January 26, 2001, 01:00 AM
Here's another fellow that ignored them for years then after using a friend's Fox to dove hunt with I got hooked. Now I got 'em comin' out my ears. What follows is a query I sent out recently about a French gun I got ahold of this summer. If any of ya'll are knowledgeable please don't hesitate to chime in. Some already have and thanks for that!
"I recently picked up what I believed to be a custom made Belgian 16 gauge boxlock double. At least that's what it looked like to me. The stampings on the bottom of the barrels are in French but I don't know enough about the proof marks to able to correctly identify the maker and/or year it was made.
On the flats under the barrels it has the typical "Acier de Surete" and "Choke Rectifie Porte Garantie" with what appears to be either a small case letter "e" or a capital "C" with a diagonal slash though it found in between the above two statements. At the front end of the flats, on each side, the capital letters "E.M." are found under another "Choke Rectifie" that forms a semi-circle partially around the two letters.
There's what looks like a three pointed crown with the capital letters PT directly under it on both barrel flats and one on the water table. I found out just the other day from a gunmaker in St. Etienne, France that the Crown over a PT means that the gun was made there in St. Etienne but that it could have been made by any number of companies. The "Crown-PT" proofmark apparently just refers to the city.
Just ahead of the flats both barrels are marked 17.0 (which I understand translates into actually the midpoint between a 15 and 16 guage) and "St Etienne" is stamped in extremely small lettering just ahead of that number. Both flats are marked 6.5 which is 2 1/2" chambers, the typical European size.
Immediately in front of the lettering is a proof mark that I'm totally unfamiliar with. The shape is as if it were a pair of letter "U's", one right side up, the other upside down, both joined together at the bottom of their curves making sort of a curvy "X" shape. There's something in the middle of the top "U" that I can't make out and there appears to be a dot on each side of the proofmark and in the middleof the bottom "U". It's got the typical Belgian looking sling swivels on the barrels and straight grip English style stock. It has a Greener crossbolt and two locking lugs. The serial #'s all match (69873) and there's another number(N40) stamped in under the right barrel up near the post where the forearm snaps in. The post that the forearm snaps to has a very small number 8 stamped on it. Oh, and another little thing. I don't know if it's broke or just designed that way because I haven't taken it apart yet but the tang safety does not automatically engage upon opening.
The most interesting feature about this gun and the reason I think it may have been built on order is that there's a name, "Tourain Provins", in gold on the bottom of the action. There's small amounts of very light engraving on the action. The stock to hardware fit is very good. The stock's got a lot of cast off, which appealed to me personally cause it looks like it'll fit me, and there's a horn buttplate. Barrels are blued of course but the action was finished bright.
If you know anything here that would help me figure out when/where this thing originated I would be much obliged. And if there's any other information that I can provide I have no idea what it would be but I'll try. Thanks!