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?

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?

Answer

Just 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..