View Full Version : Everyone Loves A Mystery !!!!!!

Southern Shooter
February 3, 2011, 11:36 AM
We have a mystery in our family. This SxS .410 shotgun has been in our family since...well, nobody truly knows. We would ask our family members that would have known...but, unfortunately all have passed away. Maybe 4 generations, by now. I think my great grandfather hunted with it. I started hunting with it 35 years ago. And, my three younger brothers hunted with it. Mechaniclly, outside of some rust that occured during a transition of property ownership after my grandmother died, it is in good shape.

Who manufactured this gun and when???
Any interesting information about this gun that can be imparted would be appreciated.

The only number stamped on various parts is 8597.
The only other writing stamped is "not use for Ball" which is located under the barrel.

Please see attached photos.




February 3, 2011, 12:08 PM
Your pics could be any generic SxS with a similar lock-up. The 8597 may be just the assembly number. Before being required by law, many shotguns were un-serial numbered. How about some close ups of the makers stamps and proof marks that are usually concealed when the gun is assembled. Rubbing a with a crayon may help to highlight the stampings. Look at the butt plate, some makers didn't have their names there, but they had a distinctive logo.

Southern Shooter
February 3, 2011, 12:26 PM
No other marks were noted on the gun. I have my brother looking at it more closely, now. It is in his possession at the moment.

February 3, 2011, 01:46 PM
Most old doubles can be quicky be disassembeled into three pieces, 1, the stock and action 2. the barrels, and 3. the forearm.

If this can be done with your gun, look for markings under the forearm if no markings are visible elsewhere. Nearly all guns of that era have proof marks. Sometimes these can at least be used to identify which country the gun came from. (A lot of double barrel guns from that era came into the country from Belgium with nothing to identify them as Belgian except proofmarks.)

If you can find markings and send photos of all of them, you may be able to go to your local library and find a book in the gun section that identifies old markings.

If not, put clear photos of the markings on this forum and I'm sure someone can help you.

February 4, 2011, 01:23 PM
Most old doubles can be quicky be disassembeled into three pieces, 1, the stock and action 2. the barrels, and 3. the forearm.

If this can be done with your gun, look for markings under the forearm

Did you happen to look at his pic's ?

My guess is a stevens/springfield, but as already mentioned you really can't tell anything from those pic's........ except that the gun can be easily broken down into three pieces

February 4, 2011, 01:26 PM
I take back that last guess I was able to enlarge the pictures and still can't see much but I'm going with Crescent Arms AKA American Arms Co

February 4, 2011, 01:50 PM
If there are no proof marks on the barrel flats or water table, then odds are it is an older US made gun, although I do not recall too many being sidelocks. SOME where should be a name - either the maker or the store chain or something.

44 AMP
February 4, 2011, 04:33 PM
It is built like an old Ithaca I have, but a lot of guns were. Splinter fore end, pistol grip stock, double triggers, almost certainly a pre-WWII gun, possibly a pre WW I era gun. Could even be pre 1900. It looks like you have solid steel barrels, but its very hard for me to tell from the pictures.

By solid steel, I mean not twist barrels. Often called Damascus barrels, there were different grades of twist barrels. "Damascus" the "good grade" to people of the era were made from 6 or 8 straps of steel, wrapped around a mandrel and hammer welded together. Guns made with 2 or 4 straps were called "stub twist" or just "twist". After 1900, guns began showing up with "solid" steel barrels, known under the names of "fluid steel, Nickel Steel, Nitro steel" and a couple others. This meant the barrels were bored steel, and safe for smokleless powder loads.

Your .410, with no markings, no engraving, no maker's name, means it was a bargin gun. Please check carefully (maybe take it to a gunsmith) to be sure it doesn't have twist barrels. Lower grade twist barrels may not be easy to spot after a century or so of the blueing turning to brown. Look for what looks like faint stripes or rings around the barrels.

Twist barrels, even the high grade ones are NOT SAFE with SMOKELESS POWDER ! It is possible for rust to develope inside the metal itself, where it cannot be seen, weakening the barrel, which was none too strong to begin with. Strong enough for black powder, but they can come "unravelled" from the different pressure of a smokeless powder shell.'

Even if it has twist barrels, it may have given decades of good use with smokeless ammo, and come apart the next time a shell is fired in it! My Grandfather had a "stub twist" Ithaca 12ga, which he loved. A neighbor talked him into selling it to him, and he replaced it with a new gun, with "fluid steel" barrels, in 1909. I have that gun. He told me his old stub twist gun blew out a barrel on his neighbor in the 1940s!:eek:

Even though your family has hunted with that gun for generations, I urge you to have a good gunsmith check it over carefully, and if it does have twist barrels, retire it to a place of honor on the wall.

These old guns with twist barrels may not be safe even with black powder ammo, due to the age and possible deterioration of the barrel welds. The best (safest) thing to do is make then a wall hanger. If a good gunsmith gives it a clean bill of health, then enjoy your heirloom. But please, have it checked by someone who knows these old guns well, before you shoot it again, just in case.

February 4, 2011, 05:36 PM
Twist barrels, even the high grade ones are NOT SAFE with SMOKELESS POWDER

Not exactly true 100% of the time, which is why a thorough inspection is in order. The Vintagers, AKA The Order of Edwardian Gunners, shoot Damascus barrel guns along with others using the loads from places like Polywad and RST

Dave McC
February 5, 2011, 08:12 PM
The sidelocks remind me of Crescent.

Check for twist and "Damascus" by removing the forearm and examining the barrels where they're been protected.

IMO, this is a shotgun shaped artifact. It would take a blessing from a very good smith before I'd consider shooting this even with ultra light,low pressure loads.

February 6, 2011, 01:05 AM
.410 bore shotguns were introduced in the early 1900s to replace the 44 XL Shot guns being produced. Initially they were well-made guns by major manufacturers (H&R, Ithaca, Winchester, etc), which leads me to believe that you will not likely find them with barrels intended for black powder, but I suppose it is possible. Either way, since it's a post-1900 firearm it's gonna have proofs somewhere. Find the proofs, you find out who made the shotgun.