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Savage Arms and J. Stevens

How do you know if you have damascus barrels?


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2015-07-15 21:43:24
2015-07-15 21:43:24

Quite often the shotgun will tell you how the barrels are made. If it says "twist" or "laminated" or "damascus", then it is one of the types generally called damascus. If it says "armory", "forged", or "fluid" then it is a more modern construction. Damascus barrels will show a pattern, although it can be covered with bluing or the pattern can be simulated. You can check by removing the forearm and polishing a small spot on the bottom of the barrel. This will remove either the bluing that hides the pattern or the simulated damascus pattern. As far as safety, the best damascus constructed barrels are stronger than a low-quality fluid steel barrel, and probably equal to most when new. But time will weaken the welds, so it is wise to retire an old damascus gun unless you know it has had proper care for its entire lifetime. Since your gun is marked for smokeless powder, it is PROBABLY fluid steel and PROBABLY has 2 3/4" chambers, but if you intend to shoot it, have it checked by a competent gunsmith and follow his recommendations.

Damascus barrels were made to be used with black powder and so are thicker at the breach (to handle the fast explosion of powder) and thinner at the muzzle, as black powder. Due to the fact that modern smokeless powder buns at a slower pace, thus building up more pressure towards the muzzle which could cause the metal to split or rupture, it is not recommended that modern ammo be used in a Damascus barrel.

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The use of damascus barrels on guns began to decrease pretty rapidly after 1900, although they were still fairly common up until the start of WWI. If you have a breech loading gun with damascus barrels it will probably date from 1875 - 1910. Most damascus barrels on U.S. guns seem to have actually made in Belgium. There is a lot of debate as to whether any damascus barrels for shotguns were actually made in the U.S. It seems likely there may have been small numbers produced in the U.S. However, Belgium had a large gunmaking trade at the time, with a lot of barrel makers specializing in damascus barrels, so it was generallly cheaper to import them than to make them.

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We cant find one for you here. Browning Arms Co never made a shotgun with damascus barrels as far as we know. Its possible that a gun was made with those barrels built on one of Brownings patents.

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They are still being made.

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The time of the First World War pretty much ended the importation of Damascus barrels. US manufacture started petering out in the 1890's.


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