Original British 19th Century 13 Bore Double Barrel Percussion Shotgun with Serpent Hammers Retailed by Onion & Wheelock of New York - Circa 1860

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. A very nice upmarket British-made Double Barreled Percussion shotgun, produced for the large U.S. import market. It is marked on both side action lock plates with ONION. &. WHEELOCK., for Onion & Wheelock of New York City. The two were agents for Allen & Thurber and other firearms manufacturers circa 1849-1864, and acquired firearms for retail from both domestic and international sources. Most of what we could find were other examples of their percussion shotguns, both double and single barrel, in a variety of different bore sizes.

This example was definitely made as a somewhat upmarket version, featuring a lovely twist steel "Damascus" barrel, as well as some nice factory engraving on virtually all of the fittings as well as two Serpents for hammers. The barrel strap still bears the original marking near the breech:


This means that the barrel was forged using iron chains, which is actually not that out of the ordinary. Many gun barrels of the 19th century were made from nails, "stubbs", chains, and even horseshoes, as the wear and use of these items resulted in superior barrels when they were forged and twisted. We have not really seen very main "Chain Twist" barrels, so this is a real treat!

Both barrels and the top strap have faded a bit towards plum, but still show the lovely laminated spiral forging pattern on the exterior. This added strength to the steel, as well as adding a great look to the gun overall. The pattern produced by using chains definitely has resulted in some interesting shapes within the forging pattern. There are also two decorative gold stripes on top of the breech, and the cap bolsters have Nickel Silver inlays. The bottoms of each barrel bear the correct Birmingham proof marks, including the CROWN / CROSSED SCEPTERS / BPC "proof" and CROWN / CROSSED SCEPTERS / V "viewed" marks. There is also the CROWN / BP blackpowder proof that was introduced in 1855, so this was made after that. Interspersed with the proof marks are several number 13 markings, indicating the bore size.

This wonderful DOUBLE BARREL 13 bore Percussion Shotgun presents very nicely, with a lovely lightly worn patina of age. The wrist of the stock is finely checkered for a better grip, and this is still quite strong, showing only a bit of wear from use. We do not see any damage or repairs, just the usual wear from use and age. It looks to have had some type of varnish or finish applied long ago, which really makes the wood grain POP.

The shotgun's fittings are all of iron, with fantastic decorative factory engraving throughout, which is still very well retained. It also has some MAGNIFICENT "Sea Serpent" hammers on the locks, which are both fully functional, holding at half cock and firing at full. The cap nipple cones both look to be original, showing light wear and oxidation from use, and both are STILL CLEAR! It still features an original brass fitted ramrod under the stock, which has a clearing worm on the narrow end. The barrel wedge pulls out relatively easily, allowing the barrel to be removed.

This is a fantastic U.S. Market British made upmarket shotgun, and it would be home among any mid 19th century gun collection. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: c.1860
Caliber: 13 Bore / Gauge - about 0.720
Cartridge Type: Powder & Shot with Cap
Barrel Length: 32 Inches

Overall Length: 48 1/4 Inches
Action type: Side Action Locks
Feed System: Muzzle Loaded

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