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H. J. Sterling double barrel sidehammer

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by John Wesley Hardin, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. John Wesley Hardin

    John Wesley Hardin Active Member

    Can anyone give me the approx. date of manufacture for a H. J. Sterling double barrel sidehammer shotgun..I would appreciate any help on this matter. Thanks, John Wesley Hardin
  2. Ron James

    Ron James Well-Known Member

    First, pull all the wood and look for proof marks, If you find the letters ELG in a circle or oval . post back. If you do not find this marking, then post back with photos of the proof marks, If you can find no proof marks, post back with that information also. Let us know what you find, however I think you have either a Belgium or Crescent shotgun.
  3. John Wesley Hardin

    John Wesley Hardin Active Member

    Ron- Thanks for the reply.. The gun is not actually in my possession at the moment, so I cannot check for proof marks. I expect to have it back in a few days. I have narrowed the search down to the possibililty that it is an import gun imported by Crescent-Davis Gun Co (1890-1930).
    I am also trying to establish the fact that a C&R would suffice if I should decide to sell it. Thanks, Bill Collier
  4. Ron James

    Ron James Well-Known Member

    I believe it is a Crescent also. Unfortunately there is really no way, other than type and action to date it, All of Crescent records were destroyed in 1940's. Outside hammers were no longer made or imported by Crescent after WW I, They Were old fashioned and the new vogue was internal lock work. However Crescent ceased to be an entity by the mid 1940's. With out seeing it I would date it prior to 1914, Hope that helps.
  5. John Wesley Hardin

    John Wesley Hardin Active Member

    Ron- Just having somebody interested in helping me to establish it's age helps. thank you very much..Bill
  6. Greg Combs

    Greg Combs New Member

    Any more info on this gun?

    I have my Dad's gun and it's a double-barrell with outside hammers. It's a Belgium. Any info on the date this was manufactured as well as possible value? Thanks!
  7. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Hi, Greg,

    The above comments would apply to your gun also, even if it was not imported by Crescent. Those guns were made and imported literally by the ton in the time between about 1880 and 1914. Most had Damascus barrels and I strongly recommend those not be fired. There may be exceptions, but in general they have little value, and there is no collector interest. Most dealers won't even take them in trade because of the liability problems if they sell them. Value, when sold as decorators is around $50-75.

  8. Greg Combs

    Greg Combs New Member

    Thanks Jim

    Well, it's my Dad's gun and he was hoping it was worth a substantial amount; I'll have to break the news to him. Thanks for the info - I was hard-pressed to find anything online or at local antique shops. It does make a beautiful wall-hanging and conversation piece; I'll just never mention it's worthless!
  9. Kenneth Kickbusch

    Kenneth Kickbusch New Member



    I, too, have an HJ Sterling double; it does have the ELG in an oval topped by a symbol of royalty. I have a pictyure of my grandfather carrying it in his 1914 WI deer camp. I'm hoping that the gun does not have damascus barrels since I used it extensively while growing up. The gun does have a variety of other stampings under the forepiece. Does this help with its identity? Thanks.
  10. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    First, Damascus and laminated barrels were made because prior to around 1890 factories were not able to drill a straight hole in a piece of solid iron or steel as long as a shotgun barrel. They continued past 1900 mainly because they were the product of cheap labor and many people liked the looks of a Damascus barrel. (Even after barrels were made from solid steel, some makers turned out fake Damascus to satsfy that market.)

    The best way to determine if the barrels are Damascus is to look at the markings (many are marked "Damascus" or "Laminated") or to look at the barrels for signs of a spiral pattern. Damascus barrels were made by twisting thin bars of iron and steel together, then welding them by heating white hot and hammering them. Then the resulting bars were thinned to the proper size, again by heating and pounding, then wrapped around an iron bar called a mandrel.

    Once again, the bars were heated and welded together by pounding on them. Once the barrel was reamed out, finished and polished, it looked almost like solid steel, but actually it was the product of thousands of welds. Laminated barrels were made much the same way except that the welder started with small iron and steel plates rather than with bars, bending them around the mandrel.

    Some Damascus barrels were very well made. English made barrels were always good, and so were the better class of Belgian barrels. There were some made in the U.S. and those were good, also. Unfortunately, most of the Belgian guns and many U.S. guns were not top quality. They were utilitarian guns and filled the demand for shotguns in a day of plentiful game and no limits.

    But time and corrosion have taken their toll on many of those guns. Powder fouling and primer salts have worked their way into the microscopic and multitudinous crevices and joints in the barrels, eating them out from the inside, even if the outside and the bore look shiny and clean. Some people insist that Damascus barrels are OK with black powder, but they do let go with even black powder and smokeless powder is an absolute no-no.

    The main problem with those barrels is that they almost always let go out where the barrel becomes thinner, which is exactly the place the shooter places his off hand. The result is that a blown barrel usually takes some fingers along with it.

    FWIW, H. J. Sterling was a Crescent brand name. It may have been just a nice sounding name, or it may have been the name of a hardware store, a chain, or distributor, as it was common at that time for even single stores to order guns with their name on them, and if the order was fairly large, Crescent would oblige. IIRC, at one time, an order for as few as 20 guns would be marked with whatever name the customer wanted.

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  11. krfoster

    krfoster New Member

    If anyone is watching this thread, i have a sterling side arm double barrell with the markings elg in an ovaland dozens of other numbers stamped into the barrel any information would be helpful!
  12. Ron James

    Ron James Well-Known Member

    All the information above pertains also to your shotgun. Belgium made, Imported by H&D Folsom . Sold by some hardware chain for 8 dollars and change. I consider them unsafe to shoot, although many of the cowboy action shooters use them with light loads. Value in very good condition , 200 to 25. In very well used condition may be a hundred.

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