Re: How can you tell if a remington shotgun has a damascus barrel
Permit me a couple of comments. First, I agree that GOOD QUALITY Damascus barrels, well maintained and checked out by an expert, will PROBABLY be safe to shoot with ammunition of the same pressure level they were designed for.
But I think making that a general statement does not take into enough consideration the tendency of corrosion from old primers and black powder residue to work its way, under pressure, into the interstices in the barrel. The fact is that while the barrel may have been designed and made in 1890 to handle 8000 psi safely, the BARREL is NOT the same as it was in 1890.
Further, the trouble with saying that some Damascus barrel guns are safe is that a lot of people will read it as saying that Damascus barrels are safe, and the supposed danger is a myth. Yes, I have read and heard exactly that; one "gunsmith" told me that a Damascus barrel was stronger than any modern steel barrel ever made!!
I have sectioned some Damascus barrels that looked good on the outside, had nice shiny bores, but were like orange lace inside; the rust was the only thing holding them together. For that reason, I will always advise against shooting those guns, with any powder or any load.
I have never seen a Damascus barrel "unwind", though one may crack at a "ring" when it lets go. They don't stretch or peel as modern steel does; they break. All the blown up Damascus barrels I have seen had chunks blown out of them, one or two at the chamber, but most at the point where the barrel thins down, at about the front of the forearm, or where the shooter's fingers normally are placed. I have seen two injuries - one shooter lost three fingers, the other, fortunately, received only a scratch on his palm. Both, be it noted, were firing modern smokeless powder loads, which the former had been warmed (by me) not to do.
On the Remington serial numbers, I would with all respect have to question the Model 1889 numbers. Starting with 1 to c. 150/160k, then going from 200k to c. 265k, would mean a total production of the 1889 of 215/225k, a figure that just seems way too high, about the same number as the common Colt 1851 Navy, and well out of line with previous and future model sales.
I thank you for the book suggestion; I don't have it, but will get hold of one when I see it.