View Full Version : J.P Sauer & Sohn, Suhl

September 29, 2008, 05:50 PM

I have recently inhetited an over/under, double barrel shotgun, and would like a little assitance determining its date of manufacture/origin/approximate value.
Please bear with me, as I know very little about guns, but here is what I found:

There is a crest in fron of the trigger housing with the initials D.R.P and the #78411 under the letters.

Under the removeable forearm piece, there are the following #'s: 1492## which I assume is the serial #. After which is stamped 8,9mm.

Around the base of the left barrel are the words: FLUSS STAHL. The right barrel says "KRUPP ESSEN".

There are the letters "CH" at the base of what I believe to be the rear rifle sight

The gun is in very good shape, with a few dings on the stock, and an overall grungy finish to the steel.

Again I apologize for my lack of knowledge, but would appreciate any input.


September 29, 2008, 10:24 PM
You have a very valuable piece of history there. Sauer and Sohns are still in business in Germany and you could get a letter from them if you like. Krupp is the manufacturer of the steel in gun. They are considered the finest in Germany. Fluss Stahl should mean it's hammer forged but I'm not 100% on that. Fluss means fluid or molten so what I'm saying is that it isn't damascus. These guns are hand made one at a time and some take as long as a year to make. I have an old Schuetzen Rifle of theirs and it's a dandy. I'm not sure about the 8-9mm part. Usually, this is the caliber on a drilling but you say it's a shotgun. I believe you'll find the D R P to be the initials of the guy that actually made the gun. That's what the curator at our museum told me. As far as value, it's hard to say anymore. If you find a collector of these fabulous guns you can hit some great money from it. Taking it to a gunshow will result in you giving it away. Seek out a fine firearms dealer and send him lots of pics and see what they have to say. I've turned down $25,000 for mine, but it's a rifle, not a shotgun so it maybe totally different for yours. Best of luck with it though.
Oh yeah, under no circumstances do you try to clean it up any. The old look is what the collectors are looking for. Taking the dirt and oil off of the action could cost you a bundle. Just leave it alone.

Jim Watson
September 29, 2008, 10:41 PM
You say "shotgun" and say "rifle sight". Pictures do not show whether this is a drilling (3-barrelled gun, usually two shot over one rifle) or a side-by-side combination commonly called a Cape Gun, from its popularity in the Cape Colony of Africa.

I figure it is one or the other, the little lever to the side of the trigger guard is either to shift the front trigger from the right shot barrel to the rifle barrel of a drilling or to set the rifle trigger for a light pull if a Cape Gun. If there is a rifle barrel, the 8,9mm is the BORE diameter. That is about right for one of the several different cartridges in the 9.3 mm rifle family. (Europeans use a comma instead of a period for the decimal point.)

More pictures, please.

DRP is Deutsche Reich Patent, indicating the action is covered under German patent #78411. I dunno about the CH marking. There are probably a bunch of proof marks on the bottom of the barrels and the action flat, clearly visible only with the barrels off the action. They might give a better idea of the caliber (and gauge, it is highly likely that the shot chambers are shorter than standard today,) They will only give a very general idea of age, German proof law did not change much from 1892 til 1939. Serial number records are unlikely, we bombed the heck out of Suhl and the Soviets took it into East Germany.

J F Cooper
September 30, 2008, 07:16 AM
I disagree with Loader as to being a "Very valuable piece of History".. It's a low end Sauer sidelock (or Side plate) with sparce engraving. There aren't enough pics to really identify it, but regardless if it's a Drilling, Cape gun or a Double barreled shotgun, it won't bring over $2000 on the market and possibly less on close examination.. Whatever it is, it isn't rare as Sauer made thousands of all types.. JFC.

September 30, 2008, 07:54 AM
Thanks for all the replies so far. Sorry for leaving out more details, but to clarify, it is a double barrel shotgun, with a rifled barrel underneath. I will follow your advice as not to try cleaning it, and will post more pics when I return from work. Sorry for the low quality pics, as I get a lot of reflection trying to get a good pic. Any area I should concentrate on for more pics?
Thanks again,


Jim Watson
September 30, 2008, 09:10 AM
it is a double barrel shotgun, with a rifled barrel underneath.

That makes it a Drilling, from the German "drei" = three.

The engraving may be sparse, but I think it a fairly high grade gun. It appears to be a true sidelock mit cocking indicators, side clips, and Greener crossbolt. I won't guess the resale value, but figure it is a lot closer to $2000 than $25000. The calibers would make a difference. If shootable, it would be worth more than if the rifle barrel were really obscure and the shot chambers short.

Take the barrels off the action and get pictures or tracings of the proof and inspectors' marks on the bottom of the barrels and the action flats. That will give us a chance to tell if it is a rifle caliber still in production, shot chamber length, and black or smokeless powder rating.

September 30, 2008, 09:12 AM
It would appear you have a "Drilling" style rifle /shotgun combo ......It would be best to upload some better quality pictures ,to narrow down what you really have .....a "Drilling" rifle per se,is collectable ,in and most people would not mind owning one ,they generally are not inexpensive ....I'd like to have one ,"just because" ....Good Luck BB34

September 30, 2008, 03:06 PM
Hi Guys:

I'll try to provide a little more info, although I cannot seem to get any decent pictures.

At the base of the barrel on the bottom are the following markings:

First one looks like a maple leaf, second looks like a crown with a small cross on top, third is an uppercase U, fourth is the number 16 encircled, fifth is what again loks like a maple leaf, and sixth is the word Nitro.

The other barrel is identical withthe exception of a small crown with a small cross on top next to the maple leaf and a capital W underneath it.

On the area in the 3rd pic are again the number 149262 on one side, the other side there is what looks like a "G cleff", capital U, crown, ad "maple leaf"

On the bottom of the drilling barrel is the number 149262, underneath which is the number 35. There is a capital D under the 2 in the above number. To the right of 149262 is another crown with small cross on top, underneath which are a capital G next to a "maple leaf", followed by another crown and a capital U. 8,9 mm are the last markings before the hinging mechanism. Attached are 3 pics which are probably useless, as close up shots are not my forte (or perhaps my camera sucks).
Thanks for any additional info.

September 30, 2008, 03:25 PM
Well, the pictures would be nice if they were in focus :-) , regardless, the marks are typical for a gun of this type, showing that it is German, proofed for nitro powders, the smooth-bore barrels are chambered for 16 gauge (please get the chambers measured if you plan on shooting it, since chamber lengths have changed), and the bore diameter of the rifle barrel. There are at least 5 or 6 different rifle cartridges that it COULD be chambered for, but the only way to know for sure which one is to have a chamber cast done. A gunsmith could do this (usually costs around $50), but you can do the same thing yourself at home with Cerrosafe for around $20, as long as you've got a pair of calipers to take the necessary measurements with.

Jim Watson
September 30, 2008, 04:54 PM
The "maple leaf" is probably the German Imperial Eagle used in many of their proof marks.
(Eagle) is the provisional proof of individual barrels or guns rough fitted.
(Eagle) (Crown) U is definitive proof test of the finished gun.
(Circle) 16 is for 16 gauge. It is probably the 65mm - 2 9/16" chamber instead of the current 70mm - 2 3/4", which would have been so marked. General opinion is the short chamber guns should not be shot with long shells.
Proper shells can be had, although probably rather expensive.

(Crown) W means that barrel is choked, probably full choke.
Nitro means tested for smokeless powder.

These marks are from the system in use from 1891 til 1939. The gun is probably a world war bringback, confiscated from some German hunter's house.

35 D I don't know, not in my list of German proof marks. A company mark or a local inspector's mark maybe.

8,9 is the BORE diameter of the rifle barrel. Add typical groove depth and it is probably a 9.3 caliber, of which there are several different ones.
As SDC said, it will take a chamber cast to tell for sure. You can get 9.3x74R and maybe 9.3x72R. Others would be harder, either formed and handloaded or a major custom effort, assuming you want to shoot the gun and not just show it.

September 30, 2008, 05:18 PM
I want to thank all of you who have helped me figure out the details of this gun. It is one of many I have received, and I never knew that every little marking means something specific.
I have no intention of shooting this gun (unless it's at my digi cam), but will most likely sell it someday. Without getting too much off topic, can anyone reccommend a way to find a reputable appraiser who could go through a large collection and conclude date/value/origin/condition?

Again, thank you all for your assistance!


October 29, 2008, 09:19 AM

what you have is just the finest drilling action Sauer ever made. German patent # 78,411 is about the cocking/decocking gear of the barrel rifle. With the lever on the left side of the receiver it is possible to cock/decock the rifle hammer independently from the hammers of the side locks. Later, this idea was copied by Sempert & Krieghoff (their mechanism is a little different, but the idea is the same).

There are two variations of this drilling model. The first variation has the patent number and has a little push button (see enclosed image). At least, it should be present at yours. This button is for activating/deactivating the single front trigger mechanism. Try it out: cock the drilling (both side locks AND the rifle lock) and pull the front trigger twice. See, what will happen. If you disassemble the button, the front trigger will fully act as a single trigger.

The second (later) variation did not have the patent number and did not have the push button.

This patent was granted in 1894 and is enclosed also.

Regarding the serial number: it should have been made prior to 1915. I have the exact figures not at hand at the moment, but it should have been made prior to 1915, at least.

Regarding the calibre: yes, probably (!) the calibre is 9.3 x 72R. But be careful! Don't just put a cartridge in! Caliber also could be "9.3 x 72R S&S" (what is a different cartridge!) or even (although not very likely) 9.3 x 74R.



October 31, 2008, 03:05 PM
Thanks alot Sauerfan.
Right now, all the rifles have been placed in gunsocks and stored away in the attic. All the gunsocks look alike, but when I have time, I will check the mechanism out more closely.


Bill DeShivs
October 31, 2008, 03:13 PM
Please don't store guns in the attic! Guns need a temperature and humidity controlled environment-like inside the house. They should be well-oiled before being stored, and inspected monthly for rust.
A few weeks in an attic, with the right conditions will ruin them.

October 31, 2008, 05:00 PM
And I thought I was going to have a relaxing weekend......Will take em' down tomorrow and fill up a closet.

Thanks for the heads up Bill

the foot
October 31, 2008, 08:12 PM
That is a valuable firearm. Saure & Sohn firearms are collectibles as soon as they are sold the first time.

November 1, 2008, 05:25 PM
The screws on the left side of your drilling look like they have been tampered with. The right side looks just as they should, all aligned properly.
Please do not try and move any as they could be damaged and any tampering could result in loss of collector value. I am only adding this as a caution to not take any screws out.
This is a link to a very fine gun emporium close to my home town. It will give you an idea as to what some guns can be valued at. I do a lot of drooling when I visit this store.

November 2, 2008, 08:00 AM
Thanks for the heads up Gbro. I'll look at the gun more carefully when I move them today. I checked out that website...179,000 for a gun!! I couldn't imagine spending that much for a "trailer queen" or whatever you might call it. But theres a buyer for everything.
I can post more close ups of the Sauer if anyone is intersted(my pics are a little better since I learned how to turn the flash off).