Lefever - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Lefever

I just picked up a nice Lefever double barrel and wondering if it's safe to shoot. Super tight and I'm sure it's Damascus because I can see pattern on the barrel. Thinking of lighter loads.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 10:02 PM
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do NOT use modern loads in a damascus barreled gun.
the pressure in the new loads are higher than a twist steel barrel can handle. just my opinion.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 10:05 PM
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I have a 1938 Ithaca Lefever Nitro Special in 12 gauge that I use for small game. I shoot RST lite shells out of it and it does great. I bought it used. It isnt mint by far, and has a lot of character. Thought about getting it restored, but I often look at it and wonder what stories it could tell. One of my favorite guns I own.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 10:32 PM
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When I worked in the neighborhood sporting goods store I saw too many examples of damascus barrels failing to ever want to fire one myself.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 11:22 AM
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Bbutz,

There is a fairly good size contingent of us within the doublegun community who use appropriate smokeless loads in guns with pattern-welded (Damascus is just one variant) barrels. That said, as with any vintage gun regardless of barrel steel type, they should be inspected by a knowledgable gunsmith who is intimately familiar with these type of firearms. The average corner gunsmith is not the counsel to seek in regards to vintage guns. The barrels need to be checked for honing, barrel wall thickness along the length of the tubes and any flaws such as dents or possibly bulges.

Many black powder "Damascus" loads develop considerably more pressure than those that can be loaded with modern smokeless powder. Lots of anecdotal second and third hand stories of blown barrels/barrels coming "unwound" along the weld seams due to the use of smokeless in "Damascus" barrels out there. If and when you actually delve in to the few actual incidents you can find, the cause of the issue is always a barrel obstruction or thin walls due to overzealous honing. "Fluid" steel barrels will fail under the same conditions.

As with any gun of vintage age, it isn't prudent to just go shoot your gun without it being evaluated. Educate yourself, have the gun inspected and make the decision from there. I will say, don't just give in to the unfounded fear of dangerous Damascus.

Check out the DGS forum. Many knowledgeable members there. The DoubleGun BBS @ doublegunshop.com - Forums powered by UBB.threads™


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Last edited by Marc Ret; 03-02-2018 at 11:45 AM.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Now I'm really confused. I just took the gun to reputable gunsmith and he said no problem shooting modern low brass. He said this particular brand of gun has particularly strong Damascus steel and has withstood pressures equal to modern steel. He did offer to trade for a modern shotgun or give me $900. for it. Have to think about it.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 09:48 PM
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If those were his words, "no problem shooting modern low brass", he is not the man to listen to. The height of the "brass" has absolutely no bearing on the pressures produced by modern shot shells. Aside from that, the majority of factory ammo today is loaded to or close to SAAMI Max to allow for proper function in semi-auto shotguns. There are only two companies that I am aware of loading lower pressure ammo for vintage guns- RST and Polywad.

Does your gunsmith have a barrel wall thickness gauge and, if so, did he provide you with minimum wall thickness measurements of the barrels and where they were located along the length of the barrels? Did he use a barrel bore gauge to measure the bores of your shotgun? In addition to a visual inspection of the barrels, these two things are imperative in evaluating barrels on an older gun.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Ret View Post
If those were his words, "no problem shooting modern low brass", he is not the man to listen to. The height of the "brass" has absolutely no bearing on the pressures produced by modern shot shells. Aside from that, the majority of factory ammo today is loaded to or close to SAAMI Max to allow for proper function in semi-auto shotguns. There are only two companies that I am aware of loading lower pressure ammo for vintage guns- RST and Polywad.

Does your gunsmith have a barrel wall thickness gauge and, if so, did he provide you with minimum wall thickness measurements of the barrels and where they were located along the length of the barrels? Did he use a barrel bore gauge to measure the bores of your shotgun? In addition to a visual inspection of the barrels, these two things are imperative in evaluating barrels on an older gun.
Yes to all of the above!! Low brass and high brass were a marketing idea. No relationship to actual pressure.
You need to find a gunsmith that specilizes in double guns.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2018, 08:05 AM
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Pressure builds when you shoot a 2 3/4" shell in a chamber made for 2 9/16".Have the chamber measured.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2018, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Great suggestions. Any recommendations for good gunsmith
in Lehigh Valley area?
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