Damascus Twist Steel Barrel

Discussion in 'General Shotgun Discussion' started by Threetango, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Threetango

    Threetango Audentes Fortuna Iuvat Supporter

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    This was given to me in the late 50's by my grandpa and has been in my parents attic wrapped for many, many years.
    On top of this single shot 12 ga shotgun is written Columbia Arms Co Norwich Conn. and on the left side Fulton Arms.
    Anyone know any info (years of production) etc ?

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  2. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    Threetango,

    These guns were designed for Black Powder Shotgun Shells only. I will let some of the guys here on the forum advise you a further details that have more knowledge in this area. But do not shoot any high brass or newer hotter load shotgun shells in it. Great Wall Hanger! And certainly a keepsake coming from Grandpa! I know how valuable these heirlooms are! I would not shoot any modern shells even low brass in it until you hear from some of the other members who have more knowledge of the results than I do!

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  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Columbia was used by several companies in different places- but I THINK yours may have been made by W. H. Davenport Arms Co. If so, what would have been about 1891-1910.

    While there were some incredibly well built European Damascus guns that ARE nitro (smokeless) proofed, yours is not one of them. The Davenports, Crescents and Shapleigh guns of that period were utility grade guns- made for the working stiff. They were the guns of the farmer, storekeeper, mechanic, carpenter, etc.

    As you may be aware, Damascus barrels were made by twisting heated strands of wire around a mandrel, reheating and then hammer forging them. They were made for low pressure, black powder loads. Unfortunately, each of the thousands of welds is a point where black powder corrosion can start rust, which can UNweld any of the points- resulting in the barrel coming apart with vengeance.

    Using modern smokeless shells can increase the certainly of you spattering bystander with bits of you- but even black powder shells MAY not be safe. Myself, I would want a GOOD metals test man to do a penetrant dye test before shooting one- and that would be pricey.

    My honest suggestion? Use a soft cloth with light oil, and by hand, polish the metal bits lightly. Same for the wood with a good lemon oil based furniture polish. And retire that one to a spot of honor above the mantel.
     
  4. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Damascus barrels are not safe to shoot with any charge due exactly to what C3 said about corrosion unwelding the strands. They are just too old and brittle. When they were forged the gunsmiths of the time knew nothing about stress relief or good hammer forging techniques for barrels. They would beat the barrels one side at a time causing metal stress and brittleness. While safe for a good 30 or 40 years corrosion and age and use make them unsafe to shoot under any condition.
     
  5. gunny91

    gunny91 New Member

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    JonM is right under no circumstances should that firearm be shot

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  6. Threetango

    Threetango Audentes Fortuna Iuvat Supporter

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    No intention of shooting it, too old but would like to know the years of manufacture.
    Probably will find someone to make some walnut gun mounts and put it up in my man cave.
     
  7. Threetango

    Threetango Audentes Fortuna Iuvat Supporter

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    duplication
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  8. gunny91

    gunny91 New Member

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    Its hard to tell especially since the manufacturer is no longer in b ussiness but fyi google is ur friend

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  9. 303tom

    303tom Well-Known Member

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    What you have there is what is known as a "Trade Brand Name" shotgun. Probably made by Stevens, Iver Johnson or H&R, I`m going to say it`s not a 100 years old, probably built in the 30`s & probably not a Damascus Twist Steel Barrel, just a good ol boy shotgun back in the day, probably cost 10 bucks back then which was a lot. Probably worth a 100 bucks today. If it was given to you by your Grandpa I say Restore it & hang it up & cherish it..............
     
  10. Virginian

    Virginian Active Member

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    There are some forums where if you say don't shoot damascus barrels, they draw a bead on you, and regale you with tales of shooting theirs. BUT, I agree 100% with c3shooter, and I haven't seen anyone yet who could do a dye penetrant test on the inside of the barrels. I haven't seen any finely crafted old gun that I want to shoot so bad as to risk my ability to ever shoot anything ever again.