JM Brown Percussion Shotgun

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Hello! New member here - my father in-law passed on and since I have a variety of firearms the family handed me his JM Brown Percussion Shotgun. It's been in the family for three generations as far as they know but the family knows little of it's history and I am not finding much online about them. I presume its a mid 1800's based on the technology but that is purely a guess. Looks like someone tried to weld a repair between the barrels and its missing the ramrod. Questions - where can I go to learn more about them? Are they worth restoring / reconditioning? Thanks!Dad's Shotgun 1.jpg Dad's Shotgun 2.jpg Dad's Shotgun 3.jpg Dad's Shotgun 4.jpg
 

Phil Coffins

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It’s certainly worth cleaning and oiling. Do not refinish it as it’s in good shape, the top rib has come loose and needs re soldering by a pro. A new ram rod can be fitted to it to complete the gun. Look at the under side of the barrels for proof marks.
 
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And first check if it’s loaded! They often are.
Firearm safety 101! I placed a fiberglass rod down the barrel and compared that to the same measurement outside the barrel - both go all the way back to the end of each barrel.
 
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It’s certainly worth cleaning and oiling. Do not refinish it as it’s in good shape, the top rib has come loose and needs re soldering by a pro. A new ram rod can be fitted to it to complete the gun. Look at the under side of the barrels for proof marks.
Thanks for the reply! Definitely going to clean and oil it and I did not see any proof marks on the under side of the barrels.
 

nhmoose

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Any marks on the bottom of the barrels? Need pics if there is. It looks like it may have platinum blow out plugs on the breeches.

SXS of the world list a few Browns most from Birmingham one was a john with 5 of his sons also gun makers he started in the 1830's.
 
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Any marks on the bottom of the barrels? Need pics if there is. It looks like it may have platinum blow out plugs on the breeches.

SXS of the world list a few Browns most from Birmingham one was a john with 5 of his sons also gun makers he started in the 1830's.
Thanks for the reply! I don't see any marks on the barrels - tops, bottoms or sides. I'll keep searching for info on the gun.. Thanks again!
 

Gene L

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May be the proof numbers are on the barrel beneath the fore end.
 

TFoley

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If it really was made in England then Birmingham or London proofs MUST have been struck on the breech end of the barrels under the area of the chambers. It might have had the barrels made in Belgium - not unusual for a mass-produced gun of this kind, in which case there will be Belgian proof marks in the same location. It was then, and still is the Law.
 
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The forend covers the base of the breech and it's also part of the stock - I got to to say that I'm a bit nervous removing these old screws that look to have never been touched since new. I'll give it a try but if there is much resistance then I'll have a gunsmith do this. So a few comments eluded to this being a British gun which helps learn more about them although so far all I found online is a big fat goose egg. If anyone knows where to locate info on these JM Brown Percussion Shotguns I'd appreciate you forwarding that to me. Thanks to all who have replied - very helpful info!!
 

Zonie

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From what I can see, it looks like the only things that are holding the barrel in place is the wedge thru the forestock and the single screw thru the tang that is located in line with the center of the barrels and between the hammers towards the rear.
You should not have to remove the locks to remove the barrel.

To remove the tang screw be sure to get a screwdriver which has a blade that just fits into the slot on the screw head. Don't try to use a screwdriver with a blade that fits real loosely in the slot or you'll end up making a burr on the slot.

Also before trying to loosen the tang screw, try turning the screw slightly in the direction that would tighten it (clockwise). If the screw rotates just slightly, stop turning it clockwise and then try to unscrew it. The screw should be screwed into the trigger plate so unscrewing it 5-8 turns should allow you to pull it out of the hole.

With the tang screw removed, lightly tapping on the small end of the wedge should dislodge it. It may not want to be pulled out of the stock and if this is the case try to find a thin piece of wood that is smaller than the slot and use a small hammer or mallet with the wood to tap the wedge out.
(Although using the blade end of the screw driver will work, the screw driver is harder than the wedge so it may leave a mark on the end of the wedge.)

After the wedge is removed, bring both of the hammers back to half-cock. Full cock can be used but there is a chance that the hammers may fall if the triggers are touched. Then, while holding the stock, just lift the muzzle of the barrels upward. It should lift easily out of the stock.
 
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From what I can see, it looks like the only things that are holding the barrel in place is the wedge thru the forestock and the single screw thru the tang that is located in line with the center of the barrels and between the hammers towards the rear.
You should not have to remove the locks to remove the barrel.

To remove the tang screw be sure to get a screwdriver which has a blade that just fits into the slot on the screw head. Don't try to use a screwdriver with a blade that fits real loosely in the slot or you'll end up making a burr on the slot.

Also before trying to loosen the tang screw, try turning the screw slightly in the direction that would tighten it (clockwise). If the screw rotates just slightly, stop turning it clockwise and then try to unscrew it. The screw should be screwed into the trigger plate so unscrewing it 5-8 turns should allow you to pull it out of the hole.

With the tang screw removed, lightly tapping on the small end of the wedge should dislodge it. It may not want to be pulled out of the stock and if this is the case try to find a thin piece of wood that is smaller than the slot and use a small hammer or mallet with the wood to tap the wedge out.
(Although using the blade end of the screw driver will work, the screw driver is harder than the wedge so it may leave a mark on the end of the wedge.)

After the wedge is removed, bring both of the hammers back to half-cock. Full cock can be used but there is a chance that the hammers may fall if the triggers are touched. Then, while holding the stock, just lift the muzzle of the barrels upward. It should lift easily out of the stock.
Zonie - thanks for the great advice.. I have screwdrivers that are thin enough to fit in the slot but they are not wide enough to apply a twisting force to the screw without fear of damaging the screws. I need to locate a screwdriver that has a thin and wide blade. I see three smaller screws on the trigger guard and a larger one in between the hammers. I'll do my best to not damage the screws but I'm almost ready to take the gun to a muzzle loading gun smith - if I can find one in Southern California. Thanks again!
 

Phil Coffins

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Before you mess with the screws the barrels should be removeable by half cocking the locks then pushing out the key and lifting the barrels up. This photo may give you an idea of how they work. Although new the system is the same. Now you can see how the hooked breech separates.
IMG_0405 by Oliver Sudden, on Flickr
 
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Well that last piece of advice did it - barrels came off with a bit of soft persuasion. And I found the proof marks.

20190306_112446.jpg
 
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Anyone know what the H&S 13 signifies? Is 13 the gauge? I also find no reference to the star below the Definitive Proof Mark,

I appreciate everyone's replies - this has been a great experience getting to know this piece. My wife's family have zero knowledge regarding this gun and how grand dad came into possession of it. They will flip when they learn in dates back to the 1800s (at lease as far as I can tell) and was made in London. And they are not getting it back!
 

Phil Coffins

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The 13 could be the gauge, that can be checked by measuring the bore behind the choke if present. The H&S maybe the maker of the barrels as apposed to the gun maker.
 

Feltwad

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Yes a full set of London Proof marks GP below the crown for definite proof V below crown is the viewers mark H&S barrel maker 13 bore size .Has for the name of Brown it could be a London maker but more likely it is a provincial maker has there were more provincial makers with the name than those in London all makers in the vicinity of London would have used the London Proof House
Feltwad
 

Phil Coffins

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I would recommend at this point you set the breech end of the barrels in a container and pore a penetrating oil down the bore and around the breech till the nipples are covered. Let it set for a week or more while you research the gun. Then if you wanted to replace the nipples you’d have a better chance of getting them out. Besides it won’t harm the barrels or finish. A drip of penetrating oil on any screw on the lock and under the hammers will start working as well. Time is on your side so use it! Fine project that I wish was mine.
 
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