Birmingham proof marks 1887-1896

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Mark Batten 250
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:20 pm

Birmingham proof marks 1887-1896

Post by Mark Batten 250 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:21 pm

I'm looking at the barrel-flat proof marks of a G. O'C. Holloway damascus BLE. They show the marks that would date this gun as having been proofed in Birmingham between 1887-1896. However, there are no marks to indicate whether it was proofed with Schultze or EC nitro loads (as described on pg 163 of 'The Standard Directory of Proof Marks').

Should I assume that this means the gun was black-powder proofed only?
Also, does the 12 over C in the diamond cartouche indicate a chamber length longer than 2.5 inches?

Thanks for any info.

John 39
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Birmingham proof marks 1887-1896

Post by John 39 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:31 pm

If made between 1887 and 1896 I'm surprised it doesn't have a specific nitro powder mark. "SCH 42" was used from 1887 to to 1896, thereafter "Max'm" "Grs" and "Shot" were used until 1904. As there is no CHOKE or NOT FOR BALL mark I suspect the gun is post 1896. The diamond mark was introduced in 1887, 12 over C means the gun has 2 1/2 inch chambers so don't use 2 3/4 especially with damascus barrels. Can you tell us any more about the proof marks, and does it look like it was sold to a Scottish game shooter who didn't have a lot of money?

Mark Batten 250
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:20 pm

Re: Birmingham proof marks 1887-1896

Post by Mark Batten 250 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:14 am

Here's a link to some photos of the gun:

https://ellwoodepps.com/hunting/firearm ... ector.html

If you zoom in on the bottom right photo you can see the proof marks, and that 'choke' is clearly indicated for both barrels.

Perhaps proofing with the nitro powders of that time period (Schultze, EC) cost extra, and was not always performed?

Judging from the photos, it appears to be a nicely finished and not heavily-used pigeon gun of decent quality. Note the pins in the upper rear action sides for intercepting sears - unusual for a boxlock, I think.

John 39
Posts: 218
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Birmingham proof marks 1887-1896

Post by John 39 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:04 pm

That is a nice looking boxlock, but I wouldn't describe it as a pigeon gun, it doesn't seem to have any of the clues to a pigeon gun such as long chambers, tight chokes, side clips, very high quality game scene engraving (pigeons), very high quality wood. Going by the serial number it dates to 1913. I can't see the proof marks clearly but it doesn't seem to be nitro proved so it is black powder only. I think the barrels and action were old stock i.e. made and proved before 1887 and bought by Holloways in 1913 but maybe sat on the shelf for a bit until someone specifically wanted a BP only hammerless boxlock gun.

Mark Batten 250
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:20 pm

Re: Birmingham proof marks 1887-1896

Post by Mark Batten 250 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:32 am

Thanks very much, John.
I appreciate everyone's observations and comments!

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