View Full Version : Help me identify my shotgun please!
May 28, 2001, 11:53 AM
A family heirloom of mine needs identification. Its a double barrelled 12 ga. shotgun that we know is around 70 yrs old, and we believe to be well over 100 yrs old.
On the right side of the receiver/trigger group are the engraved words "Batavia, NY." On the left side it says Batavia Leader." Remove the left hand grip stock under the barrel, and "LLH" is engraved on the underside of the barrel itself, along with the serial number 80328.
Any help would be greatly appreciated, or any direction to any other web sites on this particular gun. Thank you!
May 28, 2001, 02:28 PM
This shotgun was made by the Baker Gun and Forging Co. of Batavia, New York, sometime between 1889 and 1933; according to my books, this shotgun should have Damascus barrels, and WILL NOT be safe to fire with modern ammunition.
May 28, 2001, 06:36 PM
Wow! Way cool! Thanks for the info. Can you help me understand what "Damascus" barrels are? Also, I've already shot about 50 rounds of "low brass," low power field loads with no problem... am I just lucky? I didn't want to use high power shot in it. And does this gun have any significant value?
Thank you again for your help; I really appreciate it.
May 28, 2001, 06:45 PM
Imagine my surprise when I saw your post. My wife is from Batavia NY!
May 28, 2001, 07:01 PM
I believe that Damascus is the way the barrels were made of the type of steel.
I would clean up the gun and make it a wall hanger. I don't remember any problems with low brass but you never know.
May 28, 2001, 07:17 PM
demascus is a type of steel. it is patterened as opposed to a "solid" type steel...it is used for a lot of custom knives these days because of the patterning.
May 28, 2001, 07:22 PM
A Damascus barrel was made by taking long, straight strips of iron and/or steel, then slowly wrapping, pounding, and welding those strips around a rod of the right diameter. This left a really nice curlicue pattern on the barrels, but since the metal was of questionable strength to begin with, and you could never be sure that the metal was 100% joined along the whole length, these barrels could (and can) let go at any time. You've got the higher grade of shotgun that Baker made, so it would probably be best if you cleaned it up and left it as a nice heirloom, rather than shoot it. As for value, I don't specialize in shotguns, but it'll be worth whatever someone who wants one is willing to pay. (Helpful, huh?)
May 28, 2001, 09:03 PM
Baker shotguns enjoy a rep as one of the classics, and justly so. BUT.....
NO OLD SHOTGUN SHOULD BE FIRED WITH ANY AMM0 BEFORE BEING CHECKED OUT BY A COMPETENT SMITH!!!.
Shotguns and fragmentation grenades have about the same working pressures. There's been a fair amount of funerals over the years because some one threw a goose load into Great Uncle Zeke's duck gun, ca 1890 and fired off same.
Same applies to short chambers. There's many an old shotgun out there with a 2 1/2" or 2 9/16" chamber, and using a 2 3/4" load in them runs pressures up into grenade territory.
While some of the Vintagers use the old twist and Damascus steel bbled shotguns, they are checked out beforehand, oft reproofed, and they use very low pressure handloads and light charges.
If the smith OKs using the piece and it has 2 3/4" chambers, I'd stick with light loads.
And, Briley,etc, make sub gauge tubes so that SOME shotguns of older make can be worked over into a smaller gauge, like a 12 down to a 16, 16 to 20. Not cheap.
May 28, 2001, 09:21 PM
Look for this in Harley's forum.
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