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Old February 7, 2020, 11:25 PM   #1
Wayneinky
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1902 Shotgun Black Powder or Modern shells

Just acquired a "Forehand" 12Ga shotgun mfg by Hockins & Allen Arms Co around 1902. Is there a way from the barrel to tell if it was designed to shoot Black Powder or more modern shells? From my research I have not found the answer and there is nothing on the barrel to indicate anything. There are no plans on shooting the gun because of its age, I am just trying to collect information. I found it interesting that the guy that started the Ethan Allen Furniture company was involved in this company as well.
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Old February 7, 2020, 11:35 PM   #2
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Moderator, I may have posted this in wrong group. Please move it if needed.
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Old February 8, 2020, 12:13 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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The 1901 Sears catalog only shows one Forehand shotgun, a hammerless single for $6.97.
Unfortunately, it does not specify ammo.
Considering they prominently post "Bored for Nitro Powder" on other guns, some "Wilson Steel," some twist, I would consider the Forehand a black powder gun.
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Old February 8, 2020, 12:22 AM   #4
J.G. Terry
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Chamber Length

Personal Experience: I have not fooled with shotguns of that vintage lately. One lesson from these old guns is always check the chamber length regardless of gauge. Many of these old guns locally have been shot loose firing smokeless shells. l
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Old February 9, 2020, 07:54 PM   #5
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Most "turn of the century" 12 ga shotgun,were made with 2&5/8 inch lentgh chambers.

I have ny grandfather REMINGTON 1894 SxS, and hace documented that the damascua barrels were "proofed" with 2& 1/2" shells.

SO, need to have a gunsmith determin the length, by direct measurent or making chamber case using "cerrosasfe" or melted sulfer, . Then examine the barrel for stamping that should indicate "Proof" was done.

Sounds like you may have a wall hanger.

Good Luck.
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Old February 10, 2020, 02:04 AM   #6
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It was probably proofed with black powder. Chambers could run between 2 1/2" up to 2 9/16" A lot of H&A's from that time period have 2 1/2" chambers. Remember a shotgun shell is measured after firing so just because a 2 3/4 will fit does not mean it was chambered for them.
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Old February 10, 2020, 02:29 PM   #7
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That Hopkins and Allen? H&A made pretty low end stuff. Quite literally for low income shooters. Kind of doubt they'd be making anything that was for BP in 1902 though.
"...to tell if it was designed to shoot..." Nope, but smokeless barrel should have 'Nitro Proof' on it.
"... check the chamber length..." You need to be sure it's not a Damascus barrel from that period too. Despite what you see on forums, Damascus barrels are not considered safe to shoot with any ammo. Has to do with rusting in the grooves where the metal strips were hammered together.
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Old February 11, 2020, 12:01 AM   #8
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If it's Damascus, leave it alone. Unless it says "Special Steel", "Nitro Proof", Smokeless Powder", "Fluid Steel" or some such marketing terms meaning it was intended for smokeless powder, don't trust it. Many shotguns were still built for BP until WW1. After that, most were built for smokeless.
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Old February 12, 2020, 02:54 AM   #9
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apologies if this is the wrong thread fo rthis question
there is a guy in our club ( i wont call him a friend, more of a colleague!!) who modifies his eley 3" magnum shells; he uses a 3" magnum shell but tips out some shot, so essentially he says he is getting more velocity out of the smaller load, which makes sense,
my question though is, is he getting more accuracy and range by doing this? the noise and recoil of the shot still appears to be magnum!
i prefer to stay with my 2 3/4 shells anyway!
thanks in advance
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Old February 12, 2020, 09:52 AM   #10
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The powder charge between a 3 inch and a 2 3/4 is the same. The difference is the amount of shot. He will get greater velocity and range with a lessened shot charge.
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Old February 12, 2020, 11:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
The powder charge between a 3 inch and a 2 3/4 is the same.
It shouldn't be, unless the shot charge WEIGHT is the same.

The whole point of the 3 in (or 3.5") is to throw MORE SHOT than the 2 3/4" at the same speed.

Not counting slugs, there is an upper speed limit to shotguns, along with the pressure limits. Simply put, above about 1300fps or so, patterns get worse with increased velocity.

You may note how many 50Kpsi 3000fps shotguns there are on the market.
and why.

Your "friend" at the club "tips some shot out" but how much?? Maybe its enough to make a difference, maybe not enough to make a significant difference.
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Old February 13, 2020, 04:11 AM   #12
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thanks guys ,,. i tend to agree with 44 there, the powder loads in the 3'' magnum eley are definitely a bit heavier and in some cases, a different code of powder entirely;

it makes sense that if you increase your shot load by 40-50% and only drop 100 fps velocity that there needs to be more grains and /or more powerful powder.

as to how much he tips out , well its just a guess on my part, but id say he reduces the load back to close to a standard 2 3/4 load, ie ~28g or ~437 grains shot.

maybe he extends hius range somewhat, but im just not sure what he is doing is any better at all, in terms of accuracy than just using the standard 2 3/4 !

Last edited by no_4; February 13, 2020 at 04:34 AM.
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Old February 13, 2020, 04:13 AM   #13
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ps, forgot to say we both shoot older style, no frills 12ga shotties, 3inch chamber, mine is a browning gold and i rarely use magnum powered loads
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Old February 13, 2020, 05:40 AM   #14
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ive done a few calcs, not sure if they correct !

eley #6shot, semi magnum 42g load, 655 grain , 1350 fps velocity, produces a muzzle energy of ~2600 ft lbs

taking this load down to 28g, 437grains #6 shot with a semi magnum powder charge, should , in theory! increase velocity to ~2000 fps, and this would increase muzzle energy to 3832 ft lbs

(so reducing shot weight by ~50% increases the kinetic energy by a little less than 50% ...seems proportional & logical

what does this higher velocity do to the accuracy of small lead projectiles?
i dont know!

i might try a pattern test and find out!
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Old February 16, 2020, 05:24 AM   #15
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I do know that with muzzleloading shotguns, at least, the way to get better patterns is to reduce the amount of powder. Increasing velocity tends to blow the patterns.
Not sure how or if that applies to modern shells with modern plastic wads.
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Old February 16, 2020, 05:57 AM   #16
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I found a chart listing drams equivalent. The lighter 3 inch shells use the same powder charge as a heavy 2 3/4 load but with less shot. The heavier 3 inch shells use 1/4 dram more. Now I don't reload smokeless shotgun shells so I don't know how much of an increase in powder that is.

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Old February 16, 2020, 02:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
The heavier 3 inch shells use 1/4 dram more. Now I don't reload smokeless shotgun shells so I don't know how much of an increase in powder that is
Interesting that this comes up in a thread about black powder loads. Dram EQ stands for Dram equivalent load. Drams are an old weight measurement from early black powder loads. One dram is equal to 1/16 of an ounce in avoirdupois system. So a drams equivalent load is using modern smokeless powder to push the load to the same velocity as an equivalent charge of black powder (measured in drams). The actual amount of smokeless powder will very widely depending on which powder is selected and how much shot charge is selected.
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Old February 17, 2020, 04:25 AM   #18
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thanks all, i would have thought that higher velocity due to same magnum powered powder charge, but lighter shot load, would actually increase the pattern spread (higher speeds and greater collisions of shot leaving barrell) rather than tighten it up as my clubmate says
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