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 Post subject: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:16 pm
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Hello all

I just received a shot gun from my grandfather which has a black 32" barrel and breaks in the middle, and the body is chrome. It is labeled bluegrass and nothing more. In the trigger guard are the numbers 735, on the bottom where the stock starts the numbers are 735 it looks like there are a couple of markings beside that as well, but I can't make them out. My grandfather said he got it from some friends of his and it was there great grandfather's gun and supposedly he bought the gun in 1896. This gun is in great shape Can anyone give me more information about this gun. Who made it, How old it is what it may be worth.
They patent dates on the gun are dec. 15 91, aug 1 96, aug 14 00, may 27 00 this last pat. date might not be right it is hard to make out.
The inside of the barrel is very pitted I guess it would be from the black powder shells. At least that is what I read online. Any information that you could give me would be great!


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 Post subject: Re: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:55 pm 
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The gun is later than 1896... it's at least from 1900 (the 00 of the patent dates). Can't tell you anything beyond that... most likely a Belgian clunker, which is what most of these unknown names tend to be.

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:32 am 
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The gun is what I call a "Trade Brand Name" shotgun. A "Trade Brand Name" shotgun is one that was made by a major maker (and before 1940) for and was sold by a wholesaler or retailer who chose the name to go on the gun, Now before I can identify your gun, I must ask some questions. Just exactly what is the name stamped on the gun? Is it a single or double barrel? I have to ask the name because sometimes those not familiar with gun names will incorrectly write down the name
I have the following names: BLUEGRASS ARMS CO, (Bluegrass- one word), BLUE GRASS ARMS CO (Blue Grass-two words), just plain BLUEGRASS (Bluegrass-one word and no Arms Co), plain BLUE GRASS (Blue Grass-two words and no Arms Co). No big deal because guns with these names were all except the last made by the Crescent Fire Arms Company of Norwich,CT (1892 to 1931). And all were made for and sold at wholesale by the Belknap Hardware Company a large wholesale sporting goods dealer located In Louisville,KY. The last name was also made by two other makers, Baker Gun & Forging Company and Hopkins & Allen Arms Co and still for Belknap. The gun is not chromed, They didn't use chrome back when this gun was made, it is nickel plated. Answer my questions and I can tell you a bit more about the gun.


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 Post subject: Re: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 12:19 pm
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Location: Raleigh, NC
Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I have one of these also. It was handed down to me by my father, who got it from my grandfather, who got it from my great grandfather, who immigrated to West Virginia in 1911.

It's a single barrel break down. My patent dates on the right side of the receiver are Dec.15.91, Aug.11.96, May 27.02. Blue Grass is 2 words, on a slight diagonal, slightly offset, on the left side of the receiver, with minor engraving flourishes under the "Blue" and over the "Grass". There are no proof or other marks anywhere on the gun. The barrel is 30" long including chamber. My steel looks like it may have had a black finish on it at one time, has no finish on it now, no corrosion, and a good patena. My barrel also has pitting on the inside. The serial number behind the trigger guard on the lower tang is 43. The serial number on the bottom of the barrel lug is 2343.

I had it inspected by a gunsmith who blessed it. I've shot it several times.

Another forum identified the Maker as Essex Arms for Belknap Tool Co.

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:42 pm
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Thank you for an easy one. The gun is, of course a "Trade Brand Name" shotgun as I like to call them. A "Trade Brand Name" shotgun is an inexpensive but serviceable shotgun made by a major maker (and before 1940 and usually on contract) for and was sold by a wholesale sporting goods dealer, a retail chain store or an independent seller who chose the name to go on the gun. Guns with the name BLUE GRASS (two words) were made by the Crescent Fire Arms Company of Norwich,CT (1892 to1930) for and were sold at wholesale by the Belknap Hardware Company of Louisville, KY, a wholesale sporting goods dealer. Who the final retailer might have been I have no idea. The serial number 2343 tells me that the gun was made in 1897. Back in the day when this gun was made it was common practice to stamp the entire serial number on the frameI of the gun and the last two or three digits on all the other pieces. I know that this information does not agree with what has already been reported to you but it is what I and a couple of other researchers have come up with. I'm glad you knew enough to have the gun examined by a good gun smith before attempting to shoot it. I hope he told you that the gun was designed to shoot 2 1/2 inch shells loaded with black powder and lead shot. Don't attempt to shoot modern shells of any length loaded with smokeless powder and steel shot. The gun was inexpensive even when new selling for $7.00 to $15.00 and this was when wages were $1.00 a day. Its value hasn't appreciated that much since. A prime condition example (rare) that appears to have come out of the factory yesterday afternoon might sell for $100.00 at auction while a rusty metal, rotten or broken wood and missing parts piece of junk fit only for parts salvage or a a whisky still stirring stick might bring $10.00. Sentimental value is priceless.


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 Post subject: Re: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:42 pm
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Just had a thought. The barrel could be a replacement which would account for the difference in dates.


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 Post subject: Re: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 12:19 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Raleigh, NC
Thanks much Ned. I've always been curious about the origins of my great grandfathers shotgun and could never find any information on it. One of my earliest childhood memories was of this shotgun propped in the corner of my bedroom closet. I never thought it would have much in the way of monetary value. I hang onto it mostly because it will one day get passed down to my son.

How do we reconcile the 1897 mfg date estimate with that last May 27.02 patent date stamped on the receiver?

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 12:19 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Raleigh, NC
Thanks for the follow up

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:42 pm
Posts: 3629
I knew someone was going to call me on that one. {hs#


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 Post subject: Re: Bluegrass shotgun
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:12 am
Posts: 3384
Location: WA/AK
Look closer at those patent dates. U.S. Patents were not issued on August 1, 1896. They were issued that year August 4, 11, 18, and 25. If it is Aug. 11, 1896, those first two patents are William H. Davenport, Patent No. 465,354 granted on Dec. 15, 1891, and Patent Nos. 565,605 and 565,606 granted on Aug. 11, 1996. Aug 14, 1900, isn't a patent, it is a design No. 33,075 granted to William H. Davenport, and May 27, 1902, is U.S. Patent No. 701,159 granted to William H. Davenport. So, I'd say your gun was made by W.H. Davenport Arms Co.


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