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willp58
January 13, 2001, 07:08 PM
Hello, I have acquired an old French 12 gauge double bbl. The stock is straight, English style, it has double triggers and the receiver top is nicely engraved. On the bottom just ahead of the trigger guard is engraved Troves N Nantes. I would appreciate any info on this gun that you might have, value, make, etc... Thank you! Bill P

James K
January 14, 2001, 01:07 PM
Some French shotguns are well made, but if that is an old gun it may have Damascus barrels, in which case it should not be fired, even with black powder loads. (Some people have argued with me on this; one of them lost parts of three fingers.)

If you can look at the bottom of the barrels and at the "water table" (the top of the action where the barrels fit) and describe the proof marks, I may be able to tell you at least a little more. There may also be some small markings on top of the barrels or on the rib which may help.

Jim

willp58
January 14, 2001, 09:06 PM
Jim, thanks for the info, with the bbls off, on the flat of the receiver is stamped PM also PJ under a crown. On the flat of the barrels is stamped the same PM and PJ with the crown. Also on the flat is stamped "canon de surete". 6.5 is stamped there too and the words "choke perfectionne". Just ahead of this flat is stamped choke 18.4, (R C), non pour balle. There is a small crown stamp with wings (I think) followed by STETIENNE, this is all on the left barrel. The right barrel has the same markings except the R C. The S/N is 74XX. The forend is small, about 7 inches and the stock appears to be professionally redone, as the checkering is very sharp and almost flawless, blueing is about 90%+. I hope this helps, and thanks again for any information you may have. Bill P

James K
January 15, 2001, 09:30 PM
I will have to do a bit of guessing here. The crossed palm branches and crown are the proof marks of the St. Etienne proof house. The PJ and PM are semi-smokeless powder proofs, not quite a full nitro proof. The 6.5 I think should be 65, the chamber length (for 2 1/2 inch shells). The RC has something to do with choke. Choke Perfectionne is improved choke (= improved cylinder?). The 18.4 is the choke diameter in millimeters. Non pour balle means Not For Ball, a common marking for choked barrels in the old guns where a solid ball would destroy the choke.

Canon de surete literally means "barrel of safety", but I have no idea what exactly is meant. I cannot be sure, but I believe that shotgun was made prior to 1923 and perhaps much earlier.

Since the gun is blued and smooth, the barrels probably are not Damascus, but I would have it checked by someone who knows the old guns before thinking of firing it, even if 2-1/2 inch shells can be found or made. I recommend that a Damascus barrel gun not be fired. In any event, American 2-3/4 inch shells MUST NOT be used in it. Any shells used in it should be of low power.


HTH

Jim

willp58
January 16, 2001, 05:21 PM
Jim, Thanks very much for all the information, would you have any idea of the value of this gun? Bill P

James K
January 17, 2001, 12:23 AM
Assuming it is not engraved or gold inlaid and has some King's name on it, and assuming it is not Damascus barreled, I would think it would probably go for around $200-250, maybe a bit more if you find a fan of European double guns. You might try taking it to a gun show and see what some dealers think.

Jim