Ask the Shotgun Experts

This could easily be put in whats that gun. I have just recently acquired this old double barreled Side by Side, hammer shotgun. I am trying to find out a bit about it like year of manufacture and is it safe to use normal 12G shells and some info on the choke.
This is a picture of the proof marks on the barrel it is a Bayard.

Maybe a photo of the entire gun too, perhaps? :wink:

I will get one perhaps on Sunday. its all in pieces at the moment. I have striped what was left of the varnish on the butt and sanded out a lot of the scratches and am in the process of re oiling it.

I’m no expert, but I dont think it has been Nitro proofed.

Your gun is only proofed for black powder. It was made in Belgium in 1927 (the F under the star) and was proofed / passed by Couchant Louis (the M under star above the perron).

Bloody hell, @GUN-DMC it’s like you know stuff about shotguns or something.

I think he has a couple of books on that stuff. Either that or he’s a smart arse professor. :rofl:

Regarding the proof, it was proven with Black Powder, not neccesarily FOR Black Powder. Also the Perron means more than it is Belgian, but that it has been inspected after final Black Powder proof which all Belgian guns had to pass even if they were later to be proven with semi-smokeless. As it has the gauge over c in a diamond I would have the gun inspected prior to using nitro shells, and also check the cartridge length as it may well be chambered for 2 1/2" shells. Is there a mark of the number 12 dash 65 or 70 in what seems to be an oval on the barrel flats?

Not so smart, just got a book :wink:

So can a gun be proofed after the fact?

As in, if it doesn’t come with a nitro proof mark, is there a process to get it tested and proofed for nitro or do you just assume it doesn’t work?

I can be done in England, they reproof plenty of old guns there. Probably other countries too, we don’t have a proof house here, but then neither do a lot of countries.
I picked up an old BP proofed Hollis sxs that the owner (not knowing anything about proofing) had been shooting rabbits with modern ammo for years.
Not that I’m recommending anyone does that without the ok from a competent shotgun Smith.

G’day Gwion,
Yes, you can have a gun re-proofed. It is not cheap for us, as the gun has to be shipped overseas and you have to realize that if the gun fails proof it will returned in pieces! For the Belgians, it is not uncommon that a shotgun may undergo up to 3 proof events, the primary Black Powder proof to earn the entwined EL, a final Black Powder to earn it’s Perron and spangled ELG, and a smokeless to earn it’s Lion over powder makers mark. Cheers.

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So there is no proofing process in Australia. Seems a bit stiff for us.

So what do you do if there’s no nitro proofing on an old gun: just shoot BP reloads in it?

You could always prove it yourself, a bit risky perhaps but isn’t it just a process of firing an overloaded cartridge - if it survives then its stamped?
Obliviously a long string and some protection etc would be wise. You wouldn’t have the stamp but would have the knowledge…

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The info is out there about the loads used for proof testing

Will get some pics soon Im a bit worried on the outcome. What is the standard chamber length of a modern 12g. I am pretty sure this one is 2 1/2 inch.

2 3/4 Is standard these days but you can still buy 2 1/2" shells, Eley make some and I’m sure others do too.
You could also reload for it.
But seriously is it worth all the trouble, you should probably just let me look after it for you , lol.

This looks like 2 1/2 inch with a barrel marking on the outside and a clean 2 1/2 inch portion of the barrel then it gets a bit rusty looking but there is no ridge or anything it is just all smooth bore so what makes a chamber?

A good local gunsmith will tell you if its OK for modern powder.
Just a suggestion here. And NO guarantees.

  1. Find a max load for that gun. (21/2" case)
  2. Load up a cartridge same max load + 1 grain powder
  3. Take out in field, wrap up in an old blanket (very effective at stopping shrapnel)
  4. Stake / tie down
  5. Fire using long string and hiding behind BIG tree. LOL
  6. Check for damage.

OK here are some Pics. Feel I like have invested too much work in tidying it up now.