Original British J & W Tolley Double Barrel 11 Gauge Short Shotgun marked to "Pistol Pete" Bowdoin - Serial 3009

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. This came out of our big gun buy over over 200 units that had been in storage for nearly 100 years. This Double Barrel 11 bore hammer shotgun has lovely damascus steel barrels, which have been shortened for law enforcement use. The Makers were JAMES & WILLIAM TOLLEY of St. Mary's Square, Birmingham, where they worked from 1859 until 1876. The top of the barrel strap is marked:


The gun is in excellent shape, both hammers and lock plate decoratively engraved, with the maker name J. & W. TOLLEY present on each lock. It has great wood stocks, with a lovely black horn checkered butt plate.

Removing the fore stock and barrel reveal the serial number of 3009, which is marked on the Barrels, Forestock Fitting, Trigger Guard, as well as on the receiver under the barrels. There is also the marking DAMASCUS, along with 11 for the gauge of the barrels, as well as the makers initials of J. & W. T. There are also the expected Birmingham proof marks, including the Crown / BP, the proof for barrels since 1856, as well as Viewed and Black Powder proofs. Absolutely the correct markings for a gun of this age and origin, but these are not the most interesting markings, by far.

That would definitely be the stampings of W. F. & Co on the trigger guard of the gun, as well as the PISTOL PETE and JEB markings on the underside of the barrel. The former marking would indicate that at one point, this shotgun was owned by the Wells Fargo Company, most likely for protecting money shipments, or something similar. After that, it was apparently sold off to be replaced by more modern guns.

At that point, according to information we received with the shotgun, it and a second shotgun passed into the ownership of James E. "Pistol Pete" Bowdoin, a Prohibition agent appointed in 1924. The "JEB" marking on the barrel most likely corresponds to his initials. He was well known for his prowess with guns, hence the nickname the media gave him. He would go on raids with two Six-shooters, and apparently TWO double barreled shotguns. The included information states that this is one of the two, and we offered the other previously.

Sadly, "Pistol Pete" Bowdoin was shot and killed in the line of duty, during a "Moonshine Raid" on February 16, 1925, after a very short career as an agent. Further information can be found in the memorials section of the BATFE website.

Possibly with a romantic/tragic connection but still a great Scatter Gun from the Old West. Fully cleaned and ready to display!


Years of Manufacture: 1870s
Caliber: 11 Gauge
Ammunition Type: 11 Gauge Shotgun Shells
Barrel Length: 20 inches
Overall Length: 36 1/2 inches
Action: Dual Hammer Side by Side.
Feed System: Top Break Single Shot - two barrels

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