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#602417 09/06/21 07:51 PM
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LetFly Offline OP
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I have acquired a new project SxS for this coming winter months. The gun is a Lewis Grade 1S 12b S# 101xxx. As I acquired it, this gun comes with two barrels in laminate twist. One is 32" and the other is 28". All came with the original canvas case and three piece cleaning rod. The 32" barrels appear to be the most used with the 28" kept in the case. The gun is in good condition with almost no wear on the barrels or the wood and receiver. Of course someone could not resist the urge to bugger some of the screws. I would like to get more information on the Lewis model including how to disassemble, clean and reassemble the receiver. I only wish to clean and oil the internals. The stock wood is clean and unblemished, but a bit dry. The butt plate is intact but well worn. I would like to reapply the correct period finish. Charles Snyder's book is out of reach dollar wise so I am looking for information on this Ithaca. Any help gratefully appreciated.

Photos
Ithaca Lewis 1904
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

32" P2 and 28" P1
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

28" barrels:
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by LetFly; 09/08/21 08:17 PM. Reason: Added photos
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Have you tried ordering Walt Snyder’s book thru you local inter-library loan? I’ve gone so for several book’s similarly out of reach. Best of luck with the restoration.

Last edited by susjwp; 09/07/21 07:23 AM.
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Excellent idea. Checked my online resellers and blanched. Will check my library. Thanks

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These screw plugs in the receiver end of each rib are interesting. Appear to be original as the barrels appear to not have been refinished. If you have Snyder's book let me know if he provides any information on this characteristic of the Ithaca Lewis model.

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by LetFly; 09/10/21 08:09 AM.
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Letfly, I am far from an expert but those screws look to me like the ribs are coming loose and a "repair" was done. The screw heads don't even match.


Caution: Hunting and fishing stories told here. Protective footgear may be required.
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Thanks, Carl. No surprise here when I loosened the gun screws. Old timey rib repair, both barrels. Even used an engraved gun screw. Without the screw each rib pops up for about four to five inches and then tight. Makes me wonder why they both came loose as I have a number of equally aged SxS's, other makers, with solid ribs. An Ithaca Lewis bolting issue or using modern smokeless? The later would be my guess.

Okay, they are what they are. The question is can this be repaired without a complete stripping and relaying the rib?

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Engraved the screw head
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by LetFly; 09/12/21 02:03 PM.
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I have not stripped a Lewis before but most guns with a rib extension, Fox Lc Smith etc, have the rear portion of the rib silver soldered in place. That area is under a lot of stress, hence the higher strength solder. I can likely be repaired but that would be a very big job. The amount of heat require would result in a full relay as well as possibly causing issues with the lug. I would be shocked if it was soft soldered at the factory. Good luck with it.
Steve


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SKB, good info. Thanks. Question? As the extension is integral to the entire rib on this gun, how would the rib have been installed with different solder and higher temps? I am not a gunsmith. On other SxS I observe that the rib is separate from the rib unit which would allow first silver soldering in the extension along with the barrel lug as a separate action and then laying in the rib itself at lower temperature. Curious?

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If it is all one piece then it was likely done with soft solder originally. I do not know of any American guns using hard solder for ribs though some Belgium guns do. If it is soft soldered I would suspect the barrels became loose and after repeated firing and then the rib solder failed.


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Just screw it back down and shoot the gun. A proper repair would become a bottomless pit and you’d never climb out.


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Joe, I can afford to spend on a quality repair for one barrel as I do not have anything in the gun. But only if such repair would be lasting. Also the threads for the screw are cut into the opposing outside edges of the barrel contours under the rib. This does not seem safe to me. Thoughts?

Anyone use a high end adhesive to secure the rib? I have read about this idea using super strong mixes such as used in aero space. Could be applied to the 32" barrel as a test.

Last edited by LetFly; 09/13/21 08:37 AM.
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I am curious to understand why the damage is the same on both barrels. Both have separation of the locking extension from the barrels. Lumps are solid as are the remaining rib-barrel weld. I own Remington, Lefever, Parker, Fox, and many JP Sauer from the same vintage. None show this type of weakness in the rib extension. Weak solder at the factory perhaps? Or digesting high pressure modern smokeless loads?

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Your Ithaca is the only gun that I have run into that has a single one piece rib soft soldered its entire length. All the others have a short rib at the breech usually brazed on. Hell usually freezes over before they turn lose.


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I have done a complete relaying of the ribs on a Ithaca shotgun with the rib extension it was the first ithaca I did at trinidad it was tinned with no brazing it is a flues I think but the same idea its a big job

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I don't know if you can solder a screw in to the screw hole under the rib the do a relay of the ribs I don't know if you could get it clean enough to just repair the part that has lift up .epoxy. Will just give you something else to cleanup when it fails .it can be repaired but it's an expensive proposition.good luck

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Thank you for your insight. Very much appreciated. I have talked this over with my gunsmith and the Ithaca with both barrels is on its way to be inspected and repaired. More photos when it comes back.

The real puzzle is not the screw fix but why the gun engineers/makers at Ithaca would add a locking rib extension, creating the "Lewis" model, modifying the Crass model and in doing so specifying the locking extension and sighting rib as one piece. From my reading and understanding this most likely has the rib with its extension silver soldered on to the barrel assembly, a rather weak joint, rather than brazed soldered, a much stronger joint. Hence, both barrels suffering the same failure.

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by LetFly; 09/15/21 07:31 PM.
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I have a Lewis 12 and a Lewis 16 and neither has the rib problem you show. I can only guess as to what made the rib separate on both sets of barrels. The only thing they have in common is the receiver they attach to . Maybe its a receiver problem? If those screws were down the bore a few more inches I would worry about their cutting into the barrel wall, but where they are the walls are about 150 thousandths so probably not a factor. Field grade Lewis models rarely pay for themselves except in the enjoyment of shooting. Best.

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Gun is off to my gunsmith for examination and proper repair on barrels. He thought the same as you on the frame. Both barrels are on face with proper breech and water table clearances. Me, I think they used heavy duck loads until the solder gave way and the switched barrels. I will let you know when I get it back.

Last edited by LetFly; 09/28/21 09:32 PM.
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Looks like a weak design and a long ago repair solution. The screws look repurposed as on was engraved and the other not. A partial rib resolder might be a decent stopgap repair short of a total run relay job. Just ends up a question of cost, reward and expected life if repair. But any soft solder repair will still be a weak system like the original.

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My 1904 Ithaca Lewis project SxS 12g two barrel set (28", 32") is now back from the gunsmith Louis Rotelli, Classic Restorations. Lou has performed a masterwork in resetting the damaged ribs on both barrels. (View earlier photos to see the extensive damage. Turkey loads?) Lou reset the lifted ribs and rib extensions and created a blind plug on each complete with engraving to blend in with rib mat cutting. These original laminate barrels are now back in service. Lou also reformed and recolored the top lever to remove the damage inflicted by some yokel gripping it with a vise grip and bending it. Sheez. Also Lou made new firing pins as spares. Next up will be to recut the checkering and refinish the wood. Stay tuned. I am looking for an orphaned original buttplate in decent condition. If you have one pm me.

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

32" tubes top, 28" tubes bottom
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Long pins in the Lewis
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Forend lugs marked P1 28", and P2 32".
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by LetFly; 04/06/22 07:42 AM.
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Ithaca Lewis 101xxx back on the skeet field. Next fall, woodcock.

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by LetFly; 04/10/22 07:14 PM.
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Update on the Ithaca Lewis project.
Internals cleaned, locking bolt adjusted, and new strikers installed (old pin heads badly battered, new pins made by Lou Rotelli, Classical Restoration). Lewis internals are really easy to work with. Compensating locking bolt is very effective and easily adjusted.

Wood cleaned and new finish applied. Velvit Oil (neutral) lightly sanded in, 180, 220, 320 & 400. Scars from 100+ years remain. Some slightly open grain remains to stay with an original finish for this grade.

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Next up to recut the worn checkering. Then back in the quail and woodcock game.

Last edited by LetFly; 03/07/23 03:49 PM.
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Have you been in contact with Lou lately? I am trying to contact him with no success. He finished work of mine but apparently has not shipped...

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Ithaca 1906 Lewis rescue and refurbish now completed. A couple of photos to show her off. Refurshing included barrel repair with dents removed, new firing pins, and an absolutely masterful blind rib reset by Louis Rotelli, Classical Restoration; I did the action cleaning and wood finish restoration and recut/replace checkering on the wood. She is finished just in time for another quail outing in April.

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by LetFly; 03/28/23 05:16 PM.
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