help me ID a 28ga

Discussion in 'Smoothbore' started by 2172, Feb 18, 2004.

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  1. Feb 18, 2004 #1

    2172

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    a buddy of mine has a bp cartridge gun. 28ga, 29.5 inch damascus bbl, clearly a quality piece. The only marks we can find are a serial number under the bbls, and these marks, on each bbl: a crown surmounting "M I", the word "choke", and AC over M in an oval and finally, the number 137....does anyone have a clue? Hank
     
  2. Feb 18, 2004 #2

    musketman

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    I'll take a shot at it... (bad pun)
    First off, does it have external hammers or is it a box lock (internal hammers)?

    "M I", the word "choke"
    Modified - Improved Choke...

    That's about all I got for now...
     
  3. Feb 18, 2004 #3

    2172

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    Musketman, since there are no good puns, yours is forgiven.
    I overlooked mentioning the most obvious...it is outside hammers...another friend speculated that this could be a "guild gun" the masterpiece that a journeyman must make to be accepted as a master....I know the practice existed, but I don't know if it was still going on in the 1880's which is when I'd date this thing...it is a beautiful lightweight piece...some prior owner has made it have a hair trigger which would put me off owning it...I can add that the word "choke" is cut into each bbl no other marks that any of us can find...I value your opinions, so think so more on this...Hank PS, it has a thumb latch to open it, and has extractors....
     
  4. Feb 18, 2004 #4

    Stumpkiller

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    This is tough without images. Two places to check for other marks. The buttplate and the shelf (aka "bench") under the barrels (you'll need to remove the barrels from the frame to look here). If the "137" is repeated on the shelf and the barrels it is likely the serial number, or at least the last few digits of it. It was pretty common for a firm to put some kind of stylized initials or symbol on the buttplate. Is the forend wider than the barrels? Does it have a pistol grip swell or is the stock straight? Are the hammers on long sideplates (sidelocks) or are the plates only slightly wider than the hammer (a boxlock). When you open the mechanism (I assume it's a tang lever) is there anything visibly moving on the outside of the receiver block? Do the locks have release catches at the back end so they can be removed without tools ($$$$$ YOU"VE WON $$$$$). Are there any marks on the barrels that are hidden by the forend? Is the forend catch a button on the forward tip, a lever in the center, or a spring catch with no release? Hammers are very distinctive and a early-breechloading shotgun collector could probably identify yours just from a look at them.

    If it was English the forend would be narrower than the barrels (maybe 90% of 'em) and it would have a proof-mark (which is possibly what the M I under the crown is).
     
  5. Feb 18, 2004 #5

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    Stumpkiller, wow...a lot of good questions. I don't have the gun, but I'll print off your questions and get the gunowner to try and answer them. I surmised that the crown surmounting the "MI" was a proof mark..it is on both bbls. The crown does not look like the stylized English crown you see on govt stuff in the UK, but like the 3 crowns you see on Swedish stuff...I'll post the answers to your questions asap...Hank
     
  6. Feb 18, 2004 #6

    Stumpkiller

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    I've got a pretty limited library, but a couple good places to start on doubles. My bestest, favoritest, bury-this-one-with-me breechloader is a 20 ga. Ithaca SKB 200-E with auto ejectors and a three barrel set (Sk/Sk, IC/M, F/F). I've logged so many miles grouse hunting with it that the bluing is worn off on the receiver, giving it a really warm look.
     
  7. Mar 1, 2004 #7

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    Stumpkiller, Musketman...I got my hands on that 28 ga. and can give you a little more info: it has long side plates, so it is not a box lock. It has a 6 digit serial # on the bbls, on the shelf, and on the metal of the forestock. The forestock is "dainty", and narrower than the bbls by quite a bit. Going over the marks without 2 oz of Elijah Craig in me, I can describe these marks: left bbl, underside, a tiny 5 pointed star, like an asterisk above the capital letter "T"..about the size of a typewriter cap. T;
    above the word "choke" and "137", then, in a circle, AG above the letter "M"; The underside of the right bbl is the same, except that before (towards the muzzle direction) *T is the inscription "MAG" with maybe "I" following it..not as clear as to whether that is a letter or an incising...I think a letter. Each bbl has, almost at the breech, an oval containing a crown above the letters "ML" and that little star I describe above.
    In further looking at the gun, I would speculate that it has had a more modern buttplate retrofitted...the material appears newer, and is some kind of black rubber ((?) material...looks like buttplates that came on guns in the 1950's...finally, it does not have a straight 'shotgun' stock, but has a semi pistol grip...a swelling...original, I'm sure. The latch that holds the bbls in battery has a visible transvers bar that goes through an extension of the top rib, and which can be seen from the "port" side, leaves a gap there when opened, a visible filled gap when closed...
    That's as much as I can make out...if I get around to buying a digital camera as my wife keeps asking me to do, I'll put photo's on, until then, I'd like your, and the rest of the fraternity's, opinions..Hank
     
  8. Mar 2, 2004 #8

    Stumpkiller

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    [​IMG]

    Here's a picture of an 1893 W.W. Greener, Model 107. The Greener Lock has a transverse bar that enters from the left and locks the action. A nice feature is that the bar is slightly tapered, so it is self-adjusting for wear (and would explain the gap you mentioned). These are primo shotguns. I don't have any references for the stampings, but 137 isn't a stretch from 107, but may just be a coincedence. (This one is a high grade and condition). Other companies used a Greener license copy or Greener style lock-up. It was very strong.

    The buttplate is probably hard rubber and original. After a century or so the rubber hardens up from UV and ozone into a polished wood like surface. (Bakelite was used after 1910 or so and is another 'plastic' look-alike).

    We'll get it figured out eventually.

    I may be changing my mind already. Greeners had a side safety - Sauer and Merkel double rifles & drillings were/are German licence copied of the later Greener boxlock action. I can't find reference to a Greener with a tang safety.
     
  9. Mar 2, 2004 #9

    2172

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    Charlie, with two exceptions, that picture is the gun. The exceptions are, no engraving at all, and, more important, the screw that appears to go into the nipple is not present in this gun...otherwise, everything appears the same, even down to the exact shape of the break open lever..there is no safety ...
    If Greeneer licensed others, this could be such a licensed product. Another question, were designs just plain stolen sometimes?
    Again, thanks, Hank
     
  10. Mar 2, 2004 #10

    Stumpkiller

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    Heck yes. Gun designs are one of the most 'liberated' art forms of the last 300 years. The U.S. of A. basically ripped off Mauser for our Springfield 1903, we also ripped of France for the Comittee of Safety musket (US's first issue - I guess we had their permission?) Everyone in the world stole Browning's ideas.

    Belgium was notorious for small companies that would produce knock-off firearms; some very good, some not so.

    The shotgun in question might very well be a Greener. Usually a hammer design was distinctive. That screw could possibly be absent on the smaller 28 gauge. I'm not sure of its function: pressure vent, firing pin retainer??

    Interesting side story: My scoutmaster was in the army in Germany during WWII and stayed on with the army of occupation. He was part of a squad assigned to destroy confiscated firearms. They spent their duty time breaking drillings, double-barrels and other sporting arms in half and bending the barrels. He claimed thousands of them. What a loss. He was allowed to ship one one home, but managed two by trading his service sub-machine gun for the trophy tag and an M-1 carbine.
     

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