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View Full Version : Muzzleloading barrel I.D.


JonnyReb
December 15, 2008, 07:18 PM
Doing some excavation work out behind my house, i dug up this doublebarreled muzzleloading shotgun(barrel only)

As i was using a mini bulldozer, i'm not sure exactly where the barrel came out of the ground but its unlikely many other pieces of the gun were there. The stage of decomposition was pretty bad. I used a media blaster to clean it up as well as i could. It may still be loaded in one barrel and may be the reason for the the dents in the muzzle and side of the barrel. It probably didn't go off while firing and someone beat the tar out of it on a tree and threw it away.

Its a 20 gaugish bore, 5/8 of an inch at the unbent part of the choke. 28 total inch"s long including the locks and apprx 26 1/2 inch barrel. Maybe just 26. Quite heavy, tiny brass/flat bead sight. Check out the muzzle construction for clues...

Would appear machine made, a percussion gun of course. Maybe that dates it to the mid to late 1800's. No identifiable marks unfortunately. Thanks for any info you may have..J.R.
http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z252/xxjonnyrebxx/Picture011.jpg

http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z252/xxjonnyrebxx/Picture014.jpg

http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z252/xxjonnyrebxx/Picture012.jpg

http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z252/xxjonnyrebxx/Picture013.jpg

Hawg Haggen
December 15, 2008, 09:19 PM
Yep, it's a percussion SXS but more than that I can't help you. Doubt if anybody else can either. Not much to go on.

JonnyReb
December 15, 2008, 09:35 PM
I figured it was a shot in the dark but who knows, someone out there may recognize it. I was hoping the style of production shown on the muzzle, would key someone in on who or how it was made. Or at least a time period. It looks like a mass assembled piece to me and being percussion, it could have been made as late as the 1890's.
J.R.

Hawg Haggen
December 16, 2008, 05:31 AM
Could have been anywhere from the 1830's on up. You can clean up the joint where the rib is attached at the muzzle and if the rib is brazed on instead of soldered they were most likely made in Belgium.

PetahW
December 16, 2008, 11:58 AM
Those hooks on the rear of the breechplug(s) are for quick unhooking from a "patent breech" - which is a metal casting with female receptacles for the hooks.

The barrels pivoted on the hooks up/down, on/off the stock - and were usually secured to the forestock with a wide crosspin/key.

While the patent breech design is by no means a modern development, it's rarer in vintage shotguns, leading me to suspect it may be much younger - maybe as much as only 30-40 years old.

It COULD be an Italian or Spanish import or kit, from the 1970's - as IMO the pitting isn't bad enough for 150 years in the ground.
A gun from those years should have been almost unrecognizable as what it once was.

JonnyReb
December 16, 2008, 01:56 PM
The land i live on has been settled by the same family since the 30's. They have all agreed the gun predated them or none of their family members ever had any muzzleloaders to the best of their recollection.

That would put it in the area of 1860-1930 as the land was originally settled and farmed from that point on. It would make sense to me that cartridge type firearms were available or no one would have beat this one up quite so bad and tossed it. In other words they probably had a replacement.

The amount of rust was extensive, it took a good bead blasting to see any shiny metal at all. She'd been buried awhile.
Thanks for your comments..J.R.

Hawg Haggen
December 16, 2008, 08:05 PM
While the patent breech design is by no means a modern development, it's rarer in vintage shotguns, leading me to suspect it may be much younger - maybe as much as only 30-40 years old.

No. The patent breech was pretty common after 1840 or therabouts. I've got one made in Belgium around 1840 with a patent breech.

IMO the pitting isn't bad enough for 150 years in the ground.
A gun from those years should have been almost unrecognizable as what it once was.

There's a lot of factors involved that determine how fast something deteriorates. I've seen guns dug from out west that were fireable after electrolysis with no pitting whatsoever. Even after being buried over 100 years.

It would make sense to me that cartridge type firearms were available or no one would have beat this one up quite so bad and tossed it.

No way of knowing how it came to be there. Being buried in worked land will beat one up pretty bad. The muzzles are the thinnest part so they would sustain damage the easiest. One thing you can try but I'm not sure it'll work with the barrels in the shape they're in is dip the muzzles in boiling water. If the barrels are damascus the patterns might be visible for a few seconds after you remove them.

TEDDY
December 17, 2008, 06:42 PM
and it could have been used as a fence post.

Hawg Haggen
December 17, 2008, 08:05 PM
Or a boundary marker. Just no telling.

Tom2
December 23, 2008, 04:50 PM
Central NC? Maybe lost by a Southern Cavalry fighter! Some engagements were fought in Central NC but unless you were very close to an area where an engagement took place, might be something that a farmer used as a fencepost or marker, like they said! But I like the war relic story better.

JonnyReb
December 23, 2008, 07:46 PM
I like the war relic story very much but am unfortunately in an area almost untouched by the great war between the states. It was found in the vicinity of an old outbuilding and i've a feeling that although it could have been used as a battle gun, it was probably just a game getter.

My families land in statesville N.C. was encamped on by union soldiers in 65. General stonepath did not allow the union men to take the family mules or horse but did allow them to ransack the house(which is still standing and lived in by blood kin. They didn't find much as it was already hidden away in manure piles in the barn. All events were recorded and are in a family book. Interesting stuff.

Their(union) trash dump and tent sites is unexcavated and on my list of things to see done.

RJay
December 24, 2008, 07:09 PM
I've been looking at that relic and I have come to the realization that it is the remnants of Kit Carson's rifle lost in the Lewis and Clark expedition up the Little Yazoo river. Could be wrong, been wrong before. :)