Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Watkinsville, GA
Re: How can you tell if a remington shotgun has a damascus barrel
American double gun serial numbers are quite confusing, soI can understand your confusion; but again, you need to do bit more research and expand your knowledge base regarding the manner in which these American makers of vintage double guns inventoried their products. First of all, the gun production numbers you question come directly from the Remington historical archives; not from anything Brother Tom estimated or fabricated, so if you have issue there I suggest you to take that up with the Remington historian and not with me. Remington Arms, as did Ithaca, LC Smith, Syracuse, AH FOX, and others reserved large serial number blocks for different gun types (hammer vs. hammerless models, ejector models, etc), gauges, and a few even assigned an additional serial number to guns returned for an extra, or replacement set of new barrels (Lefever Arms Co of Syracuse, NY is an example; the original serial number on the frame remained unchanged, but a new serial number would be added/stamped on the underside of each barrel tube beneath the forearm). As to Remington Arms, the fact that the inventory practices at Rem Arms was to reserve a large block of serial numbers for a certain model did not mean that all those numbers were actually assigned; and I suspect the original serial number block assigned to the Model 1889 was changed when Remington made their decision to introduce and manufacture the Model 1894 and begin that serial number block at 100,000, as doing so subliminally suggested that this gun was already a huge success! Did Rem produce 99,999 examples of their great Model 1894? No; they produced barely half that number. And when Rem introduced the economy model of the Model 1894, the Model 1900, that model was also assigned a unique serial number block beginning at 300,000; but production for that model was not huge either. And not too many people know this bit of trivia; but Remington produced one grade of the Model 1894 designated the "Special"; and even though less than 10 examples of this model were ever made, Rem assigned this model its own unique serial number block beginning at 400,000. Who knows how many double guns Rem would have produced had they not purchased the rights to produced John Browning's revolutionary semi-auto shotgun (the Rem Model 11), but the last Remington double gun shipped in 1911 because Rem found them too time consuming and expensive to produce; and the Model 11 much more profitable to manufacture.
Understanding a maker's serial number blocks is critical to understanding and collecting American double guns. For instance, AH Fox guns (as is true with many American double gun makers) do not have gauges stamped on the gun; but if you know your serial numbers, you can easily know the gauge because you know that number blocks 1-49,999 are all 12-gauge graded guns, that 50,000-199,999 are all 12 gauge Fox Steringworth models, that the serial number block 200,000-299,999 was reserved for all grades and models of the AH Fox 20-gauge guns, and that the serial number block 300,000-399.999 was reserved for all grades and models of the AH Fox 16-gauge gun (Fox only made 12, 16, and 20 bore double guns). LC Smith serial numbers are the most complicated to understand; but are imperative to understand if one is a Smith gun collector. I won't go into those her, but if anyone reading this post should remember anything it is this; the fact that an American double gun maker may have reserved a large block of serial numbers for a certain hammer or hammerless gun model that maker is producing has absolutely no correlation to the actual numbers of guns of that model the company produced. Without exception, all produced less examples of their respective models than those numbers within the assigned serial number block allowed; and some, such as Colt with their model 1883 hammerless gun, actually skipped significant portions of those numbers within their assigned serial number block in an effort to give the impression to the shooting public that their gun was a larger success than it actually was (that they were selling larger numbers than was actually the case). All these various company oddities serve to increase confusion and complicate matters further for the researcher; and is exactly why anyone giving advice on vintage American double guns either needs to know his stuff, or remain mum lest he risk passing out wrong information; the amount of which is staggering! Invariably giving someone the wrong information results in one of two situations; either the questioner leaves thinking his gun is worthless/useless, or thinking his gun is worth far more than is actually the case. As for me, many consider me an expert in the history of high quality American double guns; and I have no problem sharing my knowledge in that regard. But, as no one is a "Jack of all trades"; and with the one exception of the Marlin Model 336, you won't find me giving free advice on H & R guns (save for their rare and high grade Anson and Deely hammerless double from the early 1880's), Lugers, Mausers, American made pistols, and on and on because those guns simply hold no interest to me personally; and I have therefore spent zero time researching same. And finally, my intent here is not to disparage anyone; and if I have, then please accept my sincere apologies. But I am "on a mission" so to speak; a mission to correct the record whenever I can as regards the misinformation that continues to be passed around and offered as "fact" on vintage American double guns. These vintage guns represent an invaluable part of our American Sporting heritage, they were beautifully made by incredibility talented individuals; and they deserve to be understood and treated with the appropriate respect.