What ga. is this shotgun?

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by redhawk44, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. redhawk44

    redhawk44 Member

    Oct 20, 2003
    My neighbor had a garage sale yesterday and I bought this gun from her thinking it was a 12 ga. gun, but when I got it home and cleaned it up, I found that it will not properly chamber 12 ga. shells. I can force a 12 ga. shell into the chamber, but the ejector will not dislodge it from the chamber--I have to use a tool (screwdriver) under the rim to get it out.

    It is marked "Meriden firearms co" (I understand a subsiderary of Sears Roebuck & co.) on the side of the receiver, and there is no marking as to caliber or ga.

    I measured the bore with a telescope guage and a micrometer and the bore is .715" in diameter instead of the standard .729 for the 12 ga. bore.

    The barrel is marked "choke bored" and measures .671" in diameter at the muzzle, where a standard 12 ga, full choke would measure about .700".

    The chamber is approximately 3" long and measures .819" in diameter at the breech with about .015" taper being smaller toward the front of course.

    This gun is in good enough shape that taking these measurements is reliable, that is to say that it is not all rusty and crudded up, I have thoughally cleaned it, and I am Journeyman Machinist of 40 years experience in the trade, so these dimentions are reliable.

    Any ideas as to what I have here?

    It is too large for a 14 ga. and too small (marginally) for a 12.


    In checking it against the chamber dimensions of a modern gun (870) I find the chamber to be close to modern dimensions, so it is a 12 ga. chamber all right, but why the tight bore?

    Was it normal to have a bore this tight for black powder shells?



    Last edited: Jul 29, 2005
  2. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    Maybe a 12 ga. 2 1/2" or 16 guage! Maybe? :confused:


    LIKTOSHOOT Advanced Senior Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    I too believe it to be a 16ga.

  4. redhawk44

    redhawk44 Member

    Oct 20, 2003
    I think the bore is too large to be a 16 gauge, and the chamber is MUCH too large for fireing 16 ga. shells .

    LIKTOSHOOT Advanced Senior Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    I would try a 16ga, and see how it fits/ejects. If it not a 16ga, then it is more than likely a 12ga 2-1/2 papershell shooter.

    Let us know.

  6. Contrary to popular belief Sears, Roebuck & Co. never manufactured firearms [or much of anything else!]. All guns with their brand names on them were made by firearms manufacturers to Sears specifications.

    Meridian Firearms Co. was probably a subsiderary of another firearms company that built these inexpensive single-shot shotguns and sold them through the Sears catalog. I found no reference to Sears using this name as their own store brand, although I have heard of the Meridian Fireams Co. before.

    Sears, Roebuck & Co.'s firearm store brands were: J.C. Higgins, Ranger, Sears and Ted Williams.
  7. redhawk44

    redhawk44 Member

    Oct 20, 2003
    When I referred to Meriden as a subsiderary of sears, I was going by this:http://www.faqfarm.com/Q/How_do_you_find_parts_for_a_Meriden_Model_10_22_rifle

    It seems clear that Meriden manufactured firearms for Sears, whether they were a sibsiderary or not, but the question is, why would the bore in this gun be some .015" smaller that a 12 ga. bore?

    I know that there are always variations in bore size, especially in guns this old, but this seems like quite a lot for just a simple deviation from the normal bore diameter.

    Was it common practice in those days (1905 to 1915) to bore the barrels tighter for black powder shells?

    That is all that I can think of.
  8. stash247

    stash247 New Member

    Oct 18, 2003
    Central Texas
    I'm not a serious shotgun person; just the same, let me offer the following.
    Anschutz rifle barrels, uniformly, are choke bored; others follow this practice. It means, the taper of the bore begins at the breech, and is smallest, at the muzzle. To bore a barrel of uniform diameter, breech to muzzle, is impossible; to taper it smaller to larger, breech to muzzle, reduces pressure tremendously, but is fundamentally inaccurate. Thus, the 'choke bored' rfle barrel.
    If you marked that telescoping bore gage, every inch, and measured the bore, breech to muzzle, I'd expect to see a consistant taper; this would explain the markings.
    Back in the 'teens, 20's, 30's, there was little or no agreement as to chamber length; you may be checking the chamber with a too long shell!
    The shoulder, or step, in a shotgun chamber is at the point where the crimp, unfolded, will ultimately reach; if the loaded shell, unfired, is hanging up at this point, the shell is WAY too long.
    If of good steel (Sears/Meriden???) the chamber might be lengthened; otherwise, custom ammo is required.
    Hope this sheds a bit of light....Terry
  9. Silver72

    Silver72 Member

    Nov 5, 2005
    Central Texas
    The Meridian Firearms Co. of Meridian, Conn. manufactured guns under several names for other companies, i.e. Federal Arms, US Triplett & Scott, AJ Aubrey.

    AJ Aubrey Co. also made guns for Sears.

    At least that's what Google says.
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