left hand you should have 4 fast shots if needed.
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Old January 27, 2016, 05:10 PM   #16
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Big Tom,
Your J.C. Higgins is probably a High Standard Flite King, and as someone else mentioned, you need to remove the magazine plug.

ALSO, 2 3/4" shells are the standard for self defense, as 3" mags cause too much recoil for a fast follow up shot. You can buy lighter recoiling "tactical" buckshot from Federal and others.

If you must use the 311 for HD, I too would encourage the use of buckshot. "Slugs" sounds cool, but really makes it a less capable weapon at in-home distances.
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Old January 28, 2016, 02:50 PM   #17
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.410

If I was going to use a .410 double for HD, I'd take a look at the .410 buck loads intended for the .410 revolvers.

A 311 in .410 is a sort of desireable shotgun, hang on to that one.

Lastly, the thing with slugs in a SXS is that the point of impact typically crosses at some given range, not really an issued at HD ranges, but it makes accurate slug shooting with a bead sighted SXS even more problematic.
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Old January 28, 2016, 03:11 PM   #18
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Cut it

Your old pump ain't worth much, and will hold 5-6 with the plug removed.

If it's a 30" barreled pump as many are it's not a big deal to cut it down. No collector value either.

Old shotguns with full chokes are REALLY full chokes these days. Many of the old chokes were designed for fiber wads, thus with modern shells the choke is too tight.

The legal barrel length is 18" I would go 18.5 just because. Cutting it down will remove all choke, leaving you with a cylinder bore.

The barrel length should be measured by putting a cleaning rod or dowel down the barrel with the action closed W/O a round in the chamber.

Will also depend on how long the magazine tube is.

And ya there is some value in the .410 bore Model 311, not many of those around. I like to call the 311 the workingman's double, they are cheap and reliable, but handle like a pig on a shovel.
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Old January 28, 2016, 08:20 PM   #19
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I like to call the 311 the workingman's double, they are cheap and reliable, but handle like a pig on a shovel.
Hey now, be kind. I loved my old Stevens 311 16 gauge I had as a kid. So much so I searched a very nice one out in a gun show a couple years ago to have one like my dad gave me when I was 14.
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Old January 30, 2016, 01:49 PM   #20
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J.C. Higgins is just a Sears brand name. The model matters.
"...Most pump shotguns have..." Some of 'em were made exclusively for migratory bird hunting and have a '2 in the mag and one in the chamber' capacity only. No plugs involved. Forget the actual manufacturer.
"...the barrels on your 311..." Matters a lot. Gunparts advisors say F & F for a 26". Apparently it did vary by the model and gauge though. And the choke should be stamped on the barrel. Letters only.
Anyway, I'd re-think a .410 using any ammo for HD. Not enough shot in a .410 buck shot shell and a slug might go too far if you miss.
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Old January 30, 2016, 10:46 PM   #21
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UPDATE: The Higgins extractor is not functioning properly. It fails consistently after trying to pump out each spent shell. I knew there was another reason for it and now I remember. So yes it has a lot of issues with it. I'm not a gun smith and don't pretend to be. That said I think the 2 shots of .410 3" slugs are better than the #8 shot I have for the 12 gauge atm.
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Old January 31, 2016, 07:36 PM   #22
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That said I think the 2 shots of .410 3" slugs are better than the #8 shot I have for the 12 gauge atm.
You seem intent on those slugs, but how about 10 9MM (.355) projectiles at over 1100fps with two quick pulls of the trigger
That would be what you get with 3" 410 000 Buckshot.
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Old January 31, 2016, 10:08 PM   #23
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Tom, get yourself some decent shot for that 12 ga. A load of #4 buckshot at close range from a 12 ga will beat ANYTHING you could shoot out of that .410.
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Old February 1, 2016, 02:17 AM   #24
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Doyle I appreciate the comment but as I said the ejector on the 12 gauge is broken which I am not too happy about at the moment.
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Old February 1, 2016, 05:51 PM   #25
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Big Tom,
That sucks about the ejector. Shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to fix, but yes if that is broken then I too would use the 311 until I had something better.

Cheapshooter is right about 3 Inch buck shot though. You'll get 5 9mm projectiles in each shell, and that should do more target damage with less collateral damage.
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