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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All
It has been a good while since last I posted. I went into full time retirement Feb of '22. Our small farmstead was waiting on me, and I been busting it ever since. So far we have added some fencing and a shed or two. We got some free hogs, and they had five piglets. We added two hair sheep to butcher for fall, got in hay enough for everybody and got it stored inside the new barn addition. We sold produce all summer, and the Mrs. canned everything that couldn't run fast enough to get away. The younger daughter now tells me our first grandchild is on the way in March '23. Life is pretty darn good.
With colder weather approaching I am getting the building materials stored away under cover, and I will be tackling my messy shop and continuing work on the shotgun projects.
The razorback pig hunt with the brother was a huge success, I rebarreled my small ring Mauser to an appropriate caliber and bagged a fat sow with cast bullets. That story I placed on another more appropriate forum.
Yesterday I found the correct fore end iron for the Stevens 335, after searching for a suitable specimen off and on for several months, and I ordered it. This part is unique enough that it is not too difficult to spot, and as far as I know the 12 and 16 gauges use a common fore end. I bought the metal from an online vendor that had no idea what it fit for a very good price, and that is always my preferred way to lay in parts. Previously I had gotten the wooden "try barrels" for the Stevens fitted up to the point of needing the forend iron, so now we can get the "try barrels" on and locking up properly. Time for me to break out the digital camera, and get cracking on the projects and posting again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I may be getting old, but I am still slow : ). I got the fore end iron in the mail this morning, and it doesn't get much better than this. It is wrong in all the right directions and will fit up with no gaps anywhere. Same for the bottom metal and trigger guard-for loose parts these are coming together very nicely. The vendor listed it as very rusty but it is not, with only slight surface rust in places and some strong case colors showing through. A big surprise was the serial number--I could not see a number anywhere on the thing in the online pictures. Turns out to be number 28. I don't know when the numbers for the Stevens 335 started or whether they continued from the 325 production. I have read these fore end irons with interchange. At any rate I am very pleased with this one, and $14 shipped works for me. Now just to get off my dead. . mule. . and get the thing fitted up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay here I go with another of my budding theories. I think this fore end metal must be from Stevens 335 serial number 28000. Such a number sequence would be relatively rare, occurring only once in each thousand guns, 24000, 25000, 26,000 etc. Now a big jump to the conclusion that the last three zeros were left off by whoever was stamping the serial numbers as the guns were assembled. This fore end iron is all 335 near as I can tell, with the early squared shoe versus the later rounded one. A secondary spring was incorporated at some point into the 335 fore end metal to hold the main hook spring in a forward position, and that practice continued to later models. This iron has no sign of it, or any machining or screw hole done to accept it. The pinned end of the spring is slotted though, so perhaps another type of assist spring, mounted differently, was used early on. Probably this spring served a couple of purposes--holding the fore end spring in a forward position to engage the barrel hook no matter how it was slapped on, or tensioning the spring upward under load to prevent said spring from crushing or cracking the fore end wood under the latch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Figured it out. Seems I was about half right. I find this same for end metal setup on three Stevens doubles online. Two 335's in the 70xxx range and one later 1915 plunger cocked, striker fired, Lewis patent model. The torsion spring 14A in Gunparts schematic fits over the forend spring pin inside the slotted spring end mentioned and powers the spring as I suggested. It was a later renovation rather than an earlier one which leads a person to assume that the rounded shoe forend metal was perhaps the earlier version than the squared one. The wear pattern on the bottom metal I have indicates it was used with the squared version. The torsion forend spring spring is out of stock, but we will get one out and proceed. Stevens work always seems to go like this. They made changes constantly, destroyed their records post WWI, and and they keep you guessing.
 
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