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 Post subject: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:50 pm 
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How can you tell if a rust covered barrel is a damascus one?
What about a belgian barrel which apart from the many dents has the following marks:

D under a crown
PV under a lion
ELG* in a circle under a crown


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:13 pm 
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About a century ago, the Belgians got in a race to see who could make the cheapest, flimsiest, most worthless shotguns. Nobody won. :wink:

If you can't see the damascus pattern for all the rust, assume it's a cheap, flimsy, worthless fluid steel Belgian barrel. And dented up, at that.

Those guns were unsafe a century ago, when they were new, with black powder loads. Today they are virtually hand grenades, waiting for you to stick in modern shells.

Take the firing pins out of that gun and throw them as far as you can, where nobody will find them. Get it completely out of your mind to shoot that gun. It's not safe. In fact, it's deadly dangerous.

Once it's deactivated, then they are cool. Only then. It's a small miracle they made so many, so cheaply. Everybody ought to have a Belgian cheapie, just to study how cheap a shotgun can be made.

But nobody ought to ever actually shoot one, especially not a rusted, dented up example. :wink:


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:48 pm 
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That may be true, but they also made some of the best damascus for a time, and some of the best British gun houses used to source their barrels from them. If you do a Goggle search for damascus barrels, I'll bet you get some good info. I have the proof house notations; if I can find them and figure out how to send them to you, I will.

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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:29 pm 
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If SuperXOne studied Belgian proof marks he would know that the mark "PV" means that the barrel in question was designed, built and proof tested with smokeless powder.

I agree with SuperX about Belgian guns shipped to the US, most were cheap guns that are not worth messing with.

But there were many high quality side by sides made in Belgium, most of them were not shipped to the US. I see that you are in Greece, the probability that this gun was a decent gun to begin with is better there than in the US.

Finally, all of the above is based on a gun being examined by a competant gunsmith who knows how to determine if a gun is safe to shoot. Get that done before you start pumping money into a gun that may never be useful for anything more demanding than staking up tomato plants.

Jeff


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:19 pm 
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I would wager that the majority of the Belgian trade guns were nitro proved. But that didn't make them safe. Especially not a century later, after having been dented and rusted, neglected and abused.

I'm aware that the Belgians were capable of, and actually did, make as good a guns as anybody. But those few, few good guns would shine, by their own light, and it's doubtful that anyone would be asking questions about their quality. Possible, but doubtful.

All over the world, some innocent newcomer stubles on a Belgain clunker, and if they aren't stopped the next they do is start shooting modern shotgun shells through them. I would imagine that the majority actually get away with it, or the gun pops open and they stop. But more than a few would wind up blind, injured, even dead shooting that junk.

We live in a gun collecting environment where even the most common single barreled hardware store gun is going to be safe with modern loads, if it was made in the USA. It's ironic, but the nasitiness of American lawyers and lawsuits, and the complete lack of government proof laws, have forced American manufacturers for over a century to proof test their shotguns using double the ordinary pressure. It's not the proof test that made them safe, but the design and the quality that went into the gun. A gun that says Made in USA ain't likely to blow up. But if it's Belgian, the overwhelming odds are it was junk new, and worse today.


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:55 pm 
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Making assumptions that a gun is a "hand grenade" with just the info that it was made in Belgium and was neglected is painting with a pretty wide brush.

Jeff


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 3:13 am 
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Yes, it is painting with a broad brush. The only experience I've ever had with actually firing a Belgian gun was a doctor friend of mine that insisted on shooting his "T Barker" with modern loads. It would pop open, but didn't actually blow up. I've seen those old Belgian guns all my life. I've read about them for thirty years, and the unanimous opinion of everybody who ever put anything down on paper, at least that I've ever read, is that the mill run, ordinary "10 dollar" Belgian side by side shotgun was junk, and is even more dangerous today than a 100 years ago.

The Belgians were, and are, excellent craftsmen. They made most, if not all, of the fine damascus barrels on the classic American double guns. Their "ten dollar" side by sides were driven by intense competition to be glitzy, showy, cheap, flimsy affairs, with soft metal parts, hastily welded barrels, and as W.W. Greener described them, a sort of counterfeit gun. The Belgian "trade guns", not damascus barrels, were probably the reason that shotgun shells to this day say not to use smokeless powder loads in twist or damascus guns. Sherman Bell has proof tested a lot of tired old damascus barreled quality shotguns, and all were safe. I asked Larry Porterfield, who supplied all the old American double guns for Bell's proof tests, why they didn't set up similar tests for Belgian clunkers. His answer was that he held them in such disdain that there wasn't any reason to test them.

The Belgian clunkers I've seen have all been graceful, light, and elegant lookiing, compared to an American made "hardware store" double, such as the Davis, the Stevens, the AJ Aubrey, and the like. But the American guns look like they would take more punishment.

Shooting a Belgian "trade gun" is the only truly dangerous thing I know of that a shotgunner can do. The world is full of so many safe shotguns, that I think we need to discourage the practice.

This indictment doesn't cover the quality Belgian guns. From what I hear, and have read, the Belgians either made complete trash, or guns of obvious high quality. Anybody with a Francotte or Demoliun doesn't have a trade gun, and likely paid some serious coin for it.


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:27 am 
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Some of the Best firearms in the world have come out of Belgium as well as some of the worst. I have 4 long guns from Belgium. (excluding handguns)

1. Late 1950's Browning Superposed sk/sk

2. Raick Freses Cape Gun, a 2 barrel set , a double rifle in 8X57R and SXS shotgun in 20ga. This is a premium, custom made to order firearm made by a quality Belgium gunmaking firm that's been around there since the 1800's

3. 12 ga SxS hammer gun, steel barrels, Greener Crossbolt. Made in the early part of the last century. This is a well made and very shootable shotgun with quality Belgium Barrels and very nice wood. I've shot this one quite a bit.

4. 12 ga SxS hammer gun, (Richards), laminated steel barrels ( Twist , Damascus). This gun is late 19th century, maybe very early 20th century and has a real neat look to it. But this is a prime example of the piece of junk that Super-X One is referring to.

The proof marks are all black powder. This gun was my Great Grampa's very good friend. It was given to my Gramps, then my Uncle, then me. It had shot a ton of black powder in it's day. It was as dirty as a wood and coal stove. Like I said it is a handsome looking shotgun, but it's your typical "Hardware Gun" (Richards).

These old inexpensive hardware guns were strictly Black Powder and meant to be loaded light. They were made by the thousands and sent over here, late in the 19th century, usually with no name on them. The retail outlet, at the time, would stamp their own name brand on them. These old guns put plenty of meat on the table and did what was asked, and were super light to carry, but were not safe to shoot heavy black powder loads then and even less safe now. Smokeless, out of the question.

Belgium Gunmakers have and still make some of the best guns in the world. There was quite a few cheaply made SxS shotguns made in Belgium as well, but who knows who the makers were. Most likely some back alley, fly by night gunmaker out for a quick buck.

Regards:
Rpd


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:30 am 
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There are as many kinds of Damascus barrels as there are steel barrels. The ones to stay away from are the Twist Steel barrels, alwayes found on low end grade guns.
If the barrels show no signs of corrosion (pitting) inside or out and the barrels haven't been honed out to remove pitting thus taking some if not all the chokes and thickness of barrel metal, and after having gun looked at by a knowledgeable gunsmith, then I would say shooting it with low velocity loads (1150 fps and under) and pressures under 8,000 psi.
Here is a site to go and see if your barrels look like any of these.

http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/vie ... ffset=2355

Remember that when steel barrels first came out (1880's), a lot of people didn't trust them becasue they were new, so they stuck with Damascus barrels and they were available until the early 1900's.
Good luck and let us know how you make out.


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:15 pm 
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I don’t argue that most old belgian shotguns were made to low standards and I assure you that I don’t intend to risk loosing 2-3 fingers by shooting that specific gun.
Also as Jeff pointed out, I know that PV indicates smokeless powder (poudre vive).
However what caught my attention is that under the forend, where there is not much rust, I can see a well-defined, tightly-spaced, square-orientated pattern exactly like the ‘two iron crolle’ pattern (thanks to David W for sharing that very interesting site).
Doesn’t that indicate Damascus barrel?


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:34 pm 
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Two iron crolle is just one of many damascus patterns, therefore it is a Damascus barrel.

Jeff


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:12 pm 
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The reason i posted the topic was that I thought smokeless powder was not suitable for damascus barrels. So the pattern was an enigma for me. Pls have a look at a picture of the barrel. http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/cpg1410 ... CF0949.JPG[/img]


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:02 pm 
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After doing some research for the proofmarks stamped on the shotgun, I found out that its barrels were manufactured by ‘Delcour-Dupont’ for ‘Felag Arms Belgium’. Although D-D was specialising in manufacture of Damascus Barrels, the particular ones were made of fluid steel, with Damascus pattern IMPRINTED on them for cosmetic reasons. I guess that this explains why the barrels are proofmarked for smokeless powder.


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:44 pm 
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Lots of Damascus barrels are proofed for smokeless powder. The assumption that Damascus and black powder were made for each other is just plain wrong.

Jeff


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 Post subject: re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:57 am 
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All Remington 1894 and 1900 doubles with Damacus Barrels were proved for Nitro Powder, by Remington.. Both the London and Birmingham proof houses prove and stamp Damascus barrels for Nitro Proof,every day.. Bushrod


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 Post subject: Re: Damascus barrel identification
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:31 pm 
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abraxas_3_6_5 wrote:
How can you tell if a rust covered barrel is a damascus one?
What about a Belgian barrel which apart from the many dents has the following marks:

D under a crown
PV under a lion
ELG* in a circle under a crown


You can find Belgian proof and maker marks here:
http://damascus-barrels.com/bp.html

It is very likely that the D with a crown is the mark of Delcour-Dupont.

As to how to tell the difference between fluid and damascus. There is one very quick method, but most people should not attempt it. This is hazardous.

Remove the forearm and barrels. Under the barrels where the forearm is attached remove the rust with steel wool. Obtain some electrolyte for lead acid batteries. NOTE this is sulfuric acid, use safety precautions, goggles, gloves, etc. Lightly apply the electrolyte. Do NOT let it run down the barrel. Then immediately with wash hot water. The pattern should be come visible. If need be reapply the electrolyte and wash. When you are done. Mix some baking soda with warm water and apply to the barrel, then rinse it and dry.

Sulfuric was the original method of "bringing out" the pattern after the barrel was ground and struck. Modern refinishers do not use it. They use Ferric Chloride instead.

Pete
Damascus-Barrels


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