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#612429 03/13/22 11:58 PM
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have a couple lefever nitro specials that are not "on face". have used the paper of personnel checks to use as shims to see if the shims will bring the barrels back on face. the latch lever at a good position right of center and the shims on the lump bearing on the frame pin moved the barrels back on face and everything looks good. have not measured the paper shims yet. had intended to use the metal of steel feeler gauges cut and shaped to replace the paper shims. read several comment here on this subject yesterday and the opinions vary from no good to a great temporary fix. anyone out there have any experience using steel feeler gauge shims to do this repair and how long did it last?

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I've never used a steel shim to put one back on face, but I do use a homemade shim of adhesive backed aluminum duct tape, as used in the HVAC business, on my "much used with heavy loads" BSS. It will last about 300 openings and closings, then I just remove it and replace it. The kind I have measures .003" with the backing sheet removed. Easy to wipe the hook clean with alcohol, let dry, stick on a piece of the aluminum tape, then trim to a perfect fit with a sharp Exacto knife.

Shimming, with whatever, is never the proper way to put a nice gun back on face. But for one that you may or may not keep, or for a non-collectible of low value, I think it's a good temporary repair.

What did you plan to use to hold the steel shim, Loctite?


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yes plan to loctite steel shims in place. have not fired these gun with the paper shims yet. had not considered aluminum duct tape as i considered it too soft material that would not take much battering. used paper shims to see if the barrels could be brought back on face and the latch lever would be well right of center. the thickness of the paper shims can be accurately measured to cut a metal shim or turn a replacement pin for replacement. was thinking the steel shim would be a long lasting fix if used with low pressure target loads. i am not a machinist and have not located a competent gunsmith to install new pins in these shotguns. just wanted a good temporary fix. i consider the lefever nitro's the best made "cheap" usa made double sold before ww 2 and worth doing s proper repair fix eventually.

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I've 'fixed' quite a number of off face SxS's with the shim the hook method.
It works just fine. I wouldn't use it on a collectible. But a shooter to bring it back to usable condition I find it a rather quick way and it holds up well.

I use steel shim stock, various thickness sheets of about 4"x6" avail as a packet. As thin as .002 and up to about .030 IIRC.
Not in .001 increments but more than enough steps in thickness to be of value.

You can kind of guesstimate what you will need as far as thickness by the bbl to face gap.
A bit too thick is Ok as you can then refit the locking mechanism for a nicer lock-up and lever position to your standards.

I attach the shim with plain soft solder. I've used lead/tin and I've used the Tin/Silver stuff.
I see no difference in performance. Neither comes apart if the soldering job is done right.

Scrape the hook clean prior to soldering. Clean the shim and I also run some grit paper over that as well to clean it.

I 'tin' the shim w/an elec soldering iron. I use plain paste flux. Nothing fancy.

I don't 'tin' the hook but I do flux it and the tinned shim once it cools off.
Then clamp the shim into place into the curve of the hook.
I use an assortment of Transfer Center Punches,,a cheap set from Harbor Freight or the like works fine.
The many different dia's usually allows you to find one just right for the job of clamping the shim nicely into the hook.
If one is very close but still needs a tiny bit of dia increase, place another piece of very thin shim stock from your supply betw the punch body and the repair shim to draw it up tight.

Cover that thinner piece of shim with pencil graphite scribble so any solder/flux doesn't solder it into place during the operation.

I place a standard C clamp from the punch back to around the bbl lug and tighten.

Soldering is best done with a torch with some pretty good heat output. I use OA
You want to get it hot fast, flow the solder and get out.

You won't loosen any ribs that way and won't disturb bluing.

You don't want to play around heating up everything around it and chance loosening especially the short underrib.
You can place an extra small clamp on that if you feel better about it.

Heat the steel not the solder joint. When you set the solder flow, add just a touch more with the wire solder and tighten clamp a bit and you are done.

Let it air cool on it's own..

Unclamp,,file off the excess shim on the sides of the lug and clean up flux, ect.

Try 'er out in the frame.
It'll likely take a bit of touch up on the locking surfaces to bring it nicely back to where you want it.

Keep the hook and pin clean and lubed

Good for another 100 yrs.

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KUTTER -- thank you for the detailed procedure. i have a place i can buy steel shim stock and may use it instead of feeler gauge pieces. the feeler gauges appeals to be because it is in .001 thousands increments. shim stock would probably be a better grade of steel. have posed this question on other discussion boards and must say your is the most useful information to date. had one response that he was using aluminum foil tape for air conditioning duct work. he said he would get about 200 rounds before the tape "tired out". think i will measure my paper shims thickness and shoot a round or 2 of skeet and measure again and see how much the paper has compressed. i know in the "old days" paper was used to line rod and main engine bearings -- under the bearing -- to allow the use of good bearings where the crankshaft was worn and allow the bearings to be fit between the .010 increments bearings are available in. have shimmed tractor engine bearings myself and it worked good enough. big difference is the pounding the paper shims endure when used to shim up the barrels pin.

Last edited by 1574trap; 03/14/22 02:22 PM. Reason: correct spelling
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As long as you don't take the barrels off the shim will stay in place. Sometimes it even wedges itself around the hinge pin and stays put. Until you get the feeler gauges you can try beverage can pieces. I know it's redneck but it will work until something better can be used.

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I had paper shimmed a double once and sent it the Steve Bertram to be properly rejointed. He called and told me my gun was not off face. Turns out I had not removed the newspaper shim and so it wasn't off face until he removed it...Geo

Last edited by Geo. Newbern; 03/14/22 05:26 PM.
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Geo. Newbern -- did you put rounds thru the double while it was fitted with the paper shims?

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Cut a piece of aluminum from a beer can. Form it around the hinge pin. It is around .002-.003 thick. I used axle grease to hold it but better crazy glues might work if you clean the pin carefully. It is soft enough not to do damage. I don't know how long it will last but the price is right as long as you drink beer or even a coke.

Kutter's way is superior however more involved. If you just want to try out your gun and have fun the aluminum should get you started.


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Kutter, as always, gives great advice from his experiences. If and when I decide to do a permanent shim on the BSS it will be according to his great essay on it. I have a "set" of those various thickness shim stocks already on hand, and also a set of those transfer punches, but the details on using the OA tip to do the heating is priceless.

I agree the HVAC tape is soft, being aluminum, but it lasts amazingly well. I can put two or three days worth of 1 1/4 oz. steel shot duck loads through it, pretty hefty stuff, and it still stays on face. Or, as I mentioned before, 200-300 target loads. I get the impression it's not about the recoil generated and the forces against the shim when firing, as much as it is the simple act of opening and closing it. It's pretty amazing how long it lasts. I can tell when it needs replacing without looking, just by the feel of the top lever, and the effort needed to open the gun, after firing.


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