Larry Potterfield Repairs a Remington 1900 Double Barrel Shotgun
Russ Chastain 05.29.19
In this video, Larry Potterfield takes us through a series of repairs and improvements to an old double barrel shotgun. It’s an old side-by-side Remington Model 1900 that was made around 1904, and it’s been much-used over the years. Naturally, this has caused a lot of wear and breakage, which is where Larry comes in — a.k.a. the Mister Rogers of Gunsmithing.
The forend won’t stay on without a rubber band helping it, the action rattles like a BB in a boxcar, and one of the ejectors doesn’t work. Therefore he’s gonna make a new forend latch, bring the barrels back “on face,” and make a new ejector spring.
He first tackles the forend latch, which is a steel piece that’s broken in two and one part is missing. He’d have to do a lot of guesswork and fitting if he didn’t have another Remington 1900 to take apart, but fortunately for him he’s got one he can copy. Even at that, it takes a good bit of know-how and work to get it done.
Once get gets the new forend latch drilled, cut out, forged, hardened, tempered, and installed, he tackles the problem of the rattling action by putting the damascus barrels back “on face.”
Before he starts working, he educates viewers on things to look out for in old guns like these. These “gun trader’s tricks” may include shimming the barrels back by inserting a piece of thick paper on the hook, or by peening the hook to temporarily tighten things up. This great advice might save some folks from making a really bad buy.
His process of repair is a good simple one: he simply glues some thin steel shim stock to the hook in order to replace what’s been worn off plus a little more, and then carefully hand-fits the barrels to the receiver. It’s a time-consuming process, but it’s not complicated.
Finally, he fixes the broken spring for one of the automatic ejectors. This time he has both pieces of the broken part, so he can use it as a pattern to make a new one. It’s made much like the forend latch, filed and tempered and then tested.
The testing is a simple thing… he simply compresses it in a bench vise, and when it jumps back to shape as he opens the vise jaws, he knows he has a spring instead of just a steel part.
In the final seconds, he tests the function of the ejectors and his closing words are, “Works like new.”