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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    I filled out my first 4473, but it turns out it was completely unnecessary... Comment
    Beth Morris, 9/30/08 8:30:41 pm
    So we were on our way to go to Kobe to get some yummy Japanese steakhouse goodness, but found ourselves with a half hour to burn before it opened. I asked Greg if we could go to this other gun shop we hadn't been to yet called, Take Aim Guns. We walked in and I instantly was pleased to find women working there. Seemed like a family owned owned company. (i.e. Mom, Dad, sister, brother, etc.) They even had pink cases and pink handled revolvers. And even a purple cobra .380.

    Anyhow, I was in the market for an inside the waist band holster. The Glock is great, but it bulges a bit outside the waist band (with my Fobus holster.) A nice girl helped me find a Galco Stow-N-Go. It's soft brushed leather and there are no pokey parts.

    Before checking out, we decided to look around a bit and found this:


    All we knew was it was a 12ga single shot break action in decent, tight condition. Even better, it was only $49.99!! And it has a picture of a squirrel on the butt plate. Since we have been planning on shooting trap more often and wanted to bring people with us, we figured a third shot gun would be a good buy. Since I have never actually bought a gun before, I insisted that I was buying this one. So I fill out my 4473 and get OKed by NICS and since I had my CWP, we took it home right then (for non-permit-holders, there is a 3 day wait.)


    Well here comes Greg and his amazing research skills. Turns out that it was made by a company called Forehand Arms Company in Worchester, Mass. And was made before 1899!! The serial number is low and the first one was patented in 1896. So yeah, there wasn't a need for that 4473 after all seeing that it's an antique. After some checking it actually turns out that Forehand and his partner Wadsworth were the sons in law of Ethan Allen (the arms maker, not the guerrilla leader or furniture maker.)

    One problem with the gun: The barrel is labeled "Fine Decarbonized Steel". That means it was designed for low pressure or black powder loads. So what we're going to do with this shot gun, I'm not sure. But it is cool, and has a neat history. I'm sure Greg will write a post to explain more as he find out. But it's my first buy and I think it was a pretty cool deal.

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

    Re: I filled out my first 4473, but it turns out it was completely unnecessary...
    PeterFF, 9/30/08 8:48:02 pm
    Cool find! Old guns are neat.

    There should be data out there for loading low pressure shells.
    Re: I filled out my first 4473, but it turns out it was completely unnecessary...
    Gregory Morris, 9/30/08 10:12:19 pm
    Unfortunately, Al Gore's Interwebs have not given me much more to go on than what you've already said. Forehand and Wadsworth are only famous for their low quality revolvers, so there isn't much info out there on their shotguns. For that matter, there's very little info available on any old, cheap single-shot, external-hammer shotgun.

    Shooters have no need for them, and collectors ignore them. I personally think they are neat. In fact, this old gun probably put food on someone's table... 100 years ago... This gun was a workhorse. It was well used, but also cared for. That makes it more interesting to me than any $20,000 hand-crafted Italian sporting gun.

    Hopefully I can find more info. Maybe there's a librarian out there somewhere who can help by engaging in that mystical art of "offline" research.
    Re: I filled out my first 4473, but it turns out it was completely unnecessary...
    Matt, 10/1/08 8:54:14 am
    Why not just shoot black powder shells out of it rather than trying to develop a modern smokeless load for it? If you have a place outdoors to shoot it with BP, it would be a load of fun.

    Here's some info I dug up plus a source for preloaded BP shells. Maybe it will help.

    Beautiful gun! Now you at least know the "check the manufacturing date" lesson. At $50, I would have grabbed it and tipped out the door too!
    Re: I filled out my first 4473, but it turns out it was completely unnecessary...
    Gregory Morris, 10/1/08 8:57:34 am
    Matt: thanks! I'd be happy to get/load some black powder shells.

    We had no way of getting the date of manufacture... and for $50, we decided it was worth the risk. Of course, that means the gun shop likely has a non-firearm in their bound book, which is technically not allowed (I will be mentioning that to them next time I stop over there.)

    Re: I filled out my first 4473, but it turns out it was completely unnecessary...
    Kristopher, 10/2/08 11:43:27 am
    Look for 2 3/4\" \"trap loads\".

    They are loaded light for shooting at clays.

    At short range, they will do for self defense.



    Re: I filled out my first 4473, but it turns out it was completely unnecessary...
    Gregory Morris, 10/2/08 11:56:49 am
    Kristopher: Actually, a lot of old shotguns like these had shorter chambers. Many of them could only safely fire 2" or 2-1/2" shells. Some of them in fact were designed to exclusively use all-brass shells. I think this may be the case for Beth's new (old) shotgun. I have not yet measured the chamber yet (need to get a gauge to do that.)

    If you were to load a longer plastic or paper shell than it was designed for, the cartridge would not have room to open up completely, causing a dangerous bottleneck and extremely high pressure. In addition to the safety aspect, this would also likely cause the pellets to be more deformed, which affects the pattern.

    Matt mentioned a company that makes appropriately sized blackpowder cartridges. In addition, polywad makes "vintager" and "double-wide" shells which come in shorter sizes with lower power. Normal "light/target" nitro loads still generally produce higher pressures than the decarbonized steel barrel was designed for.
    Re: I filled out my first 4473, but it turns out it was completely unnecessary...
    Gregory Morris, 10/2/08 1:39:32 pm
    This article describes the difference in chambers and forcing cones in older shotguns.

    Basically older shotguns (especially 100+ year old ones!) often have shorter chambers and extremely short forcing cones, due to the types of shells available at the time.
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