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Damascus Steel/Belgian Best Rolled steel? Shotguns?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Birdmang, Aug 12, 2009.

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  1. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    I have a Belgian best rolled steel double barrel 12 gauge, exposed hammers. I wanted to shoot it but my grandfather said he was told not to shoot it. How do you know if it is safe to shoot or not? Whats the deal with them?!

    Thanks!


    Manhattan Arms Co. is the Manufacturer.
    -Belgan Best Rolled steel
    -Model: The Interchangeable

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2009
  2. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Damascus barrels were made by laying up steel wire and hammering it into the shape of barrel walls.

    There can be rust that forms between the wires, and it may not be possible to see it. On the other hand, some of the old guns, if well cared for, can work as well as when they were made.

    You can't expect the barrels to handle more than black powder pressures, even if they're perfect.

    If they're not perfect, they can explode.

    People do shoot them, with black powder. Generally, they proof test them first, and just accept that the gun might explode in testing. The guys I know who do this acquire the guns for cheap, and they have no sentimental value to them, nor high collector value.

    Personally, I'd skip shooting it, keep it oiled and hang it on the wall.:)

    Loading and shooting black powder is a whole hobby unto itself, and, as I wrote above, the gun could explode when it's proofed, and you wouldn't even have a nice wall hanger.
     
  3. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Folks DO shoot them - BUT, it needs to go to a GOOD smith who knows what he's doing to evaluate it for pitting, cracks, etc. and even IF it passes, only LOW pressure loads should be used - more than likely 2-1/2", NOT the standard 2-3/4".

    Try doublegunshop.com - those folks have a lot of experience in shooting those old guns
     
  4. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Even if it "passes" an inspection, I wouldn't put it up to my face until it's been proofed. No way, no how.

    One of the guys I know who does shoot them has only one eye (100% HIS FAULT) but still never wears safety glasses, and I mean NEVER, when he's shooting, or when he's working in one of his machine shops. One of my favorite people, but I always apply a major fudge factor to what he considers "safe".:)
     
  5. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    If you value you body parts you should hang it on the wall

    The old process that was used to wrap steel wire around poor steel to begin with is not strong enough even for black powder. WHY?? Because time: more than 100 years of wear and shrinkage of the layers between the two different types of metals used leaves spaces, that are actually small cavities, that causes a weakness. Buy an old gun that says Fluid steel and you will be safe.
     
  6. USAFRetired

    USAFRetired Member

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    Is it truly a "wire-wrapped" barreled shotgun, or is the damascus pattern chemically etched into the barrels

    I have an OLD (1890s?) 10 gauge double barrel set (shorter quail barrel, longer goose barrel) that is always referred to as "damascus barreled", but it's really just a surface pattern
     
  7. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    More info found out and added up top^
     
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Once upon a time, Belgium wasn't exactly the most prestigious firearms producer, either.

    John Browning did even more for Belgian firearms manufacturing than they did for him.

    I would keep the thing oiled, and hang it up. It's a really neat-looking gun, and that's probably its best attribute.:)
     
  9. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Ross Seyfried has had, for the past several decades, a generous standing offer for anyone who can show him a Damascus barrel damaged with SAAMI loads. Last I heard, no one has yet collected.
     
  10. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    I wouldn't shoot it, period. IMHO it needs a good cleaning, several coats of Johnson's paste wax, and a nice cozy place to hang on the wall. If I did anything to it, that would be to have a 'smith remove the firing pins and hide them under the buttplate to keep anyone from accidentally shooting it, ever.

    There are too many good modern SxS shotguns available for a few hundred $$$ to risk life, limb and facial features on shooting a who knows how old shotgun in who knows what condition.

    lpl
     
  11. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    Modern Steel is a strong alloy

    Modern steel is made by heating and smelting the "elements" of Iron, cobalt, chromium, and nickel and sometimes other elements such as Titanium in a chemical soup to cause the Atoms to chemically bond with each other. This is much stronger than the "Physical" process of heating wire of steel and hammering it together around a mandrel, as was done in the older Damascus barrels.By altering the amounts of the metals to the "soup" one can make different qualities of steel for different applications.
     
  12. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    But rolled steel isn't damascus is it? It isn't laminated steel either is it? Or is it?

    Laminated being plates wrapped and welded around a mandrel instead of the wire used for damascus.

    Just curious.

    I've seen mention on the net of Belgian guns by Manhattan Arms Co. called The Interchangeable with 3 different barrel markings: damascus, laminated and rolled.

    John
     
  13. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    Mine is rolled
     
  14. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    Rolled steel and Damascus are one in the same

    If I am not mistaken, rolled steel is another name for Damascus. Largely a piece of iron wrapped around a mandrel, the heating of steel -rolled wire and hammered while very hot to the iron metal. A soft type of steel -iron mixture results from the process but inherently weak compared to the smelting and Chemical bonding that occurs in modern steel making.The atoms that are negatively charged(ions) bond with the positively charged atoms (ions) of the other metals in the"soup" which is very strong. I have 2 old stevens that were made about 1900, that are hammer guns and they are "FLUID" steel. Another name for modern smelting - chamically bonded atoms. This is what you want to shoot modern ammo in. Also my Brother has an old Remington that has Fluid steel barrels. There are a lot of older shotguns made this way that are very beautiful in my opinion to shoot safely. My 2 cents Snooperman-Retired chemistry teacher.
     
  15. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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  16. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    I think I am just going to hang it on the wall, sounds like an easier plan.

    THanks for all the help though!
     
  17. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    www.winchestercollector.org/guns/1887shot.shtml

    "The Model 1887’s... Popular special order options were limited to grade of the stock, barrel length and type of barrel. The standard barrel was three-blade Damascus steel, with four-blade Damascus available at extra cost. In addition, rolled steel barrels were offered later in production.

    I'm determined to figure this out. By next week anyway. :)
     
  18. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I still think if it isn't cracked, then it is safe to shoot - I know a few folks who love shooting their damascus steel "twist" guns (JohnBT - I think rolled isn't damascus either)

    Again, doublegunshop.com - folks shoot old SxS all day long
     
  19. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    No way. Rust forms in the pockets left by the welds.

    Not safe to shoot. No way, no how. There's plenty of modern shotguns out there.

    Don't take chances with your face. It's not worth it.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. murdoc rose

    murdoc rose Member

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    lol i've owned one and shot it too walmart bird shot and it didn't blow up however i do not advise it. they can blow up
     
  21. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    Larry Ashcraft is correct

    The rolled steel that is hammered together with the iron over time separates leaving small cavities too small to be seen with the naked eye. Moisture finds its way into them causing rust making the cavity larger and the barrel weaker. You can not see them as they are internal. X-rays will show them. With all the good guns that are safe out there, why would anyone want to take a chance on this is beyond me. However, I know there are those among us who are a little more daring and do not mind taking chances , and a certain number will probably pay a price for that kind of behavior.My 2 cents
     
  22. Bud Tugly

    Bud Tugly Member

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    If he really wants to shoot it, how about using a set of reducing tubes? Wouldn't that be a way the gun would still be usable without the risk of barrel explosion?
     
  23. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    This gun will never be shot.

    I have enough shotguns. Thanks for the info.
     
  24. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Old guns can be sleeved.....they CAN be shot, but only after a thorough investigation. To blanketly say no to all of them is absolutely false. There are thousands of American, Belgian, English and others out there being enjoyed everyday otherwise companies like Polywad and RST et al would be out of business...........
     
  25. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    True, though there are early guns that don't have Damascus barrels, too. I'm sure plenty of Polywad is shot through them; that's what I've used the stuff for, not Damascus steel.

    But anything short of the utmost caution is to invite serious injury.
     
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