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Swagman
October 12, 2007, 11:43 AM
I have two shotguns that have come down to me from my grandfather. They are pretty well nameless, and not very pretty. Someone referred to them, with a slightly curled lip, as Hardware Store guns.
It seems to me that these nameless Plain Janes deserve a place in our history. They put food on the table; just like the shovels and hoes that came from the hardware store. There were probably many more of these than the more famous, more expensive, guns of the era.
Has anyone ever seen a study or a history of these old guns?
Swagman

SDC
October 12, 2007, 12:56 PM
Most of them are usually only mentioned as side-notes in the histories of the original manufacturers; Crescent Firearms was probably the single biggest producer of these guns, and they would mark it whichever way the retailer wanted it marked.

RJay
October 12, 2007, 07:15 PM
There have been a number of books and studies, both on the guns and their makers, Iver Johnson, Stevens, Davis, Davis Warner, Crescent, Baker, and so , and so on. The list of Trade Names them self runs into the hundreds and is not complete nor will it ever be complete. Crescent was the king of the Trade Name guns, during the life of their company it is estimated they made over 6 million firearms, almost all hardware guns. If you placed an order for as few as 15 shotguns and paid for the stamping die you could have any name you so desired roll marked on the firearms. It was quite the thing if you owned a chain of stores to have your name stamped on the barrels. Most of these books can be purchased at gunshowbooks.com. Some are reasonable, some such as Joe V's book can cost over a hundred dollars for the set of two. The real mystery are Belgium guns, so many makers didn't bother to sign there guns so exactly which maker made them is often a mystery. There are also collectors of Trade name guns who are very serious about it. Yes, trade name guns have been studied and studied. They are a valid part of American firearm history.

James K
October 12, 2007, 11:48 PM
It has been said that the "Gun That Won the West" was not the famed Winchester rifle or the Colt Single Action, or even the Army Trapdoor Springfield, but the shotgun. The more romantic guns may have been used to subdue the Indians and outlaws, but if the shotgun had not been around to feed the settlers, no one would have done much subduing.

Jim

k Squared
October 13, 2007, 01:26 PM
Swagman,

Are there any markings on the guns at all? They were often stamped on the bottom of the barrels, under the forend grip. The forend grip can usually be pulled off by turning the gun upside down and pulling up on the front end of the grip.

A picture or description of a stamp might give us some help in identifying their manufacturer.

You're right about them being a piece of history. I certainly cherish the shotguns that were handed down from my grandfather to me.

Hawg
October 13, 2007, 03:15 PM
It has been said that the "Gun That Won the West" was not the famed Winchester rifle or the Colt Single Action, or even the Army Trapdoor Springfield, but the shotgun. The more romantic guns may have been used to subdue the Indians and outlaws, but if the shotgun had not been around to feed the settlers, no one would have done much subduing.

Single barrels at that.

pipoman
October 13, 2007, 09:43 PM
I have collected certain Hardware Company guns for a long time. My interest is in the hardware companies more than the makers. I like guns made for Simmons Hardware, Shapleigh Hardware, Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett, Belknap, Lee Hardware, and several others. RJay is right, there are some sorted lists and literature on these guns around.

Here is one list I use occasionally, a few errors:

http://proofhouse.com/cm/codes_markings.htm

Swagman
October 16, 2007, 07:05 PM
K Squared,
One of my Grand Dads guns is a single 16 ga. with a trigger guard action break. There are no ID marks on the barrel. There are matching serial numbers on all three components and "Shattuck's Perfection" on the Bakelite (?) butt plate.
My people lived in Illinois and Indiana, so it probably originated in the Midwest.
I'll try to get photos later.
Thanks for your interest.
Swagman

jimcorbin
October 17, 2007, 11:23 AM
I bought 3 shotguns (single shot) like that from a guy in Indiana. I found out by researching that they are made by Stevens and were sold at Sear's.

johnbt
October 17, 2007, 03:38 PM
www.gundersonmilitaria.com/descriptiondisplay.html?shotgunsinglecartshattucksperfection

C.S.Shattuck, Hatfield, MA 1878-1908 (source GabelGuns.com)

They made a lot of handguns and also some double barrel shotguns.

williamd
October 17, 2007, 04:54 PM
Many of the hardware store guns - as with Sears and MonkeyWards - were made by name brand makers but labeled for the company selling. Hurts the collector value but a M70 made for and sold by Sears under their brand (ofter Ted Williams) is just as good a gun. Likewise for a Marlin or Mossberg with a store name. However, I have seen a few junkers with store brands, too. A related approach is common today ... Japanese Brownings and Winchesters and Weatherby. How many shotguns has Weatherby produced .... zero, I think. But, SKB built for them and now from Europe. I have two S&W rifles built by Husqvarna and Gustaf ... and of course, Howa built S&W's. What's in a name??? Bragging rights? I have a Weatherby ... I have an Ithaca ... I have an Ithaca/SKB ... I have a SKB ...... and, you all have the same shotgun with dressing. My spouse has a cutom built Orvis ... it's a nice Beretta.

Swagman
October 17, 2007, 05:10 PM
johnbt and All,

The link to Gunderson shows the exact butt plate that's on my grand dads gun. The Shattuk American Side Snap pictured on this site
singlehttp://www.gundersonmilitaria.com/descriptiondisplay.html?shotgunsinglecartshattuckamericansidesnapfine
gundersonmilitaria.com - Shattuck "American Side Snap" 12 gauge single

is the gun I have, except for the gauge.

Thanks to everyone.
Swagman

P.S.
Now to dig out the old hammer double...

johnbt
October 20, 2007, 09:43 AM
The folks on dialup are going to hate me, but what the heck. :) Not at all what I think of as a hardware gun. My father had a 16 ga. Essex sxs made for Belknap of Louisville, but he shot it loose prior to WWII.

http://www.gundersonmilitaria.com/shotgunsinglecartshattuckamericansidesnapfine.jpg

Swagman
October 20, 2007, 10:39 AM
johnbt
Great pictures! Where was the "American Side Snap" logo located on your shotgun? I have not seen it on mine.
Swagman