Crescent Davis .410 bolt action shotgun


September 19, 2006, 07:56 PM
I could not help myself. On my way home from work today I somehow managed a detour to a local Pawn Shop that every now and then has something unique and inexpensive.

They actually had a few more guns than when I was in there last time but the overall selection was still poor. On one of the racks my attention was drawn to an ugly bolt action .410 shotgun. Since one of the first guns, if not the first gun I ever shot was one of these I had to take a look. Upon inspection I found a single shot older gun. There was some surface rust and the bore was actually obstructed by cob or dust webs. The stock looked ok, but worn, dinged up, and dirty,.

I asked the clerk for a cleaning rod and he obliged. After running a patch down it, the bore looked ok but dirty.

The shotgun was marked Crescent Davis Arms Corporation, Springfield Massachusetts, Model 205.

Doing some web searching I found out that Crescent made about 100 House Branded guns and that the actual "Crescent Davis" company was only in business from 1929 - 1931. If this info is correct my shotgun would have to have been made during this time. This would be the oldest gun I own.

Anyway I plan on taking this gun out to the range and seeing how it shoots. I paid $50 out the door for it so I don't think I did too bad. Ultimately I plan on cold bluing the metal and re finishing the stock, which I am sure is Walnut. I think that the grain in this stock will make it look real nice. Quite a bit of "figure" in this wood. Which always amazes me about these older guns. To a piece they all seem to have pretty nice wood.

Any other info on these guns would be appreciated.


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September 21, 2006, 08:38 AM
I took this gun out to the range yesterday and shot it. If I have not mentioned it before, this is actually the first .410 gauge (caliber ;) ) shotgun I have owned. Or if I have owned one before it would have been a really looong time ago. So my experience shooting 410 shells is limited at best.

This gun shot OK. While at distances of more than 20 yards the pattern was pretty poor. At ranges of 15 yards and inward I was able to keep a pretty good pattern on the small paper plates that I use for my patterning tests and targets.

I was a little surprised by the cost of the shells. The least expensive I could find were $6 and change for a box of 25 at WalMart. About twice as much as budget 12ga shells cost. Since I am not going to be shooting this gun too much I don't think this will make a big difference.

I think I will measure the bore at the muzzle and see what the choke restriction is. The barrel does not have any choke markings. At least none that I could find.


Dave McCracken
September 21, 2006, 08:49 AM
Looks like a nice project gun as well as a garden gun for pests and smaller critters.


September 21, 2006, 08:49 AM
I think you should have a gunsmith check the chamber.
A .410 from 1931 will most likely have a 2.5" chamber and if you were shooting 3" loads they were not fully opening and this could account for the poor patterns.
Besides these older guns can be somewhat unsafe when fired with too long for the chamber shells.
Was the bolt fairly hard to open after shooting?

September 21, 2006, 08:59 AM
Onmilo - The bolt was not sticking when opening after I shot. Do to age of the gun and being a cheapskate, I had not planned on shooting any 3" or magnum type shells.

The shells I shot yesterday where 2 1/2" Winchester #6 loads. (Isn't 2 1/2" the current standard length in .410 shells?)

Dave - Living in a developed area there are not to many problems with garden pests. However we did recently have someones Bull get loose. But I think I would have been undergunned if I had tried to get some free steaks. :D

I am looking forward to re-finishing the stock and playing around with cold bluing the metal.


September 21, 2006, 08:27 PM
Rob62 3" shells are the standard now and 2 1/2" field load shells are getting harder and harder to find.
It is true that even cheap guns for times past have far better wood on them than rifles from this era.
Good high quality gun grade wood is something else that is getting harder and harder to find without spending extra money to get it.
There are fewer gun quality lumber trees available on the market and all the best wood was culled years ago.

Most Crecent made firearms were produced with tight "Choke Bored" barrels equivilent to a full choking.
You didn't mention what shot size you were using but I will assume they were a target type shell since you were shooting 2 1/2" loads and they were inexpensive, as .410 loads go, to purchase.
7 1/2-8-9 shot sizes open up quickly in the .410 and shot dispersion becomes quite large after about 30 meters.
The retained energy of the small shot also drops off quite rapidly after 30 meters too.

I have had .410 #7 1/2 target shell loads fail to penetrate a ceramic coffee mug at 25 meters.

If you can find some in your area, try to locate some Winchester 2.5" #5 or #4 field loads.
Buy as many boxes as you can afford.
While the number of pellets in the load is dramatically fewer than what you will find in a 7 1/2 or #8 target load these shells hit a target with a great deal more authority at ranges past twenty five meters and they usually pattern much tighter too.
Guys who recommend smaller shot in the .410 tend to spend more time on the skeet field than the hunting field. HTH

By the way, while your picture is as blurry as the ones I usually take that is still one nice looking bolt gun.

September 21, 2006, 09:21 PM
I have one just like it marked "Western Auto". Wonderful little gun. :)

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