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Stevens 311 SxS sticks

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Grandthumb, May 8, 2011.

  1. Grandthumb

    Grandthumb Member

    I believe I can't break open after shooting because the firing pins do not retract. It seems to happen about 50% of the time. Where do I start. I intend to cut it down and have whatever work is required to make it a CAS gun. Will the "spring job" take care of my pin problem?
  2. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Those were budget guns made a long time ago. They were OK for a lifetime of use from a guy who only shot a box or 2 per year through them. Most of them have already surpassed their useful life and aren't worth the trouble or expense to try to repair them. I've had several over the years and all had problems. Hang it over the fireplace and buy yourself a better gun to actually use.
  3. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member


    "The modification below will allow the barrels on a Stevens Model 311 Double Barrel Shotgun to drop open farther making it possible to reload without having to hold the barrels down so the shells clear the receiver."

    "If you're wondering what to do about having to beat the shotgun over your knee to open it up after it is fired, I wish I knew... I just crack it over my knee to open it, that's the only 'fix' I know of."
  4. Grandthumb

    Grandthumb Member

    It looks to me like the firing pins are not retracting. I "believe" that I've read that replacing some springs will do the trick but I'm clueless about the innards of firearms.
  5. Grandthumb

    Grandthumb Member

    Thanks for the link.
  6. wgp

    wgp Well-Known Member

    I used to have a 211 or 311, whatever, my first double-barrel shotgun. My suggestion is to sell it as soon as possible and find a good gun.
  7. Burt Blade

    Burt Blade Well-Known Member

    Do you see "drag marks" on the fired primers, or not? If not, it may be your shells, not the gun.

    Are you using cheap steel-head loads? Try a box of brass-head Winchester AA or Remington STS shells. I have several doubles that will "stick" from 50% to 100% of the time with the cheapo stuff. They shoot AA shells all day. The cheapo steel heads expand enought to prevent extration. If the extractor won't lift, the gun is almost impossible to open. Note that some cheap loads have brass-plated steel heads.

    A gunsmith may be able to clean up the chambers enough to allow use of cheapo ammo, either by polishing the chamber or cutting it slightly larger at the breech end.

    If you do see drag marks, the pins are sticking.

    It may be a cleaning issue. There may be a buildup of crud that is causing the firing pins to stick in the forward position. Remove the stock, and thoroughly clean the action, especially around the firing pins. Penetrating oil and brake cleaner can fush out the grunge from hard to reach spaces.

    The return springs may be worn. They can be replaced.

    The firing pins or the breechface may have gone soft. (or the pin collets if it has them.) They can be re-hardend with Casenite, but this is not a trivial fix. (Unless you have done parts hardening before. Then it is just work.) Replacement parts may, or may not, be available.

    Start with the AA shells. Wal-mart usually has them for ~$7.50 a box. Try Light Target (2-3/4" 2-3/4 dram birdshot).
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  8. Grandthumb

    Grandthumb Member

    I do see the drag marks and I've been trying it with AA shells. I'll try the break fluid to see about de-gunking the insides.. thanks for the hint and the thoughtful reply.
  9. clang

    clang Well-Known Member

    I have seen the occasional mushroomed firing pin stick in the firing pin hole and make opening the gun difficult. This happens if the firing pins were not properly hardened. I suggest you see if this is happening to your gun.
  10. LibShooter

    LibShooter Well-Known Member

    I love my Grandpa's old Stevens. It's in my closet right now ready to repel borders. However, it is what it is. And it is not the shotgun for firing a hundred rounds every weekend.

    Get a Stoeger.

    When you wear out that one, get another one.
  11. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    The 311 was and is a good shotgun. I've owned several and they served me well for the purpose that they were designed for. Hunting.

    It was neither intended nor expected to hold up for thousands of rounds, year in and year out. Few sporting arms were. Shotguns specifically designed for trap and skeet were designed with that discipline in mind. They held up. The Stevens 311 wasn't. No need to engineer a 25,000 round service life into a gun that would only see a hundred rounds a year...or less.

    I had a little 20 gauge 311A that I killed a truckload of game with, and it never failed me. When I stopped hunting about 15 years ago, I passed it on...and it's still doin' its thing for the new owner.
  12. rugerman

    rugerman Well-Known Member

    Watch out if you try spraying carb cleaner thru the firing pin holes, it might remove the finish and if gunk (old oil, dirt and carbon from burnt or un burnt powder) is the problem you are just moving the problem around. It would be better if you took off the butt plate and removed the stock screw and then blew out the action which will get the gunk out not just redistribute it. Also once you clean it out you will need to re lube it. Good luck with your project.
  13. PT1911

    PT1911 Well-Known Member

    i have a 311 in 16ga and it is one of my absolute favorites... no frills for sure, utilitarian for sure, but still a heck of a good gun... I find that most all of the issues that i have ever had with any shotgun have stemmed from crappy ammo...
  14. Red Cent

    Red Cent Well-Known Member

    Grandthumb, the 311 is a pretty good shotgun but if you are wanting a speed reload it will cause you problems. The lever catch is in the way. That sideways fork stickin' back at you. Now if you are "just going to have fun" it will work.
    The old Bakial is the best. The lever catch is on the bottom out of the way. After you radically chamfer the "holes" just short of weakening the case head, you can roll two from over the top and let 'em drop.
    The 311 fork will separate the shells and cause severe frustration.
    I have a 311 that I have all apart. Lengthened the forcing cones, backbored it, chamfered the holes, and figuring out a way to get around that danged fork.
  15. DEFCON727

    DEFCON727 Member.

    jmr40 a cheap shot on the Stevens. A box or two a year?? On the back of what brand of cereal are you getting that information from?

    They are American made sturdy doubles within one's budget and still out there to find. With a little work they can be tuned just fine. If if have the means then go buy yourself an expensive double. I see many in here like to take care of what they have.

    The fix JohnBT mentioned works and also the Wolfe Spring Kit.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011

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