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Need help & advice re: a S&W Model 916A 12-gauge shotgun

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Cyrano, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    Oct 1, 2007
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    I stopped in at one of 'my' local gunshops today to get some ammo. They're the ones the BATFE is hassling and I support them when I can.

    A guy was there trying to sell them a couple of guns he had just recovered from his ex-wife, who when she divorced him 15 years ago just tossed these two guns up on a shelf in a damp basement and left them there. He's got bad arthritis and can't hunt any more, so he decided to sell the scoped Marlin .444 and this S&W 12-gauge. He hadn't heard about the shop's troubles. The shop owner was on the phone and we got to talking about this, that and the other thing. We agreed that what his ex had done to the 12-gauge was a crime and talked about the best way to deal with the rust.

    The owner explained the shop's problem. He also explained that even though the guns were mechanically sound, their condition really knocked down the value. He said that if he was able to buy the S&W, he couldn't offer more than $50 for it and would be lucky to get $90 for it in the rack. The man with arthritis turned to me.

    "You want her for $50?"

    So out came my wallet and now I'm the owner of a surface-rusted Smith & Wesson Model 916A pump action 12-gauge with a 3 inch chamber and a 30 inch full choke barrel. Now it gets interesting.

    The only pump action I know even a little about stripping down is the Mossberg 500. Stripping one of those down is a snap. You remove the magazine nut (or whatever the knurled threaded knob that holds the magazine spring into the magazine is called), remove the magazine spring and follower, and then give the barrel a pull and off it comes, allowing you to remove the bolt. I've seen a gunsmith who really knows the gun change out a barrel in under a minute while carrying on a conversation. It's easy to do. He let me try it once and even I, renowned for my lack of mechanical aptitude, was able to break the 500 down, tentatively and under his supervision, in about a minute and a half and about the same to reassemble it correctly.

    The shop owner and I unscrewed the magazine nut and removed the magazine spring and follower. Then, to our surprise, the magazine tube came out of the forearm. At this point, he broke out a copy of the Jack Frost catalog and found the exploded diagram of the Model 916A. We studied it.

    The diagram left something to be desired in fine details and did not include an instruction manual; but after examining it under a magnifying glass we think the setup of the S&W is exactly the opposite of the Mossberg. There, the magazine tube is threaded into the receiver and the barrel is easy to remove. As far as we could tell from the diagram, the barrel on the 916A is threaded into the receiver and the magazine tube simply fits into the receiver and is held in place by the pressure of the magazine nut that screws into the support that holds the magazine tube in place.

    So I need some guidance. Am I correct that the magazine on the S&W is threaded into the receiver? And that in order to remove it so I can get the bolt out for cleaning and polishing after I've soaked the barrel threads with Gunzilla for awhile I first have to figure out how to remove the forearm and the bar it slides on? And after that, I need to tap the receiver with a rawhide mallet to loosen up any gunk in the threads? And finally, that I need to figure out how to clamp something like a long-handled monkey wrench onto that magazine tube support to unscrew the barrel from the receiver without marring the barrel and the support?

    If I can figure out why the site won't let me attach the "Before" photos, I will post them. Any help you guys can offer, I'll greatly appreciate. Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  2. Midwest

    Midwest G&G Newbie

    Feb 18, 2010
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    I bought a used 916a 20 gauge as a work shotgun and i love it (<$100). Perfect for grouse and accurate enough with slugs. I also have a 870 that i cringe ever time i bring it on drives in thick cover and grouse hunting for a fear of banging it up. I usually use the S&W. I believe all of these were made in off shore in ~70s.

    As far as taking the barrel off, i have not been able to do this. I bought it as a gun if it fell in the mud, i could care less about that, but it is my favorite.

    The magazine is easy to take off and it is not threaded on mine. Once the magazine is removed it can go on either way on. To remove the barrel loosen the nut on the magazine and use the slop to wiggle it off. There is not any thread on the receiver, the magazine is held on by the nut. I don't know if this is the right way to do it, but it works for me. I only clean the receiver if i was walking through thick cover while cycling shells.

    If you really want to clean it out, remove the stock from the screws behind the buttplate. I did this and it took awhile to piece it back together with trying to put the slides back in place along with the extractor (i didn't know what i was doing), I have been able to clean it with the action open, since it is a pump i call it good.

    I have read the reviews on this gun, some people gave it bad reviews and others actually found this one to be great. It hasn't failed on me at all and the best thing i found was it being light weight compared to other pumps

    Hope this helps
    Let me know if there is anything else to help
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