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785 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been a long while since I had a 311/Fox apart but as I recall, the mainsprings impinging on the bottom of the hammers are a deuce to reinstall.

With luck we'll be replacing two original firing pins with two NOS pins, return springs and hammer stop/retention screws.

Last time I did this job, I wound up chucking the action in a vice and using a drill press to push on the hammer base/spring installed to slide in the cross pin. It was a 3.27 handed job and lots of cussing.

Went through all the editions of Gunsmiths Kinks (I, II, III are the ones I have) and found three methods of installation besides the vice/drillpress method.

I am advised the nearest vice is in a tractor shed and the vice is covered in poo (Bird I assume/hope!) and located in a dark spot with a dirt floor.....not a good spot for launching springs.

So...........some tools and jigs will need to make the trip north soon to get this job done.

First. No vice handy so an action holding jig.

Probably will need this quick and easy holder for tear down and reassembly. With luck, there's a bench in the garage we can clamp to....if not, one of us has to sit on it while the other works.

After removing the barrels and stock, we can slip the action under the strap and get it all snugged down on the bench for workies.

If we's lucky, the simplest tool will help us line up the hammers and get the cross pin in place under spring tension.

If the tool above needs some help, a suitably modified screwdriver....the forward notch supposedly presses the spring in and the other notch allows the pin to pass over the top. We'll have to be ready for some grinding, not sure if the screwdriver is too fat. I gotta remember to take my grinder along.

Worst case, and maybe we'll just start with this fine little lever.....the sear pin go's thru the hole, the lever is gently cammed down and the hammer/spring pushed forward, the awl is used to line it up and then the factory pin is started through the hole in the action.......capture the first hammer, remove and relocate the tool, repeat for the second hammer. Done! Sounds good.....betcha its a 4 hand job!


785 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
There are two 5/32-inch pins going through the receiver that must be driven out left to right.

The pin up front holds the hammers with the cocking lever in between. Both hammers are under tension from their mainsprings and plungers. Once the pin is driven out, it all flys back. We'll prolly need to figger a way to mount the jig on a bench and surround it in cardboard.

The rear pin holds both the left and the right sears and springs.

A screw inside the receiver secures the top lever. A 3/8 Allen wrench has to be shortened and ground to a screwdriver blade, to remove it. If we can avoid it, we ain't pullin this part!

Here's a photo lifted from the web of what I think we's gonna see once the buttstock is off.....gotta remember my long screwdriver too......guess I oughta maka list.

Been doing a bit of further research on the 311/Fox action. It seams we may be able to replace firing pins with out removing the hammers. Hopefully.

Here is a photo of a 311 action with the left hammer in the ready position, right hammer fired position. A tight fit in the smallish internal space. And, no room to get at the firing pin or its hammer stop/retaining screw.

Here is the same action with the barrel, sear levers and sear spring removed, (left hammer fired, right hammer fully retracted against its mainspring) an easier job and no tooling beyond a 5/32 diameter punch to remove the sear lever cross pin. The hammer is fully depressed and the right barrel firing pin and screw is visible/accessible. With any luck, this is what we'll find in the Fox. The screw head thickness stops the hammer, the firing pin is inertial and the associated pin spring is angel hair fine. The new screws will likely be too thick and may need grinding to avoid light strikes with the replacement pin and spring. If the original screws are in good condition, we may simply replace the firing pin and spring. Either way, I'm sure we'll be needing at least several assemblies and test firings before the gun can be pronounced "Fixed". I spose while we are in there it'll be a good idea to clean the firing pin ways and hose out the action with a cleaner and lubricant. I'll have to add cleaning up a mess on the bench to the list of supplies needed.


785 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Recapping after all the prep work....

Well, lets document the repair here in DIY. Fox Mod B, 16g, occasional failure to fire right barrel on first pull, usually fires right barrel on second pull after discharging left barrel. We suspected firing pins or levers. It turned out to be a slight gumminess of the right trigger sear lever. Once cleaned, the problem was solved. But since we had NOS parts, we disassembled, inspected and replaced any parts with obvious wear.....

Once we got that old shotgun opened up I saw the cleanest set of internal parts I ever saw on a 50+ year old gun. Some gummed oil but not much and only in the right places to make the right bore occasionally miss fire. Fortunatly we checked the movement of the levers before disassembly and found the problem....just a touch sticky. As you'll see, even at 50+ this one is nearly perfect had not been previously opened or disassembled, and cleaning and the work was a breeze.

New old stock firing pin and components on the left and the original left side firing pin and components on the right.

The pins are slightly different but useable. However, the left side firing pin was a perfect original, no visible wear so, we put it back in the left side pin bore.

As for the left side firing pin return spring, it'd seen better days and we replaced it.

Finally, the left side firing pin and hammer stop screw was heavily peened.....still serviceable but since we had a new one, we replaced it too. Both of the firing pin retaining screws had worked loose over the years and I suspect that's how this left one got peened so badly, it was backed out further and for longer.

Upon lightly cleaning and degreasing the inside of the action with carb spray, we removed the levers that contain the hammer sears.

In finest caveman fashion, we used a vice, a Nylon 66 zip tie (dayum tuff zip tie!), 4 hands and two screwdrivers, simultaneously and with much grunting and blowing to move the hammer back and down against its mean mean main spring.....see, we didn't wanna remove the pin that held the hammers, theres 4 parts riding on that pin and the hammers are under about 283.7 lbs of mainspring pressure. We needed the hammers down but not out to get to the firing pins. (Even though, as it turned out, the firing pins were perfect, like new and it was a sticky right barrel lever causing the occasional misfire)

Here you see the left hammer held with a Nylon 66 zip tie and we have the left firing pin out of the bore for cleaning and inspection.

With the left side reassembled and the hammer resting happily on its mainspring (we didn't have to remove that side!) we started on the right side firing pin assembly.

With the tang in the vice, two screwdrivers and four hands and a zip tie, I promptly cammed the right hammer too far down and the main spring plunger road up over the hammer and jammed the I'd have to eventually remove that pin holding all four firing and camming parts and compress that heavy duty right side mainspring to get it back together.

But for now, we got the right side firing pin and screw out and cleaned up the associated bores in the action with q tips and oil.


785 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
While Lasttombstone cleaned the also pristine right side firing pin, I replaced the return spring and inspected the retention screw, also pristine. So the only new part needed on the right side was the angle hair fine NOS firing pin return spring.

In the meantime I fiddled around with all the home made tools I pulled from Gunsmith Kinks trying to reset that right side hammer on its mainspring without having to remove the pin.....

No luck.

Several dropped parts, recleaned of course, and hitting on the idea of using a slave pin from the left side to retain the left hammer and cocking mechanism (the hammer pin is knurled on the right and to reset the right hammer on the mainspring, you guessed it, the hammer pin has to come all the way out releasing every single durn part) we figgered out neither of us had a 5/32" rod for use as a slave pin.

With much wiggling and some light tapping and plenty of pushing (its hard to get 4 hands and a hammer and a pin and a slightly too small diameter slave pin all in close to that small frame!) the hammer pin finally drove home, pushing out the slave pin at the same time......Alajuela! Both hammers captured and resting properly on the hammer stop screws.

We shook hands and smoked. The hard part was done and only ate up another hour!

Here, the levers cleaned.....left and right and their return spring.

Close inspection shows the left barrel lever has a flaw. An inclusion, likely dross, in the casting. We don't have a replacement lever.....but, evidently it ain't too weak....its been in service like that for 50 years. For now, we put it back into the action. We'll find a spare set of levers for this Fox later and put em back in case they are ever needed.

And there we have it. The old Fox back together. We ran thru function checks before installing the wood and test firing. It was getting late. Just time for 4 test shots and in the morning, we took it out for a work out. Both the test shots and the workout were successful. And as I review the photo, I am happy to note, no missing parts!

Second from the top in the photo. It and quite a few others got a health workout that morning.

Every gun was more reliable then the shooters!

And.....nothing else broke!

I think we are able to pronounce the 16g Fox fixed, the 410g 37A ready to hunt and the 410g 315 double ready to train a young lass.

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