View Full Version : Reading my Belgian SxS shotgun proofs

May 14, 2008, 11:44 PM
I have an old Bouquin 16 gauge SxS shotgun in great shape. I'm trying to determine what the proof marks mean, and whether this gun can be shot.


Going in order:
#1 Belgian provisional blackpowder proof for breechloading gun
#2 Barrel measurements for bore and choke
#3 'Star over W' Looks like an inspectors mark
#4 Another blackpowder proof
#5 'Star over AB'
#6 Inspectors mark
#7 16 gauge marking
#8 "Definitive black powder proof"
#9 'Star over AB'
#10 'Star over V'
#11 Numeral '2'

A Couple of questions... Proofs #5 and 9 elude me... Are they inspection marks? The look like they are a star over the top of the letters A and B run together.

This gun has 2 9/16 chambers in 16 gauge. The barrels are not Damascus (don't show any of the signs of being so). Any idea where I could take it to determine any shootability? I'm a machinist, so I'd be interested in lengthening the chambers to 2 3/4 and shooting 16 gauge target loads if possible...

Thanks for looking.


James K
May 15, 2008, 11:55 AM
The letters with a star are the marks of the individual inspectors; their names are kept secret.

Your No. 6 is the famous "perron" (steps or "tower"), a Liege landmark and symbol of the city. It is used to indicate passing the final and definitive black powder proof.

I don't see anything indicating smokeless powder proof (lion mark), so I would assume it was proved for black powder only. Whether it should be fired with smokeless loads is another question. On the side of caution, I would say no. I understand that in England and the Continent, smokeless powder 2 9/16" loads are sold that keep within black powder pressures; I don't know if they are available here, but someone else may know. The major companies load only 2 3/4" shells which would not be suitable for that gun.


May 16, 2008, 12:26 PM
* over W sideways is the inspector mark of Nicolas Wolfs, Liege Proof House, time of duty 1952 to 1968. * over V sideways ist the inspector mark of Isidor Macon, also of the Liege Proof House, time of duty 1929 to 1953. I am not aware of double capital letter inspector marks like * over AB sideways.
There is a helpful Belgian gun collectors group named "Littlegun" www.littlegun.be. I suggest you contact their primus inter pares Alain who goes by the alias Alan Trigger [email protected]
Alain helped me a lot obtaining background information regarding Belgian proof marks in connection with my research into Belgian Colts aka Centaure aka Centennial Army aks "1960 NEW MODEL ARMY".
Bootsie aka Long Johns Wolf

Jim Watson
May 16, 2008, 03:48 PM
Lee Kennett (Gun Digest, 1978) says that the "[diamond] 16 C" gauge mark, your no 7, was used from 1898 til 1924. That does not agree with Bootsies dates for the inspector's marks - which only overlap in 1953 - but is more what I would expect from a hammer gun that has no nitro proof.

May 17, 2008, 10:14 AM
My list of Liege Proof House inspector marks covers the 20th century. If I recall rightly they started with these marks around 1870ish. They might have used the same name codes already during the 19th century, as they did during the 20th century. For example * over A sideways was/is the name code for Nicolas Woit 1911-1940, Louis Cominoto 1951-1954, and for Francois Croux from 1974 to-day.
Suggest you check with Alan Trigger from Littlegun.