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 Post subject: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 3:03 pm 
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Howdy. I am sort of curious about the Stevens 511, Series A shotguns. I bought one back in 2003 just for a work'n gun and, well, because I like doubles. It's chambered in 12-gauge (2¾ and 3"), has fixed chokes, is blued steel, and rather utilitarian finish.

Anywho, I was just curious what the history is on this model. I've done a bunch of googling, but most of what I find is related to the 311. I know these old scatterguns have zero in the way of collectors value, I'm just wondering about the history and such.

Thanks all.

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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 9:22 pm 
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I just bought a Stevens 315 "Trade Brand Name" shotgun marked "Cumberland Arms". From the excellent info I recieved on this gun, posted in "Gun ID and Value" on this forum,,,I think I can hazard a good guess about the Stevens 511 origins.

In the beginning, Savage was a rifle company, who made high dollar Savage 99 rifles. Stevens was a seperate company, who made "boy's rifles",,,and happened to pioneer the .22 Long Rifle cartridge.

In 1915 Stevens brought their excellent, cheap Model 1915 Hammerless to market. It looked very similar to the later 311, but had coil springs and strikers instead of conventional pivoted concealed hammers. This gun was marketed as the Riverside 315, "The Ranger" and later the Stevens 330, and at least as a Cumberland Arms Co. "Trade Brand Name" gun,,,maybe others. These all have coil springs instead of hammers and a patent date of April 20, 1915 on the side of the action. They look very close to the later 311 series in outward appearance.

About 1920 Savage bought Stevens, but left the Stevens management in place at Chipocee Falls. In 1929 Savage buys the A.H. Fox company as a flagship brand, and moves Fox to Utica, N.Y.

In 1931, Savage/Stevens/Fox comes out with the Springfield 311,,,with the "31" probably denoting the year the gun came out. Stevens is a more expensive brand, so they borrow the 5 from the 315 and their version is the Stevens 511. I don't know if they kept on making the Stevens/Riverside/Ranger/Cumberland coil spring strikered 315's or not. But the Springfield 311 and the Stevens 511 were similar guns, but I believe they both had conventional concealed hammers.

WW2 brings a halt to production. After the war, they come out with the Stevens 311,,,but one of the higher grades is the 5100 (in memory of the old 511). At the top of the double gun chain, they sell the Fox Model B,,,which is a gussied up 311. The "real" Foxes,,,the Sterlingworths and Grades A-D,,,were dropped during the war and never sold again.

(Bolt action rifle makers do the same thing with this long running "number" business. Virtually all American made high power bolt rifles have a "7" somewhere in their name,,,,which goes back to the Model 70 Winchester. :wink: )

It took Savage about 75 years to utterly destroy their reputation as a high dollar, expensive gun. In the last 15 or 20 years Savage has made a remarkable comeback in quality and reputation,,,but with no shotguns.

The short answer to your question is that the 511's were part of Savage marketing of the new for 1931 Springfield 311. It was long, slow, and sad march to the bottom,,,but a 511 should have quite a bit of quality left in it. The worst guns were the last 15 or 20 years before the last 311 was made in 1987. That last one was a good, safe, durable gun,,,but a cheap and nasty looking shell of the quality of the earlier ones.;)


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 6:06 am 
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I'm pretty sure the 511 is a later model. (If I had to guess, early 80's) It also does not come apart as easily as a 311. Fore-arm is screwed to the fore-end metal.
He did say 3" chamber.


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 3:21 pm 
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Thanks for the info SuperXOne. Indeed, Jim18611865, it has 3" chambers.

A couple pics, fwiw:

Image
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:14 am 
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Jim18611865 wrote:
I'm pretty sure the 511 is a later model. (If I had to guess, early 80's) It also does not come apart as easily as a 311. Fore-arm is screwed to the fore-end metal.
He did say 3" chamber.

A little late to the party, but its older than that.
I had a Stevens 511.
X-mas present from my father when I was 15. That was 1978.
SxS, 20 ga. mod./full, 26" barrels. Whole thing weighed about 6 lbs.
Mine also had 3" chambers and a screw on forearm.
Appearance was very plain. Some simple scroll work on buttstock and forearm.
The 511 does not appear in the 1981 Savage catalogue. Maybe there was a separate Stevens catalogue?


Dean


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:55 am 
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The Stevens 311 guns that were marketed as 5100's or "5" anything were always marketed as a step up from the basic 311. There was even a time in the 1970's when the basic 5100 cost more, and had better features, than the basic Fox Model B without ejectors.

Regardless, there were 315's early on with coil spring strikers and 311's later on with concealed hammers. Marketing determined the name on the barrel.:)


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:46 pm 
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The Savage/Springfield model 511 was produced as a "economy grade gun". It is actually a cheaper version of the venerable model 311.

I have one in 20 gauge. It's action varies quite a bit from the 311.


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Exactly.
511 was the basic gun.
311 was a fancier version of that and Fox-B was a fancier version of the 311.
There was also a Special Edition of the Fox-B that was called Fox-BSE.



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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Interesting. Thanks DeanMk. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:08 am 
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Not a problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:48 pm 
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I have a 16 ga. Eastern Arms 101.7 sxs marked 5100. According to John T. Callahan, Savage Arms Historian, the 5100 was produced by the J.Stevens Arms Co. from 1941 through 1948 under the Stevens and Springfield names. According to Callahan, a Model 5100 is not found in any Stevens or Springfield catalog. He said that the 5100 is basically a 311 or 5151 and the 5100 stamp was used to differentiate a change in frame design.

Eastern Arms was a trade name used by Sears and 101.7 indicates that my gun was made by Stevens.


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:08 pm 
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It's my undersatanding that Savage bought out Stevens around 1920.
It would seem, then, that any "Stevens" gun is actually a rebranded Savage.

...or is more to the story?



Dean


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:19 pm 
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Plain wrote:
Interesting. Thanks DeanMk. :)

Just glancing over the whole thread and it seems that there may have been two different 511's.
An older model, like the one's that Super-X One is referring to, and a newer model that some of the rest of us are referring to.
I noticed you mentioned your gun has 3" chambers.
To me, this designates a newer gun, as 3" shotshells didn't arrive until sometime in the 1950's, IIRC.
The longer chambering didn't become prevelent, though, uintil the later 60's and into the 70's.
The 511 that was formerly mine was made in the late 70's and by then, just as now, all guns sold to the general public use 3" chambers, with exception to some competition guns.
FWIW, the guns I listed in my other post are all based on the same receiver, with only the "appointments" getting fancier as one moves up the scale from 511 to Fox-BSE.
The guns Super-X One mentioned, I believe, actually use a couple of different receivers.



Dean


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:22 pm 
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...and to further attempt to clear up any confusion with older guns, here's an ad for a virtual identical copy of my old 511...gunauction.com 20 ga. 511.



Dean


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:25 am 
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Judging by that photo of that 511, it is indeed a late attempt at an "economy" version of a 311, which by that time had some kind of horrid stamped checkering on their cheap chairleg quality stocks.:)


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:51 am 
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The Savage/Stevens/Fox historian, John T. Callahan should be able to answer any questions regarding the differences between the various Stevens models, when they were offered, etc. He charges $30.00 per inquiry. It may take 30-60 days to receive a reply. His address is:
John T. Callahan
P.O. Box 82
Southampton, MA 01073


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:32 pm 
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SuperXOne wrote:
Judging by that photo of that 511, it is indeed a late attempt at an "economy" version of a 311, which by that time had some kind of horrid stamped checkering on their cheap chairleg quality stocks.:)

Honestly, fit and finish wasn't as bad as you make it seem.
Stocks used decent quality wood.
While she wasn't the prettiest girl at the ball, she could shoot like a dream.
I cursed that gun for 20 years because it was pain to carry in the field, but I've rued the 15 years since I sold her.
...and the 511 wasn't an "economy version" of a 311. Rather, the 311 was a nicer version of the 511.
The 511 was the base that all the others were built off of.



Dean


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:12 pm 
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DeanMk wrote:
SuperXOne wrote:
Judging by that photo of that 511, it is indeed a late attempt at an "economy" version of a 311, which by that time had some kind of horrid stamped checkering on their cheap chairleg quality stocks.:)


...and the 511 wasn't an "economy version" of a 311. Rather, the 311 was a nicer version of the 511.
The 511 was the base that all the others were built off of.



Dean


The 511 couldn't be the base gun. The 311 was made long before the 511. If anything the model 530 and the 315 were the predecesssors to the model 311.

Rest assured the Savage 511 is indeed an economy grade gun. It's action is more cheaply constructed than the 311 and the fit and finish are a notch below. The gun pictured on the AA link is the spitting image of mine except that my stock has no checkering. Compare it to a 311, the external differences are apparent. Unscrew the forend and you will see a radically different cocking mechanism as compared to the 311, 530 or 315

As much as I may sound like I'm bashing the 511, I'm truly not. Mine was the first double I ever owned. It has never failed to go "bang" and has accounted for a bunch of squirrels and rabbits over the years. I love the gun for what it is. What I don't want is for somone to buy a 511 thinking that they're getting a gun thats nicer than the 311.


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:05 pm 
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If they thought a 511 was nicer than a 311 it wasn't due to anything I've stated here.
I think anyone familiar with late model Stevens/Savage doubles would be quick to correct that person, as well.
Interesting comments about the inner workings.
Could it be that all guns shared the same receiver, but with different mechanicals inside?
I have to admit, I never had cause to completely pull that gun apart, as you apparently have.


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 Post subject: Re: Stevens 511, Series A
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:41 pm 
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SuperXOne I believe was originally confusing the 511 with the 5100. Night and day, and built in different decades. The 511 was a modern gun. I am not exactly sure of the years of production, but were definitely produced in the '70s. They were very different than the 311s, in that there was a central very stiff spring that was exposed when the forearm was removed that needed to be compressed and moved off it's rest (hard to explain) to remove the barrels! It was a very different cocking system than the 311. The forearm was held on by a bottom screw and was nothing more than a hand rest and a cover for that darn spring assembly. These guns looked very much like a 311, but were an economy version of an already very low priced gun. I sold mine a few years ago so can't shed much more light on the operating system.

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