Original Late 19th Century French 16 Gauge Double Barrel Under Lever Hammer Shotgun with St-Étienne Proofs - circa 1890

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Here we have a lovely upmarket Double Barreled "Under Lever" Hammer shotgun, probably intended for the large U.S. import market. There are no markings on the exterior, and we had assumed that it was of German manufacture. However removing the barrel from the gun shows that it is actually FRENCH! We have not had something like this before! It also has some interesting features that we have not seen on other shotguns before!

Removing the barrel shows that each barrel is marked with the STETIENNE next to "Crowned Wings", a proof introduced in 1879 for manufacturer in Saint-Étienne, France. This was the location of one of the major French arsenals, and had a sizeable gun industry. Both barrels are also marked with 65, as well as 17.1, which we assume is the bore size, a bit over 16 gauge, and there is also a CROWN / PT, a smokeless powder proof. There are various other proofs which are relatively faint, as well as numerous C.F. stampings. The "table" of the breech joint is marked with another CROWN / PT, as well as C.F.. The barrel assembly, table, breech locks, and other components are marked with matching number 103.

This lovely DOUBLE BARREL 16 gauge Hammer Shotgun presents very nicely, with a lovely patina of age, showing light handling and probably moderate use. It is all iron mounted, and features some lovely minimalist engraving on almost all of the hardware. It has a great checkered wrist on the butt stock, and does not have any provision for a fore stock. With a smaller gauge like 16, we assume this was used as a fowling piece, though it definitely would also be useful in home defense.

The action still functions correctly, with ejection and dry firing, and both firing pin springs are working correctly. The back action locks both function, do not have any provision for "half cock", as is common on hammer shotguns. It is an interesting "under lever" type, instead of the more common lever on the back of the action seen later. It has a separate lever to release the barrel from the mounting. Please note that the breech and barrel locking mechanisms are a bit stiff. We checked the bores of the barrels, and they are clean and shiny, showing just a bit of wear and oxidation. There is also a dent on the top of the right barrel, which can be seen on the inside.

The rear stock has some lovely curl, and has a very nice iron butt plate. It is in very good condition, with strong checkering on the wrist, and no cracks or other major damage we can see. Overall the shotgun presents very nicely, showing a lot of the original bluing on the barrels, as well as a lot of the original case hardening on the lock plates and frame.

A very nice antique French hammer shotgun in 16 gauge! Ready to research and display!


Year of Manufacture: c.1890
Caliber: about .655" 16 gauge / bore - 3 inch chambers
Cartridge Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 27 ⅝ Inches

Overall Length: 43 ¾ Inches
Action type: Back Action Locks with External Hammers
Feed System: Top Break with Under Lever

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