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Ithaca Firearms

Is it safe to shoot a 12 gauge double barrel shotgun built by Baldwin Arms Co at New Orleans if it has Damascus barrels and if not can you get seamless steel barrels to fit it?

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2011-09-13 03:10:07
2011-09-13 03:10:07

Your shotgun would have been manufactured in Liege, Belgium, by Anciens Etablissment Pieper and sold by A. Baldwin & Co, New Orleans, about 1893-1914.

I would not fire a damascus-barreled gun without having it checked and approved by a competent gunsmith (NOT the guy with a key to the gun case at WalMart!). It is possible that a gun of this age would have been proofed for smokeless powder and have 2 3/4" chambers, but it is more likely to be made for 2 1/2" black powder shells. Of course, you can have barrels custom-made, but why would you want to spend a couple thousand dollars on a gun worth $200 or less?

AnswerJust about every state requires perspective hunters to attend firearm safety training of some sort before a hunting permit is to be issued. In these courses the safety of firing damascus barreled shotguns is often a part of the presentation by the course instructor complete with examples of delaminated barrels. Having seen such things I can only tell you that if you really feel a need to fire one of these old timers your best bet will be to wire it to a tree, tie a string to the trigger, and pay that string out as far as you can befire pulling it. DO NOT, take any chance whatsoever or you just may end up blind!

I DO NOT recommend that you fire this weapon.Your Baldwin & Co 12ga shotgun is not designed to use the moder powder types/charges used in 12GA rounds,modern shells will cause the barrel to expand,this weapon would be more valuable as a collectors item because of its age,,I have a Mears Arms Co. 12ga double barrel with belgium Damascus/Laminated barrels made in 1938.I reload my own shells so I am able to change the powder type from Pyrodex to black powder and change the charge so as to not stress the barrels...you can do this as well,but i would not recomend it for your model unless you speak with a licensed gun smith..

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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.

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

About $100 or so. The damascus/twist steel barrels are generally considered unsafe to shoot with modern ammunition.

Does it read "kec" or "ked"? The Remington web site indicates 4 grades of Remington model 1900 double barrel shotguns (http://www.remington.com/library/history/firearm_models/shotguns/model_1900.asp): Grades Offered: K - Remington steel barrelsKE - Remington steel, auto ejectorsKD - 2 stripe Damascus barrelsKED - 2 strip Damascus, auto ejectors

no . riverside was mainly produced after 1914, using fluid steel barrels.

DO NOT FIRE WITH MODERN AMMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MUST be checked out by a gunsmith.

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking here. Generally a shotgun with Damascus barrels (those showing a spiral pattern on the outside, since they were made from spiralling layers of metal) will have been made for black powder only. In their time, fine Damascus barrels were considered a superior option, but caution should be exercised shooting such guns now, and definitely only black powder should be used. If in doubt, get the gun checked by a qualified gunsmith.

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.

With the serial number that you provided,your Ithaca double barrel shotgun with the damascus barrels was produced in the year 1900.

Damascus is a method of making laminated barrels. A series of wires is braided and hammer-welded to create a distinctive pattern of loops and swirls. Well-made Damascus barrels were the best available before modern steel and many well-maintained 100-year-old Damascus guns are still being used. On the other hand if the gun has not been properly cared for, hidden rust pockets may have compromised the barrels and cause a dramatic failure. If you are tempted to fire an old shotgun, have it inspected by a qualified gunsmith first.

they were made out of steel in 1885 They were all made with steel barrels. The earliest, by Lefever & Barber Co in 1874-75 were damascus or laminated steel. Fluid steel barrels would have been introduced about 1900.

Any where from $250 to $550. Depending on the condition of the gun.

Eclipse Gun Company is a name found on Belgian manufactured double barrels from around 1900-1916. The manufacturer was Henri Pieper. Please note that the Damascus barrels were meant for BLACK POWDER shotshells, and should not be fired with modern day ammo.

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.

NO ! In general, Damascus barrels were made for LOW pressure black powder loads. There are exceptions, but they are few. I do not recommend firing ANY Damascus barreled shotgun with ANY ammo until a gunsmith familiar with that type of barrel has inspected and borescoped it. Damascus barrels were made by wrapping hot strips of steel (or iron, or both) around a rod, reheating, and hammering until they welded together. Each weld (and there are thousands) is a potential point of failure IF the gun has been exposed to corrosion- like that that comes with firing black powder. I would retire it to a place of honor above the fireplace.

Does it say J. Stevens AND Co or J. Stevens ARMS & TOOL Co or J. Stevens ARMS Co? The first would have been made from 1865 to 1886, the second from 1886 to 1915, and the third from 1920 to about 1945 (unlikely if it has damascus barrels). Value is $100 - $300 depending on condition, but only as a mantle decoration. Damascus or twist barrels were fine when they were produced, but were not intended for modern smokeless ammunition. Even if they were proofed for smokeless powder circa 1900, today's smokeless is not the same and after a century the barrels have probably deteriorated.

Damascus steel barrels can usually be recognized by visible (if the metal is bare) "twists" or striations. Do NOT fire a gun that has a Damascus steel barrel unless it has been proof tested by a qualified gunsmith. For that matter, do not fire any old firearm, Damascus steel or not, unless you are certain that the barrel can withstand the higher pressures of modern gunpowder. Safety first: take it to a qualified gunsmith if there's any doubt. See the following links for examples of Damascus steel barrels: http://www.peterdyson.co.uk/acatalog/ORIGINAL_DAMASCUS_BARRELS.html http://www.griffinhowe.com/damascus_twist.cfm

Most likely was imported from Belgium c. 1900-1910. "Nitro" refers to smokeless powder, so it would have been made after 1900. Damascus barrels would place it before WWI.

I'm not aware of any shotguns ever made with two barrels twisted together. If you are refering to "Damascus Twist" barrels, you need to learn a lot more about guns before buying one. Here is some information for you...please note the part about it not being safe to fire a Damascus barrel with modern powder. Picture an onion after a fire cracker went off inside it. http://www.hallowellco.com/damascus_twist_barrels.htm

Damascus barrels normally have a twist-spiral banding on the barrel. Manufacture was by rolling two different composition metals around a mandral heating and forging the t wo metals together. Surface is smooth but close examination will show the banding of the two metals. These barrels are not strong and many recommend not firing modern shells Scott Lovelace


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