View Full Version : Old gun

March 24, 2012, 08:28 AM
I recently acquired this old musket that used to hang over my Grandfathers mantle. It's in such good condition, I sort of assume it's fake, or at least heavily restored. However, it did come from Santa Fe, and I know things also have a tendency to last much better/longer in a dry climate.
I'm not looking for an appraisal or anything, I just know very little about old guns - other than what I see on Pawn Stars. I can't find any makers marks, but I understand that they're often under the stock, and I'm not particularly comfortable trying to take apart a family heirloom.

The things I find suspicious are:
- The general pristine condition of the action.
- The strap attachment - I wasn't aware they were put on old guns.
- The fact that it has a ram rod.

The things that seem genuine:
- The woodwork seems pretty ornate and well worn for a fake.
- The barrel seems to be both well made and old.
- Grandpa was an archeologist, and not really the type to own fakes.





I don;t want this post to be too big, so here are some links to other pictures




March 24, 2012, 08:50 AM
Your "musket" appears to be a black powder double barrel shotgun, which could make it of much later manufacture.

March 24, 2012, 08:56 AM
Not musket, double barreled flintlock muzzle loading shotgun. It would have a ramrod and slings were quite common on guns like these.
It does appear to be a working gun and not a tourist item. You may have a nice find there. Value impossible to judge as is shooting condition.
Look for a true muzzle loading expert/gunsmith for better info.
Let us know what you learn.
BTW: Do not attemp to shoot until it has been checked out by an expert.

March 24, 2012, 09:50 AM
thanks for the help. I never considered it might be a shotgun: i guess i thought all flintlock shotguns were blunderbusses. I'll try to find someone who can look at it.

March 24, 2012, 09:55 AM
Age on flintlocks is relative, flintlocks didn't become obsolete till the 1840's. As the weapon is clearly a high-priced hunting weapon the good condition isn't surprising either. This was a gun for the gentleman to go hunting with on occasion, not something carried day-in day-out by a pioneer on the frontier. To me the most surprising thing is that it stayed flintlock, most of these would have been adapted to percussion cap due to the faster ignition on the hunt. But then, if you had the money to buy something like that you probably had the money to buy a "modern" gun when percussion caps became available.

Bill DeShivs
March 24, 2012, 11:46 AM
Please oil the metal to prevent further rusting.

James K
March 24, 2012, 11:57 AM
We would need better pictures, especially of the lock(s) but IMHO, that gun dates from the early 1700's and is definitely a high quality sporting gun.

I can't be sure of nationality, but I suspect Spanish origin. It could have been brought to New Mexico before the "Anglos" ever arrived.

Value? If the rest looks as good as what I see, I would guess at around $5000.


Mike Irwin
March 24, 2012, 01:06 PM
Jim and I are of the same mind of this, Spanish, I'm thinking 1730s to 1770s.

March 24, 2012, 03:42 PM
Do not do any heavy cleaning, just halt the rust.

James K
March 24, 2012, 04:05 PM
Also, how about a good picture of the top of the barrel and as best you can, what it says. The gold (?) inlay appears to read "Canon", which is Spanish for barrel, so the marking might relate to the maker or material of the barrel.

BTW, it doesn't have to be a shotgun; many double rifles were made in those days as well. We need more info.


March 24, 2012, 04:12 PM
Wow, That thing is a work of art!! Yes please post more pics. Do worry about the thread size :D

March 24, 2012, 06:52 PM
So, as per requested more pictures of the action. There are a few chips in the wood work. I wouldn't try to fire it (even if I were into black powder), but both hammers seem to work - they pull back, lock, and go when you pull the triggers. The barrels do seem thin, and as far as I can tell via flashlight there's no rifling.
The inscription seems to say "CANON CAIN" but I"m only 100% on the "Canon --in". The gold leaf is pretty worn, and the writings so stylistic it's hard to figure out partial letters. Sorry about the quality of the pics - my camera probably has a setting that would have made everything show up, but I haven't found it yet.
Whatever it is, someone spent a lot of time making it.
I ran a hoppes gun cloth over it to get rid of some of the dust, but I don't want to scrub.
One issue I have is - if it is valuable/historical - the humidity around here will ruin it - I live on the edge of a swamp. Duracoat isn't really an option on this one. Any suggestions for keeping it dry?







James K
March 24, 2012, 08:04 PM
I would oil it well, then store it in a cabinet or gun safe with a Golden Rod humidity control.

If you don't have a safe, it would almost be worth buying one to store that gun, but of course you could use it for other guns.

If you are not a collector and can see your way clear to doing it, you might contact a museum, maybe in New Mexico, and see if they would like to buy it, or you can donate it and take the value off your income tax.


March 29, 2012, 02:18 AM
Since you live in a humid area, go to your local Ace hardware and get a can of LPS 3. It's a paralketone product that we used for (among other things) preventing corrosion in the bellies of aircraft.

I lived in south Florida for 40 years and used it on all my guns. It dries to a semi-soft viscous wax coating that seals against moisture and preserves both wood and steel. It cleans off easy at a later date, too. I moved to northern Arizona about 23 years ago, and I still use it as (believe it or not) we do have a humid season.

LPS 3 was a Godsend for me, as rust was ALWAYS a problem in Florida.

March 29, 2012, 04:51 AM
I don't really want to get rid of it, or squirrel it away in a safe where I'll never see it. I'll swing by a hardware store after work today.