i am trying to find info on the baker too, mine is a 12ga side by side with the twisted barrel. i found 5 different bakers listed in the 1997 gun trades guide. batavia ejector $774, leader hamerless $450, special $325, black beauty $750, grade r $1000, grade s $765, and paragon $1500-$3700. I'm not sure which if any of these model is mine or how to tell them apart, there is a brief description for each. glen email@example.comAnswerYou can add three more grades - Paragon Model NN (special order only), Expert Grade, and Deluxe Grade - with even higher prices listed. The Standard Catalog has pictures, but not good enough to really determine the grade of the one in-hand. Most found have only the simplest engraved scene or none at all and have 'been through the mill' with little or no original finish remaining which takes them out of the collector class. The Blue Book indicates that these 'no finish' guns are typicaly priced in the $275-$400 range. AnswerI have a Baker 12 ga. that appears to have the damascus twist barrels, but it is stamped on the sideplate: "New Era Nitro Hammerless." Does this mean it is really a twist-look pattern, and able to take more powerful loads? AnswerBAKER SHOTGUNS ARE ONE OF THE ORIGINAL BIG SIX OF AMERICAN GUNS THIS LIST INCLUDES PARKER, LEFEVER, A.H. FOX, LC SMITH, ITHACA, AND BAKER. BAKERS ARE TRUE SIDELOCK SHOTGUNS AND GRADES ARE DETERMINED BY THE AMOUNT OF ENGRAVING ON THE SIDE PLATES. THE BATAVIA LEADER AND BLACK BEAUTY FOR EXAMPLE HAVE COLOR CASEHARDENED SIDELOCKS BUT NO ENGRAVED SCENES, THE R AND S SERIES ARE HIGH GRADE BAKERS WITH MODESTLY ENGRAVED SIDELOCKS. THE PARAGON, EXPERT AND DELUXE GRADES ARE ALL MADE TO ORDER OR "BESPOKE" GUNS. PARAGON GRADES HAVE SCENES OF POINTERS (DOGS) ON THE SIDELOCKS AND USUALLY HAVE THE BUYERS INITIALS ENGRAVED ON THE TRIGGER GUARD, DELUXE AND EXPERT GRADES WERE INTRODUCED IN 1919 AND ALL HAD A NEW CROSSBOLT LOCKUP AS WELL AS ENGRAVED RECEIVERS AND SIDELOCKS. BAKERS ARE NOT AS WELL KNOWN AS PARKERS/AH FOX BUT ARE EVERY BIT AS WELL MADE AND COLLECTABLE. WM BAKER WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN FOUNDING LC SMITH AND ITHACA GUN COMPANY. AnswerAccording to Baker all of their shotguns are safe with smokeless powders however they advise use of "moderate loads". Laminated, twist steel and damascus barrels are as strong as fluid steel but they can deteriorate over time. Remember that damascus/twist barrels are composed of thousands of small welds and that these welds can separate especially where the barrels are joined at the rib. These cracks are not visible and can cause the barrel to burst when fired. Have a competant gunsmith check it out before you use it better yet have it magnafluxed this procedure can detect cracks in metal up to 1/4 inch deep. Be safe wear shooting glasses and use low power loads (aguila minishells). Answer"According to Baker"??? Have you had recent contact with the company? They may have advertised that all their guns were safe with nitro or smokeless powder in 1933, but there have been changes since the company went out of business. AnswerWHAT IS MEANT BY ACCORDING TO BAKER IS THAT THE COMPANY WAS FAMILIAR WITH SMOKELESS POWDER IN THA LATTER 1800`S AND CLAIM TO HAVE BUILT THEIR FIREARMS TO ACCEPT BOTH SMOKELESS AND BLACK POWDER SHELLS. THIS INFORMATION WAS LISTED IN THE BAKER GUNNER CIRCA 1919, I OWN A BAKER PARAGON GRADE WITH DAMASCUS BARRELS AND HAVE HAD IT TESTED FOR CRACKS ETC. AND HAVE SUCCESSFULLY FIRED SMOKELESS ROUNDS THRU THE FIREARM. I DO NOT PROFESS THAT ANYONE SHOULD FIRE SMOKELESS THRU ANY OLD GUN AND IT IS UNDERTAKEN WITH A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF RISK, HOWEVER, IF IT PASSES INSPECTION BY A COMPETENT GUNSMITH AND MAGNAFLUX IT MAY BE SAFE. THEN AGAIN IT MAY NOT BE BUT YOU CAN PUT THE ODDS IN YOUR FAVOR BY USING LIGHT LOADS OR TO BE EVEN SAFER DON`T FIRE IT AT ALL. AnswerMy point exactly. Do not trust what you read in an 85 year old catalog. It was correct then, but modern smokeless powder and loads are NOT the same as the "white nitro" powder used in the early 20th century. I would suspect that this gun is chambered for 2 9/16 inch shells, which you will not find on the shelf at Walmart, or even most sporting goods stores. AnswerYou have raised a very good point and one that I had not considered, the advances in smokeless powder. The Paragon shotgun I refer to has 2.75 inch chambers and the use of aguila minishells (1.75 inch) keeps chamber pressures low. Even with the use of low power loads I wear a steel mesh butchers glove when firing the Baker. It is still risky at best and I don`t recommend this to anyone. This shotgun is in mint condition with bright bores used only for trap back in the day.
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