View Full Version : Just a shot in the dark!

January 22, 2009, 03:30 PM
New here. I was wondering if anyone might have some info on a gunsmith from the 40's - 60's in Colorado area. I have a 16 ga. side by side with no markings for brand. It is a family heirloom, and a sweet bird gun/clays. There are markings on different parts of the gun, and the gunsmith's name is on the top of the barrels. Karl Klavberg. Like I said, it is a beautiful piece of art work, and shoots really well. My great uncle had it made for him, but I have never been able to find out any info on this gunsmith. It was appraise for insurance at more than my car. (not saying much:D) Just thought I would ask. John

Bud Helms
January 22, 2009, 04:24 PM
I'd ask the insurance appraiser.

January 22, 2009, 04:34 PM
G'day and welcome. I have a car like that to.:D:D:D

January 23, 2009, 02:22 PM
The appraiser did not know who the smith was, he was just looking at fit/finish/quality type things. Most of the screws in the metal parts of the receiver have over-lapping lock screws, when tightened properly, all the slots line up horizontally it is really a wonderful piece of firearms craftsmanship.

January 23, 2009, 11:48 PM
I've seen a "gunsmith Registry". Try a Google on it...but it may only be for active 'smiths.


January 24, 2009, 11:38 AM
I tried google, but I think this guy has long been dead. I was wondering what receiver he used as his base platform. I've seen some old Remingtons, and a few others that looked similar, but none that are perfect matches.

Bud Helms
January 24, 2009, 01:58 PM
Okay, let's do this ... get some pics and up load them to this thread.

I'll move this thread to the Research Forum and maybe the guys that haunt that forum will have some ideas.

With some good pics, we may be able to identify the hardware, even if we aren't able to name the gunsmith. Get a couple of good shots of the barrel side and the breech side with the action open, as well as side shots of the whole shotgun.

January 26, 2009, 08:03 AM
I will try to do that as soon as I can. The gunsmith's name is Karl Klavberg, and he actually used german proof marks in the barrels. If the photos come out well you will be able to see them.

January 26, 2009, 01:48 PM
Sounds like it's a German gun. The Germans have this thing about screws and lock screws that line up, very intricate machining, and elaborate carving and engraving on many of their firearms. The Colorado gunsmith you speak of may have simply rebuilt the gun or restocked it. If he had actually built the gun, he would have had to mark it, and he would not have used German proofmarks.

January 26, 2009, 02:00 PM
I was told he was a german gunsmith that moved here (Colorado) but had no other info. Karl Klavberg sounds pretty german to me.:D

January 30, 2009, 08:47 AM
Got a few pics of the rcvr.

January 30, 2009, 08:49 AM
follow up.

I will take it apart and try to get some photos of the proof marks underneath the forearm stock.
The pictures don't do it justice, the scroll work is very intricate, and the checkering on the wood is very small.

January 30, 2009, 12:56 PM
More photos!

January 30, 2009, 01:01 PM
more photos.

Jim Watson
January 30, 2009, 01:05 PM
I don't know who ol' Karl was, he may have been a small maker, he may have been the final assembler of gunmaker's guild parts in his area, or he might have just been the dealer. Lots of guns are marked for who sold them, not who made them.

I am fairly sure he did not move to Colorado and continue putting German proofmarks on his guns. Largely because the maker does not apply proof marks in Europe, that is the job of the government proof house.

January 30, 2009, 05:57 PM
I understand that the german proffs are actually west german which ment it was post war. I am not sure someone told me that once. My dad said he may have even got it when he was in europe, he visited often. I am hearing some conflicting stories from different family these days. The family is in agreement that "Karl" was the smith, but after that it is hard to piece everything together. It is a 16 ga. and it is marked for Nitro propellants. The lockwork is tight, and the stock was fitted for my great uncle who was about my size, so the shotgun fits me real well. I enjoy shooting it, and many friends are surprised when I hit the number of clays that I do considering the barrel length and one barrel is choke full. My great uncle had it made for duck/geese. He loved to hunt those water birds.

January 30, 2009, 07:31 PM
interesting turn of events, seems I've been looking on the wrong side of the pond. The action and barrels are identical to many jp sauer ss shotguns posted on the internet. Although none are completely identical, the proofmarks seem to match what I read for the Suhl germany area. It does have the name Karl Klavberg on the right barrel and the word Kiel on the left. Nitro is stamped both barrels. The rib engraving on top is identical to several JPS guns I have seen, but the other engraving is not the same. Still searching will update as I find stuff.

James K
January 30, 2009, 08:50 PM
I think JP Sauer always put their name on their guns, but I could be wrong. In any case, all those German doubles are pretty much the same. I doubt that Herr Klavberg was actually the maker; he was probably a retailer selling trade guns turned out by a guild or sort of a gunmakers' co-op.

A picture of the proof marks would tell if the gun was made before or after WWII, and also if it was made in Kiel. The Kiel proofmark looks like a kind of sunburst superimposed on a "Y"; any other mark would indicate the gun was not made in Kiel. (Technically, a maker could have his guns proved at any proof house in Germany, but in practice the nearest was always used.)

In Germany and England, it was common for the actual maker(s) to leave the barrels blank so the retailer could have his name engraved or, sometimes, to engrave the retailer's name at the factory.

It is not done so much any more, but we used to do that here, with guns and other products. Remember guns "made" by Ted Williams and J.C. Higgins?


January 31, 2009, 08:49 PM
I have a feeling it was a gun made by sauer and then used as a blank for Herr Klavberg. My family seems to remember my great uncle paying a pretty penny in the day, but it seems we may never know. It has the double triggers, crossbolt lock, tang safety, and I am told it was a buffalo horn buttplate. I assume that was African plains buffalo. All I know is it shoots good, will handle 2.75" 16 ga shells, stamped for nitro, and one barrel is choked pretty tight. (Have the turkey shoot prizes to show for it.) I really enjoy the way the gun handles in the field. The barrels are 30", or just a hair under. The triggers break crisply with no play, and I cant slide any of my feeler guages into the action at any point when closed. I've always wondered what this gun was worth. I had one official assesment done in the early 90's and he said insure it for 3500.00 replacement cost because of the quality.
Did JP Sauer or others sell actions to small custom smith's as blanks?

James K
January 31, 2009, 10:06 PM
I don't know about Sauer selling actions, but anything is possible. But I think you would need more than a picture to be sure it was made by Sauer; as I said, those German doubles pretty much all look the same.

The fact that it is 16 ga. would tend to indicate it was made in German for sale in Germany. That doesn't rule out an imported gun or even one bought in Europe by an American, but 16 ga. has never been that popular in the U.S. where 12 ga. pretty much rules.


February 2, 2009, 05:57 PM
I did finf something on the underside of the barrels I hadn't noticed before, just in front of the SN there is a K&P 22XX.
The K would match the Klavberg, but no idea what the &P would mean. I'll keep searching. Anyone know of a German gun maker K&P?

December 12, 2012, 03:28 PM
a little update, I found that the action the shotgun is built on is a Simpson. I don't know the year, but it has a low serial number.

December 12, 2012, 06:46 PM
That confuses things even more; Simson (shouldn't be a "P" there) was a manufacturer based in Suhl who was taken over by the Nazis during WW2. They made lots of side by sides, but they should bear specific proofs. If you can pop the barrels off (open the latch under the forearm, pull the forearm down, and then rotate the barrels down off the receiver) and post some pictures of the proofs, that'll go a long way towards figuring this one out.

December 12, 2012, 07:09 PM
Your shotgun is of a pattern typically made for the European field hunter - 16ga extractor gun with sling swivels.

While I know you think your pics show a lot, in reality the most informative pics are missing - clear closeups of the proofmarks and other stampings in the metal of the bottom of the barrels, the barrel flats, and the action's watertable/flats, all nearly unviewable w/o first removing the forend and dismounting the barrels to inspect & photograph those parts.

For instance - If the barrels are marked "16-70", they are indeed chambered for 2-3/4" (70mm) fired-length shells; but if it's simply marked with a circled "16", or "16-65", then it's definitely chambered for the older/shorter 2-9/16" (65mm) fired-length shells ONLY, and should not be fired with longer ammo, even though unfired 2-3/4" shells will fit/seat in the shorter chamber.


December 13, 2012, 08:54 AM
You are correct there is no p in Simson.
There is no manufacturers name on the shotgun. I will try to post a picture of the proofs.

December 13, 2012, 08:57 AM
It does look like there is a K&F or something stamped in front of the serial number.

December 13, 2012, 10:25 AM
Well, there's no chamber length in the proofs, so that means it's chambered for the short (2 1/2") shells, and you've been really lucky that it didn't let go on you. The proofs are the pre-WW2 pattern, so it's likely that this gun was finished in the white by Simson, and then completed by someone else; are there any marks on the bottom of the gun, in front of the trigger? Also, are there any marks on the water table (the flat part in front of the firing pins, on the main part of the shotgun)?

December 13, 2012, 10:39 AM
There are no other marks in front of the trigger, there are Nitro stamped on each barrel, with an eagle proof.
I had the chambers measured and was told they are 2 3/4", so I will have that double checked. My uncle use to duck hunt with this gun, and I have used it for dove, quail, pheasant, and sporting clays. It is a nice bird gun, and it has a nice length of pull. My uncle was well over 6', and I am 6'3", and it fits me like a glove. I won't shoot it again until I have the chambers checked once more.
Is there a list of what the proof marks mean somewhere?

December 13, 2012, 12:32 PM
If this gun was initially proofed for Simson, it should have one of Simson's maker's marks on the water table (usually an "S" in the middle of 3 triangles that look like mountains); the crown "W" shows that this gun was proofed with choked barrels, and the crowned eagle and eagle over "U" show the initial and final proof. If the chambers are 2 3/4" now, that means the chambers were lengthened after it was brought back, and the smith who lengthened them didn't bother to mark it on the flats.

December 13, 2012, 07:31 PM
"IF" the chambers were professionally measured @ 2-3/4", and not by an amateur, then it's "possible" that the gun's chambers were lengthened & reproofed, since the barrel flats carry post-1950 inspection & nitro proofmarks from Suhl, E.Germany.

I say "lengthened", because the original, "shot" 2-9/16" (65mm) chamber markings (circled "16") are still in evidence, and apparently were not updated to "16-70" (2-3/4") when the work was done.

Your pic is out of focus for the area of the barrel undersides just forward of the barrel flats, but it looks like there's a Simson maker's mark there.

How about a better pic, and a pic of the action watertable/flat ?