Removal of Lyman Cutts compensator from Browning A-5

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by wpshooter, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    How is the compensator portion of a Lyman Cutts compensator attached to a Browning A-5 shotgun barrel, is it screwed onto the barrel or is it somehow permanently attached to the barrel ?

    I see a small retaining type screw at the back/bottom of the compensator BUT when I remove it, the compensator does not seem to move and when trying to turn the compensator, it does not want to unscrew. Is it possible that it is just stuck/rusted on. This gun belongs to a friend of mine and from the looks of it (and from what he told me) it has been sitting for years upon years without being shot and/or maintained.

    Please note that I am NOT talking about the choke portion that is mounted on the top end of the compensator. It appears to be removable by unscrewing it because it has 2 flats on it for the apparent use of a large wrench.

    I have done a bit of Googling about removing the compensator but I have not yet found any really definitive answer.

    P.S. - I just want to know about removing the compensator for cleaning purposes, not going to actually permanently remove it form the gun.

    Thanks for your assistance.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Normally the base part of the Cutts was soft soldered to the barrel. The barrel was first put on a lathe and turned to the correct diameter for the base, then the barrel and comp base fluxed and heated and soft soldered. A few smiths used silver solder, but that wasn't necessary and the heat was enough to damage the barrel. If you decide to heat the barrel to melt the solder, make sure you use heat paste on both the outside and inside of the barrel to keep from burning and oxidizing the barrel.

    I think you would probably do best to cut the barrel off behind the comp, preferably in a lathe so as to get an even cut. If you use a hacksaw, you will need to smooth the muzzle anyway; it is not as critical as the crown on a rifle, but it needs to be smooth and even.

    Now the bad news. When Cutts is installed, the barrel is cut back past the regular choke (the Cutts will be the choke), so without the Cutts the barrel will be plain cylinder bore. If that is OK, fine, otherwise you will have to install an internal choke tube or put in a jug choke behind the muzzle.

    If that doesn't work, or if removing the Cutts will violate a law on barrel length, the only answer is a new barrel.

    Dumb question 101: Why not just leave the Cutts on there? They are quite good for the purpose, though obviously not as neat looking as the modern internal chokes.

    Jim
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  3. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    Jim:

    Thanks for your reply.

    Please see the P.S. to my original post.

    I am just wanting to get the compensator off long enough to clean the compensator, and the end of barrel, & threads (if there are any) on the end of the barrel - I have NO plans on permanently taking the compensator off of the gun, cutting the barrel, etc., etc. - especially since this is not my gun !!!

    So my key question is, is there any possibility that the compensator is THREADED on the end of the barrel or do you know for CERTAIN that it is soldered onto the end of the barrel. If the compensator is soldered onto the end of the barrel then what is the retaining screw on the underside/bottom of the compensator for ? This would almost seem to indicate that the screw is there to keep the compensator from being screwed/rotated off of the barrel because if the barrel is soldered on what would be the need of this retaining screw. I don't know this, I am just asking.

    Again this is on a Browning A-5 - 20 gauge.

    Thanks.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Do I know for certain, sure, absolutely? No, but I put on a fair number and I don't recall any with internal threads to screw onto a barrel. I suppose someone could have threaded the comp and then threaded the barrel, but I don't think any came threaded.

    You should be able to clean the comp perfectly adequately by unscrewing the front end and then just dunking the barrel (or the front end) in the sonic bath or clean with spray and a toothbrush. They are not complicated and were meant to be taken apart and cleaned from time to time.

    Jim
  5. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    Jim:

    In case anyone runs into this problem in the future here is the answer (at least for this particular shotgun that I am working/cleaning on - which again is a Browning A-5 - 20 gauge shotgun).

    Indeed the actual "Collar" of the compensator in permanently attached to the barrel.

    However, the collar is threaded on the upper end and also the back end of the "Vented" portion of the compensator is threaded so that it screws onto the collar portion of the compensator.

    The way that I discovered this was that when I went to unscrew the "Choke" off of the top end of the compensator, I had the retaining screw removed from the bottom end of the vented portion of the compensator and when I turned the choke off of the compensator, that effort turned the vented portion of the compensator just enough on the collar of the compensator so that it revealed the threads of the collar thru the retaining hole in the vented portion of the compensator.

    I can tell you that getting this off made the cleaning process MUCH easier but it still took me over an hour to get all the gunk cleaned off of it.

    And I am glad that I got it off (including all the rust on the threads) because this thing was SO full of built up burnt powder, rust and crud, that I just could not have in good conscience left all of that gunk on this gun part !!!

    It just irks me that people can let their firearms get in such a condition.

    Thanks.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  6. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

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    WPshooter, we have dealt with Cutts, Lyman, JC Higgins Power-Pak, the old Weaver Choke and probably most of the other external compensator/choke systems that were popular way back when. None are threaded to the barrel.
  7. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    Just to be clear, that is what I found in this case, i.e. the collar was PERMANENTLY attached to the barrel BUT the vented portion (which is the portion that would need cleaning) is threaded onto the collar and thus can be removed.

    Thanks.
  8. Nitpicker

    Nitpicker New Member

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    I am new to this forum and this thread has really great information for me, thank you wpshooter.

    I have acquired a 1951 Remington Wingmaster 870 with the Lyman Cutts compensator / choke system and I was wondering what removing that set screw might do. I'll pull it off tomorrow. :)
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  9. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    You're welcome.

    I hope the one that you have is not as gunked up as the one that I cleaned. To the best of my recollection, it took me about an 1 1/2 to get all of the crud off of it after I got the compensator off.

    Good luck.
  10. Nitpicker

    Nitpicker New Member

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    Nope...Mine is clean as a whistle which does not surprise me. I bought the shotgun from a friend who just put her hubby out to pasture with dementia. I knew him socially for the last a few years and he was anal about his stuff being kept clean and maintained. He bought the gun new in 1951 (he is many years older than me) and I assume he had the choke added for skeet shooting. I gave her $300 which we both considered a fair price though I think the Cutts lowers the value somewhat but what the heck, she can use the cash.
    I plan to use it for skeet so it'll work well for me.
  11. wpshooter

    wpshooter Member

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    Sounds like me. I probably spend as much time cleaning my hardware as I do shooting it.

    But that way, when I go to shoot it, I know it is going to shoot !!!

    Bless him for his good habits.

    P.S. - My brother is just the opposite.

    When he gets to telling me his stories about how his gun did not go off when he was attempting to shoot at a big buck, I am not surprised at all.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
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