What is “This old Gun”?

This old gun

I receive many requests for help on identifying old firearms. Some requests involve incomplete or insufficient information, as a result I cannot respond with a substantial or conclusive answer. Questions pertaining to value are also frequently problematic in that many subtle factors are involved. Thus, I can only offer a range of potential value in most cases.  Look over the list below and include as much information as you can.

Descriptive information needed includes:

1) Any written, stamped or engraved markings.  These may be found on the lock(s), barrel, or on the  rib between the  barrels in the case of a double shotgun or rifle.

2)Proof Marks are  usually found at the breech end of the barrel(s), often on the underside requiring removal of the barrel(s) from the gun to ascertain. These are quite significant in many cases as to origin of the gun.

(note:  If the information above is obscure, faint, or otherwise difficult to read please study it with a loupe or some magnification.  Partial information found in this way is often helpful.)

3) In the case of military arms, inspector marks on the stock and elsewhere are also significant.  U.S. arms were always inspected after 1796 and originally had a final inspectors mark on the stock opposite the lock.  These are in an oval about 3/8″ high with three letters in script.  Look closely!!

4) Overall length, barrel length, approximate bore size, presence or absence of rifling, flintlock, percussion or cartridge ignition, description of sights, trigger(s), and as many other specifics as you can provide are helpful.

5) General description of condition. Original wood and metal finish remaining, decorative engraving and/or carving, stock condition i.e. cracks, splits, etc.  Be as complete as possible.

I will answer all inquiries containing sufficient information, however time constraints prohibit e-mail back and forth trying to elicit additional required information.

Please read the additional information below as it applies to many inquires.  

A large number of antique arms, particularly shotguns, fall into a category known as “Hardware Guns”.  These include a wide variety of double and single barrel shotguns.  They were made predominately in Birmingham England and Liege Belgium.  Also large quantities were produced in the U.S. by firms such as Hopkins and Allen, Stevens Arms and Tool Co., Iver Johnson, and others. As a group, they were inexpensive and often of modest quality destined for the then expanding retail and catalog market. Basically an aspiring retailer would contract with one of these manufacturers negotiating the specifics, quantity and delivery terms.  Often these guns have local markings suited to the area of trade where they would be sold. Here in Minnesota, St. Paul Gun Co. and Twin Ports Arms (Duluth) are examples.   Another indicator of this quality gun is the barrel marking.  “Genuine Damascus” or “Laminated Steel” or similar accolades.  Little collector interest has been shown for these guns, most selling in the $100-200 range.

Feel free to use the link below to inquire, I will try to respond promptly.