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  1. #1

    Default The Mysterious Belgian Shotgun

    I'm in a bit of a rut here. I have the ability to acquire a particular shotgun that I believe may be worth something, and if not, is still pretty darned cool.

    The backstory, if you're interested, is pretty simple. If you're not interested, skip this paragraph. In this story, my friend's name will be Joe. Joe's friend's father died, and left him his two guns, this shotgun and a very nice Harrington and Richardson .22 target rifle (which I unfortunately don't have the ability to acquire). Joe's friend isn't very interested in guns, and his wife despises them, so he keeps them in the attic, hidden away. One day Joe was doing some wiring work in the attic for his friend, and happens upon these two guns. Joe is a firearms enthusiast and a collector, so he asks about them. After telling a bit about the two guns, he said he'd take Joe's cheap electric guitar and amp in trade for the two guns, if Joe was interested. Ecstatic, Joe accepted. Joe's friend was recently robbed, and his guitar and amp were stolen. He'd rather have the guitar and amp than two guns rusting away in his attic as he gets to be an old man. Win-Win scenario, Joe's friend got rid of the guns he didn't want and obtained a new guitar and amp. Joe got rid of his crappy guitar and amp and got two awesome guns. Now Joe wants to trade me for the Mysterious Belgian Shotgun. Backstory over.

    I am told it is a Belgian double-barrel side-by-side shotgun made in 1898. I can confirm all of that except the date by just looking at the stamps. Other than a Belgian double-barrel side-by-side shotgun, I have no idea what this thing is, or even when it was made.

    Stamped on the left AND right side of the receiver is 'ACME ARMS CO', and just under that is stamped 'BELGIUM'. Stamped on the top of the gun, in between the two barrels, is 'BELGIUM LAMINATED STEEL', reading from the butt of the gun to the muzzle, not from the muzzle to butt. Double triggers, double external hammers. I can not find a date or serial number. I would guess that it was manufactured for export, because the stamping are in English, not Dutch or German or whatever language they speak in Belgium. Can you guys tell me anything else? I've included MANY pictures, of nearly everything closeup to help with identification. I've resized the pictures to be somewhat reasonable, but I have pictures that are ridiculously high resolution if you request them. When I say ridiculous I mean well over 9000 square pixels.



















    I appreciate any help you gentlemen (and possibly ladies) can give me. Thanks for taking the time to look, at least!


    NOTE: I'm sorry if this is in the incorrect forum, but I figured if this really is as old as I've been told, it fits in the Collector's Forum.

  2. #2
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    You did not post the photograph of the most important part, without it there is very little that can be told.

  3. #3

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    And you did not explain very well what I left out. :P

    I'd be happy to get another picture, if you'd like to tell me what exactly I'm missing.

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    What are the proofs? If the ELG/* in oval has a crown over it, then after mid-1893. No crown, then before that date. Almost certainly no later than mid-1914. The "Belgium" stamp indicates a date after one of the US tariff acts (mid-1890s, can't recall exact date - 1894 or 1896, I think) that required nation of origin markings on imported items (including firearms)

    I show Acme Arms Co. as a trade name used by Cornwall Hardware Co. in NY (and I wouldn't be surprised to learn, others as well). So - you have a Belgian gun made sometime from the mid-1890s to mid-1914, for a hardware company in New York and marked for it. Utility gun, useful when new and of modest interest now but little cash value. I'd say, in current economy and pictured condition, $125-150, and mainly as a decorator. It isn't a gun I'd feel comfortable shooting, what with the Damascus tubes, age, and who knows what care and use in the past before being left in an attic for years. It probably sold for maybe $10 new, possibly less.
    Last edited by Clyde; 10-06-2009 at 04:19 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyMaster195 View Post
    And you did not explain very well what I left out. :P

    I'd be happy to get another picture, if you'd like to tell me what exactly I'm missing.
    In shotguns there is an area called: barrel flats. That is probably first or second most important thing about any shotgun.

  6. #6

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    I'm a rifle kind of guy, my mistake. I didn't even know there are any markings there. Sure would've been a lot easier if they stamped into the barrel or receiver, like a rifle...

    Unfortunately, I can't get very good pictures of the barrel flats. This gun isn't mine yet, and I don't want to accidentally damage anything while drifting out that monster of a pin. Or find out something is broken, then get accused of breaking it because I pointed it out. Nope, the only way I'm doing something like that is in front of the owner... Or asking the owner to do it himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyMaster195 View Post
    Sure would've been a lot easier if they stamped into the barrel
    They stamped them into the barrel. It is almost universal. German, Belgian, Austrian, English, Russian shotguns, all stamped into the barrel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    what with the Damascus tubes
    How do you figure that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    What are the proofs? If the ELG/* in oval has a crown over it, then after mid-1893. No crown, then before that date. Almost certainly no later than mid-1914. The "Belgium" stamp indicates a date after one of the US tariff acts (mid-1890s, can't recall exact date - 1894 or 1896, I think) taht required nation of origin markings on imported items 9including firearms)

    I show Acme Arms Co. as a trade name used by Cornwall Hardware Co. in NY (and I wouldn't be surprised to learn, others as well). So - you have a Belgian gun made sometime from the mid-1890s to mid-1914, for a hardware company in New York and marked for it. Utility gun, useful when new and of modest interest now but little cash value. I'd say, in current economy and pictured condition, $125-150, and mainly as a decorator. It isn't a gun I'd feel comfortable shooting, what with the Damascus tubes, age, and who knows what care and use in the past before being left in an attic for years. It probably sold for maybe $10 new, possibly less.
    I mostly agree with Clyde. From myself I will add that this thing is not worth buying, period. Save your money. If you do not want to save money, then buy something worthwhile like CZ-82, Romanian TT, Polish TT or Yugoslav TT, these things will appreciate in value. There are old shotguns that are valuable, this particular one is not one of them.

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    If I had to guess, you replied to the wrong thread.

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    Damascus barrels because it says laminated steel. Not safe to shoot. And no offense, looking at the quality of the metal fit and such, this looks like a very low-end hardware store shotgun not worth pursuing.

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    Typical low dollar Belgian junk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaarok View Post
    Damascus barrels because it says laminated steel. Not safe to shoot. And no offense, looking at the quality of the metal fit and such, this looks like a very low-end hardware store shotgun not worth pursuing.
    Thank you.

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    At one time, on the Shogun Forum at the Antique Guns (www.antiqueguns.com) site, there was a constant flow of questions about guns of this type. The term JABC got coined (acronym for "Just Another Belgian Clunker"). It isn't one I chose (or choose) to use, but this one fits into that category.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

  15. #15

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    No offense taken. This isn't even my gun, and now it never will be.

    This is exactly the information I was looking for, thank you very much gentlemen.

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    Now hang on a second. What was the sale price offered to you?
    Жить стало лучше, товарищи. Жить стало веселее.
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    Belgian companies produced a lot of cheap firearms for export back then.
    I agree with all the comments above; if you can clean it up nicely it could make a nice piece to hang over the fireplace; but again, it's nothing special.
    If it is very very cheap you might consider it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
    BTW: In belgium we speak Flemish and French. Gunmaking industry was (is) located in the french speaking part of the country. So most belgian guns are marked in French, except the ones obviously made for export.
    Best regards, A
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    There are many fine Belgian shotguns. But in the USA their reputation was swamped by a flood of cheap imports like the one you show whose domestic competition were the inexpensive hardware store guns made by Crescent/Folsom, slightly better than the Belgians but still clunkers.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjk308 View Post
    There are many fine Belgian shotguns. But in the USA their reputation was swamped by a flood of cheap imports like the one you show whose domestic competition were the inexpensive hardware store guns made by Crescent/Folsom, slightly better than the Belgians but still clunkers.
    Make that "Davenport, H&A, Crescent et al, often slightly better" and you'll have it nailed, Jake.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    In French we call this type of gun:" Quincaillerie Liégoise". One could translate it as "Some hardware junk from Liège". See it this way: "Not all Belgian frenched fries are edible ... some are dangerous for your health" .
    Cheap Belgian guns of the past didn't gain any quality in aging. I'm Belgian, so you may be inclined to believe me on my word.

    BTW, would the English word "laminated" be the same as "Damast steel"? A REAL Damast steel barrel would never have been mounted on a cheap gun. There was/is "false Damast" of course (acid you know!).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big commander View Post
    In French we call this type of gun:" Quincaillerie Liégoise". One could translate it as "Some hardware junk from Liège". See it this way: "Not all Belgian frenched fries are edible ... some are dangerous for your health" .
    Cheap Belgian guns of the past didn't gain any quality in aging. I'm Belgian, so you may be inclined to believe me on my word.

    BTW, would the English word "laminated" be the same as "Damast steel"? A REAL Damast steel barrel would never have been mounted on a cheap gun. There was/is "false Damast" of course (acid you know!).
    There were a variety of types of "Damascus" steel barrel blanks. The least in quality are usually called "laminated" and they really are. Usually just a couple of skelps brought to red heat and wound spirally around the mandrel, MAYBE twisted together in the process, and hammer-welded. Cheap enough to use on cheap guns. And NOT of high quality.
    Last edited by Clyde; 09-08-2009 at 02:33 PM.
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    But you could handload your own black powder shells for such a gun, couldn't you?
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  23. #23

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    Not worth it all the time and effort if you ask me.

    Again, thanks for all of the info guys!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Interloper View Post
    But you could handload your own black powder shells for such a gun, couldn't you?
    Yes, that isn't a problem. In fact, there are BP-charged factory shells available from specialty sources so you don't even have to roll your own. BUT - there are other potential problems with Damascus-type tubes, especially those of the least expensive varities, exacerbated by questionable storage over a long period. Just not a gun most of us would feel great comfort with shooting without taking steps to insure it is "in proof", the cost of which would exceed the value of the gun by some significant multiple. Probably three or four times the cost, maybe more.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    A friend tried to sell me one just like it once, cept in much better shape, for a hundred dollars. I passed.
    Wallhanger for a shed or cabin. Never would I shoot it or the one in this thread. Afraid to say its not worth a hill of beans.
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    Default fcw60

    i have the same gun in 16 gauge(acme). i use it to kill squirrels and rabbits. no offense , but yours makes mine look brand new. i also have a excelsior (belgium 12 gauge) and 1887 ithaca baker 12 gauge double. i reload brass shells with black powder. kids think i'm crazy , when i use them on clays and doves.

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    Laminated, damascus, whatever tends to corrode and crack along the weld lines. Some enthusiasts have even resorted to Xraying the barrels for flaws but without very good results. You can easily end up holding a bunch of steel and iron wires instead of a shotgun barrel, even with black powder loads.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

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    Garden variety wall hanger. Not worth the effort to restore. Worth less than $100.

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    Spent a good deal of time searching on this one...
    There were "hardware store" exports, made to be sold cheaply to the average farmer in need of a reliable double barrel, and then there were high grade fancy and ornate shotguns competing with some of the best makers in England at the time.

    I was attracted to this one, covered in dust, sitting in a rack in a little gun shop. It didn't move for over a year and finally the price came down. Found it under the tree one Christmas.
    Just a damned pretty wall hanger and the damascus barrels really stand out. It is hand engraving and finely done on all areas, including screw heads!

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    That gun is worth $50, maybe. It is a decorator only and is super common. A shootable one is only worth $150.

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    In a nutshell: It's a junker.

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    I have an Acme shotgun. I have no idea what the guage is. It is in fairly decent condition. My dad left it to me prior to passing on. He alerted me to the issue on Damascus Steel. Im more interested in finding some decent rustic looking hooks to hang it and my Beaumont Vitaly on the wall than I am finding cartridges for shooting them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HockeyMaster195 View Post
    This gun isn't mine yet
    Best decision you've made. It's a tomato stake with holes in it. The use of a cross-head screw speaks volumes.

    Please do without this thing and save your $$ for something American-made with a name that doesn't come out of 'Road-Runner & Wylie Coyote'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by texcl2 View Post
    That gun is worth $50
    You have gone a zero too far.

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    eyes.hands,fingers more important. not everything thats old is valuable except the first things mentioned<><,dk

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    Quote Originally Posted by tacfoley2 View Post
    save your $$ for something American-made with a name that doesn't come out of 'Road-Runner & Wylie Coyote'.
    Just had a brainstorm. An "Acme" collection. Just products labeled "Acme", from guns and high explosives to can openers. I always had a soft spot in my heart for the name Acme because when I was a kid our neighborhood not-quite-supermarket was an Acme...... until the manager embezzled every cent in the till and the bank account and disappeared.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

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