View Full Version : Nitro Hunter 12ga.

January 19, 2002, 04:04 PM
Does anyone have information on this shotgun? I heard it was only made for two year around 1925!!

Al Thompson
January 20, 2002, 07:47 AM
Ruger, I'm sending this to Harley's forum. Hopefully you can get an answer there!


Johnny Guest
January 20, 2002, 11:03 AM
Inherited it from my great-uncle Fred Coats, who died sometime in the 1950s. Mine is a twelve-bore, with LOONG barrels, bored full and modified, and external hammers.

I'll be interested in just what kind of information you get from other members. I'll bet Nitro Hunter is one of the products of American Gun Company, people who made up modestly priced shotguns for hardware companies and chain stores and anyone else who could afford to order a few hundred copies. The time frame you mention is about right, too--If production wasn't a little earlier.

Uncle Fred and Aunt Maudie had a decent-size farm in Jefferson County, Oklahoma, a few miles north of the Red River. I don't remember what kind of a .22 rifle he had, but the old double always stood just inside the back door, uncased. The remaining finish indicates that this was a working farm tool, not something coddled and pampered--Worn gray in many places but no rust on it. There were an assortment of shells on the shelf above. Number sixes were the all around load, with number four, "Blue whistlers," for heavy duty work. Never say any buckshot or slugs, and for some reason never asked him about other loads.

Hope you come up with some background on these old scatterguns.

Harley Nolden
January 20, 2002, 11:50 AM
Ruger 1
The Nitro Hunter was a trade name used by H&D Folsom Arms Co on shotguns made for the Belknap Hardware Co of Louisville KY. YOur shotgun is what is termed as a "Hardware Gun", which means it was mfg'd by a major company for anyone who wanted their name on a gun. Here is the story:


This Company mfg’d good quality, inexpensive side by side and single Bbl shotguns and was founded in 1883. They were bought by the H&D Folsom Arms Company of New York, importers and distributors of firearms and sporting goods.

After the purchase of Crescent, the Folsom Company was able to offer a complete range of shotguns, imported English French, Belgium and American made Crescents. By the turn of the century Crescent Arms produced huge quantities of “Hardware Guns” it produced guns under direct contract to distributors, mail order housed and hardware distributors with any brand name the customer requested. Crescent also produced guns for its parent company, as Folsom house brands that were sold to customers that did not want their own brand name.

By the lat 1890's Crescent was producing basically five grade of dbl bbl shotguns offering a model for most tastes. The Crescent /Folsom Arms Company continued this type of business until 1930 when it merged with Davis Warner Arms Corp and became the Crescent-Davis Arms Corp. In 1932 it assets and machinery were bought by Stevens Arms Company, a victim of changing tastes and the depression.

YOu should not fire the gun unless inspected by a good gunsmith.


James K
January 20, 2002, 12:29 PM
FWIW, the term "nitro" was applied at that time to shotguns made for smokeless (nitrocellulose) powder. This usually meant that the barrels were drilled from solid steel rather than built up like "Damascus" or "laminated" barrels.

These barrels were stronger than the built up barrels, but were considered by many to be too "common" and without the figure that made Damascus barrels so attractive. (It would be years before a "real sportsman" would be caught dead with a solid barrel gun.) They sold much cheaper (doubles often went for $5-10 and single barrels for as little as $2.50) and were made and sold by the thousands. (Multiply by 40 for today's prices.)

If the gun is solid and tight, it could probably be fired OK with low pressure loads, though its age is against it regardless of the barrel type.


Johnny Guest
January 21, 2002, 03:47 AM
- - About Crescent and Folsom. I had name wrong, for sure. Wonder where I came up with the "American Gun Co." name. Having some sort of senior moment, I guess.

Thanks to Jim, too.


Harley Nolden
January 21, 2002, 05:54 AM
Johnny Guest:
The American Gun Company was a trade name used by H&D Folsom on Pistols and Shotguns that they, Folsom, retailed, so you weren't that far out.