Author Topic: Antique Percussion shotgun restoration  (Read 8095 times)

Offline 490roundball

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Antique Percussion shotgun restoration
« on: August 05, 2008, 05:25:11 PM »
Yeah, I know - its not flint and not a rifle, but it is an antique muzzleloader.

Went to an antique shop with my wife this weekend, she didn't find anything but I did.  And it followed me home.  Circa 1855 - 1860 14 bore percussion side by side, cased with most of its accessories. Good wood; working locks and what seem to be very good barrels with Birmngham proofs.  Shining a bright light down the bores from the front,  I don't see any significant pitting, in fact maybe only very one small spot, the breach face still has a little shine to it and there seems to be just a little fine surface rust in the bores.

I figure some one in this group will have some restoration experience.  I may be able to clean the bores with a little fine steel wool wrapped on a bronze bore brush.  Is it worth the effort to atempt to unbreach a gun like this to get up close and personal with the bores?   If so how, it seems the right bore plug keys into the left so would need to come out first

One other thing, The iron furniture has a fine corrosion coating thatat is as much grey than rust. Any ideas on a method to remove this without erasing the engraving?

Does the Brockway recreating the muzzleloading double book have any restoration information?

Cleaned up and back in service this piece of history hopefully will see birds over my setters this fall.

Thanks
Rick
"It's a poor word that can't be spelt two ways" Tom Yeardley in Swanson's Silent Drum

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Antique Percussion shotgun restoration
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2008, 05:52:05 PM »
There's always a risk that things will separate a little when you try to unbreech it.  Barrels, ribs, etc may go willy-nilly.  I'd try soaking with penetrant then gently trying to unbreech, little plug first.  I'd be tempted to proof it then shoot it as is but that's me.  I rarely find a bad breeching job when things don't look awful on first inspection.  Often the threads are remarkably pristine.  I hope that's the case for yours.

I'd not clean up the patina on the metal but just rub it well with oil on a rough cloth now and then.
St. Louis, Missouri

Dave K

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Re: Antique Percussion shotgun restoration
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2008, 06:05:37 PM »
I would not unbreech the gun. I may be braver than most, but I have not unbreeched a gun yet, that I had any thoughts of shooting. In other words, if it looks good enough for me to consider shooting, it looks good enough for me not to unbreech. Too many things can be damaged unbreeching it, just to find when you do unbreech it, it was no needed anyhow. I have used a very fine 0000 steel wool soaked in oil to clean up some of the rust. You are not trying to polich it shiny, just remove the surface rust. So rub as though that is what you are trying to do. My favorite SxS perc. is a 14ga., made in the same time frame as yours.

Offline 490roundball

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Re: Antique Percussion shotgun restoration
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2008, 06:26:45 PM »
Thanks guys;

That was pretty much my opinion on removing the plug.  I would hate to screw up a piece of history.
 
Rich - I am not too worried about things coming apart.  I have a fair amount of experience with side by sides, just not percussion.  I have rung the barrel and the tone is great.  They are silver soldered and not brazed which is normally a sign of better construction, and I see no sign of any crystalization of the solder. 

Over all this piece was a favorite of someone long gone, it was very well cared for. 

I am however considering an attempt to recase color the furniture just to return a little class to it.

I will post a couple pictures tonight (can't do that from a PDA)
Rick
"It's a poor word that can't be spelt two ways" Tom Yeardley in Swanson's Silent Drum

northwoodsdave

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Re: Antique Percussion shotgun restoration
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2008, 10:41:44 PM »
I read your post with interest.  I have a fowler that is in pretty good shape (the bore is VERY good) and have struggled with whether I should unbreach it or just clean it up and proof-test it as is.  The advice here has me thinking I should just leave it intact and proceed for there.

Like your shotgun, it's a percussion, though only a single barrel.  Unfortunately, the lock is missing, and I have yet to find a lock large enough to fit the old stock inletting. 

Let us know how you decide to proceed!

David


Offline Feltwad

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Re: Antique Percussion shotgun restoration
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2008, 10:51:45 PM »
What has been said about taken out the plugs is sense ,lap out the bores check the pits if any for wall thickness you will find that most percussion sxs will be OK.For test firing always start with a light load working up the required load ,if the gun is a 12 gage I find  a volume load of 2.3/4 drms of FFg to 1.1/8 oz of shot is a good all round load for both game and clays.{1 drm=27.5grains}.
What is the maker of the gun and what Birmingham proof marks are they, better still a photo will help,if you can supply these I may be able to supply information .

This is my first post and I live on the other side of the pond {UK]

Feltwad

Offline 490roundball

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Re: Antique Percussion shotgun restoration
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2008, 03:28:39 AM »
thanks and welcome Feltwad
The locks say Perkins, 

best guess according to Boothroyd
Perkins, George, Birmingham, 1857-61
Pistol maker and gunsmith, 9 Lancaster Street, 1857-61
Gun, rifle and pistol maker, Loveday Street, 1862

that could be him, it about fits the proof marks, but anything you find out would be appreciaed.


over all looks like good mid quality piece, a ounce or two over 6 pounds for a 14 bore.




Rick

« Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 03:57:57 AM by Rick Losey »
"It's a poor word that can't be spelt two ways" Tom Yeardley in Swanson's Silent Drum

Offline Feltwad

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Re: Antique Percussion shotgun restoration
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2008, 10:17:50 AM »
Yes I would say you have covered everything ,the proof marks are those of  1855-1868, The ET mark could be the barrel maker .You have a typical Birmigham made gun if well cared for should give you many years enjoyable shooting ,the load I give for the 12 gage would also do for the 14 gage.
Feltwad

JBlk

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Re: Antique Percussion shotgun restoration
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2008, 01:17:32 AM »
Before shooting  from the shoulder put several heavy proof loads through your ML.Its better to be safe than sorry. Most of the English Mls were of good quality, and unless it has  been mistreated it should provide you with good service.