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Old July 20, 2013, 12:59 PM   #1
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When did they stop making Black Powder Shotguns

A guy locally picked up an old Belgium double barrel Shot gun that has an inspection stamp told him the gun was inspected in the the 1930s.. Then another stamp said it was proofed for black powder...

So my question is when did the gun manufacturers phase out sporting black powder firearms??????

Were they still making new guns in the 1930s just for black Powder cartridges ????
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Old July 20, 2013, 08:25 PM   #2
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Pedersoli still makes them.
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Old July 21, 2013, 06:33 AM   #3
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Belgium may have been making them that late but I believe that were phased out here by the early 20's. Black powder shotshells were phased out by the mid 30's.
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Old July 21, 2013, 08:26 AM   #4
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Trade guns were still made in Belgium back in the 50s for Africa. These were smooth bore guns cobbled together from left over parts.
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Old July 22, 2013, 08:23 AM   #5
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actually there were a few companies that made them well into the lat 1960’s for the trade markets in Asia, south America and Africa. Normally these were very cheaply made and quickly identifiable .
Im thinking and I could be wrong in this but I believe the Belgium made pieces ended prior to WW2.
After the war they never tooled back up even though a couple makers in India did , as did some companies in Brazil .
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Old July 22, 2013, 10:24 AM   #6
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Many thanks... So how would one know if a gun was one of these trade guns intended for Africa and Points East...?????

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Old July 22, 2013, 12:32 PM   #7
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basically you have to research the piece to find out .
as other posters mention . by the 30- 40's muzzle loading guns had fallen from favor so there is a good chance if the piece was made by a manufacture , after that , it probably was for those areas or at least a good chance of it .
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Old July 23, 2013, 02:01 PM   #8
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dixie gunworks sold a single bbl Spanish percussion shotgun from the late 50s through the 70s early 80s.I reckon someone somewhere has always made them!
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Old July 23, 2013, 02:17 PM   #9
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Yeah but he has a breech loader.
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Old July 23, 2013, 06:26 PM   #10
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i have read that the breechloaders were proofed to smokeless loads, but were marked with a black powder proof because the smokeless loads were a smokeless equivalent to the standard blackpowder load for that cartridge.

ie, your gun is rated for 60 grains bp, if you use smokeless powder its still generating the same pressure..
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Old July 23, 2013, 07:09 PM   #11
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He may have read the inspection stamp wrong or read the wrong number or Letter. Most of the outside hammer Belgium made shotguns where made prior to 1912 ) and have Damascus barrels. If it does have Damascus barrels then it was made for Black Powder. If does have Damascus barrels, then shoot it at your own risk, that is JMO and the opinion of a number of others. After WWII, around 1920 the Belgium's once again started exporting to the US, how ever by that time internal hammers and steel barrels was the standard. However there is no line in the sand it regards to the last black powder shotgun was made, just sometimes in the early 1900's every one was switching to smokeless powder and by the 1920 I would dare say there were none made.
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Old July 23, 2013, 08:29 PM   #12
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oK im sorry , i missed that it was a breechloader .
Once the newer powders came out , most manufactures started building to ensure proof for that higher standards . Thus its really a greater is good for lesser type of thing . IE a gun proofed for smokeless would be also capable of shooting BP . So the point could be made that the manufacture of guns for BP never stopped. BP cartridges just became harder to find

i would stretch to guess that for BP proof it would be sometime in the very early 20th century.
I say that because by the late 19th century wood powder was in common use for cartridge shot guns .

Damascus wasn’t made just for black powder it was also used with smokeless and proofed for such .
It can be found on both box lock configurations and hammer style locks .
So he may very well have a rabbit ear gun with a pattern steel barrel that has smokeless proof markings .
In fact you can still today get pattern steel barrels that are proofed to for even magnum rifle loads.
Its been a couple years but last I checked it was running around 50.00 US per inch for a barrel blank

It should also be noted that a lot of what people call Damascus is in fact not Damascus at all
Laminated steel barrels and all those within the laminated class like stub twist , English twist and Belgium twist are not true Damascus
Neither is fluid steel
The other thing is that a proof mark is not a manufactures mark . A barrel can carry an early manufacture mark and yet still have a later proof mark . It can also carry more then one proof if the barrels were subject to a reproof at a later date .
There is this common misconception that just because a barrel carries a given proof mark that its ok to shoot .
What a proof mark means is that at the time the barrels were submitted , they past proof . Yet the gun can go out of proof very easily. An over load , improper care … all can take a gun out of proof . As such the simple reality is that most of the guns people shoot today that carry a proof mark would be considered out of proof for any number of reasons

Also we should remember that just because a barrel may carry a smokeless proof mark , that doesn’t mean it was proofed to the level of today’s smokeless powders . Thus a lot of us who chose to shoot these old guns , chose to use a low base powder if not BP no mater if they are Damascus barrels or steel barrels doesn’t mater if they are parkers , Colts , Remington’s , Greeners …..
I still own several ,Victor , Fox , Parker and a couple Cresants . All but 1 are hammer guns

Also it is rather funny that Belgium / liege barrels get such a bad rap .
Yet often times many of what we consider very good guns , carry Belgium made barrels
But what a lot of people don’t realize is that Parker ,Remington, Ithaca, Colt , L.C . Smith , Baker ……. All were using Belgium barrels and said so during a congressional hearings in 1912 concerning a congressional report on duties on metals an manufacturing

Indy , here is a link that will help you start to research your Belgium gun .
It carries a lot of information on bimanous and the different makers as well as proof markings that can be found on Damascus or patern barrels , both smokeless and black

also if you look on this list under ; Belgium shotgun identification and makers marks
You will find some very interesting reading and dates as well as key information on discerning smokeless proof markings

Last edited by Captchee; July 23, 2013 at 08:54 PM.
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Old July 31, 2013, 10:29 PM   #13
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Sears and Roebuck were still selling new Belgium muzzleloading shotguns in the early 1900's. I actually saw one a few years back and the quality was very good, much better than anything Pedersoli is selling these days (and this was supposedly a cheap field model).
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