There was a safety recall of all the SPAS-12's. While American Arms was the Franchi SPAS importer, they would exchange a new cross bolt safety trigger group for any old one with a lever safety. I'm pretty sure this was a mandatory recall. There was a notice in Shotgun News that I'd love to get a copy of. Now that American Arms isn't, they don't.
Why was it recalled? When it fails, just moving the lever from safe to fire (putting the safety off) OR moving from fire to safe (putting the safety on) -- fires the gun without touching the trigger!!! There are more details as to what happens with them on this page.
First, lets look at the cylinder of metal
you rotate with the lever. There is the round part where it
won't let it fire, and the one flat part where the gun will fire:
This is the hammer. Note the little bump I have pointed out:
If you look into the bore where the lever cylinder goes, you'll see with the gun uncocked that the bore goes straight through. Notice the slot in the top:
As you cock the hammer this teeny tiny little tab of metal sticks down into the bore as the hammer moves. This is your safety! That little tit of metal on the end of the hammer. This image is with the hammer halfway to being cocked:
The flat spot on the lever show at the top is supposed to let it pass, the round part not.
When fully cocked and the hammer is held by the trigger sear, a little bit will still hang into the bore:
When you put the safety on, the safety pushes the tab up until it is completely out of the bore. This takes the load off of the trigger sear as the hammer moves back even further. The hammer is then hanging on the safety, no longer the trigger sear.
So why does it fail? Best theory as of today. Every time you put the safety on you push the hammer back and take it loose of the trigger sear and hold it even further back with the safety. (The safety pushes in the bump hanging down shown above). Every time you take the safety off, the safety lets go of the hammer and the trigger sear takes back over as the hammer moves forward just a bit.
This is sort of a hand-off -- one stops holding it and the other takes over. I think that sometimes the hand-off is flubbed and no one has a hold of the hammer as you put the safety on or off -- and the gun fires.
Well actually, we can get that one to fire unexpectedly if we mess with it just right. It's possible to pull the trigger with the safety partially released and when you take the safety fully off, it will fire. But if you be messing with the trigger as you take the safety off, you are asking for trouble.
The new safety has an entire additional safety function added that uses a new plunger to lock the hammer so it cannot be let loose with the safety on.
I'll have pictures of this when I show how we are going to be converting these.
I Checked Mine, It Works Fine, Am I Safe?
No.It may work fine now -- but every gun that failed did work fine when it left the factory. Franchi would not have scraped 100% of them if some simple check could have sorted out the bad from the good. You have a time bomb. See this page
Go here and check out why you never want to try to cock the gun with the safety on,