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Old November 24, 2014, 07:16 PM   #1
Catpop
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Old Lewis & James Percussion DB Shotgun

I have an old blackpowder double barrel shotgun. It has rabbit eared sidelocks, 30" damascus 12 gauge barrels, double triggers.
The sidelocks are engraved and have "Lewis & James" also engraved on each one.
The top of the barrel is engraved with "London Fine Twisted Steele" The word steel is not clearly visible, but my best guess.
"1908 OCT" is hand carved under the barrels in the wood.
It is in excellent shape, but I wouldnt dare fire it. I feel it was made post 1830 (percussion) and pre 1908 (carved date in stock)
Can anyone shed any light on this old shotgun?
Thanks in advance, Catpop
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Old November 24, 2014, 08:01 PM   #2
D. Buck Stopshere
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I looked for "Lewis & James" in the list of London Gunmakers at

http://www.cornellpubs.com/free-file...20Portrait.pdf

and did not see those names listed. However, the list begins in 1850 and its possible the gun was made before that year.

The "proof of the pudding" will be to remove the barrel wedge, and unhook the barrels from the stock (like doing a T/C Hawken) and looking at the proof marks on the underside of both barrels.

All European & UK firearms will display proof marks.

Go to:http://www.nramuseum.org/media/940944/proofmarks.pdf
and look at the list for "British Proof Marks".

Belgium gunmakers had a tendency to produce shotguns with British-sounding names or using similar names to catch the unsuspecting customer in the US into buying a lesser-grade shotgun with an almost impressive maker's name.

You will find out there, Belgium-made shotguns that have on the lockplate, "W. Richards" to infer being made by Westley Richards gunmakers of London.

Belgium-made shotguns are identified by a oval or egg-shaped outline with the letters "L G E" inside the outline. The letters are the stamp for the Proof House in Liege, Belgium.

Good luck, I hope you have an English-made shotgun.

Are you anywheres near Matthews Point Marina off the Neuse?
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Old November 25, 2014, 08:37 AM   #3
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I found a G.E. Lewis or G.E. Lewis & Sons of Loveday Street Birmingham but I haven't found any connection with James. Is there an address on the shotgun? I agree with D. Buck, we need to know the proof marks before we can go any further.

Last edited by Crawdad1; November 25, 2014 at 08:48 AM.
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Old November 25, 2014, 08:54 AM   #4
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Just because the barrels are marked London Fine Twisted Steel does not indicate where the shotgun was built. Many shotguns built in the USA used barrels imported from England or Germany.
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Old November 25, 2014, 09:00 PM   #5
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StrawHat makes a good point, maybe not an English maker at all, we could be looking in the wrong books.
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Old Yesterday, 01:39 PM   #6
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I have an ancient English caplock sxs 12 gauge damascus smoothbore fowler. It had some Birmingham marks on it so I contacted the current curator of the Birmingham Proofhouse and confirmed the barrels were proofed 1845-1855 prior to the ACW, but could not find the maker (per the makers mark on the locks) in their records. Perhaps the London proof house can provide a similar search service.
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Old Yesterday, 04:52 PM   #7
Catpop
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Dbuckstopshere,
I pulled up the page on proofs and indeed did find my proofs listed as the "1868-1925 Birmingham definitive blackpowder proof for shotguns". It looks like the crown over an x , with some other markings outside the x. It is very small but an exact replica of the page's drawing as I see it.
I guess this does confirm something?
We might could get together and let you have a look at her since you are close to me.
Thanks for all the great help!
Catpop
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Old Today, 01:23 AM   #8
elhombreconnonombre
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The earlier Birmingham Proof House mark is a crown over crossed sceptres with the letters B, P, and C for Birmingham Proof Company.
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Last edited by elhombreconnonombre; Today at 01:31 AM.
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Old Today, 10:40 AM   #9
D. Buck Stopshere
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As mentioned in previous posts, the gun could have been made in the US from parts. Much like today, gun-makers will order a dozen Siler locks and a dozen Green Mountain barrels and a dozen "furniture" sets in brass or steel from Track of The Wolf and put out a dozen guns over a period of time for sale.

The gunsmith of the 19th century went down to nearest hardware store and did the same thing, only every part located was in one place, like today's Home Depot.

So, a mid-19th century American-made shotgun could have been made with barrels made in England, locks made in Belgium, and iron furniture made by local blacksmiths.
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