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#604658 10/16/21 06:10 PM
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Carl46 Online Content OP
Sidelock
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Sidelock

Joined: Jun 2021
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I always thought the opening lever on a top lever gun should be in the center, and a lever an inch to the right with the gun closed meant the action was well worn. A poster on another forum tells me the lever to the right means the gun is new, and the lever to the left means the gun is worn. What is right?


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Sidelock
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For the most part, the poster is right. Lever to right is what we want to see. Lever to left, not so much.

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Ted

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For most doubles, the lever is moved to the right to open the gun, and it returns back left toward center when it is closed. As the bolting surfaces wear, the lever then gradually moves further left, and eventually may move left of center.

The point where it stops can also vary somewhat due to how easily or sharply the gun is closed. And a weak top lever return spring can also affect where it stops. For the end of the top lever to stop a full inch right of center, as you mentioned, seems awfully extreme, and could indicate that someone peened or welded the bolting surfaces to make the gun appear not worn.

Some earlier Syracuse Lefever shotguns, referred to as "pivot lever" guns, have a different bolting system, and the top lever always returns to center. These guns had a compensating screw to take up wear and keep the bolting tight. Later models simply self-adjust by the process of the lever gradually moving further towards the left as wear occurs.


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What hasn't been mentioned in many of these conversations is the marketing advantage. Keith is correct in that any double gun from the 1880's and early 1900's had the top lever centered. Wear caused it to lock up to the left of centre. Current manufactures have taken this up as a marketing advantage in saying their gun is superior because it locks up to the right of centre. Look at any of the English best guns being produced today or for that matter in their entire history and show me a manufacturer who purposely positioned the lever the the right of centre when closed. I would repeat its only today's advertising hype.


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Sidelock
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In my experience, the only guns that have an advantage for the lever to be slightly to the right are those that are built to take up wear and slowly move to the left as wear occurs. Tamid is correct that Most English guns center the lever on day one. Parkers, Syracuse Lefevers, LC Smiths, and similar guns were made with variously designed angled lockup’s that put the lever slightly to the right, maybe 1/16” or 1/8”, no more. The only time I’ve seen a lever an inch to the right occurred when I had trash between the water table and the flats of the barrel and prevented the action closing.


Everybody Is ignorant, only on different subjects. —Will Rogers

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