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Side by side 44XL

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Not much shotgun action here lately it appears.  Figured I'd share my frustration with this little oddball.  She's a Crescent coil spring model in 44 shot / 44XL.   Wierd story on how I acquired it, totally by surprise.  Another time maybe.  

The gun came with most of the parts.  I found a few I needed, but had to make a few as well.  One was this little link between the top lever and the bolt.  First challenge was finding out what it even looks like since I didn't have one, the gun being made about 1910 and the company going out of business around 1930, information was scarce.   Additionally, Crescent made a half dozen different models and seems to have been constantly tweaking internals.  One of the other Crescents I have appeared very close, only it's a 12 bore so in regard to copying parts, size did matter.   Still, I was at least able to get an idea of shape.  Since I was cutting it from stock, start oversize and file,file,file. 

Here's where it goes.  It's the little gizmo sticking out the back of the frame.


Once shaped correctly the next challenge was fitting it so it works, but only taking just enough to make it work. 

Not sure if this gives an indication of the parts size but it's pretty small.  


I had a fit trying to get the bolt and top lever to work properly and in concert.  Something, was out of whack, but only barely. Smoke, file, smoke, file... The last bit causing issues turned out to the the tab that projects into the top lever slot.  The tab facing the lever in this photo.  Smoke, file, smoke, file...



A smoke lamp is indispensable for such tasks.  Everyone has their own choice and preference but here's a little one I made probably 20 years ago.  A few copper fittings, a plug with coarse threads cut into it and a washer soldered on, through drilled with a piece of old tee shirt for a wick.  It's probably seen as many guns as Walmart at Christmas time and today is the first time I've ever added kerosene. 



Light her up, smoke your part, drop the cap on.  

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For those interested.  The smoker is a piece of scrap sheet metal soldered onto the bottom half to make it a bit more stable.  Next is a 1" copper cap soldered to a 1" x 1/2" copper reducer.  The plug was turned from a piece of a .22 rifle barrel from something with nasty looking coarse threads that bite into the copper when screwed in the first time.  The cap is a 3/4" copper cap.  Handy little thing that's been indispensable through the years, yet was made of odds and ends laying round the shop.    If you can find a 1" x 3/8" reducer you could use genuine (1/4") NPT taps & threads for the plug, but this hasn't caught me on fire yet... yet :P

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Interesting to say the least but I'm confused on the 44 shot 44 xl part. Is it a long forgotten shotshell chambering??

I bet that 20 year old kerosene torch did its job but smelled up the workshop a bit. About a year ago I fire up a kerosene heater my elderly aunt bought fearing the y2k crunch. I was really glad I fired it up outside. The smell lingered in my wide open carport for a few hours. 

BTW I'm a side-by lover. Been using my Stevens 311 since the mid 70's during dove season. I love the instant selection of chokes. A few years ago I did a trade for a Franchi O/U but by the last day of the season it was back to my Stevens. 


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It was basically the early .410.   There are varying claims, but I lean towards Frank Barnes'  the story that the actual .410 was a European development where it was called the 12mm shotshell.  In the states a shotshell was developed essentially on the 44-40 brass case with a paper or wooden shot capsule such as the plastic ones used by CCI in today's rimfire shotshells and sold by Speer for loading CF handgun ammo.  I've only seen one other side by side and it was a hammer gun, though I'm sure there are plenty of them out there.  They show up pretty regularly in Stevens and other single shots. 


Years ago I bought a "box lot" of .410 shotgun parts from the estate of a gunsmith.  Just a pile of odds and ends but there were two frames, several lockplates and one set of barrels.  Due to the frames, I had it shipped to my FFL pal and when I went to pick it up, he said something isn't right.  He had tried a .410 dummy and the chambers weren't even close.  I had him dig around for a 44-40 case and it fit.  I hung the barrels on my finger and rapped the side with a hammer handle and they rang like wind chimes!   That box of spare parts instantly became a project.  I bought all the applicable parts I could locate while I cleaned it up and roughed out a few missing parts and the whole mess has been sitting in a cupboard ever since.  Here's an old Crescent ad, but the gun I have is strictly .44 shot, unless the dimensions of modern .410's has changed over the years.  I have an old pre-war 2 1/2" .410 shell and it doesn't fit either.   There is no caliber or gauge markings on the barrels, just the caveat on the rib warning, "NOT FOR BALL."  


My buddy, who was a respected master gunsmith and my own mentor for a long time is in kinda bad shape just now and not going to get better.  He'd never seen one before that day, so as a winter project I thought I'd finish the little gun so he can see it.   It's been a challenge at times.  As a sidelock not only does it have the usual issues with inletting the action, but the action is about as small as they get, complicating that a bit more.  I had a huge blister covering most of my right palm from pushing chisels and gouges the day I did the bulk of the inletting. That was three weeks ago and it's almost healed. Originally I envisioned making a seperate / interchangeable set of .22LR barrels for it, but have decided against that.  I still have a couple other .410 frames and I have a .22 side by side I built about a lifetime ago.  A man only needs so many of them I suppose.  

Anyway... that's the story as well as the story on how I happened to stumble back in here again after so long.  I was looking for something on-line one day and noticed the site among the list Mr. Google suggested.  Glad ya'lls still chugging along!  This is a great site fellas, especially you Tony.  


Hmmmm, it would appear photobucket isn't "free" anymore.  LOL!!!!  

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