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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, a little patience and persistence paid off! I found a Hopkins and Allen 1888 falling block 12 ga shotgun on an online auction, and I was the winner! The one that I bid on last month went just north of $500 as I recall. I picked up this one for $150, though it is more of a basket case.

This gun is going to need a lot of work, but it's a pretty simple action. Looks like the tang screw is missing. Making screws and springs are pretty straightforward, though. The stock will need a lot of work as well. The bore is supposed to be okay, but the exterior of the barrel will have to be struck.

I'm excited because this will be my first attempt at rust bluing.
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It's the big brother to my 922, Hopkins and Allen made three versions of the 922 falling block, the 922 junior, the 922 and the larger 922 like yours in shotgun gauges and rifle calibers. Looks like you'll have a fun winter project and you'll get to learn a new skill in rust blueing.
 

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Here is my 922, some Bubba did a number on the stock trying to make it look more modern. Originally it's stock would have looked like yours. The Junior was a boys rifle chambered in .22 or .32 RF, the 922 was chambered in both rimfire and several pistol calibers up to .44-40 shot shells and the larger 922 like yours was chambered in rifle calibers and shotgun gauges up to 12 gauge.
What does it say on the top of the barrel, that can give a clue as to when it was made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here is my 922, some Bubba did a number on the stock trying to make it look more modern. Originally it's stock would have looked like yours. The Junior was a boys rifle chambered in .22 or .32 RF, the 922 was chambered in both rimfire and several pistol calibers up to .44-40 shot shells and the larger 922 like yours was chambered in rifle calibers and shotgun gauges up to 12 gauge.
What does it say on the top of the barrel, that can give a clue as to when it was made.
These are photos from the auction site. I would imagine it'll be a while before it arrives.
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Made sometime between 1895 and 1897, mine says something similar except it also says Merwin and Hulbert sole distributers. M&H owned 50% of Hopkins and Allen Manufacturing Company until they went bankrupt in about 1895. H&A was reorganized and changed their name to Hopkins & Allen Arms Company in 1897. H&A bought the patents to the 922 falling block action from Davenport Arms sometime around 1890. Near as I can figure mine was made sometime between 1890 and 1895. Serial numbers on them are a mess, they started a new series with every variation of rifle they made and there are no records. IIRC mine is serial number 848, has it stamped on several places sort of like a German made fire arm. It's on the lever, the barrel the breech block, the toggle link between the lever and block, the action and written in pencil on the stock and forearm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Made sometime between 1895 and 1897, mine says something similar except it also says Merwin and Hulbert sole distributers. M&H owned 50% of Hopkins and Allen Manufacturing Company until they went bankrupt in about 1895. H&A was reorganized and changed their name to Hopkins & Allen Arms Company in 1897. H&A bought the patents to the 922 falling block action from Davenport Arms sometime around 1890. Near as I can figure mine was made sometime between 1890 and 1895. Serial numbers on them are a mess, they started a new series with every variation of rifle they made and there are no records. IIRC mine is serial number 848, has it stamped on several places sort of like a German made fire arm. It's on the lever, the barrel the breech block, the toggle link between the lever and block, the action and written in pencil on the stock and forearm.
Thanks, Grizz! Very helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Assuming that I'll have success bringing this old gun back to life, I'll have another rabbit hole to dive into. I've looked around for 2 1/2" black powder shot shells, and at the moment they're pretty much unavailable. The ones that are available are around $50 a box. There are brass hulls available so I'll have fun learning about loading those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You can use short wads in a 2 3/4 shell and cut it down so you will have 2 1/2 when it is crimped.
I have a couple of old shotguns that I do that for already. Those are smokeless loads, though.

From much of what I've read so far, using plastic hulls for black powder loads isn't ideal. Paper or brass hulls seem to be recommended.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Welp, it took a little longer than I would have liked, but I received that Hopkins and Allen falling block shotgun! Then, I got that nasty flu that's been going around, and didn't do much of anything for 10 days or so. I feel much better now, so it's time to dig into the project!

First impressions are good overall. The corrosion isn't as bad as I had anticipated. The bore has a film of rust, but I see no indication of pitting. The only pitting of note is on the receiver, lever and butt plate.

It seems to function, though it's missing the extractor. I dropped a primed empty hull into the chamber, closed the breach, cocked the hammer, pulled the trigger and - nothing! The firing pin left a small dimple on the primer, but not enough to detonate the primer. The hammer doesn't seem to drop with much gusto. Maybe the spring needs attention. Or the firing pin. Or both. The receiver locks up nicely, though.

Obviously, I'll need to fabricate a tang screw, as it's missing. I've already found a pattern for the extractor. That may be more of a challenge, but I'm up for it!

The wood is OK. It needs a lot of attention (to include refreshing the checkering.) There is a large gap around the top tang, so I'm thinking that I'll find that the wood is splitting underneath it once I get the stock off. There's also a gap at the top of the butt plate. That'll be tricky, but doable.

For now, I've given all of the receiver pins and screws a taste of Kroil, and I'll let it sit overnight. None of the screws are buggered up, so that's nice. The takedown screw is frozen at the moment. We'll see how that goes!

I'll know a lot more when I disassemble it!
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, I got the shotgun mostly apart. The screw that retains the lever spring is extremely buggered. A long soak in Kriol didn't help. The barrel take down screw is captive somehow, but I can't see it inside the receiver, as it's view is blocked by the lever spring. Right now, it have the barrel/receiver soaking in Evaporust. Maybe that'll help me break the lever spring screw loose. Otherwise, the action parts cleaned up nicely so far.
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The butt plate was extremely pitted, but I've finished rough filing it. Fortunately, it's thicker than your average steel butt plate.

The stock does have a long crack running the length of the top tang, left side. I've used acetone to get the oil out of the stock. Next, I'll open the crack up and acraglass/pin it. So far, so good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As a side note, I also got serious about getting all of the black powder shotshell components together. Magtech 12 ga. brass hulls, 11 ga. nitro over powder cards, 11 ga. fiber cushion wads, 10 ga. over shot cards and large pistol primers. The large pistol primers were nearly impossible to find. None of the reloading websites have them. The LGS guys just give you a blank stare when you ask them about it. I ended up paying a king's ransom for two sleeves at that big online auction house.

Some say that you can drill out the base of the brass hulls so they'll accept standard shotshell primers, but I decided against it. They're too expensive to experiment with. So far, I've spent more on shotshell components than I have on the gun!
 
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