old Belgium 12 gage double hammer marked T. Parker

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Jim Leonard, May 15, 2011.

  1. Jim Leonard

    Jim Leonard New Member

    May 15, 2011
    I am new so am not sure how this works. I am trying to learn more about an old 12 gage double barrel side lock hammer shot gun. It is marked "Belgium" in two places and "T. Parker". The barrels lock to the action with a horizonal cross pin through the top tang on the barrels.
    Thanks for any help you can give.
  2. Hawg

    Hawg Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Cheap Belgian import from around the 1890's - early 1900's. The name was a take off of Thomas Parker to dupe people into thinking they were buying a quality shotgun. Value is minimal.
  3. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Goodyear, Arizona
    As posted, imported from 1890 until 1910 ( in 1911 the Germans put a kink in the gun making business ) , sold through Sears and Roebucks and other catalogs stores for 11.00 dollars. True maker is unknown , may have been Piepers or even a C0-Op, These were imported by the boat - load prior to WWI and to a lessor extend after the War. The shotgun forums seem to think the T. Parkers were better than the average Belgium import but with Damascus barrels it is best used as a decorator piece and not a shoot-able firearm. These sell in excellent condition for 150 to 200, or what ever the market will bear. ( I saw one go for 225 at the Phoenix gun show. ):D There are no records for these old Belgium shotguns so the only dating is to an "Era".
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    With any old gun, and especially those with Damascus barrels, determination of safety for shooting must be made based not on what the gun WAS but on what it IS. All those guns passed Belgian proof, and were probably safe enough in their day, but for many that day is long gone.

    For those who might not know, Damascus (twist, laminated, etc.) barrels were built up by twisting strips of iron and steel together, heating that strip red hot and welding the pieces together. Then the strips were again heated, wrapped around an iron bar called a mandrel and welded by heating and hammering. The resulting tube was finished into a barrel.

    Never as strong as a barrel bored from solid steel, those barrels were quite attractive. But the welds never were absolutely solid. Over the years, corrosion from the old primers, and from black powder residue was forced by the pressure of firing into the tiny cracks and crevices between the strips that made up the barrel, and ate at the metal from the inside. A barrel can look good on the outside, and the bore can appear shiny and like new, yet the metal inside can look like orange lace from the years of rusting away, unseen.

    Such barrels are a booby trap waiting to harm someone. It doesn't matter what powder you use, or what the load, the guns are dangerous. "Experts" will tell folks that black powder loads are all right, and they may be correct, but their eyes and hands are not in danger. They will claim to be able to tell by eye if a barrel is safe. They can't. They will even claim that Damascus barrels are stronger than modern steel. They are wrong. Sure, some Damascus barrel guns are perfectly safe with black powder loads. Others are not. There is no 100% reliable way to tell the difference.

    I believe and will continue to say that all such guns should be retired to display status. Anyone wanting to shoot a shotgun should buy a newer gun with solid steel barrels.

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