Smith And Wesson Forums banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Feeling like a kid at Christmas...
For a couple of years, I've been searching for a unrestored Percussion 12 ga shotgun with fluid steel barrels. Wanted an exceptional example ~ one that is jaw-dropping gorgeous. In short, a guild style gun...

Found one, and it's been at my BP gunsmiths here in Maine for a few weeks. He has cleaned up, tuned, and retimed both locks and the double triggers... Knowing his workmanship, it will be a joy to cock back the hammers.

Going to pick it up, right now.... :mrgreen:

Try to post some pictures this evening...

giz
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Re: SXS Shotguns

You may not be listening....but I'll bet your peekin' :mrgreen:






And for those that ask " How's she shoot"....there is nothing like shooting a original 150 year old gun ;)




giz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,683 Posts
Giz, that wood is gorgeous!

I'm guessing fancy French walnut, and the engraved flats on the sides of the hammers have a distinct Liege look to them. What does the scroll lettering on the rib and the stamping on the bottom of the barrels tell you? 30" tubes on it?

xtm
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys...

The wood is a burl and I'm leaning towards maple....as there is birdseye in it. Perhaps that is why it has held together so long, even with the fine wrist and comb. It is marked R Watt and has definitely stood the test of time. Only the ramrod is not original to the gun. But I have a proper ebony one to refit to it. Barrel measures 28.5"....

Shot it with light loads today...60 grains of ffg with a fiber wad under the 1 oz of shot and a overwad. It patterns beautifully at close range. It is light and lively for a 12 ga and will make an excellent field gun this fall...

giz
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,963 Posts
Wow Giz, that is a beauty. I hope it serves you well.
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Leighton,

She cleaned up nicely...few more cosmetic repairs and she will be done. Going out to my stock guy to repair the missing bit above the barrel pin. Then more work on the overall appearance... ;)

But mechanically, she is as sound as can be...



giz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,683 Posts
Again, you've made a wonderful find!

Every photo you show keeps reminding me of a Liege-made A. Francotte I've had for many years - the wood, the hammers, the style and shape of the locks, the breech - many similarities, IMO!


I thought that mine had the finest wood I'd ever seen on a shotgun - but I believe your Watt surpasses it! :D I still believe that it is highly-figured French Walnut - which is often filled with "birds-eyes" and tiger stripes. Could be maple, but the best maple came from the America. I'll send you a photo of a cleaning and stock-restoring product I've been using on old guns. It's not gummy and doesn't affect the metal in any way. (I can't remember the name of it this morning!)

Watt sounds like an English name, but he could've just been a retailer - even American or Australian. Are the proof marks on the bottom of the barrels English or European? I've got books and brochures for de-coding many of the marks.

It's sometimes very difficult to date this type of firearm, but I believe you are very close at 150 Y.O. - definitely late in the percussion era. It appears to have the "modern" stock dimensions that carried over into the Golden Age of breechloading doubleguns and even today.

xtm
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
xtm,

They are very similiar in style and age. I believe I can see the breeches are fitted with vented platinum blow out plugs. My gun also shares that trait. The vented plug is believed to have gone out of fashion in the 1840's.

Have you dated your gun?

giz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,683 Posts
Gizamo said:
xtm,
....Have you dated your gun?

giz
My wife won't let me. :lol: Sorry! :roll:

Several knowledgable SxS collectors have told me ~1865. Since Francotte is still making shotguns, I've approached the Belgian facility as well as the US distributor. They've responded that they aren't equipped to do research. Either they don't want to fool with it or don't have records on the older guns, so I'll probably never get an exact date of manufacture.

Howard Restor-A-Finish is the clean-up and restoration product I've been using on old gun stocks.
http://www.howardproducts.com/restora.htm

It is not a stripper or solvent and won't harm or alter metal surfaces. Several hours of rubbing with a cloth will do wonders to old wood. If the wood has no original finish remaining, I will begin with very light rubbing with 0000 steel wool - then finish up with cloth rubbing every now and then for several weeks. Neutral is best for bringing out the lighter streaks and highlights. I use Mahogany on Winchester stocks to maintain the reddish hue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
592 Posts
WOW!!
Both those guns are absolutely stunning. I picked up an old (1895) Forehand Arms damascus SxS in 16ga.. but I'm not about to post a pic of it next to those two!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,683 Posts
English - under the rules prior to 1887

Your shotgun barrels survived and passed a Definitive Proof at Birmingham - denoted by the BCP stamp - Birmingham Company Proof. The two marks were used to indicate proof for Black Powder only and were in use from 1813 to as late as 1904. The "V" mark is for "View" - indicating that the barrels were examined and measured by one of the Proof Masters and met all the proofhouse standards, such as barrel thickness, prior to the actual strain test.

Looks like you have a fine English gun!

xtm
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
xtm,

Thanks...that's very helpful. Now to find out about the maker. I'm finding nothing about the R Watts signed on the sideplate. Guess I'll look around on the Internet to see what I can find.

giz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,683 Posts
Is it Watt or Watts?

Watts is a well known family of English Gunmakers - Watt is not. Watt could be one of the many fine provincial English Gunmakers who sent his guns to Birmingham for proving.

Mention of Watts here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=Dzxyne ... #PPA393,M1

BTW, where on earth did you find ebony rod stock for a replacement ramrod?

Also, I'm wondering about your barrels being fluid steel - I think that I see a laminated pattern in the proof mark photo. Not-to-worry, laminated and damascus shotgun barrels of that era are generally stronger than the contemporary fluid steel ones - heavy overproof loads confirm this. This was true until Whitworth developed and patented his method of steel-making. Unfortunately, laminated and Damascus shotgun barrels have been much-maligned over the years - unjustifiably so, IMO.

Do the barrels ring like a gong when dangled from the breech or forend loop. This can be a quick check of the integrity of the soft-soldered ribs. If the soldered seams are still OK, then it's unlikely that anything ominous and unseen is underneath them.

xtm
 
G

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
xtimberman said:
BTW, where on earth did you find ebony rod stock for a replacement ramrod?

xtm
A spare from Lord Slashcat...you don't want to know what it originally was on...it would break your heart.

giz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
That's right! It breaks my heart too!
I had a Westley Richards percussion SxS shotgun in the original maker's mahogany case with accoutrements ensemble including the powder flask and all the little cleaning and oiling goodies. It came witha a spare ebony ramrod that I kept back when I traded it off (for a song-this is the heartbreaking part).
So,I gave the damned thing to Gizamo!
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top