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#485161 - 07/08/17 08:32 AM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
L. Brown Offline
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Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 10827
Loc: Iowa
Argo, re your reference above to General Journee's book: He's recognized as a real expert on the subject. I have the book in a more recent (1949) paperback edition. Thought about trying to translate some of it several years back, but a lot of it is too technical for my English vocabulary, let alone French!

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#485374 - 07/10/17 06:54 PM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
Posts: 1700
Loc: McLean, Virginia
I've completed a rough translation of Didier-Drevet's letter to the editor of "L'Republican de la Loire et de la Haute Loire," 28 November 1878. (Welcome corrections/edits - I may have missed some technical terms). It's posted above for anyone with historical metallurgical interest. He recommends upgrading Saint-Etienne's rolling machines and mandrels (mandrin). He lambasts the Parisian gun makers for using Belgian guns and barrels and relabeling them. However, lest anyone think the guns Saint-Etienne were making at the time were inferior, here are photos of an 1878 Didier Fusil (Barrel flats already pictured above):













And check out the arsenic case colors - not to American tastes but popular in France.


Edited by Argo44 (07/29/17 11:52 PM)
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#485393 - 07/10/17 09:49 PM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
Posts: 1700
Loc: McLean, Virginia
I'm going to post four Saint-Etienne Barrel flats from 1900 to 1938. Two reasons: 1) Didier-Drevet may not have been the only one dating his barrels at this time; and 2) 70 mm (7.0 cm) seem to have been more common than assumed:

1). 1900, 6.5 chambered in cm; 17.0; Barrels by Ronchard Cizeron showing the proof stamp of St-Etienne in use from 1868-1900. Probably made at the end of the 19th Century and proofed for nitro powder. Expert option (see link) is that it was made, assembled or marketed by a gun dealer in Rouen.



http://www.littlegun.info/arme%20francaise/artisans%20p%20q%20r/a%20ronchard%20cizeron%20fr.htm

2). 1908 (?)(date?) (no SN); 17.0; 6.5; No name; Saint-Etienne.





http://www.passionmilitaria.com/t78322-fusil-de-chasse-a-identifier

3). 1939-45; 18.4; 70 chambered in MM. Neltir believes it is C.G an Cie from Sociee Française de cycles. The name was registered 2 Feb 1916 and lasted to 1947. This gun used either Heutier or Belgian barrels



Bonsoir , je crois savoir que le marquage C.G & cie émane de la société française de cycles fondée par Clément et Gladiator spécialisée dans les armes de guerre et de chasse au Pré St Germain en Seine St Denis ,76 grande Rue . Cette marque a été déposée en 1916 le 2 février et active jusqu'après 1947 . Ils utilisaient soit des canons heurtier soit des canons Belges en acier spécial Treble trial Stell importé d'Autriche je crois me rappeler .Ces canons Belges étaient exportés par la fabrique Belge "The Liege United Arms C° LTD depuis 1923 et nommée par la suite en 1946 FAL et puis F:A:U:L pour fabrique d'armes de liege et fabrique d'armes unie de Liege qui près éprouvaient les canons destinés a l'export .Cette pratique était utilisée dans la période sombre des années 1939/45 et après suite l'occupation car la France manquait de produits armuriers .
Neltir .

http://www.passionlachasse.com/t15623p15-trouvaille-de-vieux-fusils

4). 1928 Ideal, chambered for 70 mm.





Très bel IDEAL , il est de 1928 et normalement chambré en 12/65 , éjecteurs automatiques , canon droit rayé "supra" pour le tir à balle et le tir dispersant à plomb .
Le n° 9EE/S est proposé à la vente en 1930 au prix de 4600 fr . A l'époque , ça représente une somme !!

http://www.tircollection.com/t18237-et-j-ai-vu-aussi-ceci#239972


Edited by Argo44 (07/10/17 10:18 PM)
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#485663 - 07/14/17 09:11 PM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
Posts: 1700
Loc: McLean, Virginia
Another dated w/SN Didier Drevet barrel in an unnamed Saint-Etienne gun with SN and chambered for 7 cm (2 3/4). The numbers stamped on these barrels (see the various ones above) not/not associated with a date - in this case "17502" - are the SN's of the gun itself stamped on the barrels by the gun maker. I've confirmed this several times. - Neat looking gun!! (And if you don't know where is "Avranches". take a look at the Normandy campaign breakout)

1). 1907 - 12613?; 18.4; 7 chambered in cm; Gun SN is 17502 (No idea what this means); No name; marketed (or assembled) by Geneaux of Avranches (Normandy):





http://www.gunbroker.com/item/667146081

And this date graph continues to expand (see page 1); if gun owners with DD dated barrels can supply gun maker names and gun maker SN's...soon we'll have a decent idea of French gun dates in the first 20 years of the 20th century.

I'll try to do this graph...starting with dates....adding proof marks, powder marks...using the SN's from the DD barrels..and then separate graphs for each manufacturer who used those barrels. I can do the analysis (and Ted, WC, Raimey, Larry et.al. have the knowledge) - But you all have the data.

And what's with all the 7.0 chambers? I have one a 1906 with a butt plate stamped "model expresse". Can I shoot modern 2 3/4" ammo?


Edited by Argo44 (07/14/17 11:08 PM)
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#486161 - 07/20/17 06:52 PM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
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Loc: McLean, Virginia
I've been trying to match dated pre WWI Didier Brevet barrels with makers' serial numbers without much success. Here are three Darnes"

1). A Darne from second paragraph first page with DD barrels dated 1900 chambered for 6.5 cm (pre circa 1912). No Darne gun SN is mentioned in Ted's original post about the barrels.
http://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=396092&page=all

2). A Darne type 18 12 guage with Darne made barrels SN C692 on the barrels and 692 on the gun and chambered for 6.5 cm (pre c1912)
http://www.gunbroker.com/item/670294785








3) a Darne type 10 20 gauge with Darne made barrels SN C643 on a gun with the number 643 and chambered for 70 mm (post c1912).
http://www.gunbroker.com/item/671021768





I guess as far as Darnes go, there is no matching up the SN's. Did they have SN's?


Edited by Argo44 (11/04/18 12:18 PM)
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#486176 - 07/20/17 08:11 PM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
Ted Schefelbein Online   content
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Registered: 01/02/02
Posts: 8161
Loc: mpls, mn.
Argo,
The serial number of the Darne wreakage, with the 1900 date stamp, if that is a date stamp, in my above post is 759. I did make mention of that in the post.

Darne serial numbers make sense to whatever regime was running the company at the time the gun was built. All Darnes have a serial number, and, as far as I know, all clones do as well. We are discussing a company that has been in business for near 150 years, and in a country that has come out victorious in two world wars, after suffering under a scorched earth policy during same.
While it is possible to date a Darne by it's serial number, there are so many exceptions and running changes that one needs to be in contact with someone knowledgable at the factory to be able to do that. Example: It is impossible to accurately date ANY Darne with an SPC or SPL prefix-this referred to a custom order gun, and the serial numbers were not broken out by date of order. When Paul Bruchet was alive, it was very possible he would recall building a higher grade V model so marked, but, that was a long shot, as well. Further, even using the list that was posted on Geoffroy's website until it went dark some time ago, you only got close with a serial number-the combination of letters and numbers only identified a decade, not a year.
That list, incidentally, only applies to guns sold in Europe-anything could be and was imported to the states, which, was considered a secondary market.

Good luck in your quest. I believe it will be quite daunting.


Best,
Ted

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#486253 - 07/21/17 09:48 PM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
Posts: 1700
Loc: McLean, Virginia
Here are three more Didier Brevet dated barrels and with these, there are definitely date markers.

1). 1903 - ????? 18.4; chamber? (ad says 65mm but no pic - assume it is 6.5cm); Buffard Armurier SN 5397. (no pics of the action or barrel flats - only the description)
http://www.naturabuy.fr/Juxtapose-Buffard-item-4014832.html



2). 1912 13689? 18.4; 65 chambered in mm; Note the 1912 shift to mm.
http://www.naturabuy.fr/Fusil-Juxtapose-St-Etienne-cal-12-70-Didier-DREVET-item-3577295.html


3): no date - 15035; 18.4; 65? Chambered in mm; note the lack of a date;
http://www.naturabuy.fr/Magnifique-rare-Didier-fusil-grand-prix-1900-canon-plume-item-3949391.html





With this we're pretty close to nailing down
-- the date of the change-over in Saint-Etienne from cm to mm,
-- the date of the first barrels made by DD following WWI, and
-- the end of DD punching dates on their barrels.
I'll post a proto-graph separately which will be based on these datapoints compiled on page 1 - repeated here.

1852 - DD begins to serial number and date his barrels
1855 - Gold Medal for Barrels - Exposition Universelle des produits de l'Agriculture, de l'Industrie et des Beaux-Arts de Paris 1855
1878 - ...????; 65mm chambered in mm; 18.6; Gun Maker: Didier Fusil; Sn: ?? (damas underlever hammergun)
1885 - ..4922; ??? chambered in mm; 17.0. Gun Maker: ??; gun sn: ?? (from page 3)
1900 - ..8975; 6.5 chambered in cm; 18.4; Gun maker: Darne; gun sn??
1903 - ,,?????; chamber 6.5??; 18.4; Buford Armurier SN 5397
1904 - 11046; 6.5 chambered in cm; 18.4; Gun maker: ?? gun sn:
1905 - 11604; ??? chamber?; 18.4; (unclear); Gun maker: ?? gun sn: ??
1906 - 11985; 7 chambered in cm; 17.0; Gun maker: Gerest Berthon; gun sn
1906 - 12075; 7 chambered in cm; 18.4; Gun maker: ??; gun sn: ??
1907?- 12537: 7 chambered in cm; 18.4; Gun maker: ??; gun sn: ?? (from next page)
1907 - 12613? 7 chambered in cm; 18.4; Gun Maker: Geneaux; gun sn: ; (from 4th page)
1908 - 12740; 6.5 chambered in cm; 17.0; Gun Maker: ??; gun sn: ??
1910 - 13184; 6.5 chambered in cm; 18.4: Gun Maker: ??; gun sn: ??
1912 - 13689? 65 chambered in mm; 18.4; Note the 1912 shift to mm. (page 4)
1918 - 14204; 65 chambered in mm; 18.4: Gun maker: ?? gun sn: 19488; (Skeetz's gun)
..................(possibly one of the very first commercial barrel sets made by DD after Nov 11, 1918).
1921?- 15034; (no date) 65? Chambered in mm; 18.4; note the lack of a date but if you calculate 300 barrels/year after 14204 from 1918, the pre WWI rate this will = circa 1921?); (I'm wrong - photo cut off the date - see below)
1924 - 2?871; 75mm (chambered in mm); 19.2 (10 gauge); gun number 1080 for Didier Brevet (SIFARM) gun labeled "Excelsior."

DD looks to have been making about
-- 1852-1885: serial numbers 0 - c5000; i.e. 200 or so a year? (actually probably the normal 250 once he got his reputation going with that 1855 gold medal).
-- 1885?-1914: Serial numbers c5000 - c14,000: 250-300 barrels a year from 1885 - 1914? (and given the history - possibly his maximum capacity for manufacture - Darne may have gone on their own barrel manufacture about 1900 because of this)(and was DD totally anal about his quality at this time? - the demand was there - looks like he refused to accelerate his barrel production)..
-- 1914-1918: Sn 14xxx-14204? Sports barrel production was probably zero from 14 Aug 1914- 11 Nov 1918 for obvious reasons.

Suffice to say for now, if your French Saint-Etienne barrels are chambered in cm...they are 1912 or earlier.

And by the way, it looks like there are a lot more pre WWI French shotguns chambered for 7cm/70mm (2 3/4) out there than previously understood.
.


Edited by Argo44 (07/29/17 01:13 AM)
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#486265 - 07/22/17 07:37 AM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
GLS Offline
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Registered: 03/23/11
Posts: 3467
Loc: Lowcountry, GA
Ted, thanks for the Darne list reminder. I just checked my doublegun link for it and unfortunately it had been photobucketed and was gone. I found it in the cloud in google images and downloaded it. This is as good as any place to re-park Geoffroy Gournet's serial number and date list for Darne guns. Gil


Edited by GLS (07/22/17 07:37 AM)

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#486274 - 07/22/17 10:38 AM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
Ted Schefelbein Online   content
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Registered: 01/02/02
Posts: 8161
Loc: mpls, mn.
Argo,
I'll remind everyone again, just as the list above advises-There are many exceptions.

I've handled at least a dozen different grades of genuine Darne guns that had serial numbers between 50 and 60 thousand. Hell, I've owned two of them. I have always hazarded a guess that they were pre 1923, based on old style proof marks and the odd (for Darne production) all digit serial numbers, as opposed to the letters/numbers more commonly seen.

My oldest Darne at the moment is the 6.5cm marked Halifax, which, would be considered to be in remarkable condition for a gun of pre 1912 vintage, and, one that does not seem to be cataloged in that era. I'll mention again that it has a 4 digit serial number, and has components that are marked with several different serial numbers from around the same sequence. I have no idea as to why this is. I don't find the catalog issue to be deeply troubling, the Halifax grade guns seemed to fade in and out depending on the economic times. There were three grades of Halifax just prior to WWII, fewer when economic times were booming.

All of the French guns I have seen that were marked for 2 3/4" chambers were modern production. I have handled guns that were stamped 65 that actually had 70mm chambers, and can document they were built with the 70mm chamber. The big switch seemed to occur in the early 1950s.

I see no reason to doubt that some were built and proofed that way prior to that becoming standard practice.

Best,
Ted

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#486276 - 07/22/17 11:00 AM Re: Dating early 20th Century French Shotguns [Re: Argo44]
Ted Schefelbein Online   content
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Registered: 01/02/02
Posts: 8161
Loc: mpls, mn.
Not directly related to Argo's very good effort at dating guns via serial number, but, a good example of some of the horseflies that show up in the yogurt:

http://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-fo...un_id=100884559

Mr. Dealer has a gun he has listed as a Darne, R13. He does mention that he doesn't know what era it was produced in, and would like some help in that area.

A sharp eyed, and interested, student of the Darne guns emailed me, wondering just what the hell it was. I guessed (not having a photo of the barrel flats) that it could be a Bruchet, produced early after they received permission to use the Darne name, as it is engraved, similar to the method used to put the Bruchet name on the even earlier production Paul Bruchet guns. Student proceeded to ask for, and receive photos of the barrel flats.




It is neither a Darne, nor an R13. It appears to be an upgrade to a Francisque Darne gun, with that makers information stamped on the flats of the barrels, and the trademark Darne script applied to the opening lever.

If it had been a Bruchet produced gun, it would be an OK deal at that price. Based on what we can see, it is a lower grade clone aping a more expensive gun, and not a good deal. I can't help but notice that although the dealer provided barrel flat pictures to someone who requested them, he did not put them in the original ad, or correct/edit the ad. This bothers me a bit. It would bother you too, if you had graded as many Darne guns as lower in actual grade AFTER someone purchased them, as I have. That, sucks.

Many thanks to the sharp eyed Bill Wolf, who stumbled upon this little quandary to begin with.

Do be careful out there.


Best,
Ted

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