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Central Arms double barrel shotgun lever spring question

9785 Views 12 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Bill DeShivs
I have this old shotgun that the spring for the break open lever spring has broken. I am having trouble finding the part so I was thinking of finding some steel rod and bending my own. It also appears to be pressed in but I am not sure. I do not see any signs of welding that may hold it in. My questions are will bending my own rod work and any ideas on how to remove the broken piece? Any help would be appreciated. Hopefully the pics show up I attached.



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Looks like they showed up. Sorry about the incredible size of the pics.
First, we need to define words. The gun is a "Trade Brand Name" shotgun. A "Trade Brand name" shotgun is one that was made by a major gun maker (and before 1940) for and was sold by a wholesale sporting goods dealer, a retail chain store or an independent seller (your local hardware store) who chose the name to go on the gun. Please, when asking questions about one of these old guns enter the name just as it appears on the gun , no additions, no deletions. no contractions and no abbreviations. I have no listing for a shotgun with the name CENTRAL ARMS. I do have listings for just (1) plain CENTRAL, (2) CENTRAL ARMS CO and (3) CENTRAL ARMS CO ST. LOUIS NO 512. All are "Trade Brand Name" shotguns and were made by (in order) (1) J.Stevens Arms & Tool Company, (2) Crescent Fire Arms Company, J. Davenport Arms Co, J. Stevens Arms Co and (3) Crescent Fire Arms Co. W.H. Davenport Arms Company went out of business in 1910 and Crescent Fire Arms Company went out of business in 1930 or so, so there are no off the shelf parts available for these guns. (More about this in a moment.) Stevens Arms Company is still in business (I thinK) as part of Savage Arms Company. Can't tell from sure what make the gun in the photograph is but belive it may be either a Crescent or a Davenport. Several gun parts dealers have parts for these old guns from time to time. They buy old shotguns to break them up for parts and then sell the parts. You just have to try and hope to luck out. The dealers and their addresses are:
Gun Parts Inc. 226 Williams Lane, P.O. Box 299, West Hurley, NY 12491, Tel: 845 679 2417, Customer Service: 845 579 5867
Popperts Gun Parts, P.O.. Box 413, Glendale, PA 19030, Tel: 215 887 2391
Jack First Inc. 1201 Turbine Drive, Rapid City, SD 57701 Tel: 605 343 9544
Dixie Gun Works, Gun Powder Lane Box 130, Union City, TN 38281, Tel: 800 238 5785
You can also watch the various gun auction sites. They have gun parts and parts guns up for auction from time to time. Again you just have to keep checking.
You cannot repair a broken spring by welding. A broken spring must be replaced with a whole new spring. Springs are made and then heat treated to be able to bend and then spring back to their original shape. It's an art I never could master.
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Thanks for the reply. The only marks on the gun aside from the serial number is this:

"Central Arms CO ST Louis.Mo."

I have the gun completely tore down and have not seen any other marks. If I was able to get the old spring out I was contemplating making my own and doing some experimenting with heat treating for strength. Numrich has the part on one of their schematics but not the list of items to purchase. The part is CHCM-28 I think as the pic is blurry. Link is here:

I went with the Crescent as I found not similar gun under the other names this type has been under. I am still searching the net to find the actual spring. Any ideas on a good approach to getting the spring out? Thanks
If you have both parts of the old spring, and can not find a replacement, I can make the spring for you. If you have never made a spring, now is not the time to start.
Central Arms Company appears to be made by Crescent


Good luck on the spring. They made a bazillion of the old hardware
store guns, you might get lucky and find a junker you can grab a
spring out of. Or grab some spring wire and learn to make springs.
Even if you don't learn a new skill you WILL learn some new and
colorful language----spring making is about 20% science and
80% voodoo.
CENTRAL ARMS CO ST LOUIS is all I need to know. Your gun was made by the Crescent Fire Arms Company of Norwich, CT (1892 to 1930+) for and was sold at wholesale by the Shapleigh hardware Company of St. Louis, MO a large wholesale sporting goods dealer. If you want, you can give me the serial number (found on the watertable, the flat part of the frame where the barrels close up or on the bottom of the barrels and I can tell you the year it was made. Unless you have the facilities to heat treat, bend and shape metal and the proper metal to make springs, forget that idea. It ain't easy! It may take a little time but it is possible to find a replacement using the sources I gave you. I forgot to mention any gun shows in your area. There are alway parts sellers at those. Besides it's fun to go to a show and just look around.
If you have both parts of the old spring, and can not find a replacement, I can make the spring for you. If you have never made a spring, now is not the time to start.
What would something like this cost to make? I am very interested. Well. I will be if I can get the other half of the spring out. Soaking the area with penetrating oil for a while before I try to remove it.

Anchor I sent you the serial number.

I greatly appreciate the help. I don't have a lot into this gun but it has a great look to it so at worst it will make a Great Wall hanger.

Sorry to take so long to reply but have never received a private message on FFF before. And the correct and proper name is CENTRAL ARMS CO. Between about 1880 and 1940, there was a great interest in all things having to do with shotguns, designing, making, selling (especially selling) and of course shooting. Wholesale sporting goods dealers, retail chain stores and independent sellers (your local hardware store) wanted guns with names of their own choosing on them to sell. The major makers were only too happy to meet this demand. They would take one of their standard models and stamp almost any name in the world on it as long as there was a minimum number ordered. I started a collection of these names about thirty five years ago with just sixty names. I'm up to well over 950 names and that just American made guns. Throw in the foreign made guns ant there should be well over 1.500. Your gun which as said was made by the Crescent Fire Arms Company of Norwich, CT (1892 to 1930+) for and was sold at wholesale by the Shapleigh Hardware Company of St. Louis, MO, a large wholesale sporting goods dealer. The records for Crescent Fire Arms were lost during a scrap paper drive during World War Two but have been reestablished by Mr. Joseph T. Vorisek in research for his book(s) "The Breech Loading Shotgun In America 1865 to 1940". That is the only serial number-year made table available for this maker. According to the information in the table, your gun was made January 1909 and is a Crescent Fire Arms Company Model Sidelock Hammerless double which was made from 1904 to 1932 in 12,16 or 20 gauges and .410 bore with barrels ranging from 26, 28, 30 and 32 inches with Steel , Twist or Damascus barrels. Crescent Fire Arms Company was the largest maker ever of "Trade Brand Name" shotguns making over 2,250,000 shotguns using over 450 known names over a thirty eight business life time. It has been said that Crescent would make as few as twelve guns with some selected name as long as the buyer paid for the die need to stamp the name on the gun. I have only one parts catalog that shows a parts break down for this gun and the top lever return spring is listed as being item no. 15. A word of caution on a gun this old. The gun was designed and made to use the ammunition in use back then which was either black powder or very early low pressure smokeless powder and lead shot loaded 2 1/2 inch shot shells. It was not designed for longer 2 9/16 or 2 3/4 inch shot shells and certainly not 3 inch magnums loaded with high pressure smokeless powder, steel shot or solid slugs. I make this caution knowing the American propensity for wanting more powerful ammunition and that some people don't know the difference in shotgun ammunition. To them a 12 gauge is a 12 gauge. They will stuff a 3 inch magnum in one of these old gun (it can be done), cock the hammers and pull both triggers. If after various pieces of the gun take off for parts unknown and if the shooter is still standing with the proper number of fingers and eyes, I don't want him coming back to me and saying "You didn't tell me that wasn't safe." About value. These old guns were well made but inexpensive (by our present standards) shotguns selling for between $10 to $25 new. They haven't appreciated much over the passing years. Current value will depend on the guns condition, the amount of original finish remaining on the metal and wood as well as the mechanical condition. A prime condition example (rare to very rare as these old guns were used hard and received little care and maintenance) that appears to have come out of the factory yesterday afternoon might fetch as much as $150 at auction while a rusty and pitted metal, rotten or broken wood and missing parts piece of junk fit only for parts salvage or as a whisky still stirring stick might bring as little as $20. Gun store dealers won't buy them as they are slow to sell. Of course sentimental value can't be calculated.
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Thanks for the info and your time to type it out. I don't intend to shoot it and the only thought of doing so would be if I made my own loads for it. The gun shop owner swore up and down it was safe to shoot but I didn't buy it for a shooter. I bought it for the look but yes I couldn't resist shooting some light loads i had. Then it broke when I went to empty the gun and was going to go home and hang it on the wall. It is always neat to know the age of something that is old. Just a cool factor for me personally as I like the older stuff better personally. Again thank you for the info. I'm still hoping to get it fixed as it is now an issue of principle.
I inherited an old Interstate Arms/Kansas City double of the same heritage from my Grandfather. He used it until the mid 1970's. And I have fired it many times since. Just make sure to stick with low brass shells.
You have another of Crescent Fire Arms Company made "Trade Brand Name" shotguns. This one was made for and sold by the Townely Metal & Hardware Company of St Louis, MO. a fire arms dealer. You didn't say if the gun is a outside hammer type or a hammerless. Crescent made both types and they started the serial numbers of each type with 001 and just kept going until they went out of business. Post the type and serial number and I will give you the date it was made. As*to shooting these old guns, I have to advise against it for several reasons. One is that I can't see the gun to determine the condition. The gun might be a solid mass of rust with holes in the barrel and the locking mechanism worn out so that the lock up is loose as a goose. Another is that Crescent (and others) made these guns from the late 1800s when damascus barrels were made and used. I won't go into how damascus barrels were made but it's sufficient to say that damascus was safe for black powder but can't be trusted for modern high pressure smokeless powder loaded ammunition. Many shooters have no ideal about the differences in shotgun ammunition and think a 12 gauge is a 12 gauge. There are different length shells, different types of powders and different loads (lead shot, steel shot, solid slugs) Not all guns and especially older guns were designed for all types. Given the American propensity for wanting more powerful and faster, some time, somewhere, some damn fool is going to stuff a 3 inch magnum in one of these old guns to shoot a covey of quail over in the next county, cock both hammers and pull both triggers. And if after the various pieces of the gun take off for parts unknown and if he is still standing with all his parts intact, I don't want him coming back to me and saying "You didn't tell me that wasn't safe." That's why I advise taking the gun to a good competent gunsmith (and not Bubba out under the shade tree) for a checkout and advice. One of my gunsmith books says that these old guns are an accident waiting to happen. One shot, four shots, forty shots or four hundred shots, one day it's going to let go. It's saying that these old American made guns were well made that they can hold up for as long as they do when being fired with wrong ammunition.
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Contact me off line for pricing.
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