Help Needed Old Shotgun


July 27, 2011, 03:16 PM
Hello everyone! Several years ago I inherited some guns and have found information on all but one of them. After four hours of searching online today I "think" I now have an idea of what it is but I don't have all the answers I'm looking for. The gun in question is a 12 gauge, top break, 30" single barrel shotgun. Since this was my grandfather's I've always thought it was produced in the 1930's or 1940's. The problem? There is no manufacturer and/or model number on it but there is a stamped serial number.

Today I stumbled across the term hardware store gun. If what I've read is correct, they usually have business names on them but no serial numbers. I'm guessing this is what my gun is considered even though it is unmarked. I know a LOT of different companies produced these guns so IDing the manufacturer may be impossible but I HOPE since my serial number included a prefix letter that maybe it will offer a clue as to who or when it was produced. It is stamped E8437 in two different places.

I'm not a gun person and I would really appreciate ANY information and/or suggestions you can offer me so I can finally solve this mystery! Also, if a photo would be of help, please let me know and I'll snap one and post it for you.

Thanks a lot!

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July 27, 2011, 03:31 PM
Photos always help :)

July 27, 2011, 03:35 PM
You should repost this in the Firearms Research forum, which is dedicated to identifying guns like yours.

And yes, you will need pictures. Even without a manufacturers name, there are usually symbols stamped in out of the way places on the barrel and frame that can tell you the country of manufacture if nothing else.

July 27, 2011, 04:00 PM
Not sure what pic is the "right" one so I'll post a few. Hopefully these will help!

July 27, 2011, 04:06 PM
Sorry I didn't see your post KodiakBeer until AFTER I got pics posted! I didn't realize there was a research forum. Should I go ahead and repost this there? Dnn't want to make another mistake and have two topics opened.

Dave McCracken
July 27, 2011, 04:29 PM
Moving this over to Research.....

July 27, 2011, 05:36 PM
Pull off the forearm and you may find stamps under the barrel that will help. The crossed 7 likely indicates European manufacture. It's a nice old shotgun. It's likely Belgian (most are), but I don't think it was a cheapy at the time, more like mid-range.

July 27, 2011, 06:38 PM
Hi. I did looked there before I posted but I didn't see anything obvious. I just took another look and I'm glad I did because I never noticed that the number 8437 is stamped on the end of the forearm/cover. It doesn't have the E before it though. Not sure what that means....if anything. I added a couple more pics in case they can offer any clues.

Jim K
July 27, 2011, 07:58 PM
It is almost certainly a modern gun (i.e., post-WWI). If there is no proof mark, no import mark and no country of origin mark (like "England" or "Spain") the gun was almost certainly made in the U.S., but it doesn't ring any bells with me. It is obviously not a high quality gun, though it might work OK for hunting.


July 27, 2011, 08:14 PM
I'd swear that looks like an H&R but the stock is wrong. (Going to have to dig through a few books.)

July 27, 2011, 08:19 PM
It does look like an H&R. I can't really tell from the pics, but it looks like it has been restocked with something different. Look at the fit of the stock on the tang on both sides - that much metal shouldn't be showing and the stock doesn't appear to be broke there.

July 27, 2011, 10:02 PM
Look at the 7 in the third picture over. Would an American maker use a crossed 7 like that?

July 27, 2011, 11:04 PM
I have an old single shot h&r and the forearm is different than the one pictured, mine has no metal showing where you would put your support hand. Although I don't know if they had different models that did.

July 29, 2011, 08:10 AM
The only gun I can find a picture of that has a "ledge" like that on the side of the receiver is of a Davenport Firearms Company shotgun, of Rhode Island; but they were bought out by H&R in 1905. Maybe H&R continued making this design for some time? Is there anything at all along the very top of the barrel (chamber marking, address, etc?)

July 29, 2011, 11:39 AM
Is there anything stamped inside the receiver, under the barrel?

August 1, 2011, 11:08 AM
Google caruso it's an old hardware store gun. trigger guard indicates a newer(post ww1) style.

August 1, 2011, 06:56 PM
Sorry for the delay in posting. I've been away from the computer this weekend. I'll try to respond to some of the postings I've read.

I don't know if my grandfather purchased this new or used.... I speculate he did buy it new. I know he had to hunt to put food on the table during the depression era. He's been gone for 33 years now so I can't ask him (or my father who's also passed) if the stock is original or not, sorry.

I WISH there was writing on the gun barrel but the only markings on this gun is the serial number which appears in three different places.

I'll also take a look online for Cruso. That is not a name I ran across during my searches. Looking at my scribbles/notes I read something that stated Crescent Fire Arms Co. stamped the serial number on the lower tang behind the trigger guard. I also some something on a Harrington & Richardson model that looked a bit like mine (I think it was the 1908 model).

Like I said originally, I'm not a gun person and my head does start to spin a bit.

August 1, 2011, 11:28 PM
iver johnson single shot champion?

August 1, 2011, 11:32 PM

go to a large bookstore and look up flaydermans guide

32 Magnum
August 3, 2011, 03:32 PM
It's not an H&R - the trigger guard is wrong for any of the single barrel H&Rs that I own.

August 5, 2011, 10:24 AM
I'm leaning towards a Belgian copy of an Iver Johnson Champion. The trigger guard loos right, nut the shape of the action is subtley different.. and while IJ's left sideplate was lightly marked thier barrels were deeply stamped.

I've found a few IJ's on gunbroker where the left side was marked for a "hardware store" chain, and not marked IJ but the barrel is always stamped.

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