Need help identifying shotgun!!

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by The_Guv, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. The_Guv

    The_Guv New Member

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    Hi, I'm new to your boards, I'm from Ontario, Canada and I recently purchased this shotgun for $80 at a firearms show. I have no idea what it is, it has no markings other than a serial number. I was simply drawn to it for some reason, and at the price, decided to buy it. Pics below

    EDIT: What I DO know about it, is that it's 12Ga, I had a gunsmith I know confirm that

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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I can't positively identify it, but I can tell you that it appears to be late 19th century, and the barrel is Damascus. I recommend against firing that gun with any ammunition, and certainly not with any modern factory ammunition. I am surprised the gunsmith didn't discuss that fact with you, as it is very important to your safety if you should want to fire the gun. Also, did he check the chamber length? Many old guns were chambered for 2 or 2 1/2" shells; modern 2 3/4" are too long and can raise pressures, and any longer, even if they fit, would spell disaster.

    In case you are not aware of "Damascus" shotgun barrels, they were made up of strips of iron and steel, heated white hot then wrapped around an iron rod called a mandrel in a "barber pole" pattern. The hot strips were welded together with a hammer and built up at the breech until the tube was made. Then it was filed smooth on the outside, reamed on the inside and polished. The process fell out of use when the barrels could not stand up to the new (c. 1900) smokeless powder. While some old Damascus barrels have stood up well, in many the corrosive salts and residue from firing have been forced into the tiny cracks in the weld and have eaten out the barrel from inside even though the bore may appear shiny and the outside may be pristine.

    Jim
    VintagePurple likes this.
  3. The_Guv

    The_Guv New Member

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    Hey Jim, thanks for the information. It is an old gun, your time estimate is what I was guessing at just by looking at it, though, having it here and able to take a good look, I don't think the barrel is Damascus. It seems to be just metal, nothing fancy.

    I found this about 5 minutes ago, the posters picture is the exact same shotgun as mine http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=237693&hilit=Iver+Johnson+champion
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  4. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    C.S. Shattuck Co. made sidesnap single barrel shotgun. the shattuck co. was an early maker of brand name shotguns (1880's to about 1910). they made these shotguns for any large distributor of firearms and would mark any name on them the distributor wanted. a 1887 J.P. Lovell Co. catalog list this model under the brand name "Champion" old model.

    iver johnson took over the manufacture of single barrel shotguns for J.P.Lovell Co. about 1887 but the C.S.Shattuck company continued to sell this model to other distributor. there is very little known at this time about C.S. Shattuck Co. because no one has done much research on them. large mass production companies like iver johnson and H&R seem to have force them out of business.

    although the barrel may not be damascus this shotgun was made well before the smokeless powder era and should not be fired with modern ammo.
    bill
  5. The_Guv

    The_Guv New Member

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    Than you very much for the information, very helpful!

    Any idea where I could get ammunition safe to fire this shotgun? Or, if need be, recipe's for reloading? I've never reloaded, I've only recently started purchasing firearms.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Even if the barrel is not Damascus (and I still think I see a spiral pattern), you should stick to black powder loads and that means handloading, as I don't think any BP shells are available on the market at least in the US. Talk to your local gunsmith/dealer about having someone load some shells for you or about the tools needed to load your own.

    I don't know enough about Canadian law to know what problems you might face getting and using black powder and loading tools, but the dealer should know. (Black powder, even though it dates at least to the 1300's, is considered an explosive and regulated as such, while modern smokeless powder is usually considered a propellant powder, not a true explosive.)

    Jim
  7. grcsat

    grcsat Member

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    The Guv

    you should not have any probs. getting all your reloading equipment in Canada. Toronto and the surounding areas have some really good gun shops and any of them can give you all the info you need and all the suplys needed.
  8. The_Guv

    The_Guv New Member

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    Jim, thanks for the info, in Canada, black Powder is a pretty widely enjoyed hobby, I shouldn't have much problem, I've just never reloaded ammo before as I haven't been shooting long. THank you for your advice :)

    GRCSAT, Thank you for that, good to know, I didn't think I'd have too much issue but glad you could confirm that :)


    For the record, I only put those shells in the picture because I figured it looked a little bit "lonely" with just the shotgun, I'd never run anything through a gun I'm unshure about, I originally picked the shotgun up because , I don't know, something about it "called out to me" and it was only $80 :p
  9. The_Guv

    The_Guv New Member

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    Anyone here know where I could get any documentation in regard to these shotguns, sort of proof to what it is, catalouges or books or anything?

    Here in Canada, if it's pre 1898, it's an antique, if I can prove it's pre 1898, I can have it de-registered, meanign less of our sily laws would apply to it and I could actually hang it up as a decoration
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Unfortunately, the manufacturing date can't always be determined for guns made in that era. Serial numbers were not required, and even when a company used them and kept records, those records have often been lost as companies changed owners or went out of business.

    Jim
  11. Anchor Clanker

    Anchor Clanker Member

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    The gun is what is known as a "Trade Brand Name"" shotgun. That is a shotgun made by a major maker (and before 1940) for and was sold by a wholesaler or retailer who chose the name to go on the gun. It appears to be a CANNON BREECH which was made by one of three makers, Stevens Arms & Tool Company, Harrington & Richardson Arms Company or Hopkins & Allen for as was sold by the Simmons Hardware Company of St. Louis, MO a large wholesale sporting goods dealer.
  12. PeteM

    PeteM New Member

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    Many old guns were chambered for 2 or 2 1/2" shells; modern 2 3/4" are too long and can raise pressures, and any longer, even if they fit, would spell disaster.

    See Double Gun Journal, Spring issue 2001, "Finding out for myself" by Sherman Bell.

    In case you are not aware of "Damascus" shotgun barrels, they were made up of strips of iron and steel, heated white hot then wrapped around an iron rod called a mandrel in a "barber pole" pattern. The hot strips were welded together with a hammer and built up at the breech until the tube was made. Then it was filed smooth on the outside, reamed on the inside and polished.

    Close, but not precisely correct. The barrels went though "barrel smith shops" The 1st wrapped the mandrel, the second completed the forging and shaping. Then the barrels were taken to be ground. This was done on large 7' mill stones that driven by water wheels. At least this was the Belgian process. The English process was a bit different.

    All barrels, whether damascus or fluid were submitted to the exact same proof in every country they were produced.


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    The process fell out of use when the barrels could not stand up to the new (c. 1900) smokeless powder.

    According to Greener the English stopped producing damascus in 1903. In 1924, a film documenting the Belgian damascus production was done. There was another produced in 1931

    http://www.damascus-barrels.com/Time_Line.html

    http://www.damascus-barrels.com/Movie.html

    The last of the large scale commercial barrel production took place in Nessonvaux, Belgium as late as 1938. WWII effectively destroyed necessary infrastructure.



    While some old Damascus barrels have stood up well, in many the corrosive salts and residue from firing have been forced into the tiny cracks in the weld and have eaten out the barrel from inside even though the bore may appear shiny and the outside may be pristine.

    All guns of this era should be treated with respect regardless of the barrel material. To subject them to the pressures and recoil of modern ammunition is not the wisest approach. However, a gun well inspected can be servicable with the correct ammunition and provided the user understands the risks.

    My 10ga Ithaca Flues left the factory in August of 1919. The pattern is commonly known as "Stars and Stripes" damascus. Over 30 patterns have been observed coming from England, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Russia and in a few very small examples America.
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    I apologize to the original poster. I did not intend to hi-jack your thread. I can not tell from the photos whether the barrels are damascus or not. The only way to be sure is to strip off the current finish. Then etch the barrels in ferric chloride. The iron will then be visible from the steel. You do not have go through all the steps of refinishing. Ferric Chloride is commonly used to etch iron for many purposes.

    Here is link that shows how to use it for etching meteorites
    http://www.meteorite-times.com/Back_Links/2002/November/meteorites_101.htm
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