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Old April 24, 2008, 01:09 PM   #1
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Side by Side Shotgun

I have a s/s shotgun that my father bought in a pawn shop in 1952. It appears to be well made with fine etechings around the edges and etched screws. The only things I can find on it are in french. It has FAIR POUR L. BARTHE BAYONNE on the bottom near the double trigger gaurd. Where the barrel connects to the butt on the flat area it has written EPREUVE SPECIALE POUR POUDRE PYROXYEE. It also has the number 33551. It has a star above an E and below this what appears to be a standing lion with an line underneath and below this P.V and what looks to be a picture of a metal stamp under that. On the flat area between the firing pins it has what appears to be a picture of a man with a raised hammer at what looks to be a forge. On the top side of the barrels it has Fusil Forgeron on the right side and Liege on the left. The under side of the barrels has the same 33551 on the left side with choke 18.3. The right side has Royal Compressed Steel and choke 18.4. The flat edge where the barrels connect to the butt has 1kg 356. It also has on both barrels e above the star above the E with standing lion with line unerneath with P.V under that. Under all this is what looks like an oval with a crown on it with E above L G above a star inside the oval. Under all this it has what appears to be a sideways horse shoe with 12.65. I have not taken the butt plate off ever because I don't want to damage the etched screws. I used this gun when I was young. It is in pretty good condition. I am tying to find out anyting I can about this gun. Just interrested to know if it has a history and what it could be worth for insurance purposes. Any help would be apreciated. Would send pic's if needed.

Last edited by hubbub52; April 24, 2008 at 01:11 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old April 24, 2008, 02:19 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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Liege is in Belgium. They speak French in part of Belgium (Flemish in the rest.)

Crown-ELG is the long time standard (from 1893) Belgian proof mark. After 1924 it represented the definitive black powder proof test.

Star-E is an inspector's mark.

Lion-PV is the smokeless poweder proof mark.

33551 is surely the serial number.

18.3 and 18.4 are the bore diameters. Looks like there ought to be two numbers, bore and choke diameters for each barrel. Is it maybe cylinder?

Horseshoe 12-65 means it is a 12 gauge with 65mm (2 5/8") chambers. Mark came into use in 1924. You are at least somewhat overloading it with US 2 3/4" (70mm) shells. Some sources say it isn't much, some say it is harmful to the life of the gun, some say it is dangerous to the shooter. Me? I had my 65mm Verney Carron chambers lengthened so I would not have to worry about it. But the previous owner had shot it as was and it is still tight.

1kg 356 means the barrels weigh 1 kilogram, 356 grams, right at 3 lbs.

Now I am guessing about translations, but here it goes.

EPREUVE SPECIALE POUR POUDRE PYROXYEE surely means Specially Proved for Nitro Powder. Not required but good advertising in a day and age when black powder guns were still in regular use.

Royal Compressed Steel essentially means "Not Damascus." May be a specific brand name. Good advertising as above.

Fusil Forgeron and the man at the anvil may be trademarks of the gunmaker, and L. Barthe in Bayonne, France the selling dealer.

Value, I dunno. Some several hundreds of dollars resale value. Irreplaceable by make and model, certainly not for family connection. I would spend the insurance money on a gun safe instead.
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Old April 24, 2008, 03:13 PM   #3
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Thanks Jim. I have googled a gun maker by the name of Leon Barthe and was wondering if he made any sporting arms. Most I could find on him was that he supposedly started the arms company M.A.B., which looks like a primarily military arms company.
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Old April 24, 2008, 09:33 PM   #4
James K
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Manufacture d'Arms Bayonne (MAB) made both military and civilian firearms. The marking on the shotgun says "made FOR L. Barthe", so Jim is probably right and at least in this case he was a retailer or distributor, not a maker.

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Old February 10, 2011, 12:49 AM   #5
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Thanks Jim

I have been trying to find that information for about 5 years now. Been to a few dealers and collectors.

Thank You!
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