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Old January 29, 2000, 07:53 AM   #1
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My dad has an Ithica (or is it Ithagun)16 ga side by side that is about 100-120 years old.
It has some nice etching on it and looks handsome.I took it to a gunsmith here in Atlanta and it was valued at roughly $375.00. However he warned me to not shoot it with todays loads because they could loosen up the gun and over time and just wear it out. I wanted to get a second (or third or fourth) opinion. If this is true, how do I determine what would be an appropriate shell for this gun and where can these be found?
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Old January 29, 2000, 02:29 PM   #2
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Old January 29, 2000, 08:52 PM   #3
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100-120 years old would put that gun back into the blackpowder era and I would not recommend putting any modern shells through it at all. The barrels would not have been proofed for the pressures generated by smokeless powder and might not hold up. Even if they are good enough to hold up, as your smith pointed out, the strain on the rest of the gun surely would not do it any good. Maybe somebody here can give you some info on buying or loading blackpowder shells if you really want to shoot it.
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Old January 30, 2000, 07:54 AM   #4
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Old shotguns oft have bbbls made of Damascus or twist steel. Steel and iron rids were heated till red,and forged around a mandrell to make the bbl. Unfortunately all the lines where the rods joined are susceptable to rust and weakness over a long time. Remove the forearm and see if there's any sign of lines, etc.

Some older Ithaca doubles shot themselves loose,and the design wasn't great for retightening. However, I'd get a second opinion from a good smith,and light skeet loads might be OK for an occasional shoot.

Also, modern shells are 2 3/4", while older guns may be chambered for a shorter shell, I think they used 2 1/16 for a 16 gauge. This needs to be checked before shooting. Using too long a shell boots pressures way up.

If the gun is usable, shoot it and enjoy. Most of those old doubles handle very well indeed...
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Old February 5, 2000, 09:50 AM   #5
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As I posted before, don't do it unless you are willing to risk damage to the gun. The new GUNS magazine has a very short article about shooting modern loads in old bp shotguns. The article cited some research by Winchester in which they compared loads. They used 12 g. trap loads, 3dram eq. 1 1/8 ounce 7 1/2 shot and the equivalant bp load - 3 dram (82 grain) of black powder, these both produced approx. 1200 fps. The pressure for the modern smokeless load was almost double that of the bp, 9600 psi to 4900 psi.
You should be able to find someone that can help you load bp shells.
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