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Old November 4, 2010, 11:21 PM   #1
Steve9077
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Help with an English damascus shotgun

I need help. I have an old Damascus barrel shotgun that I know nothing about. It has English fine Damascus in between the two barrels. On the side the is a lot of engraving and there is a name of Panora as well. I can find nothing on Panora on the Internet. I am looking for this info because the stock is in bad shape and I am trying to find out if it is worth getting a new stock or the old one repaired. Any info would help. I will try to take pictures if I can figure out how to post them.
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Old November 5, 2010, 10:52 AM   #2
jaguarxk120
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Pictures are worth a thousand words. Now take the gun apart and look at the bottom of the barrel flats, the proof marks will tell the story, not whats on the barrel rib. Take pictures of the proof marks so they can be seen and people can tell you where the gun was made and about what time period.
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Old November 5, 2010, 11:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Pictures are worth a thousand words. Now take the gun apart and look at the bottom of the barrel flats, the proof marks will tell the story, not whats on the barrel rib. Take pictures of the proof marks so they can be seen and people can tell you where the gun was made and about what time period.
Yep - pics of all the marks underneath on the flats and water table will aid greatly

The only thing besides this post that Google turns up is a town in Iowa of Panora. - Could this be the name of a business there that had the gun made for it 100 years or so ago?
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Old November 5, 2010, 04:47 PM   #4
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IIRC, barrels marked "fine English Damascus" were made in Belgium.

I have to tell you that IMHO no Damascus barrel shotgun should ever be fired, not even with black powder loads. If you want the stock repaired for looks, fine, but if you plan to use the gun, I strongly recommend you not do so, Numrich being out of stock on spare fingers and eyes at the moment.

Now the stock situation. There are NO factory stocks for that gun, so you can either repair it, try having it repaired or make/have made a new one. There are shotgun stock rough blanks available that can be fitted to that gun. You could try DIY stock making, but unless you have experience the job will probably not turn out as you would like. If you are considering having a stock made, Google "gunstock makers" and check the web sites. I can tell you that a new stock will run a minimum of $600. If you want checkering, or fancy wood, think well over $1000, maybe $2000.

That kind of investment would be worthwhile only if the gun is from a top maker and of a high grade; I doubt yours is, but we shall see.

Jim
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Old November 5, 2010, 07:00 PM   #5
Hawg
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I have to tell you that IMHO no Damascus barrel shotgun should ever be fired, not even with black powder loads.
No offense but that is as you stated YOUR opinion. It's not mine. As long as the barrels are in good shape there's nothing wrong with shooting moderate bp loads out of them. I've been shooting them for many years. I have an Ancion SXS muzzleloader made in Belgium around 1840. It's a great shooter and those older guns handle much better than the new ones.
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Old November 6, 2010, 12:36 PM   #6
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Just MHO, but I have seen too many Damascus barrel shot guns that were dangerous to fire with even black powder. I sectioned some and the inside looked like orange lace even though the outside looked good and the bores appeared shiny and rust free. Rifles are usually OK because the barrels are thicker, but even they are subject to the same internal corrosion and rusting as shotgun barrels. The cause is the black powder and corrosive primer residue forced into the crevices of those welded barrels by the pressure. No cleaning can remove it and it continues to do its dirty work unseen while the usual coating of oil keeps the surface area looking shiny.

The better barrels, made by top English makers, are better made and seem less subject to internal corrosion, probably because the welding was done better, with fewer crevices and cracks. Still, those barrels are found on fine old guns, so my advice against firing and taking a chance is based not only on not wanting anyone to be injured, but also on not wanting to see fine old guns destroyed.

Note that this is aside from the question of shooting smokeless powder and modern shells in those guns, something that should never be done, though I have been lectured by folks who do so, including some who claim that they do so all the time, and that Damascus barrels are much stronger than modern steel.

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Old November 6, 2010, 02:33 PM   #7
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this is aside from the question of shooting smokeless powder and modern shells in those guns, something that should never be done, though I have been lectured by folks who do so, including some who claim that they do so all the time, and that Damascus barrels are much stronger than modern steel.
I grew up doing it because I didn't known any better. Dad always had a few hammer guns around and I shot modern 2 3/4 shells out of them. I won't do that now but maybe thats where my lack of fear for them comes from. There have been tests done that proved they were just as strong.
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Old November 6, 2010, 02:43 PM   #8
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Jim Keenan, I disagree also.
Right now, I have a flintlock fowler being built by an expert muzzle loading gunsmith/builder. The fowler will have a Belgium Damascus that was/is brand new in the white, built 1800-1820 and bought, with complete factory contents, by an English gunsmith about ten years ago.
I plan to shoot it after testing with normal loads. BTW, it is 17 1/2 gauge.
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Old November 6, 2010, 02:58 PM   #9
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I have a flintlock fowler being built by an expert muzzle loading gunsmith/builder. The fowler will have a Belgium Damascus that was/is brand new in the white, built 1800-1820
Oh man, I envy you that.
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Old November 6, 2010, 07:11 PM   #10
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I will also disagree about not shooting older guns - The Vintagers is a group that shoots them ion a regular basis. What is REQUIRED is a thorough inspection by a qualified smith who KNOWS older guns and knows how to inspect them. There are low-pressure loads that simulate the low BP loads that are available from the likes of Polywad and RST
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Old November 6, 2010, 07:18 PM   #11
Jim Watson
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Yes, but these are knowledgeable people shooting good quality, high condition Damascus barrels with black or low pressure nitro shells.

That is not the same thing as loading Grandpa's rusty hardware store gun with discount house shells that crowd the SAAMI pressure limits because of their fast burning powder.
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Old November 6, 2010, 09:03 PM   #12
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Absolutely agree with your statement Jim! 10X over......but I frequently see blanket statements saying absolutely no way - and, IMO, that just isn't true - BUT it does need to be checked over closely
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Old November 6, 2010, 11:54 PM   #13
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Look, have the barrel magnafluxed at the local autoshop if you have any questions about its integrity. Then keep the blackpowder charge low. No maximum load.

If nothing else, you can always sell the barrels. Some blackpowder gun builders will buy them and use them as a basis for building a new gun.
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Old November 7, 2010, 09:52 PM   #14
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I know a guy who could point out a problem with all that, except that he couldn't do it with his left hand since he has no fingers there. They departed along with a big chunk of a Damascus barrel when he insisted on firing modern shells.

Here is the problem with firing ANY smokeless powder loads in those guns. Black powder expends all its energy very quickly, so the high pressure remains in the thick part of the barrel. But progressive burning smokeless powder keeps the pressure on beyond the thick part, and there is still high pressure out where the barrel metal thins down, which is just where the shooter's off hand is holding the gun. The chamber pressure is the same, leading to the idea that there is no difference, where there is.

IF you think you can tell for sure that a Damascus barrel gun is safe, obviously you know more than I do. But IMHO, anyone who claims a Damascus barrel is as strong or stronger than a good modern steel one is under some serious delusions.

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Old November 23, 2010, 11:32 PM   #15
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I have shot a number of damascus guns in my collection with BP loads (and not light ones), but I wouldn't recommend that to anyone else.

I remember reading an article in the Double Gun Journal where they subjected several vintage damascus shotguns to torture testing with extremely heavy smokeless loads with no failures until the very end where the loads that were used approached (or surpassed) standard proof loadsZaf, these guns were not in great condition either, but were made by reputable companies. All it really proved was that those particular guns could take the loads, but no should make the assumption that another gun could do the same. I think that decision really needs to be left up to the individual who plans on shooting the gun.
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Old November 24, 2010, 10:33 AM   #16
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The other option besides selling the barrels is to have them sleeved so you can shoot modern low-pressure loads in them. There are several good smiths around the country who can perform that
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