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Warden Callaway

Starting an active retirement home for abused and neglected old double shotguns.

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Hey Warden - Great stuff!

What 10g black powder load do you use?

There was reportedly an article (I haven't yet located) in the Double Gun Journal by Sherman Bell listing 10 gauge BP loads.

This fellow tested damascus barrelled guns to see if they were inherently unsafe. 

https://www.midwayusa.com/larrys-short-stories/damascus-barrels-rumors-and-facts/183

Edited by Pauldoe

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Since I don't hunt with the old shotguns,  I really load them light.   I have used Grafs Reenactor black powder but more recently used BlackMZ. Since we can't publish load data specifics,  I'll just say I load about 1oz shot and less by volume of powder.  This turns out to be about half what would have been used in the day.  

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22 hours ago, Warden Callaway said:

Since I don't hunt with the old shotguns,  I really load them light.   I have used Grafs Reenactor black powder but more recently used BlackMZ. Since we can't publish load data specifics,  I'll just say I load about 1oz shot and less by volume of powder.  This turns out to be about half what would have been used in the day.  

Right - didn't know that  we couldn't publish load data. Thanks a lot - I don't hunt so I plan to load light as well.

Gracias!

Edited by Pauldoe

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3 hours ago, Pauldoe said:

 

This fellow tested damascus barrelled guns to see if they were inherently unsafe. 

https://www.midwayusa.com/larrys-short-stories/damascus-barrels-rumors-and-facts/183

my grandfather used to tell me the whole story about Damascus guns not being safe with smokeless loads was a marketing ploy just to get people to buy new shotguns. he always shot factory smokeless loads out of his old 1800's Remington. (which was the first gun I ever fired) I hated that monstrosity... it was abusive and scared the hell out of me (I was 9 or 10). I stuck with my bb rifle...

 

I wish I knew what happened to it.

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17 hours ago, Boomstick Bruce said:

my grandfather used to tell me the whole story about Damascus guns not being safe with smokeless loads was a marketing ploy just to get people to buy new shotguns. he always shot factory smokeless loads out of his old 1800's Remington. (which was the first gun I ever fired)

Your grandfather was incorrect.  Based on what I've read so far (which includes a lot the Double Gun Journel's) there were three reasons Damascus barrels were considered (and still may be) unsafe for smokeless powder.  The first reason is one I've already mentioned up thread about poor quality Belgian Damascus.  The second reason is that the initial smokeless powder was bulkier than today's powder and reloaders were loading the same volume of smokeless powder as when they were reloading for blackpowder.  The third reason is that many of the older shotguns have shorter chambers.  For 12 gauge & 16 gauge the chamber length is 2.5" (and some as short as 2") and for the 10 gauge the chamber length was 2 7/8".  Combine powders developing more pressure then the BP loads, loaded to the same  or nearly the same volume as BP as well as the possibility of a 2 3/4" hull in a 2.5" chamber and a poor quality Belgian Damascus barrel, it isn't surprisingly that  the older guns would blowup.

 

There was a major difference between American & British design philosophy when it came to making shotguns.  Oversimplifying some,  American design philosophy was that a single shotgun was expected to be able to do just about everything the average American shooter wanted.  British design philosophy was that the shotgun was designed for a specific task and the gun and load were tailored only to that task.  The average American shotgun shooter used the shotgun as a utility tool and could not afford multiple shotguns.  The average British shotgun shooter used the gun just for bird hunting, was wealthier and could afford single or matched pairs of shotguns for each type of bird they chose to hunt.

 

 

 

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All shotgun barrels were some kind of hammer welded by twisting a ribbon or wires around a mandrel until roughly 1890.  Krupp and "fluid" steels were developed first for cannons in the 1880s and then later for shotgun barrels.  When first tested they were found to be weaker than Damascus but quality improved rapidly and by 1900, was used in all the cheapest shotguns.  Damascus was still used in the higher grade guns. I have an old New Model Ithaca hammer double with steel barrels that have a Damascus pattern etched into it to make it look like Damascus. 

 

By WWI, automatic and pump shotguns gained in popularity and double barrel shotguns became a novelty.  Most were box lock hammerless.  Almost no hammer doubles were made after WWI. 

 

I want to state that I have never shot any of my old shotguns with smokeless loads - factory or reloads.  I use only brass hulls or roll crimped shells appropriate for the chamber and forcing cone shape. 

 

 

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