View Full Version : Testing the Barker 12 ga

October 9, 2005, 06:47 AM
Tillie..a local gunsmith and an old timer...looked at the Barker...he adjusted the right firing pin which was stuck... He made some light loads with me and was supposed to shoot with me today...We're rained out. He has a few beautiful Sharps etc.

I don't want to tell him he's wrong about "the gun is okay to shoot". Is there a way to test it safely? I don't want to blow my self up. (or him either)

Thanks for the warning in the Shotgun forum. Ed

October 11, 2005, 11:58 PM
Baker's are generally pretty strong, even the damascus barreled ones. However, I understand your concern. The proper way is to mount it in a testing vise and then attach a very long string to the trigger. However, most of us don't have professional testing vises, so we make do with an old tire. All that is needed is an old tire, just the tire no rim attached. You can pick up one at a tire store for free but you may have to pay them to take it back when you're done. Take the tire and a long heavy string to the range. Lay the tire on a table and then wedge the butt stock into the tire on one side with the barrel or forearm resting on the other side of the tire. Then tie the tire to the table. Then attach the string to the trigger, get back 20 feet or more or get behind some protection such as a wall or tree, and then pull the trigger. This set up has worked well for me and others. The problem is that with old firearms, it may function fine with no problems for 2 round or 200 rounds. However, there is always the chance there will be a problem somewhere done the line, but the same could be said of new firearms. I've had 2 brand new firearms blow up on me. The key is knowing enough the overall condition of any firearm to have a reasonable idea of when that failure will occur, and the sense to be wearing eye protection if and when it does happen. Good luck and let us know how it goes. Steve

James K
October 14, 2005, 07:38 PM
Hi, guys,

SCK, Pasta didn't say Baker, he said Barker, which was an inexpensive shotgun which used that name to imply a connection with Baker or Parker. There may have been good ones, but all the ones I have seen have been well worn and don't look like they were high quality to begin with. Further, the ones I have seen all have Damascus barrels. I may be wrong, but I think they were made in Belgium. FWIW, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND AGAINST firing ANY Damascus barrel gun, with ANY load of ANY powder, no matter who says they are OK. Even if the barrels look OK, rust and corrosion over the years has almost certainly gotten into the old welds and turned the barrels into something that, under magnification, looks like lace.

Testing as recommended by SCK is OK, but note that a failure leaves you with a destroyed gun. That is far better than destroyed eyes or blown off fingers, but I recommend those old guns be deactivated by removing or cutting off the firing pins and welding up the holes. The gun can then be a safe display piece: "Yessir, that's the gun greatgrandpa used when he rode shotgun for Wells, Fargo, yessir!"