View Full Version : can i stump you?

September 20, 1999, 07:32 PM
I hope you can help me. I have my dad's old single shot shotgun and I have been unable to find out anything about it. It is a W.P WONDER the barrel is marked 16 GA CHOKE, I have a picture of him with the gun from the 30s or 40s but thats all I know. I have never seen another in our area. Any ideas?

James K
September 20, 1999, 09:04 PM
Well, partly stumped. The White Powder (WP) Wonder was made around the last turn of the century. As far as I know, all were single shot. The "white powder" refers to smokeless powder. For shotguns, this was usually a cream colored (white) powder that looked a little like large grain soap powder. It was very light in weight for its bulk. It was made by DuPont to be loaded with the same dipper as an equivalent load of black powder.

The WP Wonder was not expensive, under $5.00, I seem to remember, but it had a drilled solid barrel rather than the Damascus barrels put on the "better" shotguns. So in this case, the cheaper gun was actually better.

They were interesting in their day, but have virtually no collector value and probably should not be fired. Today's loads are too powerful for those old guns, even if they were made for the smokeless powder of 1900.

I don't know who made them, maybe Harley can help with more info.


Harley Nolden
September 20, 1999, 10:07 PM
Tag Sahr: You got me. I don't have anything on this shotgun. I have to agree with Jim. The only addition I could possible note is that it may be a "Hardware Gun." Made under the owener's name or trade mark or name, by another company. It doesn't list in my cross over of guns or stocks. Possible if you could provide a photo we could better assist you.

Also if you could describe it a little better that might help. Look at the shotgun and tell us everything you see. Even marks under the forearm, does it have exposed hammer/ Auto Ejector? where is the opening lever located? How is it opened? Any marks on the stock,(under the butt plate)is it a tang or draw bolt model? Any markings, however trivial could also help


[This message has been edited by Harley Nolden (edited September 20, 1999).]

March 29, 2005, 01:01 PM
Harley, you all took me back 66 years to when I was 7 and Grandpaw sawed off a portion of the stock of his dead son's 20 guage and started me bird hunting.

Thanks for the memory.

April 2, 2005, 09:54 PM
One of my resources indicates that White Powder Wonder was a trade name used by both the J. Stevens Arms Company and Sears, Roebuck & Company. My best guess is that Sears (as a reseller) licensed the name from J. Stevens.

Hope this helps.

Good luck, and good shooting (but not with your heirloom)!

Person of Interest
April 3, 2005, 10:21 AM
50-100 years ago there were numerous small gun companies turning out inexpensive rifles and shotguns. There were also many large stores, like Sears and Western Auto, selling guns made by big companies using trade names. If it's a trade name gun made by Stevens or Winchester it's not a bad thing to have. If it's one of the many low end guns out there, it's a wall hanger. Sounds like the latter to me.

April 3, 2005, 10:47 AM
White Powder (WP) Wonder, never heard of it and consider myself knolagable on guns.
Thanks for learning me some thin.

June 2, 2007, 08:54 PM
hi,i am new to firing line.i was trying to find more info on my shoot gun,and seen the question about the white powder wonder.i got mine when i was about 14 or 15 from a pawn shop.it was pat. in aug 16,1913.my granpa told me at the time that they use to have shells that had the white powder in it, so when you shoot it you would see where shoot went.when they were new they were sold in sears roebuck & co.catalogue. i have seen them in the repoduction catalogues.they sold for $8.00 to $16.00 i believe. i have been try to find out what it is worth.

June 2, 2007, 09:27 PM
New White Powder Wonder and White Powder Wonder name was used by Crescent, Davenport, Meriden and Stevens. Davenport used the term New White Powder Wonder. J. Stevens had a contract to supply shotguns to
Sears, Hence if it's a Sears WPW then it is a J.Stevens. Value? old utility single barrel shotguns have no collectors value. If it's as old and used as you say then the value would be under 50 dollars.

June 4, 2007, 07:14 PM
that white powder was DUPONT BULK SHOTGUN.I USED IT IN PISTOLS AND RIFLES.I did not know any better.lucky I have a head left. :confused:

June 22, 2007, 02:14 PM
I want to thank ya'll for this info as well. My Dad has one of these that he got from his Dad. We never could find any info on it.