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#617151 07/26/22 06:26 PM
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Sidelock
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Sidelock

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Emil Flues patented a single trigger for Ithaca in 1910 but the first single triggers installed on Ithaca doubles seem to have been the Infallible triggers in 1915 and 1916. By 1926 (maybe earlier) they are offering the Miller trigger and by 1931 the Howland triggers. I've been able to find the Howland non-selective single trigger patent - https://patents.google.com/patent/US1818852A/en - but not the selective one. Like so many things that you think you know, the more you learn the less sure you are. In this case, Harry Howland's personal notes are the cause for my questioning. I have long thought that the non-selective trigger was used on the Lefever and Western Arms doubles and the selective one on the NID. Now I'm not so sure.

Howland was the factory/plant manager from 1923 until his retirement in 1959 and in his notes he writes that during the depths of the depression when Ithaca was running on a skeleton crew he "...personally designed and built a model of the new Ithaca double selection single trigger which we put on the Lefever double and the Western double-barrel guns."

But then later in his "designed, developed and built by Ithaca Gun Co. under my supervision" notes he lists:

"New Ithaca Double Selecting single trigger - 1931"
"Lefever & Western non-sel single trigger - 1931"

I'm wondering if he took the NID selective trigger (which I can't find a patent for) and redesigned it as a non-selective trigger for the Lefever and Western Arms guns.

Does anyone know if this is a correct?

And did Ithaca offer both these single triggers across their three lines of guns or was the selective trigger for the NID and the non-selective one for the Lefever and Western Arms guns?


BTW the above information is collated and condensed from Walt Synder's research with all credit to him.

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I have Howland Patent No. 1,818,852 filed June 18, 1928, granted Aug. 11, 1931, as the Selective single trigger patent. Two patents, No. 1,889,049 filed Nov. 30, 1931, granted Nov. 29, 1932, and No. 1,987,402 filed July 13, 1932, granted Jan. 8, 1935, appear to apply to the non-selective trigger. It appears Ithaca Gun Co. only offered the selective trigger on their Ithaca doubles but the non-selective was offered on Ithaca, Lefever and Western doubles and was offered retro-fitted to Flues Model Ithaca doubles. I have the non-selective on an NID No. 4E 12-gauge skeet gun and a Lefever A-Grade 20-gauge skeet gun.

Last edited by Researcher; 07/26/22 07:41 PM.
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I had an NID 16ga Grade 3 at one time with a factory Non Selective Single trigger and ejectors.
I completely rebuilt/restored the gun as it was a box of parts when I bought it. So I know the trigger and how it works.
The gun also had an extra set of bbls fitted to it, but not from the factory.
#460060 was the ser# if my mind is still working right.

I also had an Ithaca/Lefever A grade 12ga with a factory Single Non-selective trigger.
I rebuilt & upgraded that gun, so I know that trigger to be the same as the above in design, mechanism and function.

I currently own an Ithaca/Lefever A Grade Skeet Special 20ga w/ factory Non-Selective Trigger & ejectors.
I've done nothing to that shotgun to this point but shoot it. I have taken it all apart for an inspection and cleaning. A factory SNS trigger the same as the above 2.

All the same SNS trigger on the NID and the 2 Lefevers A Grades.
FWIW

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Thanks to you both. That clarifies which single triggers were offered on which lines of guns.

Also, with those patent dates (even though Howland remembers them both as being 1931) we may have a glimpse into the question of whether the non-selective trigger came from the earlier Howland “selecting” trigger. I’ve wondered what he meant by a “model” of the NID “selection” trigger. This patent information would seem to point to the non-selective trigger flowing from the selective. If that is true then his choice of the word “model” would indicate a variation or a non-selective version of the “selection” trigger.

Hopefully someone will be along who has been inside both or can understand the details of the patents and tell us.

Last edited by FallCreekFan; 07/27/22 06:48 PM.
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I don't go inside these things. Actually, I get impatient and bad things can happen, so I leave this to others. I have heard that Howland's selective trigger was a way to get around Miller's patent and essentially it took something that was one piece in Miller is two pieces in the Howland.

The Non-Selective Single Trigger was introduced in the second 1932 Ithaca catalog at $6.50 and at the same time the price of the selective trigger (I'm guessing still from Miller) was upped from the $30 it had been since 1926 to $32.45.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The prices remained the same in the 1933 catalog.

By the 1934 catalog and price lists it appears to me the Selective Single Trigger became the Howland and the price dropped to $21.60 retail.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

While the Non-Selective Single Trigger was $6.50 on an Ithaca, it was $4.60 on the 1932 Lefever poster, and on a Western was only $3.50 --

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by Researcher; 07/27/22 01:46 PM. Reason: added info
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The SNS triggers I have seen and worked on inclu the above mentioned were all a 'contraption' of stamped metal parts and coil springs.
The metal parts were punch press fabbed & then bent in mfg'r were needed to be formed in those shapes. The main spring is an extension type coil spring, not very heavy.

Simple straight pins held things together. Nothing too precise actually.

The entire mechanism works off of the right hand hammer.
When cocked,,that hammer pushes a Slide Bar to the rear that is centered over the Single Trigger ,,and underneath both sear arm extensions...
That 'slide' has an extension off of it that bears against the upper portion of the back side of the RH hammer and is spring loaded lightly towards the muzzle with that extension coil spring pulling it in that direction tied to frame.

The slide is a simple flat piece of steel stamped out and properly bent to position itself.
At the rear of it are open slots on each edge. One on each side.

When the hammers are cocked, the right hammer has contol of the slide and has pushed it to the rear.
At that point the Open Slot on the left side of slide is positioned under the left sear arm extension.
The opening on the right side of the slide is to the rear of being under the right sear arm..The solid surface of the slide itself is underneath the right sear arm extension.

Pulling the trigger lifts the Slide Bar up.
Being no opening on the Bar under the RH sear,,the bar lifts and fires the RH sear/barrel.
At the same time,,the lefthand side of the Slide BAr is being lifted by the trigger motion,,but,,there is blank/opening in that LH side of the bar.
So the Bar moves upward and past the left sear arm extension w/o touching the sear extension
and the LH sear/bbl does not fire.

Releasing the trigger after the RH bbl is fired lowers the Slide Bar. Now that the RH hammer has pivoted forward,,the slidebar is no longer positioned the way it was with it's extended arm bearing against the upper portion of the cocked hammer.
The extension coil spring powering the Slide Bar pulls it forward a bit to reposition it and ready for the next shot.

In the slide bar repositioning itself forward, now that open slot on the left side of the rear of the bar has moved forward and a solid surface of the bar is now positioned underneath the LH sear arm extension.
As well the solid surface of the slide bar that allowed the RH sear to be fired has moved forward and now the empty cutout slot on the RH side is under the fired sear on the RH side.

The second pull of the trigger lifts the entire Slide Bar again just like the first pull did,,but this time, the LH sear arm is disengaged as the Slide Bar solid surface pushes on the sear arm.
The Left bbl now fires. Your second shot w/the SNS trigger.

The open cut on the RH side misses the already fired RH sear arm, if it's at all in contact, which can add extra trigger pull weight on the trigger. It all depends on if the RH sear kicks out of the way or not upon release.

Opening the gun cocks the hammer(s). The right hammer pivots back and cocks and at the same time pushes the Slide Bar back again and holds it. There the rear slots are in position the fire the RH bbl with the first pull and then the LH bbl with the second pull of the SNS trigger.

This is what I remember them as,,I may have a couple details out of line.

Safety blocks the trigger only, just as most all SxS trigger mechanisms.

They don't look like much, but they work well. Most adjustments are by bending and 'tweaking'. Smoothing up edges from the orig punch press fabrication process helps alot.
If I remember right that Slide Bar was at least lightly case hardened on one or 2 that I worked on.
I can see where these mechanisms could be factory made and then installed without much technical expertise, fitting and problems.

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Fascinating, gentlemen. Thank you.

Last edited by FallCreekFan; 07/27/22 07:45 PM.
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It seems that I read somewhere that Miller began adding a $2+ surcharge to their triggers. I bet that explains the $2.45 price increase. And that, along with the Depression, probably hastened the transition to the Howland selective trigger.

Does anyone know if the Infallible trigger was offered until the introduction of the Miller (and the NID) or was there a gap?

Last edited by FallCreekFan; 07/28/22 12:00 PM.
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Kutter, aka Jim;

Thank you for the description of how their SNS trigger mechanism works.

Stephen Howell

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I have a Fox A Grade with a Miller SST. I'm not a huge fan of single triggers, preferring DT except on late season pheasant hunts when it can be difficult to wear a glove heavy enough to both keep your trigger hand warm and operate a DT. My Miller had a slight hitch in it when I bought the gun. Gunsmith friend corrected it. (He wishes to remain nameless so as not to become known as a Miller trigger mechanic.) I've shot it a lot since then, without a hitch. It's one SST that you can select when the bird takes wing once you get used to it.

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