1902 Lewis, Use or Retire?

1902-1906

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Copper BB
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:26 am
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:43 am
Hello,

First off, I need to establish that I am not a gun collector, I shoot guns and want to shoot this gun. Upon purchase, the assumption was that this gun was about 40 years old and could handle todays loads, which I now know is not the case (112 years old), and requires special low pressure ammunition. My original intent in purchasing this gun was to have a reliable and durable workhorse. I would use it for yearly game bird hunting and skeet practice. If this gun has collector / retirement value over reliable field use, then I would prefer someone else own the gun and give it due respect…

The Gun... The S/N is 68303 (all numbers match). It is a 12 gauge with 30" barrels. I measured the chambers with a bore mic and they are 0.76" diameter x 3.0612" deep. I have reason to believe that this is not original and now question the integrity of the barrels due to too deep of a chamber any thoughs?

Damage and wear... there are repaired stock cracks on each side of the break action lever. There were a few surface rust spots on the bare exterior metal which have been cleaned with steel wool. The inside of the barrels appear clean and shiny without signs of rust. there is a very slight side-to-side looseness and no up-and-down movement when barrels are locked. The upper rib is soldered firmly at front, but is free to movement along the middle and back. The lower rib is attached at the front but detached along the middle and back. Because the lower rib is detached, visual inspection of the barrel solder reveals solid attachment and appear firm and completely attached. It needs a complete blueing, but that does not effect the "fire" worthiness. If the gun is worth keeping, maybe then a facelift.

Since my original post in the Crass section, I have taken this gun to several gunsmiths, gunshops and experienced gun handlers... none of which have never owned this model. The opinions are evenly split, some say hang it on the wall others say shoot it with low pressure loads. I want to shoot it, but need the opinions of this Ithica group who actually own these.

?? I know this is a subjective question, but can this model shotgun even be worth spending money on to repair, after my purchase price of $125?
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Last edited by dpehrson on Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

Copper BB
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:26 am
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:48 am
Additional Pics...
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Copper BB
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:26 am
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:52 am
3 more pics...
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.270 WIN
Posts: 209
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:26 pm
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:59 am
Boy those are some loaded questions. I do have several old Ithaca doubles, one goes back to 1897 it's a Crass with external hammers and Damascus barrels. Several have Damascus barrels. I shoot them all, but not a lot and with low pressure shells. I like the looks, the feel, the history these guns have, but that is me. I would have one concern about yours. The lengthened chambers. From the pictures it looks to me that since yours was one of the first Nitro solid steel barrels, they still made the barrels very thick, (like my Damascus barrels) and maybe the thickness continues down far enough to be thick enough where the chambering stops. That would need the most scrutiny to determine it's safety. As far as cost is concerned, that is entirely up to you. I and everyone else That has "collected stuff" has got a deal, and ended up spending more than it was worth "fixing it" If you sell it now you'll probably make money. If you fix it and sell, you won't. IT depends if YOU like it or not. I am sure other Ithaca owners would gladly take it off your hands for what you paid for it. I would, but I live in Canada and shipping is difficult. Just remember that old girl is still building history, as you have just shown her to a lot of Ithaca lovers. Your decision (do you like her or not) Just my two cents worth. Donald
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:50 pm
Welcome to the Ithaca Owners Forum !!

If it was mine...I'd fix it up and use it !
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:55 pm
I love shooting my SxS Ithaca's, but I am very selective about them. ;)
There are two things that would concern me about yours. First, the cracks in the stock behind the receiver. This is a very weak area, and the repairs need to be top quality. Second, you talk about areas where the rib is coming loose from the barrels. Your photos don't show it, but that really needs to be checked physically by someone familiar with SxS's. And finally, the chambers length should be verified with a chamber gauge.
The Nitro steel barrels would be strong enough to handle modern loads, if the solder is OK. But we just can't tell from photos.
A flash in the pan, a puff of smoke, and a prayer to the great Lord on high...

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