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Knowing that your earlier photos did not show the actual amount of the lack of sear engagement helps a great deal. We did not know that with the barrels fully open, the action was just short of correctly cocking.

I still have not yet had a chance to check any other Lefevers for orientation of the cocking axle. I do not doubt what gunny said about reversing his to get the hammers to cock, because I have heard of this problem several times in the past. I am confused about this statement where you now say that none of the cocking axles in your possession have a mark on one end:

Originally Posted By: LetFly


I have in my possession 3 hammer pins, my original, plus two others from GPC (original broken, GPC 1 too short, 2 too rough to use). None have any mark depicting a right or left end as shown in your video AND all are perfectly symmetrical in all dimensions.


But you told us that the cocking axle you received from Numrich did have the line on one end:

Originally Posted By: LetFly
I have the hammer pin and it does have a single line on one end. Check my question posted on the general form. I need advice on fitting the new pin to my hammers and cocking hook.


Noticing small details like this is a part of logical troubleshooting and repair. I am hopeful that we can solve this mystery, and figure out why many of these cocking axles have that hash mark on the right end. I agree completely with what Dewey Vicknair said about the notion that a real "gunsmith" would alter your cocking hook to the point that the gun will no longer cock. Unfortunately, there are many old shotguns that have had poor attempts at repair by people who call themselves gunsmiths. I also doubt if it was fitted that poorly when it was built. I'd lean more toward incorrect heat treatment, and years of slamming the gun open with way too much force. And we still have the mystery of why your gun did indeed cock with at least the right hammer, with the original cocking axle installed. The only thing that changed was the installation of the new cocking axle. Many times, when troubleshooting either electrical or mechanical problems, I can find the answer by asking, "What is the last thing that happened just prior to the malfunction?"


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To help with this conversation I will post photos from each of the hammer pins.

Original pin
Left end
Right end
(note, the visible mark was enhanced by me with a file and is much more pronounced than what was an original scribe mark or scratch)

Gun Parts Co pin #1 (short at only +1.215 in length)



GPC pin #2


These pin ends do not look anything like the rather pronounced, almost screw slot style, pin head as shown in Dewey's video. It would be instructive if Dewey would reverse the pin in the Lefever used in the video and then record a video showing that the hammers will or will not cock with this reversal.


When I first disassembled this Lefever I took photos of the parts. I reviewed these photos and I found a couple of the pin end of the hook. Note this keyway is far from the rectangular shape of the pin key. More like the hammer keyway in my view.




As my last point, reading both books by Elliot and studying the patent drawings I find no information to suggest directionality for the pin. Studying my frame I cannot identify any type of taper or offset that would require or permit a unidirectional pin insertion.

From everything I have now read, Lefever was about efficiency in design. I find it odd that he would design a system that required each pin to be filed to fit and inserted only in a specific direction. How would a production shop manage this with thousands of frames, varying sizes, and thousands of pins. And what about providing replacement pins? Clearly these pins broke and where replaced as suggested by my pin.

I have no idea as to why my G did not cock with the new pin. The new pin was made to an exact duplicate in all dimensions to the original. All I can offer is that perhaps in my cleaning up of the cocking hook I removed a burr that was just enough to ensure adequate rotation of the hammer pin. I cocked the gun when I acquired it, but not again before disassembly. Also I first started a conversation on this forum by asking how to remove the barrels on a Lefever. I received a number of suggestions. I am now convinced that this difficulty in doing so was and is caused by excessive vertical movement in the cocking hook indicative of wear in the hook keyway.

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I disagree LetFly. You probably recall that it was me that guided you to the method to remove your barrels. I never stated exactly why the cocking hook sometimes gets caught on the pin in the barrel lump, preventing removal, because I wanted Marks_21 to explain it to us. I'm still waiting for his explanation. It isn't because of wear in the keyway.

I have been a pretty dedicated Lefever collector and student of these guns since I bought my first one around 1988. I am still learning and finding things I didn't know, and that is compounded by the fact that Dan Lefever and his sons were always tinkering with the design. There are subtle and obvious variations, which can complicate matters when you are attempting to replace a worn out or broken part.

One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that both of the Elliot books are very informative. But the author was a collector, and not a gunsmith, and there are several things stated that are wrong. There has been a lot of new information discovered over time that you will not find in his books. I can't think of any gun that has had so much misinformation repeated about them than Syracuse Lefevers. Guns from that era were not made with boringly repetitive CNC precision, and there was hand fitting involved, even though they were considered to be machine made guns that involved the use of jigs and fixtures. I have seen quite a few of these cocking axles installed in the guns, and the hash mark is ALWAYS on the right. Miller has stated the same thing. If it had no significance, other than perhaps being an inspectors mark, one would think that we would see a roughly 50-50 random orientation. But we don't, and there is evidence that putting them in backwards may affect the ability to cock the hammers.

I do agree that the keyway in your cocking hook is distorted through wear or abuse. It is plausible, I suppose, that there was sufficient debris in that slot to permit cocking with the original cocking axle. Dewey Vicknair brought up some valid points to consider in order to make a repair that works properly, and lasts another 100 years.

Last edited by keith; 03/22/20 04:04 PM. Reason: Damn auto-correct changed CNC to fake news CNN

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Keith, thanks for your reply. It would be nice to have a gunsmithing book or chapter on these guns. I have a number of gunsmith books going back to the 40's but cannot find a single paragraph on the LeFever and it's action. Perhaps you could write one?

Why is the hammer pin mark on Dewey's so pronounced and well finished. Clearly on my examples this is far from the case. Is this a grade feature. Higher grades receive more finished work?

With your experience do you think another cocking hook with it's mate hammer pin from another same frame size would be a drop in replacement? Or is there enough hand fitting that this would not work?

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Hi

I've enjoyed reading this thread and seeing the progress on this Lefever, I hope that it is back up and running soon.

Just out of curiosity, is this stock on ebay a Lefever stock?

??? stock

I doubt that the seller knows what it is for.

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He has no clue.

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From the poor photos I would say that yes, it is a Lefever, lower grade.

Lefever 47216 project on going. Final finish in third week of cure. Patience at this point. Cannot go out as all preserves shuttered. Brits and I are catching up on our reading of the great Michael McIntosh works. Stay well.

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Update. In the past couple of weeks I have acquired a replacement cocking hook with its hammer pin out of #36001 H grade Lefever. Through the LACA I contacted Brian Dudley and he fortunately was able to supply these critical parts from a parts gun. The hammer pin hole and keyway in the hook are in excellent original condition. By comparing my original hook to this one I can only conclude that the poor condition of my original hook was as result of a past heavy hand tapping or hammering the pin into position after removing it for whatever reason. This battered the hole and keyway. This of course is only my guess at why the hole and especially the keyway would be so maligned.

Note, way back when I first posted about this G Lefever I asked for advice on removing the barrels. When I first acquired this gun the barrels would hang and not separate cleanly from the frame without some fussing. I now know that this was a result of the cocking hook having too much free lift or free-play. I measured the free lift (the distance the hook lifts freely before engaging the key on the hammer pin). On the replacement this is only +0.06. On the original this was three times this distance. I will not generalize, but in the future this is a measurement I will check carefully on any newly acquired Lefever.

The replacement hook and hammer pin slipped into all three keyways with very little friction. Now the Lefever 47216 locks the hammer hooks and sears as designed. The G grade is now fully functional. At this point I am going to have the barrels refinished over the coming months (way too many fine scratches at the breech end to just leave as is).

As everywhere here in the East all preserve shooting (and all trap/skeet/sporting clays) is closed and will not reopen until the fall. The Brits and I will spend our time checking out the spring flights of woodcock here in the Thorn Apples and then turn to chasing muskies in our wonderful reservoirs. Both of these activities are very much a social distancing activity. Hopefully come autumn the Lefever will be sporting fine barrels and back after pheasants, chukar and timberdoodle. I have attached a few photos.

Thank you to all who followed this Lefever adventure and to especially those who offered much need advice. Stay well.



(note the clearly marked witness line on the hammer pin)


(clean lock-up of hammer and sear)


Sideplate with cocked indicator fully engaged)



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Good job Let Fly. But that slop in the cocking hook was not the reason that it was difficult to remove the barrels when you started. Hint... You can find that same difficulty on guns that have no such slop in the fit of the cocking axle to the cocking hook. I'm still hoping that Marks_21 or someone else from the LACA will enlighten us.

I also hesitate to ask what you had to pay for those parts. I inquired about some parts for a a Parker from that individual some years ago, and still haven't gotten over the shock. Found what I needed elsewhere for a small fraction of the cost.


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Keith, willingness to pay equals price equals scarcity plus availability. I tried to get these from GPC at $15 a piece for just the hammer pin. GPC did not have a hook listed in inventory and if they might have there is no way to know the quality. After paying for two that were junk I went another route and had a custom pin made. It was spot on to the original and worth the cost. The problem was the poor condition of the original hook. After consultation with the pin maker it was clear that attempting a repair on the hook was not the best approach. I reached out to a couple of folks suggested over at LACA that might have both the hook and its mated pin. Brian D. had two candidate sets and after close examination selected the best set. His price was quite reasonable and I appreciate his taking the time to help out. After all a Lefever is just a wall hanger without a cocking hook and properly fitting hammer pin.

As to the hook slop barrel release issue all I know is that the original loose hook had a tendency to capture the lump pin and required fiddling to shake it free and release the barrels. With the new no slop hook the barrels just pop off as they should as the hook stays tight in the frame channel. Beyond this I cannot add anything more. Perhaps someone reading this with a Lefever and a sloppy hook can provide more insight.

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