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 Post subject: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:17 pm 
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HI THERE, I WAS GIVEN ONE OF THESE BY A GOOD BUDDY THE OTHER DAY, PRETTY GOOD SHAPE FOR ITS AGE, IT IS CURRENTLY BEING SHOT WITH BLACK POWDER SHELLS, GUN HAS 2 3/4" CHAMBERS, HOWEVER THE ROLL CRIMP PAPER SHELLS I LOAD ARE 2 1/2" USING 80-90 GRNS OF 2F BLACK AND 1 1/8OZ SHOT, JUST WONDERING IF THERE ARE ANY GOODS AND BADS ABOUT THESE OLD GUNS,NO A WHOLE PILE INFO ON THEM, EX BORES IN IT, 32" BARRELSNO BELGIAN PROOFS,MAYBE A VALUE, ID GIVE THIS GUN AN OVERALL 65-70% COND


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:11 pm 
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The gun is what is commonly referred to (by me anyway) as a "Trade Brand Name" shotgun. A "Trade Brand Name "shotgun is one that was made by a major maker for and was sold by a wholesaler or retailer who chose the name to go on the gun. These guns were made between 1880,and 1940. Guns with the name (THE) A.J. Aubery were made by the Meridian Fire Arms Company of Meridian,CT (1905to 1915) for and were sold by Sears Roebuck & Co of Chicago,IL. Incidentally Sears owned Meridian and most of their production went to Sears. The guns were good utility grade inexpensive shooters for the times.
I would say you are using appropriate ammunition as these guns were designed using the technology of the times and for the ammunition in use them which was either black powder or maybe early low pressure smokeless powder. They were not designed for more modern high pressure smokeless powder ammo, 3 inch or magnum shells or steel shot. If the gun is in good mechanical condition (have a gunsmith check it out) it can still be fired using appropriate ammo. Value. Value of these old guns depends on the condition, the amount of original finish remaining on the metal and wood as well as the mechanical condition. A prime example that appears to have come out of the factory yesterday afternoon might bring as much as $175 while a rusty rotten incomplete piece of junk fit only for parts salvage might bring $10. Most sell on the various auction sites for $50 to $95.


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:09 am 
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If the gun has AJ Aubrey on it, then it was made from 1905-1910. If you post the serial number, I can give you the year it was made. They came in various grades. It is impossible to tell the grade from your description. You can read a bit more about them here:
http://damascus-barrels.com/Aubrey.html

Also, there is an article that I wrote about them in the Double Gun Journal, Spring 2010.

The value is very dependent on condition and grade. They can go for $100 to well over $1,000 or more depending on grade and condition. For instance, they were making some custom order guns during that period. Most were 12 or 16 gauge. A 20 gauge would command significantly more.

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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:15 am 
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Take a look here:

http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/17474742

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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:53 pm 
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Something don't sound correct here!! A Meriden, Conn. made A.J. Aubrey wouldn't have Belgian Proofs on it?!?


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:40 pm
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I think he said "No Belgian Proofs"


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:43 pm
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Ah! The thread I've been looking for!

My grandfather gave me his A.J. Aubrey 12g SxS in about 1964: he bought it new in about 1908 (year to be determined), and it was, when I got it, a rusty mess since he'd kept it in the garage. There were hornet nests in the chambers.

I was 14, and hence not exactly a gunsmith, but I took it apart, ground/polished off the rust as best I could, sanded the stock, and patched and refinished the butt plate. I was proud of the result, though I never dared fire it.

Last year, I retrieved it from my parents' home and was astonished: I'd actually done a rather good job on the rebrowning and stock refinishing. The chief defect was in the inexpertly patched and painted butt plate. So now I start over. The plan:

1) Do nothing to the stock. I'm more than satisfied with the job I did 40+ years ago, and I don't want to further alter the 100+ year old wood.

2) Have a gunsmith check the tightness of the action and -- advice here please! -- the Damascus barrel: is it true that internal corrosion is an issue and, if so, is it also true that this can be detected (though not fixed)?

3) If the above inspection proves that it's OK, I'll touch up or refinish the metal.

4) And here comes the big one: I won't discard the original butt plate and grip end, but would like to find reproductions that do not reflect the wear of the originals. Does anyone know of a source for these? Or, alternately, is anyone here willing to take a cast?

Details of my Aubrey:

Model: T30
SN: 21xx
12g, 2 3/4", external hammers

The whole enchilada:

Image

A closeup of the action:

Image

Patent inscriptions, etc:

Image

Nasty patches: epoxy and black spray paint:

Image

I thank any and all of you who have more information and suggestions!

Greg


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:36 pm 
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What does it say on the barrel rib? You seem to imply something about a patent. Does it say "Applied for"?

According to the serial number you gave, this was a very early gun, 1905-1906. It is a model 82. This was the entry level hammer gun with twist barrels and line engraving that they were selling for $12.59. The barrels should be 30" or 32". If untouched, they are most likely choked full & full.

There are no reproduction buttplates available. Occasionally I see originals for sale on eBay or gunbroker. The last one I saw sell on eBay for $28.00 plus change. Go figure.

There is almost no collector interest in the low grade Meriden hammer guns. They usually sell for $200 to $500. Using a grinder on it has brought down the value. The high grade hammer guns (model 97) are rarely seen. They go for $1,000+ depending on condition.

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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:17 pm 
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PeterMi wrote:
What does it say on the barrel rib? You seem to imply something about a patent. Does it say "Applied for"? ...


Peter:

Thanks for the quick reply! As for the patent info, the inscription reads: "Laminated Steel Mfgd by the Meriden Firearms Co. Meriden CT U.S.A. Pat'd Jy 9 1907". This refers to patent number 859,477:

http://www.google.com/patents/about?id= ... is=&num=10

Make no mistake: I do not consider this a collector's item, due both to it's original state as a bottom-of-the-barrel model (in keeping with my grandfather's economic situation at the time), and to my subsequent amateur restoration; it is of value to me because of the family connection, and I consider any effort and funds that I expend on it to be lost other than to sentiment. But sentiment can count for a lot, and I'd like to shoot it -- if possible -- with the correct black powder loads, hence my questions.

Happy new year!

Greg


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:45 pm 
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Posts: 395
Greg,

Thanks. I meant no offense. I get several questions a week about these guns. Most times it is from some one like yourself, with an heirloom. At this point, I have collected something like 1,500 serial numbers. I still have many questions about them. Fortunately, I know of another researcher who is working up a follow up article. He has found some good info.

Interesting about the patent date on the rib. Back to the drawing board on the date / serial number list. It had to have been made no earlier than 1907, oh well.

Here is my model 97 Meriden.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:42 pm 
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Pete:

No offense taken, and your 97 is GORGEOUS!

Greg


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:16 am
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hello this message goes to petermi or anyone else who would know. i just traded my compound bow for "the AJ Aubrey" it is the blackpowder damascus 12 guage... the serial number under the triggers is 3983 can anyone enlighten me on what year is was made what its worth or even if it can be fired...if so where do you buy black powder shells


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:02 am 
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If it is hammerless it was made in 1905, the 1st year of production.

It needs to checked by a gunsmith. If the smith ok's the gun, you can purchase low pressure ammo from RST. http://www.rstshells.com This is what I use. You want the 12ga 2 1/2" Lite.

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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:28 am 
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yes it is hammerless but i noticed the break has little side to side play....maybe .015" if i used a feeler guage...does it cost alot to have it looked at? black powder is legal in all states too right, no f.i.d. required? wouldnt want to get pulled over and handcuffed hahah


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:24 pm 
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Why do you say it is "black powder"? Meriden Fire Arms Co. was in business 1905 to 1918. The first smokeless powder for shotguns was Wood Powder in 1876. Shotgunners being a rather hidebound lot, and early problems with reliable ignition, kept smokeless powders from really taking hold until the early 1890s. By 1905, North American manufacturers had been boring and guaranteeing their shotguns for nitro powders for over a decade. Sears was also offering their own line of Pointer smokeless powder shotshells.

Please don't take this to mean I am recommending modern SAAMI spec smokeless powder shotshells in these old guns!! There are plenty of good low pressure specialty smokeless powder shells available from manufacturers like RST.


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:48 pm 
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"Smokeless Powder"
As Researcher said, I would NOT use 1 1/4 oz 3 1/2 dram loads in a 100 year old 10g gun however. The shooter appears to be using an 1897 Brush?

Image

Image

Sears offered Smokeless loads in 1897
http://books.google.com/books?id=CSVIpq ... =PA545&lpg

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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:09 pm 
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No one here with any sense is going to say a 100 year old shotgun is safe to shoot. We can't see the gun to determine its condition, black powder and the primers that went it were corrosive, generating salts that attracted moisture (water) that causes rust on the inside of barrels especially the welded joints of damascus barrels. And given the American propensity for wanting more powerful ammunition, somewhere, sometime some damn fool is going to stuff a 3 inch magnum in one of these old guns and pull the trigger. And when various pieces take off for parts unknown, and if the shooter is still standing, has the normal amount of eyeballs and fingers, I don't want him or her coming back to me and saying "You didn't tell me that wasn't safe."


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:32 am 
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Dr. Drew,

I like that 1897 Sears catalogue. I see in the right hand column that they are offering the green UMC "Trap" NPEs in 2 7/8 and 3 inch lengths for two cents more per thousand than the 2 3/4 inch cases. I'm sure there are other earlier references out there, but at present, this is the earliest offering of long cases I've seen. None of my pre-1900 Chas. J. Godfrey catalogues offer long cases, but by my 1903 UMC catalogue there are plenty of long shells being offered.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:59 am 
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Hard to read Dave, but it looks like the paper cases in the 1895 Ward's catalog are 2 5/8" & 2 3/4"

http://books.google.com/books?id=zWel51 ... &q&f=false

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Richard Baxter (1615-1691), Directions Against Covetousness
"Be more careful to use what you have, than to get more."

Kingsley Brown "Shoot more, shop less."


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 Post subject: Re: "THE AJ AUBREY" 12 GAUGE HAMMERLESS SXS DAMASCUS
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:57 pm 
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On page 474 right column, I see 12-gauge Winchester "Leader" and "Blue Rival" NPEs offered in 3-inch length. In the left column, the UMC 12-gauge Green "Trap" NPEs are being offered in 2 7/8 and 3-inch lengths, just like in the 1897 Sears. So, even earlier long cases.


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