Gibraltar 16 Gauge?


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orvpark
May 20, 2008, 02:00 PM
Long time lurker, first time posting.

I picked this thing up at an estate auction for $20 along with a few other pieces. I can find little to no info, other than the the interweb told me Sears sold a few Gibraltar 12 Gauges around 1905 (doesn't mention the 16ga). I know It isn't worth anything (are any single shots?) but I'd like to know who built it, or any other information. Is it in anyones book? It doesn't show in mine.

The only markings on it are:
"A24714" behind trigger guard
"Gibraltar" on left face on the action
"16 GA Choke" on Barrel

Thanks

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Jim K
May 20, 2008, 03:02 PM
Gibraltar was apparently a Sears "house brand". Sears, of course, never actually made anything, they just had the real maker put the Sears name or store brand on the item.

One source says the Gibraltar was made by Meriden Arms and later by J. Stevens.

The value may be a bit more than you paid, but I strongly recommend against shooting the gun, at least until it can be checked by a gunsmith.

Jim

orvpark
May 20, 2008, 11:56 PM
Thanks,

What could go so wrong shooting it? It is tight, clean (now), and operative. I'm not trying to be smart, just a serious question.

Jim K
May 21, 2008, 01:26 PM
I don't know the age of the gun. Many guns made before about 1910 had Damascus barrels, made by winding strips of iron and steel around an iron mandrel and welding them together by heating and pounding with a hammer. While often adequately strong when made, corrosion often has gotten into the welds over the years weakening the barrels. Even later solid steel barrels won't always hold up when firing modern shells.

Smokeless powder not only generates more pressure, but pressure remains high past the point where the barrels become thin, which is right where the supporting hand holds the foreend. It is at that point that barrels usually blow out.

Some folks don't take this seriously, but I remember one man who had an old gun his ancestors had used for years. He said he saw no reason not to shoot it, even though I warned him against it. He came back later with his left hand bandaged; parts of three fingers were missing, blown away when the old gun let go.

The gun may be safe enough with black powder or low pressure smokeless shells, but IMHO it is better to be safe than sorry and retire the old guns to wall-hanger status.

EDITED to add:

Also, most of those older guns had 2 9/16 inch chambers that are too short for the modern 2 3/4 inch shells. The modern shells will fit, but the front can't open all the way because it is in the forcing cone. That increases pressures, not a good idea on an older gun.

Those are the reasons I strongly recommend having the gun checked out before firing or not firing it at all.

Jim

orvpark
May 22, 2008, 08:07 PM
Thanks, I do appriciate the info. I will take your advice........I'm just the type of person not to do so blindly:)

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