late 1890's shotguns


October 5, 2009, 04:21 PM
1. Do single or doubles have a chamber size?

2. What size cartidges in 12 ga did they use 2 1/2, 2 3/4, 3, etc?

3. They were firing smokeless powder by then, correct?

4. What modern loads are compatible with pressures generated by loads of that period?

5. Is there a chart I can use to determine the choke on my barrel, perhaps by measuring the diameter at the end of the barrel?

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October 5, 2009, 04:31 PM
1. Yes.
2. All of the above except 3". There were also 2 9/16".
3. Yes & no. Smokeless didn't really become common until the early 1900's.
4. See this page about 1/4 way down.
Be aware though that choke relates to how much constriction there is from actual bore size. Without measureing the bore size, measuring the choke is pretty meaningless.

You may be able to take off the forearm and find chamber length measurements on the barrels.

Old shotguns like I think you are asking about often have Damascus twist-steel barrels, and are not safe to shoot with any modern smokeless powder loads.
Welded twist steel barrels have had 100+ years to develop rust & pitting between the welds, and there is no possible way to know how sound they are until they just let go.


October 5, 2009, 05:43 PM
Yes they are chamber sizes - in addition to those listed, there were also 2". Remember that the length is the measurement of the FIRED hull length, NOT an unfired one. An unfired longer hull WILL fit in a shorter chambered-gun.

IF it has Damascus barrels - a trip to the gunsmith (that KNOWS about these guns) is necessary to determine whether it is suitable to be fired - and even then it would ONLY be with low-pressure loads like those found at RST or Polywad. Many will say it is not safe - it MAY be safe, IF your smith properly checks it and says OK.

People DO shoot old Damascus barrel guns - there are many Vintager-type groups - but, those guns have been properly checked beforehand.

What is the brand of gun?
Look on the water table for proof markings
Posting pictures of the those markings might help get you more information.

October 5, 2009, 05:44 PM
This one doesn't have any welds or twists, it's from 1896 patent and is of a more "modern" design.

I'll try to find the chamber length...

October 5, 2009, 05:56 PM
from 1896 patent

And that may or may not be the actual year of manufacture for your gun. There are a lot of sites that have age data if you know the name and serial number

October 5, 2009, 09:42 PM
The year of manufacture is 1898.

I looked into the barrel and saw a dark circle indicating the end of the chamber. I measured to this and found it to be exactly 3 inches.

There are no marks on the waterboard, the only marks on the barrel (besides, company model and serial number) is a 12 in front of the handguard, and a G under the handguard.

It is an Acme model 1896 from the W.H.Davenport company, Norwich Conn. A mass produced gun factory gun worth only about $200 due to the sheer number made (although I have yet to find someone who's heard of them).

It looks very solid.

justashooter in pa
October 6, 2009, 11:45 AM
B&P America makes low pressure 2" and 2.5" shotshells that i use in these doubles often. they are 1000 FPS and about 7/8 oz shot.

October 6, 2009, 03:29 PM
Thanks for the ammo suggestions.

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