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Old 11th November 2017, 05:14 PM   #1
Lee
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Wink An Idea Whose Time Never Quite Came

I bought this quad-hammer superimposed load double barrel shotgun in 1995 at a local antiques fair because of the fine damascus work on the barrel. The vendor had bought it before the show opened for half of what he turned it over to me for and said that it came from a local family in which it had been for a few generations. There was an old tag, presently misfiled by me, indicating that it had been purchased at one of those 19th century trade expositions and that it was eventually exchanged by the original purchaser for room and board at the Yates Hotel in Syracuse, NY - once the finest accommodation in the area, now, sadly a parking lot.
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Old 11th November 2017, 05:15 PM   #2
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I find it a handsome work and am curious about its origin and dating.

Perhaps from the same workshop ?

And one thing leads to another...

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Old 11th November 2017, 07:59 PM   #3
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superposed loads were experimented with by a few, the seal between loads sometimes failed and they all went off simultaneously, not a happy occurrence for the shooter.

modern attempts by 'metal storm' have proven more successful but not as far as i know, yet accepted by the military.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKlnMwuCZso

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLNuBq0NQJE
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Old 11th November 2017, 08:47 PM   #4
fernando
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A most interesting and fine gun, no doubt.
Congratulations Lee, on finding what appears to be the same type of gun and potentially from the same workshop, such is the design of the parts.
How amazing is what appears to be a needle in a haystack turns out to be so simple as Googling on the thing; or even the right way to Google is also an art.
OTOH, my dilemma about one being 'able' to shoot the back loads before the front ones is no more. A possible system failure is another deal.
Maybe one day you will find the tag that came with it; what surprises will it provide.
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Old 11th November 2017, 09:15 PM   #5
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I agree, a beautiful gun, and a most unusual firing arrangement.
It does seem that many firearms from Belgium came into the US during the 1860s onward, and of course New York was one main arrival point. There was the huge influx of 'Zulu' shotguns coming in from Belgium which were apparently converted from surplus French muskets.

It would seem the potential for simultaneous firing of all charges would be horrendously likely, and as noted, with disastrous results to the shooter.
I understand that the well known 'pepperbox' pistols had a certain reputation for having this unfortunate action at times.

I saw in a museum in Cody, Wyoming a revolver which had one of these multiple detonations, and noted its fatal result.

Just the same, a beautiful gun, and interesting 'firearm curiosa'!
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Old 16th November 2017, 10:22 PM   #6
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Default superposed shotgun

your gun was made in Belgium by dewalle brothers circa 1855
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Old 17th November 2017, 11:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
...

...

I saw in a museum in Cody, Wyoming a revolver which had one of these multiple detonations, and noted its fatal result.

...


colt style cap & ball revolvers have a gap between the cylinder and the barrel. there is a significant discharge of gas, unburnt powder, burning powder, lead shavings from any misalignment, etc. the next round is perilously close. people usually fill the space above the rammed projectile with grease - when they have time. under sustained firing, they may skip the grease and thus increase the chances of setting off a chain of multiple detonations. pepperbox pistols didn't have the gap, but weren't grease filled either. if they were smart they'd use a greased patch and/or maybe a greased wad over the load. cartridge guns are a lot safer, but you still need to keep well away from the cylinder gap. colt made revolving rifles, but the nearness of the shooter's cheek to that gap made them quite unpopular. (and thus increased their price to modern collectors as fewer were made).

see also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nucg5VAff4c
(under 18's should not click the link as chikken fingers gave their lives in this video.)
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Old 18th November 2017, 03:01 PM   #8
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Thank you, Gentlemen, for your comments. I suppose that the real collector's item here might be whatever instructions would have come with such a gun about how to load it for safe operation. I have never had it apart or even removed the ramrod that is fairly tightly inserted. Clearly the length and sealing of the first load would be absolutely critical, so I'll be curious if the ramrod has been marked.
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Old 18th November 2017, 06:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
... I suppose that the real collector's item here might be whatever instructions would have come with such a gun about how to load it for safe operation...

How good is your french, Lee ? Or perhaps you can manage to translate your gun loading instructions, which you may find scrolling down THIS PAGE.

This is definitely a fine gun; the only reason for the museum of weapons of Liege to preserve one of these exceptional weapons under the reference (MAL 5058-Ah 39).
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Old 18th November 2017, 06:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
Thank you, Gentlemen, for your comments. I suppose that the real collector's item here might be whatever instructions would have come with such a gun about how to load it for safe operation. I have never had it apart or even removed the ramrod that is fairly tightly inserted. Clearly the length and sealing of the first load would be absolutely critical, so I'll be curious if the ramrod has been marked.


i hope so, not much lee-way (pun intended*) in the alignment with the touch holes.

related: i have been told that during the american civil war it was not uncommon for the recruits going into battle to load their weapons for the volley fire by ranks in sync with their comrades, but forgetting to put a fresh cap on their rifle. their sergeant, after practice live fire drills would go down the line and have them drop the ramrod down the muzzle of their rifle, and heaven forbid one didn't go down all the way. one unlucky soul was found to have six loads in his barrel, all of which he had to extract with a worm while suffering further under the ministrations of the sarge. if it had happened in a real battle the potential for an explosion setting it all off if he finally did recap his rifle (another idiom we've added to the language?) and potentially killing him and maybe someone next to him.

* - leaway hasn't got the same oomph.
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Old 19th November 2017, 01:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
...a gap between the cylinder and the barrel. there is a significant discharge of gas ...lead shavings from any misalignment, etc....

I had an Adams revolver with all traces of having gone through a misalignment episode; a conclusion i arrived at, by inferring that the tremendous impact caused by the projectile being stuck at the barrel chamber had the power to bend the upper back of its sturdy cylinder frame resulting in a steel fissure.

You must remember the Belgium revolver Nagant 1895. An ingenious gas-sealing system in that, whilst cocking the hammer, the cylinder turns and moves forward, closing the gap between it (cylinder) and barrel. Noteworthy it is the ammo shell that locks into the barrel; the projectile being placed ‘inside’ the capsule, will find a smooth straight path into the barrel; a unique type of ammo. I heard they discontinued this system due to its less handy reloading.
Interesting that they firstly intended to reduce the escape of gases, uncreasing the shot power; safety came in second place .
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Old 19th November 2017, 06:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
...
Interesting that they firstly intended to reduce the escape of gases, increasing the shot power; safety came in second place .


'Safety' was was not politically correct then, like now.

i've heard of that belgian revolver, another clever idea that never caught on. bit like the semi-automatic revolver.
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Old 12th May 2018, 01:23 PM   #13
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Unhappy So much for the reliability of human memory...

I finally came across the old tag that accompanied this shotgun. Obviously I had not recalled the fairly accurate statement of where it was made or at which once famous Syracuse venue it was 'hocked' for board...
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Old 12th May 2018, 08:39 PM   #14
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Somehow Lee, it is good that only now you found this tag with all relevant information. This gave us a chance to dive meanwhile into the sea of imagination and give free wings to a range of conjectures.
A very nice gun indeed .
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Old 13th May 2018, 06:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
colt style cap & ball revolvers have a gap between the cylinder and the barrel. there is a significant discharge of gas, unburnt powder, burning powder, lead shavings from any misalignment, etc. the next round is perilously close. people usually fill the space above the rammed projectile with grease - when they have time. under sustained firing, they may skip the grease and thus increase the chances of setting off a chain of multiple detonations. pepperbox pistols didn't have the gap, but weren't grease filled either. if they were smart they'd use a greased patch and/or maybe a greased wad over the load. cartridge guns are a lot safer, but you still need to keep well away from the cylinder gap. colt made revolving rifles, but the nearness of the shooter's cheek to that gap made them quite unpopular. (and thus increased their price to modern collectors as fewer were made).

see also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nucg5VAff4c
(under 18's should not click the link as chikken fingers gave their lives in this video.)



I had a chain fire with one of my cap and ball revolvers a few years back. Although I had greased the chambers , it was a very hot day and much of the grease had meted away . Although it was a spectacular event , no harm was sustained by me , the pistol or the people either side of me ! We were all no doubt very fortunate !
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Old 13th May 2018, 09:12 AM   #16
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related: i have been told that during the american civil war it was not uncommon for the recruits going into battle to load their weapons for the volley fire by ranks in sync with their comrades, but forgetting to put a fresh cap on their rifle. their sergeant, after practice live fire drills would go down the line and have them drop the ramrod down the muzzle of their rifle, and heaven forbid one didn't go down all the way. one unlucky soul was found to have six loads in his barrel, all of which he had to extract with a worm while suffering further under the ministrations of the sarge. if it had happened in a real battle the potential for an explosion setting it all off if he finally did recap his rifle (another idiom we've added to the language?) and potentially killing him and maybe someone next to him.

* - leaway hasn't got the same oomph. [/QUOTE]

I have seen this happen for real. I loaned a reproduction musket to a friend for use at a reenactment at Waterloo. I later pulled 6 loads out of it! I have also seen double loads ignite and the recoil knock the shooter over. Blanks only bigod but cause for thought all the same.
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Old 13th May 2018, 09:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
.. related: i have been told that during the american civil war it was not uncommon for the recruits going into battle to load their weapons for the volley fire by ranks in sync with their comrades, but forgetting to put a fresh cap on their rifle. their sergeant, after practice live fire drills would go down the line and have them drop the ramrod down the muzzle of their rifle, and heaven forbid one didn't go down all the way. one unlucky soul was found to have six loads in his barrel, all of which he had to extract with a worm while suffering further under the ministrations of the sarge. if it had happened in a real battle the potential for an explosion setting it all off if he finally did recap his rifle (another idiom we've added to the language?) and potentially killing him and maybe someone next to him.

* - leaway hasn't got the same oomph.


I have seen this happen for real. I loaned a reproduction musket to a friend for use at a reenactment at Waterloo. I later pulled 6 loads out of it! I have also seen double loads ignite and the recoil knock the shooter over. Blanks only bigod but cause for thought all the same.
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Old 13th May 2018, 05:26 PM   #18
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Sorry, if this is insultingly obvious, but with all this talk of multiple loads and Lee saying he has not removed the ramrod, I trust someone has plumbed the barrels to check there is not a load still in there.
Best wishes
Richard
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Old 14th May 2018, 09:54 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
Sorry, if this is insultingly obvious, but with all this talk of multiple loads and Lee saying he has not removed the ramrod, I trust someone has plumbed the barrels to check there is not a load still in there.
Best wishes
Richard

Specially taking into account that one has to handle the system in order to allow for the probing of four possible loads .
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Old 14th May 2018, 10:52 AM   #20
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You can do it in 2 tries, once per barrel. Carefully insert ramrod using left hand between thumb and forefinger ensuring no part of you is in front, never push it in with your palm. Pinch it at the muzzle to save the length, and withdraw, lay it alongside the barrel, if the end is past the rear touch hole you are OK, if it is ahead of the rear touch hole but past the front one, you have one load. If ahead of the front touch hole you have at least two. If it's well in front, you are in deep doo doo and have multiples.

On a new rifle i'd drop initially the ramrod in with it empty, use a black marker to mark the ramrod at muzzle level, load it with my std. loading of powder, paper wad & minie ball and mark the rod again. Luckily I never had to worm out a load.

If you do, make sure you have shaken out the priming and uncocked the hammers before anything else...Some would pour water into the barrel & let it soak before worming, or submerge the gun in water for a while to ensure the loads were dead. Flush with water after removing (which was normal cleaning practice anyway) until the water comes out the touch holes clear. Dry & oil as usual...
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