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Antique sxs

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by hillbilly matt, Jun 23, 2014.

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  1. hillbilly matt

    hillbilly matt Member

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    I was kicking around the swap meet this weekend and ran into guy I know selling a antique caplock sxs that I believe is a 12ga ,he said it was a Parker hale, but I don't know about that. It was dirty so it was hard to see any marking but the hammers locked up nicely and found no slop in the trigger
    you fellas think these old guns are shootable or just wallhangers.

    Thanks for the help on this guys

    P.s. Sorry about the sloppy post I'm really tired
     
  2. elhombreconnonombre

    elhombreconnonombre Member

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    If it has Damascus barrels, there may unseen corrosion between the the wrapped steel layers that could make it unsafe to shoot. I would find the best gun shop in your area, talk to their smith, and get a reference from them for a specialist smith who knows about such shotguns.
    That's what I did for my gggpaws Birmingham-made 12 gauge sxs caplock he carried in the Mexican war in the Texas Rangers and in the ACW in the 19th Texas Cavalry. Although the smith said it would be ok for light blank charges for reenactment purposes, I just carry it as a prop as part of my reenactment/living history Mexican War impression along with my 2 fireable Walkers. They make plenty of boom to make up for the sxs. :)
     
  3. elhombreconnonombre

    elhombreconnonombre Member

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    If this is indeed an old Parker Hale sporting gun it was likely made there and proofed at the Birmingham Proof House. If you take the barrel off you should be able to see the Birmingham proof marks. The style of the proofmarks will tell you the time period during which it was made. If you take pics of the proof marks and send them to the the curator of the Birmingham Proof House, he may be able to provide further information. I'll try to find his email address.
     
  4. Curator

    Curator Member

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    Parker Hale did not exist as a company until the 20th century. American-made "Parker" shotguns were breech loaders made in Connecticut beginning around 1873.
     
  5. elhombreconnonombre

    elhombreconnonombre Member

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    I contacted the the Birmingham Proof House museum at [email protected]. The curator was a gentleman named Dave. Send him pics of any barrel markings, especially any proof marks from the underside of the barrels. He has access to the Proof House's old trade references. If it is a quick and East research project it is free.
     
  6. elhombreconnonombre

    elhombreconnonombre Member

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    Curator
    Agreed, Parker did not invite Hale into the biz until the turn of the 20th century, but Parker started the company in 1880 in Birmingham. Parker Hale was best known for its rifles, although shotguns were also made. Whether they made any caplocks during this period is pure speculation.

    Any American-made Parkers would of course have no proof marks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  7. zimmerstutzen

    zimmerstutzen Member

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    My experience with a few dozen sxs's over the years is that English shotguns are hit and miss about whether they can be resurrected for use. Belgian shotguns tend to have drawn steel barrels with heavier wall thickness and are more likely to be "shooter prospects" The ELG in the oval is the belgian proof and under the breech plugs Belgians often stamped the bore in millimeters.

    An easy way to check for pitting, and nearly all have at least some. Is to put a pin through a long dowel and drag the pin against the interior barrel walls. (Like the way the dentist uses a pick to check cavities. A little rough scratching feeling like a needle on an old phonograph record is to be expected, but actually catching and or hanging up are signs of problems.

    Often old belgian shotguns need new tumblers in the locks because the half cock notches are gone.

    Many of the mail order companies sold inexpensive brand new muzzle loading shotguns even to about 1910. (Sears for instance)

    Also, hardware companies and mail order outfits often purchased shot guns and had their own names put on them. So it would not be unusual for a small regional hardware company to have their own brand name on the same shotgun sold by someone else under another name. Toward the end of the era for such sales, some unscrupulous dealers would have names put on the guns that were similar or the same to well named brands of firearms. I have seen a "Barker Bros" double.

    Better English Shotguns had silver colored "blow out plugs" on the sides of the breech plugs. Some shotguns were Damascus and some were "London Fine Twist" a fine twist should be checked very carefully, although it is somewhat less likely to be compromised than a damascus barrel.

    Some doubles were imported from France and Germany as well.

    Many of the cheaper English doubles had stove pipes for barrels and aren't worth anything but wall hanging.
     
  8. hillbilly matt

    hillbilly matt Member

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    :what: wow you guys really know your stuff. I won't get a chance to look at it again until this weekend, all I really wanted was a cheap smoothie for groundhogs (hate dragging my 1100 around) but due to the age and fact that he wanted only a 100$ for the thing made me a bit suspect. If I buy it or not ill update ya guys on what this thing is.

    +1 to all to ya for all the great input
     
  9. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Member

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    When you think about how much it will cost to buy the gun & pay experts to tell you if they think it is safe to shoot, yer probably better off buying a modern-made Pedersoli off Gunbroker.

    Yer talking about pocket change here.

    When your antique lets go, due to barrel steel corrosion, or whatever, you may pay with your left hand.

    Just my opinion.
    --Dawg
     
  10. zimmerstutzen

    zimmerstutzen Member

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    It is always good to be cautious and safe.

    However, at $100 if it doesn't check out it is always worth that for resale as a wall ornament. even sinking $300 in fixing locks and bore polish it is cheaper then a Pedersoli

    Of the 20 or so locals that shoot muzzle loader trap, 2/3 use antiques.

    Many factories are now set up to x-ray metal parts. If a bud is offered a case of beer.......
     
  11. content

    content Member

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    Look closely at the name.
    I don't know much about the old doubles but do have and old "hardware store" double made by T. Barker.
     
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