help identify old shotgun

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by kingratjr, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. kingratjr

    kingratjr New Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    hello all, i have an old 12GA.shotgun i am told was made by Ivers Johnson in the 1800's but after reading some of your posts i now have doubts. hopefull someone will be able to indentify the gun and maybe put a value on it.i have shot it several times using winchester 2 3/4in.
    low brass number 8 shot shoots fine but is loose where it breaks open and the butt is cracked where it attaches to metal and is also loose.hopefully you can tell more from the photos than i can describe..any info will be greatly appreciated..Thanks jr.

    Attached Files:

  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    Hi kingratjr.....welcome to TFF.

    Well, yours is what's known as a "Hardware Store" shotgun and was made for the Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett Co. of Chicago, IL. HSB was a large hardware store in Chicago, and was in business from 1853 to 1962:

    Check the watertable for proofmarks. If there are, it's probably a Belgian import. If not, your Newport Model VN was made by the Crescent Firearms Co. of Norwich, CT. Crescent was the largest maker of Hardware Store, Gun Wholesale Company, and Catalog House shotguns in the U.S., under more than 200 different tradenames.

    Crescent made inexpensive, but good quality shotguns....and from the look of yours, I'd say it was made around 1920. It should be safe for modern shotgun shells.....BUT....if you plan on shooting it much, I'd take it a good gunsmith, have him check it out and get his opinion.

    Old "Hardware Store" singles usually go for around $75-$100.

  3. kingratjr

    kingratjr New Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Thanks Xracer for the welcome and the reply i dont really know what a water table is on a gun but i think i figured out where to look for one and decided to remove the barrel which measures 30 1/8 inches long smooth are a couple more pics if it helps .the only markings i have seen is where the parts are stamped A 972 or 972 A.

    Attached Files:

  4. chrisforthy

    chrisforthy New Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    I happen to own a gun just like that called the new powder wonder. This was a soap box company that actually sent you a 12 gauge when you sent in box labels. I think they may come from the same manufacturer.
  5. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

    Hi Chris.....yeah, your "New Powder Wonder" could've very well been made by Crescent.

    Crescent made inexpensive, but decent quality shotguns under at least 212 different tradenames for various hardware stores & hardware store chains, gun wholesalers, and catalog companies.

    Often, exactly the same shotgun would be made by Crescent under several, or dozens, of different names for different customers.

    However, just to muddy the waters up a little....these "hardware store" shotguns were often made for bid. They may have been made by Cresent for a few years, then Stevens or Hopkins & Allen (or somebody else) may have bid lower and made them for another few years.

    The "Tradename" of these guns usually belonged to the Hardware Chain, Firearms Wholesaler, or Catalog House that sold them. Trying to judge who made a particular tradename shotgun is sometimes really just a "crap shoot".
  6. Davidmush

    Davidmush New Member

    Jan 27, 2008
    And what were the other models they did?
  7. kingratjr

    kingratjr New Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    it is amazing to me that all these old guns were made by so many different companies but no one knows hardly anything about them even though some of them were made by well known gun companies.i still believe mine to be an antique who knows who, or what this old gun has put down in its long history....i may not want to know everything about it but, the curiosity of it just seems to grip my ,i shot mine yesterday and it still has all the power you need to hunt about anything....
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  8. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    Actually, the White Powder Wonder and New White Powder Wonder was a Sears Roebuck brand name from the early 1900s. The "White Powder" referring to smokeless powder.

    My grandpa had a White Powder Wonder that was identical to the the "Newport" in the original post. His folks ordered it from Sears when he was a kid in the late-1920s. He also had a "Texas Ranger" identical to it...this was a Montgomery Wards catalog brand name. As far as we could ever figure out they are Cresent-built guns.
    The parts were interchangable on these two guns and the serial numbers were within 3 or 4 thousand of each other too...I borrowed the firing pin from the Texas Ranger to pattern up a copy for the WPW's missing pin. Both were good shooters with low-brass shells.

    I've got a "New White Powder Wonder" that I haven't been able to ID the maker of yet. Unlike the Newport pictured here and grandpa's WPW and TR it's not a hump-back reciever, rather it's rounded off. I should dig it out and snap some pics of it someday.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2008
  9. pelletsdefender

    pelletsdefender New Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    It may contain certain information about manufacturers!
  10. Pelletsdefender,

    No, their is no registry - though many gun value books have cross reference data. Unfortunately, none of them is totally inconclusive.

    Personally I LOVE Hardware guns. While they are not (usually) collector guns, most are way undervalued and good shooters. Buy one, beat it to death, then pass it on the the grandchildren that call you "old." Pass your good guns on to the ones that call you "Papa." Joking here people.

    Your barrel with forestock photo looks an awful lot like an old Iver Johnson 12ga single I recently got a lot of info on from Bill Goforth. You might ask Bill direct if he knows whether this gun is I.J. made.

    Good luck with it, whatever...

    Best regards ~ ~ ~ FFF
  12. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    houston, tx
    my references on the 'newport' name indicate there were at least three different manufacturer involved and two different wholesalers. manufacturers; iver johnson, stevens and cresent. wholesalers; hibbard, spencer & bartlett of chicago and van camp hardware & iron co. of indianoplis. this one has all the appearences of a cresent manufactured shotgun. it is not an iver johnson.
  13. Ted79

    Ted79 New Member

    Jul 2, 2009
    Hey all! Guys here is a beautiful weapon. Give from what material it is and who is the manufacturer?
  14. TheGunClinger

    TheGunClinger Well-Known Member Supporting Member

  15. There were three models of shotguns with the name Newport. All were made for and sold by the Hibbard Spencer Bartlett Company of St. Louis,MO a large wholesale sporting goods dealer. Guns with the name Newport alone were made by the Crescent Fire Arms Co of Norwich,CT, W.H. Davenport Arms Co also Norwich,CT, Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works Fitchberg,MA and Stevens Arms & Tool Co of Chicoppe Falls,MA. Guns with the name Newport and Model CN were made by Crescent alone and guns with the name Newport Model WN were made by both Crescent and Iver Johnsons. All the guns would have been made between 1900 and 1930. Crescent Fire Arms was the biggest maker ever of "Trade Brand Name" shotguns (which is what I call these guns)
    making over 2,000,000 shotguns using over 400 different names. They made many different models in their business life.
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