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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
c.w. hackett harware co. field gun belgium fine damascus

i'm trying to find out all i can including value, about the shotgun in the header. it is 43" overal with a 25-1/2" barrel, external hammers and appears to be 12 ga. it was apparently made in belgium for c.w. hardware. c.w. hardware went by that name about 1899-1902. pictures are attached. the markings on the gun are as follows:

on frame under barrel area by pivot pins (don't know correct name)-- 3971, capital L, a star over capital E
on both sideplates-- C.W. Hackett Hardware Co., BELGIUT
barrel top rib-- C.W. Hackett Hardware Co. Field Gun Belgium Fine Damascus
under barrel @ pivot pins-- non pour Balle, also E over LG within an oval
under barrel on rib under forend-- B, 836, L
under a barrel near bore-- GR 180
butt plate is deer in woods on top with F on top of N on bottom

all metal except barrels is engraved
thumb part of each hammer is differently engraved
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The little shops and workers that made your Trade name shotgun are long gone and they left no available written records of who made what, when and why. The same is true of the hardware score that sold it, Some time in the past it seems to have been repaired and a hammer replaced. Value, hot a whole lot, these are still very common and were very inexpensive when new. They have increased in value and I have seen ones like yours go for 150 to 200 dollars, mostly for hanging over the fireplace to jazz up the décor. Good luck and shoot safe, others may have more info and perhaps more valid values. BTW remember that is a black powder short chambered fire arm and with a Damascus barrel to boot, shoot with discretion, ( I wouldn't shoot it but that is just my wont )
 

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Quick glance at pictures reveal the following:
1 Gun was proofed for Black Powder. Do not attempt shooting with modern ammo. Probably has chambers for 2 1/2" shells. Do not attempt using 2 3/4" shells even if they fit.
2 "NON POUR BALLE" = Not for Ball, meaning barrels have chokes
3 Proof mark of E over LG within oval is Black Powder proof mark, used from 1810 but not used on breach loaders since 1893
4 The E with star above is an inspectors mark, used from 1877 and after. (Thus, your gun was made between 1877 and 1893)
5 The GR 1800 could be a bore diameter, would equal 12 ga.

Gun was made in Belgium under contract for the hardware company. Belgium produced thousands of low $ shotguns for the trade from the mid 1800s to early 1900s. Most were made by individual craftsmen and sold to distributors. Hard to tell who actually produced this gun. Often referred to as a "Guild Gun" The hammers are mismatched. There is much discussion as to using Damascus steel barrels of this age. The problem is that rust can occur between the layers of metal and may not be detectable by inspection. This could result in the barrel coming apart when shooting. Very nice "wall hanger" as it is. Probably little collector value. If you wish to shoot it, have it inspected by a gunsmith familiar with Damascus barrels and antique shotguns. And then, use only with 2 1/2" shells loaded with black powder and light loads at that. That being said, I do shoot a 14 ga. muzzle loading fowling piece made in mid 1800's. Barrel marked "Twisted" and has Birmingham proof marks. You just keep the risks in mind when loading and shooting.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quick glance at pictures reveal the following:
1 Gun was proofed for Black Powder. Do not attempt shooting with modern ammo. Probably has chambers for 2 1/2" shells. Do not attempt using 2 3/4" shells even if they fit.
2 "NON POUR BALLE" = Not for Ball, meaning barrels have chokes
3 Proof mark of E over LG within oval is Black Powder proof mark, used from 1810 but not used on breach loaders since 1893
4 The E with star above is an inspectors mark, used from 1877 and after. (Thus, your gun was made between 1877 and 1893)
5 The GR 1800 could be a bore diameter, would equal 12 ga.

Gun was made in Belgium under contract for the hardware company. Belgium produced thousands of low $ shotguns for the trade from the mid 1800s to early 1900s. Most were made by individual craftsmen and sold to distributors. Hard to tell who actually produced this gun. Often referred to as a "Guild Gun" The hammers are mismatched. There is much discussion as to using Damascus steel barrels of this age. The problem is that rust can occur between the layers of metal and may not be detectable by inspection. This could result in the barrel coming apart when shooting. Very nice "wall hanger" as it is. Probably little collector value. If you wish to shoot it, have it inspected by a gunsmith familiar with Damascus barrels and antique shotguns. And then, use only with 2 1/2" shells loaded with black powder and light loads at that. That being said, I do shoot a 14 ga. muzzle loading fowling piece made in mid 1800's. Barrel marked "Twisted" and has Birmingham proof marks. You just keep the risks in mind when loading and shooting.
thanks for the information--i'm quite impressed! about the only thing missing is that it is worth a couple thousand dollars. ;-]

The little shops and workers that made your Trade name shotgun are long gone and they left no available written records of who made what, when and why. The same is true of the hardware score that sold it, Some time in the past it seems to have been repaired and a hammer replaced. Value, hot a whole lot, these are still very common and were very inexpensive when new. They have increased in value and I have seen ones like yours go for 150 to 200 dollars, mostly for hanging over the fireplace to jazz up the décor. Good luck and shoot safe, others may have more info and perhaps more valid values. BTW remember that is a black powder short chambered fire arm and with a Damascus barrel to boot, shoot with discretion, ( I wouldn't shoot it but that is just my wont )
thanks for the reply. i certainly won't shoot it! now to decide if i want to hang it or take whatever i can get for it, even if it's not a lot.
 

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Jumbo Indy gave you some good info from the proofs but I can narrow the time frame by a couple of years, the "non pour balle" choke designation wasn't in use until after 1878 and it hasn't got the barrel weight or chamber dimensions that came into use in 1892

So your gun is newer than 1878 and older than 1892

Probably won't help you much but it closes the time frame by 2 years.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Jumbo Indy gave you some good info from the proofs but I can narrow the time frame by a couple of years, the "non pour balle" choke designation wasn't in use until after 1878 and it hasn't got the barrel weight or chamber dimensions that came into use in 1892

So your gun is newer than 1878 and older than 1892

Probably won't help you much but it closes the time frame by 2 years.
thank you! (2 years is 2 years--i'd like to narrow my waistline by 2 years)
 
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