Tightening Break Open Actions

A vast number of break-open shotguns and some break-open rifles use a single locking lug. Here is how you can tighten loose, wobbly barrels.

by Paul Mazan

I have a fascination with old side hammer double-barreled shotguns. They mark a brief point in time when the traditional sidelock of the muzzleloading era and the breechloading era met and were blended into one. Some were inexpensive Belgian-made “hardware store” guns, so called because they could be purchased at the local hardware store by farmers and ranchers at a modest price. Others were works of fine art made by some of the prestigious names in the firearms industry. In short order, hammers went internal and the external hammer guns faded from the scene but the method of locking the barrels closed remained. To be sure there are other types of barrel locking methods but this one is very common. I have guns in my collection from makers like Dumoulin & Co., T.C. Montgomery, Remington, E. James & Co., and American Gun Co. that all use this type of lockup and there are many more.

Read more in the November 2015 issue.

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