Shotgun Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This gun is the one I originally looked at a few years back. Now that I know what I'm looking for I can put the important things down to try to ID the shotgun.

-Its a double barrel side by side 27" barrels muzzle loader.

-Fine detailed engraving on the stock but not the butt-plate. ( 2 hunting dogs on left and right side or reciever )

-each barrel under forearm has 2 markings, from end in,

-the first mark is what looks like a coat of arms (?) ..crossed swords and a shield with what looks like a crown above..

-the second mark looks similar to the first mark except it lacks the shield.

-on the reciever left and right -Soper- is engraved

-on top of rib joining the barrels close to hammers it is engraved -J Soper Reading-

-The ramrod is wooden with brass ends. One end has a cap on it which when unscrewed reveals an auger-like cleaning thing that we think is to clean the port where powders would gather under the cap nipples.

-Sling holders are also present. One is mid-way up barrel attached to center ramrod holder, and the second is attached 5" from buttplate on stock.

Thats about it! :)

Oh yea, the hammers are actually fashioned Carp! I sure hope someone wasn't fishing with this thing. hehe

What we think we know so far is that the gun was made by a Soper family in Reading, England during the 1700's. We may be miles off by the date but we figure there is only 2 Readings and this wasnt made in Pennsylvania :shock:

Wittol Wanderer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Name :John Soper
Other Names: Elizabeth Soper; R & W Soper; William Soper
Address 1: Fisher Row
Address 2: 22 Broad Street
Address 3: 138 Friar Street
Address 4: 22 Friar Street
Address 5: 23 Friar Street
City/Town: Reading
County: Berkshire
Country United Kingdom
Trade: Gunsmith & Whitesmith
Other Address: Factory near the Great Western Railway Station, Reading, Berkshire.
Dates: 1823-1878
Notes:
Recorded at Fisher Row from 1823 to 1830, John Soper appears to have died between 1831 and 1842.
In 1843 Elizabeth Soper was recorded at 22 Broad Street as a gunsmith and whitesmith, she ran the business until 1850 when Richard Soper took over and moved the business to 138 Friar Street.

In 1862 the firm became R & W Soper (Richard and William - brother?).

In 1865 William Soper patented an underlever falling block mechanism (No. 2151) which was examined in the War Office Breech-Loading Trials in 1867, it was rejected as too complicated but commercially it was moderately successful.

In 1868 it appears Richard retired or died, from 1868 the firm was known as William Soper.

On 30 November 1868 William Soper patented a side-lever version (No. 3637) of his falling block mechanism.

The firm moved between 1868 and 1877 to 22 Friar Street and between 1878 and 1895 to 23 Friar Street.

The firm appears to have closed prior to 1900. (R B Rodda of Calcutta & Birmingham may have been granted a licence to make guns under Soper's patent No. 3637 and the gun supplied to Prince Koonur Singh may have been one of them).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OK.. so now can we assume the piece was made between 1823 and 1830 at Fisher Row in reading England? Or, is that a for sure? Like is it possible that John Soper manufactured prior to the "recording" period?

Just curious.

Also, what would we call this shotgun/muzzle loader? A "J Soper Reading" made in early 1800's?

Wittol Wanderer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Well, if John had built this gun much earlier, he would have made it as a flintlock - the percussion cap was invented in 1808 and wasn't really the "standard" until around 1835. I'd call it an "early English percussion double barrel shotgun by J Soper of Reading". The proof marks (the coats of arms, crossed sabres, shields, etc) could prove me wrong, or make a stronger case for attributing your gun to this maker. If you could get clear photos or draw copies of them, I would try to interpret them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
I don't know of one. Have found Russian military marks and Spanish proofmarks on line, but never really needed either. Your local library might have a book called "Gun Marks". There is also a section in the back of the Blue Book that has a lot of the most commonly found marks, but is no where near a complete listing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I got the pictures in e-mail today! woohoo!

They came out pretty good, but still may need another try to see the detail.

Stamps underneath
http://home.1asphost.com/sadbuttrue/boards/file.asp?ID=75

Hammers
http://home.1asphost.com/sadbuttrue/boards/file.asp?ID=74

Side
http://home.1asphost.com/sadbuttrue/boards/file.asp?ID=73

Leaning up against a door :)
http://home.1asphost.com/sadbuttrue/boards/file.asp?ID=76

I hope its close enough to tell something. Hehe, I posted it on a guild site from a game I play online. Don't know how long they'll stay up :D

Wittol Wanderer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I figured that they may have been too blurry. Well that was the first round :)

I'll fix and use the Album. Thanks Marland.

Its a work in progress hehe

Wittol Wanderer

PS I am learning alot though, and thats part of my mission :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Hi All Hat & No Horse,

In answering this question on Soper you said "That wasn't my knowledge. I just know where to look for the results of other people's research".

Obviously! Shame on you!

You might have acknowledged the fact that you got it from the internetgunclub.com website
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I got the pictures in e-mail today! woohoo!

They came out pretty good, but still may need another try to see the detail.

Stamps underneath
http://home.1asphost.com/sadbuttrue/boards/file.asp?ID=75

Hammers
http://home.1asphost.com/sadbuttrue/boards/file.asp?ID=74

Side
http://home.1asphost.com/sadbuttrue/boards/file.asp?ID=73

Leaning up against a door :)
http://home.1asphost.com/sadbuttrue/boards/file.asp?ID=76

I hope its close enough to tell something. Hehe, I posted it on a guild site from a game I play online. Don't know how long they'll stay up :D

Wittol Wanderer
Hi. Any chance you still might have the Soper shotgun. I built a dedication website to William Soper (https://williamsopertribute.smugmug.com) and would like to add firearms and photos from his ancestors as well. The links you provided are dead, so please reply and if you still have it we can work out the photos access Thanks, Eric in WI, USA.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top