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Thread: What is this old shotgun?

  1. #1
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    Default What is this old shotgun?

    I have an old side by side that I am trying to identify and find some history on. I believe it is an old black powder Browning Belgium shotgun. It has a barrel length of 29 7/8", inside chamber diameter of .906, double hammers and triggers, and on the underside of both barrels is stamped an oval topped by a crown with the letters ELG inside the oval. Also stamped in the same location is a diamond with 12U stamped inside it. The serial number is 22137. There are some other markings that I take it to be just inspected by type marking. Such as a backwards 33.

    Anyone have any ideas on this at all? Or can anyone point me in the right direction?

  2. #2
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    ELG within the oval under the crown I believe = Belgian import proof mark used between 1893 and 1914.
    12U within diamond I believe = 12 gauge, unchoked.
    Other markings likely give indication of manufacturer identity, smokeless or black powder barrels, etc. Good photos of all could likely be quickly deciphered by someone more knowledgeable than I. Some poking around online places like Gun Values Board would likely fetch you accurate answers.
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    Member gunbugs's Avatar
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    The ELG, with a star at the bottom, in an oval under the crown is a standard Belgian proof mark used on all barrels of muzzleloading shotguns, breechloading shotguns, rifled barrels, barrels of military arms, and signal guns chambered for shotshells. generally seen after 1891. Also seen, somewhat smaller, on handgun barrels and cylinders that have passed proof. The 12 in a diamond signifies the chamber dimension, "12" gauge. All this info, and more, can be found in "The Standard Directory of Proof Marks", by Wirnsberger. Browning had nothing to do with the shotgun unless it says "Browning" on it. 100's of thousands of muzzleloading and breechloading shotguns were imported to the US from various Belgian makers from about 1880 to 1920, most were utilitarian, inexpensive hunting guns that were sold in sporting goods and hardware stores for less than 10.00 new. They are very common and hold little value unless "like new". Even then, very few folks actually collect them. Typically, they fall in the category of wall hangers.
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    Thank you iofthetaiga and gunbugs for the info. I will take a look at the references that you gave me. I thought it probably wasn't worth all that much. It has a cracked stock and the metal around the hing is well worn. It does have most of the original bluing still and the barrels are still solid to the center rib so I thought it might be worth looking into.

  5. #5
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Some very nice guns did come with your markings but if it was one of them it would in most every case still be a very nice gun and have a good name proudly displayed. They were as a city famous for almost correct names like Barker for Parker and L.C. Smyth for L.C. Smith and so on. The ELG was Liege Belgium.
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