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campero, eeb, FallCreekFan, Lloyd3, mc, Owenjj3, Parabola, Stanton Hillis, Ted Schefelbein, vam5067
Total Likes: 19
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#614488 05/04/2022 4:55 PM
by Lloyd3
Hanging out at Whittington got me salivating to own a hammergun yet again. The reasons for having one are purely affectation, but there is no denying their appeal. As far as tastes go, mine are fairly conventional...I'd prefer back-action locks, damascus barrels, nitro-proofs, a top=lever opener, etc. Variations on that theme are probably allright (bar-actions are fine too & a sidelever would be very appealing). Because I'm fooling myself into believing that I'd actually hunt with it, I'd prefer one that was in the 6 3/4 lb range, with an English stock I could live with (1 1/2, 2 1/2, 14 5/8, etc.) and because of my left handed-ness I'd prefer something with only minimal cast off (if not actually neutral or cast-on). I owned a circa 1892 20-gauge Thomas Bland that actually met those requirements some 20-years ago now, that I really enjoyed looking at in it's cute little case, but it just didn't make the grade as a ruffed-grouse gun (I couldn't cock those hammers fast enough) so... it went on down the road. A big name gun is clearly too-much to hope for (Purdey, Horsley, Blanch, etc.) so I'm open to the provincial makers, provided their work is up to snuff. I'm also torn between the artistic and the practical ends of the scale here, as a modern Italian version would work just fine as well, wouldn't look quite-right to me. A 16 would be lovely but a 12 seems much more practical (and available). Black powder proofs are fine as well, provided the tubes are substantial-enough to be comfortable with low-pressure (but modern) ammunition. I see a number of examples on the Vintage Doubles webpage, and the entry-level price seems to be in the $2,400 range. Kirby's been a good source of guns for me before, so I'm comfortable with his descriptions and the conditions of his guns (within reason). I know there are hammergun variants all-over the map here, but English, old, and straight-stocked seem to the parameters I can't live without. And...since good repair options are becoming extremely expensive, a healthy example would seem to be de-minimus as well.

Am I missing anything? What says the cognoscenti here?
Liked Replies
#614758 May 12th a 09:09 PM
by Entropy
A humble “Hello” and a first post.

I was bit by the hammergun and S/S bug about 30 years ago. Picked up a few examples, a few of which are still in my possession. Hunted quail behind pointers mostly. Children, baseball, aging dogs...put it on the back burner for a bit. Kids are grown, we have a 9 week old GSP, and I’m ready to pick up where I left off. This time with a few sons to enjoy it all with.

Anyhow, a very working quality H. Clarke & Sons 16ga. Sleeved, reproofed for nitro with a box of Eley I acquired when I first got it many years ago. Many memories attached and hopefully more to come.

I appreciate all the fine pics and shared camaraderie.



[Linked Image from]
make image url
4 members like this
#614802 May 13th a 02:59 PM
by Drew Hause
Drew Hause
Short version Lloyd
These numbers are all for gun barrel, non-heat treated steel
Twist and Crolle Damascus tensile strength is about 55,000 psi
Winchester Standard Ordnance and other "cold rolled" Bessemer/Decarbonized steels and AISI 1020 are similar in strength at about 60,000 psi
c. 1900 Belgian sourced “Fluid Steel” used by all the U.S. makers (Cockerill, Siemens-Martin & Krupp Open Hearth) and AISI 1030 are similar in strength at 75,000 - 85,000 psi
Krupp Fluss Stahl (Homogeneous Fluid Steel) was introduced about 1890 might be a little stronger
AISI 1040 (and modified), Vickers, Cockerill Acier Universel or Acier Special & Bohler “Blitz” are similar in strength at about 100,000 psi
Winchester Nickel Steel, Marlin “Special Smokeless Steel”, Remington Ordnance Steel, Krupp “Nirosta” (1912 patent NIchtROstender STAhl 21% Chromium / 7% Nickel Stainless Steel introduced in 1913), 4140 Chrome Moly (not used until after 1930s) and 4340 (Chromium, Nickel and Molybdenum) are all similar in strength at > 115,000 psi

It is important to remember tensile strength is only a part of the equation for estimating bursting pressure. If the barrel is made of Twist with a 50,000 psi tensile strength, that does NOT mean that it will withstand a 10,000 psi load by a factor of 5.

Barlow's formula P=2 S t / D
P=Bursting pressure in psi.
S=Tensile strength of material in tube wall.
t=Wall thickness in inches.
D=Outside diameter in inches.

Barlow’s refers to a pipe capped at both ends with a static pressure (a pressure cylinder). Shotgun barrels are not designed to be pressure vessels as one end is open and the pressure rises and falls quickly.

And this regarding the Proof House Trial
The five barrels tied in Phase 2 failed at 12.5 times the Definitive Proof load or 11.34 Drams with 2.82 oz. shot. It should be noted that the 12th barrel (because of ties) Foreign Pointille’ Twist failed at 5.77 times DP and the 13th (last) Foreign Four Rod Crolle’ failed at 5.74 times Definitive Proof.
The test barrels however had uniform dimensions, without chambers cut, and much thicker wall thicknesses that used on shotgun barrels.

A reassuring comment in Sporting Guns and Gunpowders regarding an additional study published in The Field June 6, 1891 by Horatio F. Phillips, a “staff experimenter” with The Field
"These experiments serve to show what a very large margin of strength there is in a good gun barrel, when ordinary charges are used. The (Damascus) barrels which gave way earliest...had withstood the strains of…about four times as great as the regulation proof; while the steel barrels (Siemens-Martin and English “Superior Barrel Steel”) were tested…with charges averaging nearly five times as much as the ordinary proof-charge.
Although the steel barrels showed the greater amount of endurance, the strength of the Damascus was so much in excess of all ordinary requirements that no fear need be felt of their giving way when the work is properly done."

To quote John Brindle’s summary of the Trial:
“Thus steel had proved stronger than Damascus in this test, but the strength of both was such that this did not matter one bit, such was the margin of safety in a barrel of either material of suitable dimensions and without flaws. And it was the purpose of regular proof tests to find those flaws if they existed.”
2 members like this
#614506 May 4th a 09:43 PM
by eeb
Originally Posted by Ted Schefelbein
I’m pretty sure my ancestors left Europe to get away from hammerguns, well, that, and all the criminal royalty class. I’ve never met anyone that made the claim that hammerguns improved their odds on gamebirds.

Not even here. That, is saying something.


They may have escaped hammerguns but the criminal royalty class is alive and well. Apologies for the political digression
1 member likes this
#614508 May 4th a 10:32 PM
by Replacement
Bet you've never heard anybody make that claim about .410s, either. But then, that's not the reason we odd fellows do what we do.

I'm so odd that I'd like to have a hammer .410 for doves.
1 member likes this
#614511 May 4th a 10:51 PM
by LGF
Don't dismiss a Jones underlever - one gets used to it quickly and it is good for lots of affectation points.
1 member likes this
#614510 May 4th a 10:47 PM
by Stanton Hillis
Stanton Hillis
I cured my hammergunitis with two 12 gauges, which I still own and enjoy. The first is a Remington 1889. The second is an Italian hammergun built in 1973. It has Briley thin walls, fluid steel barrels (of course), and can digest anything I want to put through it. I've got $1200 in both, combined. That's something to consider.
1 member likes this
#614504 May 4th a 08:21 PM
by John Roberts
John Roberts
You won't hunt with it much. It needs to be a pound heavier for targets, which is the pursuit you will use and enjoy it the most("purely affectation", raison d'etre). If you do decide to tote it in the woods, just go with it and complain about how heavy it is.
1 member likes this
#614493 May 4th a 05:56 PM
by Remington40x
As a guy who owns, shoots and hunts with hammer guns in 10, 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauge, I say go for it. You seem to have covered all the major points. Ted likes Darnes (as do I - have two), so it's not as if he's not gone down his own rabbit hole with out of the ordinary shotguns.

I have not been particularly successful in cocking the hammers upon a grouse's flush, but I'm not particularly successful killing grouse with any gun. The only one of my hammer guns I'd try to hunt grouse with is my SIACE 28 gauge and that only because it has a tang safety as well as hammers. The others include two British (10 with damascus barrels; 12 sleeved with fluid steel barrels); one pre-war Austrian (16); and two modern Italian (20 and 28).

Don't forget that you can probably have the stock bent to move cast off to neutral or cast on. I suspect Mr. Hoyt could tell you which of the guns he's offering would be good candidates for such an adjustment.

Looking is half the fun. Hope you find one that suits you.
1 member likes this
#614494 May 4th a 06:21 PM
by FallCreekFan
Lloyd, I have dealt with a few rounds of this particular bug and can say that while it isn’t especially virulent it is persistent. I personally have three, a 28” twist, a 30” Damascus, and a 32” twist, all 16’s and can say that I’m glad every day that I have them and also that I now seemed to have acquired a natural immunity to the bug. (But we’ll see.)

Over on 16ga this same bug hit one of the fellows at the beginning of the year and there is some good feedback there. The thread is currently at the top of p. 2 of the “Guns” section.

Glad you’re going to have to work and wrangle a while to get ready for the purchase. Adds to the fun. Keep us posted on the journey don’t forget pics when you get there.
1 member likes this
#614518 May 5th a 02:25 AM
by Joe Wood
Joe Wood
[Linked Image from]

W.W.Greener from about 1870. Non rebounding and Jones under lever. Absolutely untouched original. From half cock it is extremely quick to sweep both hammers to full with my thumb. Notice the hammers at full cock are below the barrels, out of sight. IMO the 1870’s were the peak of English gunmaking. Everything was hand made, very little machinery.

My favorite upland hammer gun is a very early (possibly the first) Charles Daly finished in Germany from Scott parts in the 1870’s. About 6 1/2 pounds with original 28” barrels. High rebounding hammers close enough to sweep back together with one hand. Fast!

Here is the Daly doing what it does best:

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1 member likes this
#614694 May 11th a 10:00 AM
by greener4me
"but without rushing, I can probably under 2 seconds ...", ahem ??
1 member likes this
#616894 Jul 20th a 05:32 PM
by Geo. Newbern
Geo. Newbern
Originally Posted by vam5067
So I just acquired my first hammergun. Not sure if hammers are rebounding or not. Any resources for disassembling a backaction? I plan to put tiny metal parts in my ultrasonic cleaner with some Ballistol and scrub the wood with a toothbrush and Old English.

If your hammers when down do not contact the detinator and there is no half cock, they're rebounding....Geo
1 member likes this
#614810 May 13th a 07:04 PM
by damascus
mc. This is the only Advertisement for Joseph Brazier I came across in my searches, it also states Actions and Barrels this is a huge pointer that the Birmingham and Black country gun manufactures were able to supply any type of gun and quality you desired.

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1 member likes this
#614661 May 10th a 01:57 PM
by damascus
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This is one of the smoothest outline guns if you like snap action leaver though they do take a lot of adapting your shooting style to use comfortably, also keeping your leaver thumb nail short or you may loose it.

Joe here is another Joseph Brazier

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This gun is one of the death us do part from my collection. It has spent all of its life in a Victorian Violin case to remain hidden from inquisitive eyes because it spent all its life working on each side of the line, game keeping and poaching. The family that owned the gun like the real skilful poachers are now gone, only this is now left.

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It has one of the longest top straps I have come across

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The gin is a 12 bore with 30 inch barrels but built on a smaller than usual frame. I have tried to fit other 12 bore guns in the case but non ever fitted correctly.

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It really does not look like a gun transport case

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I did try some research into completed guns made by Brazier but only came up with a few pieces of information. Braziers only sold completed guns to top level retailers and guns in the White only to top level gun makers, this Brazier made gun has the name Adams it also carries a full set of London Proof Marks. Those sharp eyed amongst you will see that the fore end escutcheon is missing this went missing on the last club black powder day it is now beyond my capabilities to manufacture a replacement so up the the guns next owner.
1 member likes this
#614568 May 6th a 11:45 PM
by Joe Wood
Joe Wood
There is little art more beautiful than a perfectly sculpted hammer. This one belongs to a Williams & Powell, Liverpool. Circa 1873.

[Linked Image from]

……..unless it’s a perfectly sculpted action as on this Thomas Johnson, Swaffham, Norfolk. 1869? This gun is #3 of a garniture (set of three) and made by Joseph Brazier, Ashes and the only gun I have seen made by Brazier.

The really neat thing about hammer guns made up to the mid 1880’s is that you will never see an identical gun unless it was made as a set. The gun was rapidly evolving and also the individual artisans took great liberties in creating their work. Remember, every single piece was hand made and unique, there was no stock factory making interchangeable or cast parts.

Notice the very percussion cups on the head of the hammers. The cutout was for percussion caps—when fired any fragments from the cap were supposed to blow out through them. This design hung on for a few years into the breech loading era.

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