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how bad is bad ?

flyingcollieflyingcollie Member Posts: 197 ✭✭✭
I picked up an old 12ga side-lock double SxS made by the "American Gun Co." It has Damascus barrels, and I wonder if anyone can tell me what to look for in terms of its soundness to shoot with BP. Barrel has some pitting which wasn't apparent until I cleaned it. I've been told if the barrels "ring" when struck with a wood block, that's a good sign, if they sound dull or "thud", that's bad. What's the standard for acceptable pitting ?


  • MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member, Moderator Posts: 9,957 ******
    edited November -1
    "Damascus barrels".........are a mix of iron and steel, rust will attack the steel 1st. if pitted at all = wall hanger. the 'ring' test is more for the ribs.
  • navc130navc130 Member Posts: 1,187 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    "Ringing the barrels" refers to the integrity of the soldered ribs connecting the barrels. If the joints are solid it sounds like a single barrel being struct. The safety of Damascus barrels is always questionable. There is no standard of acceptance. Light pitting is normal in the old guns. Deep pitting is cause for concern. Also, you cannot see the condition of the barrels under the ribs. It is possible the barrels were made in England or Belgium; a large export trade at the time. English barrels are generally very good. Belgium made a lot of low quality but serviceable barrels. An authoritative article some years ago stated that when Damascus barrels failed it was usually right where your hand was, at the point where the thicker breech area thinned out. There is an organization that regularly shoots these old doubles. What I recall is that they were the higher quality English double barrel shotguns in very good condition. And they were using black powder loads.
  • cbyerlycbyerly Member Posts: 689 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    All the American Gun Co. barrels I have seen are steel. They may look damascus due to the "print" of the bluing. Have it checked out by someone more knowledgable.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 12,710 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Look under the forend where it's not blued for a Damascus pattern.
    If pattern is absent , barrel is "cast steel".
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