How can you tell if a remington shotgun has a damascus barrel

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by iverjohnson61, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Trust me I get out plenty, And I know enough about Damascus barreled shotguns to admire thier beauty and only shoot low pressure BP loads in them, if I shoot them at all. And sorry if the rest of the world isnt as smart as you are Mr. Archer.
  2. targetacqmgt

    targetacqmgt New Member

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    Question what is a BP load???
  3. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Black Powder
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    "Introduction Year: 1889 Year Discontinued: 1908
    Total Production: Approximately 135,000 +/-
    Designer/Inventor: E. Remington & Sons
    Action Type: Circular action hammers
    Caliber/Gauge: 10, 12, and 16 gauge
    Serial Number Blocks: 0,000 – 105,000; 200,000 – 260,000
    "

    First, let me note that I erred in the calculations above, for which I apologize. But your (or Remington's) figures don't add up.

    1 to 105000 and 200000 to 260000 would be 105000 + 60000 or 165000, not 135000. Even so, that is not the way factories usually handle serial numbers. Other sources show the 1889 starting at 24000, then ending at 265000, a production total of 241,000, far too high and well over the Remington total production figure. But they wouldn't have started at 1, becuse then they would duplicate the numbers of earlier models, something they apparently were trying to avoid.

    I think it more likely that they carried over from the 1885/1887 model with 24000 and ran up to 99999, at which point they rolled back to 00000, but added a "2" on the front in line with the new scheme of using a different initial number for each model. That likely happened after 1894, when the Model 1894 was assigned the 100000 block, so the Model 1889 became the 200000 block. They then ran from 200000 up to 260000.

    That makes a much more likely total production of 76,000 plus 60,000 or 136,000, quite close to the 135,000 total Remington gives.

    Jim
  5. Tom Archer

    Tom Archer Member

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    Jim K
    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.
  6. w1spurgeon

    w1spurgeon Member

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    Wow, I'm no expert here but that never stopped anyone else from jumping in so here is my two cents worth. I also own a Remington 1889, mine being made in 1902. I talked to Remington about it and they told me several different grades of the gun were offered for sale. Grade 1; the most basic of all the guns (and the model I have), came equipped with "nitro proofed" barrels. All higher grades (2, 3, 4, etc.) were manufactured with increasingly fancy wood and embellishments, but all grades above the Grade 1 were offered ONLY with damascus barrels, simply because that's what buyers of the era preferred. I had my 1889 inspected by a local gunsmith who pronounced it in good shape and I fire it occasionally using 2" Polywad light pressure shells. These shells develop about 6000psi (as opposed to a modern 12ga shell which develops 12000+psi) and I have had no problems with the gun. I also have a few damascus barreled guns (notibly a Colt 1878) but refuse to risk damaging the old guns by firing them.
  7. Tom Archer

    Tom Archer Member

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    w1Spurgeon:
    Remington gave you the correct information regarding your gun; but collectors have found a very few Model 1889's that were sent back to Remington sometime after original shipment and re-barreled with a set of fluid steel tubes (those are rare finds!). As to shell pressures, most folks don't realize that years ago shot shell manufacturers worked with the makers of semi-auto shotguns to increase shot shell pressures, as higher shell pressures were absolutely necessary to cause the spring operated semi-autos of the day to reliably function (cycle). High pressure shells are certainly not required to reliably kill game as, for example, the Passenger pigeon became extinct; and many other species pushed to the edge of extinction long before the advent of the auto shotgun. And yes, I acknowledge that no having seasons, no bag limits, loss of habitat, and unrestricted market hunting were contributing factors; but all the hunting in that era was done with shot shells of a quality lower than the cheapest leader loads of today, and mostly with double barreled shotguns equipped with Damascus and Twist steel tubes.
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Tom, I am impressed by all that information from an expert. I admit that I am not such, and hope that you will continue to answer questions on double guns on this site. IMHO, TFF can use an expert in double guns; there seem to be a lot of questions and no one who has your knowledge in that area.

    Jim
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