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Restoring antique double barrel hammer shotguns


Warden Callaway

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I've started a project to restore two old double barrel shotguns that's been in my brother-in-law's family at least 60 years. The video shows the before condition. I've put about two hours of elbow grease getting the bulk of the rust off them. They now look a lot better.

 

Surprising, I found a lot of bluing left under the rust. Still at least 25% will be bare metal with gray patina. I found the "New Baker" model name on the left side of action of the Baker 10 gauge. I found that the 12 gauge was a "Eclipse Meteor" made in Belgium. The barrels on the 12 gauge are also solid. The bores on both guns show the expected roughness and light pitting but no heavy pits or dents.

 

I was able to disassemble the Baker with a minimum of struggle. I haven't tackled taking the locks apart as I don't see a need to. Also, I didn't have spring compression clamps to do the job right. The hammer and trigger springs are folded flat springs and appear to be in good condition.

 

One firing pin on the Baker seems to have a rebound spring. I'm not seeing the same spring action on the other side. I don't see any way to remove the firing pins. I'd appreciate any direction you may have in removing the firing pins.

 

While the 12 gauge Eclipse Meteor may be repaired to shooting condition, I'll finish cleaning it up and leave it as as a wall hanger for now. My plan is to repair the stock on rhe New Baker and take care of a couple of small problems and shoot it.

 

I've made substantial progress on the project an will probably continue to work on them again today. Repairing the cracked stock on the New Baker will be the goal of the day. I'll make an update video.

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I've made significant progress on restoring the two old shotguns. The 12 guage Eclipse Meteor is finished to what I'd call a preserved state. It looks a lot better and, after a good oiling, should keep well.

 

The 10 gauge New Baker keeps coming up with new challenges as I overcome some of the problems but I'm optimistic I'll have a good shooter when it's done.

 

If anyone has any information or experience on these guns or tips on restoration, I'd appreciate your input.

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Warden, you have what I believe to be 2 Damascus barreled shotguns. Rusted Damascus barrels is an arch enemy to the integrity of the soft Damascus steel. Unless you have the barrels non destructive magna fluxed to determine if they are shootable - hung them on the wall

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_particle_inspection

 

Do an Internet search on both models and you'll find a lot of information about each one

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While these guns are from the Damascus twist era, there is no indication that these are Damascus. Besides not showing any pattern in the exposed and previously rusted area, no pattern can be found under the forend where the metal is bright. I'll investigate further.

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Interesting topic. Brother-in-Law handed one to me awhile back for repair. I need to find replacement firing pins and a new butt plate. Also need to learn how to remove the slack in its loading lever.

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Interesting topic. Brother-in-Law handed one to me awhile back for repair. I need to find replacement firing pins and a new butt plate. Also need to learn how to remove the slack in its loading lever.

 

Here is an excellent tutorial on the MidwayUSA YouTube channel. Old master Jack Rowe doing the work.

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While these guns are from the Damascus twist era, there is no indication that these are Damascus.

You better do your home work before you pull any triggers ...

New Baker 10ga ... The gun was made between 1887 to 1894 in 10 and 12 gauges with 30 or 32 inch twist damascus barrels.

 

As for the "Eclipse Meteor" made in Belgium .. an inferior trade Damascus shotgun from Belgium into the US

 

And being stubborn - be sure to tie the guns to a tire and pull the triggers from behind your truck! If they don't come apart, ask the match director that you want to be a posse of ONE!

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I stand corrected.

 

I took a more critical look at the Baker in good light this morning (instead of florescent I'd been working under) and found under the forend Damascus twist pattern. The rest of the barrels have considerable bluing left and it's very hard to detect any Damascus twist. I showed the barrels to a gunshop where the owner has many years of experience with old guns. He too was amazed at how hard it was to see the Damascus twist in the barrels. It's been my experience that Damascus twist barrels were blatantly obvious.

 

The Belgium gun will be a wall hanger. It has too many problems and no exceptional value to go to the trouble to fix.

 

I'm still going to pursue getting the Baker in shooting condition - being it's in solid shape and a quality gun in its day. I'll do more checking before pulling the triggers.

 

Yesterday afternoon I gave up trying to get the firing pin retaining screws out and drilled and tapped them to 6-48 to use small scope base screws. Today I went to Westlakes and got a spring to make new firing pin springs. Both firing pins are in good shape. I've oiled and reassembled the gun.

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It's been my experience that Damascus twist barrels were blatantly obvious.

WRONG! Later in the development of Damascus barrels, they came out with barrels stamped 'Fluid Steel" Still Damascus but turned on the mandrel, the lines are almost invisible

 

How are you going to determine that the Baker will hold together shooting it over a period of time?

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How are you going to determine that the Baker will hold together shooting it over a period of time?

You've crafted a perfect rhetorical question. Even if I get it checked out in the most qualified methods and fire it 5, 100, 10,000 times, there is a risk that 10,001 time may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Life's a risk. I've already taken a shower this morning and planning to drive the post Thanksgiving traffic to a gun show. That's about as much risk as I'm planning today. I'll refrain from freestyle rock face climbing or swimming with sharks.

 

But thanks for your comments. I've recently found a local gunsmith (full time professional) that I plan to take the gun to.

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Warden, you have what I believe to be 2 Damascus barreled shotguns. Rusted Damascus barrels is an arch enemy to the integrity of the soft Damascus steel. Unless you have the barrels non destructive magna fluxed to determine if they are shootable - hung them on the wall

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_particle_inspection

 

Do an Internet search on both models and you'll find a lot of information about each one

Magnaflux will not cut it. Magnaflux will only show surface flaws. Use x-ray to find flaws (inclusions, voids, et c.) inside the metal.

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Where would one look for an X ray service? I'm thinking the average gunsmith is not going to have this equipment. From my limited search, looks like a place doing critical metal fabrication may have this equipment.

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Call them ... http://www.testmetals.com/?gclid=CKXLluGwo8ICFWVp7AodYyMAyA

Warden, for this whole thread you have not gone to the Internet to make determinations, including what are New Baker and Eclipse Meteor model shotguns. And the latest ... "Who does". Do you know how to user an Internet Browser?

BTW - XRay is not the way to go ... magna flux test, with the powder. The electric current bridges any gaps and under ultra violet light will show any cracks.

 

You also have a self test ... again, tie the shotguns to a tire, load with smokeless hi-velocity shells with triggers tied to a string. Go behind the truck, pull the strings and see what happens. This is nothing more than the concept of a proof test that is done in the industry. This is how I tested my 3 Damascus SxS's. Confident, the one I use for duck hunting is loaded with 1 1/4 bismuth shot and 93grs of FFF black powder which is greater than a 3 dram square load!

 

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Lonnie Meyer at Run N Iron in Bertrand NE can nitro proof and magnaflux those barrels for you. He did my 2 '78 Colts many years ago. They are my main match shotguns.

 

Loaded with 3/4 or 7/8 loads of smokeless neither has failed me after almost 6 years of plenty cowboy action shooting which is more than I can say for a TTN.

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

I cleaned up and made minor repairs to the Eclipse Meteor 12 gauge. It looks like a new gun compared to when i got it. But has too many problems to put back into shootable condition. I stuck it in an old gun cabinet reserved for relics.

 

I fired a heavy load through each barrel of the New Baker 10 gauge using the straped to tire method. No damage found. I fired more light loads offhand. The recoil of the light loads were almost non-existent in this heavy gun.

 

From the journals of Lewis and Clark, "We proceed on."

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  • 2 weeks later...

The New Baker 10 gauge project is coming along. I had to do far more stock repairs than I initially thought. The action lock design - springs mounted on trigger plate - takes up a lot of room. The wood immediately behind the action is hardly more than a thick eggshell.

 

I corrected one problem today. The rear tang screw was all but stripped when I got the gun. I pulled as many tricks as I could but it just wasn't going to hold. Even if a replacement screw could be found, the threads in the lower tang were beyond use. And the threads and screw size were not a standard size. I had another tang screw that was just a little larger. The thread sizs was 12-32. Today I got a tap from MidwayUSA and recut the threads in the tang. The new screw worked perfectly.

 

I've been shooting the New Baker with light loads of black powder. (After I've fired it remote with heavy loads.) Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time scrounging up once fired hulls. Apparently, they are rare as hen's teath. I have a number of people assuring me they can get me some.

 

There is one problem not completely cured. One firing pin is not consistently setting off primers in the brass hulls. So far it has set off every plastic hull with Winchester 209 primers. It seems to be improving at setting off the brass hulls loaded with large pistol primers. Last session it fired 6 out of 7.

 

I've sripped as much of the old oil finish off the stock as I could. There are no deep dents or scratches so I just used 4/0 steel wool to remove help the stipper remove the dark oil and dirt. I've only applied one coat of boiled linseed oil. I can add more later.

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If you are still looking for an antique hammered SxS, my source is a local gunshop that sells 'fine' guns, mostly through estates.

www.cherrys.com

They have a Janssen Belgina 12-ga for $225, Lefevers under $400, and some very fine Winchesters and Colts for your enjoyment.

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