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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
G'day all,

On the weekend I picked up my first 12 gauge, and I must admit that I know little about the shotgun itself and shotguns in general. I'm after some help to see if anyone can tell me a bit about the gun, when it was made etc.

It's a SBS 12 ga made by Ward & Sons, Birmingham. It's a coach gun (can't think of barrel lengths) with external hammers. The S/N is in the high 2000's, and the lock, barrels and foregrip all match. On each of the barrels are 3 proof stamps (?), which consist of a crown surmounting the letters BV, BP and NP. Both the barrels have NITRO PROOF stamped on the underneath, and the left barrel is also stamped CHOKE (I know what that means!). Near the chamber on both barrels is stamped 13/1. There are other small stampings as well, including a small 12 with a C bellow it inside a diamond on both barrels.

The shotgun has two triggers, and a dark wood has been used for the stock.Apparently it boots like a mule, which I intend to find out for myself next weekend.

Any information on this weapon would be greatly appreciated, particularly its age, or if I could be steered in the right direction to obtain information, just as good.

Cheers,
MaxOrd
 

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Ward and Sons, Birmingham (UK), 1859-1960 (ish) Central Gun Works, 24-27 Bath St. Birmingham (Now under a Motorway (Freeway))!
By the mid 1920s they produced bar and back action ( like your picture) hammer shotguns and imported a number of Belgian guns for resale. Prices for their 3 grades of shotgun in 1920 were £11-00,£12-00 and £13-00
In 1935 they moved to 2 St. Marys row, Birminham.
Last listing is 1960 these references come from "Boothroyd's Directory of British Gunmakers"
Geoffrey and Susan Boothroyd. Sand Lake Press. Library of Congress Card Catalogue No 94-067191
(from fourten resources)

On each of the barrels are 3 proof stamps (?), which consist of a crown surmounting the letters BV, BP and NP
BV = Visual post proofing test.
BP = Final black powder proofing
NP = Final Smokeless powder test. The Nitro proof is probably below this.

The gun was most likely manufacturered between 1925 to 1954.
(based on the Proof marks)

12C = the caliber of the gun, 12 gauze.

13/1 = the diameter of the barells, 0.719"

Choke indicates there is some choke, unspecified, on the gun

SBS might stand for short barelled shotgun, if the barells are below 18" long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you DKS, that's answered quite a few questions. I put in SBS to stand for side by side, I thought that might be the abbreviation for it.

My next question is: what type of ammo should I run through it? The mate I aquired it from said that he'd used 3 1/2 in. shells through it, and it booted like hell. He suggested that I use 3 1/4 in. shells, which would reduce the recoil. What are your thoughts? Is it all right to use solids through a choked barrel?

Cheers,
MaxOrd
 

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3 1/2 inch? 3 1/4 inch?(never heard of 3 1/4 inch) There's no way it could be chambered that long unless it's been altered, take it to a gunsmith for a proper chamber check . It can and probably will save your fingers, face and quite possibly your life.

The reason it's kicking (booting) like hell would probably be that he was using improper shells and causing too much restriction from the shell not opening up enough because it's probably chambered for 2 3/4 inchers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cheers MarlandS - this is all new to me, like learning everything I know about rifles etc over again! I think I may take your advice and take it to the local gunsmith for a check, from where I guess he could tell me case size etc.
 
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