Old Forehand Arms Shotgun; shootable?
I own an old single barrel top break single-shot shotgun that says it was manufactured by Forehand Arms Co. of Worcester, Mass. The patent date appears to be sometime in May 1896. The shotgun's serial number is 110315. Most of the guns of this type I've ever seen were sawed off by people who didn't have a lot of money and who needed a cheap and effective weapon, but this is just an old full size shotgun. I literally bought this thing about 20 years ago for $1.00 when it was just a barrel a stock, and a bunch of parts in a paper bag. I put them together and VIOLA! this shotgun appeared. It just needed a new firing pin which a local gunsmith put in for me.(He appears to have used a sheetmetal screw.) I asked him before he did this if this gun had a Damascus steel barrel and he said no, it had a milled steel barrel, that he could see the milling marks inside the barrel. There is no bluing left on the gun, if there ever was any, and the exterior of the barrel has light rusting all over. There is also some rust inside the barrel but overall it doesn't look too bad and naval jelly would probably take care of the rust. I've never ever fired this gun but according to the gunsmith who fixed the firing pin back 20 years ago, it was ok to shoot. (However, since he used a sheetmetal screw for a firing pin, I wasn't sure how good a gunsmith he was, and wasn't sure I could trust his opinion.) Does anybody have an opinion on whether this thing would be a safe shooter or not. If so, with what, black powder shotshells or what? Would a low power modern field load be ok? How about No. 1 Buck?