Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Topics related to Pre - 1898 Remington Rifles
Post Reply
eman13
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:03 am

Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by eman13 » Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:17 am

I have in the last year acquired a 4 bore muzzleloader. Much to my surprise, the barrel is marked "Remington, Cast Steel" this seems to place it back in the era when Remington made barrels, and others made the guns. I am in process of restoring it to a functional state, which has been a meticulous process. the bore size is exactly 0.948" and would fall under the classification of a 5 bore, but apparently that was done historically on 4 bores. I have some pictures as well, which will be attached. I was wondering if anyone could help me date this, and if anyone knew if Remington made more like this or was it custom?
Attachments
IMG_20190910_205426391.jpg
IMG_20190910_205426391.jpg (477.38 KiB) Viewed 784 times
IMG_20190910_204455869.jpg
IMG_20190910_204455869.jpg (347.42 KiB) Viewed 784 times
IMG_20181109_221140483.jpg
IMG_20181109_221140483.jpg (1.67 MiB) Viewed 784 times
IMG_20181109_221102730.jpg
IMG_20181109_221102730.jpg (1 MiB) Viewed 784 times
IMG_20181109_221048088.jpg
IMG_20181109_221048088.jpg (2.59 MiB) Viewed 784 times

wlw-19958
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by wlw-19958 » Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:21 pm

Hi There,

A very interesting find! I don't know a lot about the early
years of Remington and the range of barrels they made. I
do wonder if this was originally a smaller bore rifle barrel
that was bored out at a later time for an unknown reason.

I this country, 4 gauge wasn't used much except by professional
water fowl hunters that would shoot up to 50 birds at a time
(they were supplying them to butcher shops and restaurants).
They usually used much longer and heavier guns though called
"punt guns" because they would sneak up on the flocks when
they were sitting on the water by drifting up to them in a small
boat referred to as a "punt." Punt Guns generally were so heavy
that one man could not lift one (some weighing as much as 90
or more pounds) and they were fixed to the punt in a yoke that
resembled an oar lock. So yours isn't typical of a "punt gun" but
may have been used by a professional water fowl hunter.

4 gauge is awfully large for a gun to be shot from the shoulder.
It was done though. I have read about 4 gauge being used in
Africa in the mid 1800's for hunting elephants before large caliber
cartridge double rifles were made for the purpose (I think W.D.M.
Bell was one that started his career hunting elephants with a 4
gauge gun).

In many respects, a very interesting gun. I just wonder if it started
life as a 4 gauge or was modified later on.

Good Luck with your find!
Webb

stanforth
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:56 am
Location: Oxford England

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by stanforth » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:33 am

4 bore would be very small for a Punt Gun. The one I used in the 1960's used pound of shot also a true punt gun was fixed in the Punt and didn't have a stock. It was a sort of cannon.

Whit could be a 'Wall Gun'. They were used to shoot geese from a rest on a wall.

wlw-19958
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by wlw-19958 » Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:47 am

Hi There,

I did say it was not a typical punt gun. Although, punt guns
sometimes did have stocks. I have seen them in museums
(there is one on display in N. Carolina). 1960 is pretty late
in the use of such firearms. Federal Laws would have to be
violated to use one at that time. Hence, their heyday was
long ago before State and Federal Laws prohibited such
activities (the 1920's and earlier).

Still this doesn't preclude it being used to take a large group
of birds and hence I postulated the use as a professional's
scatter gun. This is just supposition because there isn't any
proof one way or the other (other than it is an unusually large
bore for a hunting weapon).

Good Luck!
Webb

aardq
Posts: 163
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 1:02 pm

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by aardq » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:32 pm

Just throwing out a guess here, and agree with an above poster, that this started out as a rifle and was later converted. The reason I think this, is that the barrel is part octagon, and part round. I've never seen and octagon, or part octagon shotgun barrel. There's my guess, what's your's? ; )

stanforth
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:56 am
Location: Oxford England

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by stanforth » Thu Sep 26, 2019 3:10 am

Quote...
I did say it was not a typical punt gun. Although, punt guns
sometimes did have stocks. I have seen them in museums
(there is one on display in N. Carolina). 1960 is pretty late
in the use of such firearms. Federal Laws would have to be
violated to use one at that time. Hence, their heyday was
long ago before State and Federal Laws prohibited such
activities (the 1920's and earlier).

Federal laws wouldn't apply as I was wildfowling in the Fens of Lincolnshire and Norfolk ENGLAND in the 1960's. Our laws still do not ban Punt Guns but they are not used much, if at all, now as many of the species that they were used on are now protected.

wlw-19958
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by wlw-19958 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:09 am

Hi There,

Federal laws wouldn't apply as I was wildfowling in the Fens of Lincolnshire and Norfolk ENGLAND in the 1960's. Our laws still do not ban Punt Guns but they are not used much, if at all, now as many of the species that they were used on are now protected.

Well, you got me. You didn't say you were doing
your hunting in ENGLAND. Still, this doesn't change
the circumstances or my observations. It would be
helpful to know where this firearm currently resides
(that is, what country). If it is in ENGLAND, then I
would be more inclined to think it was an old big
game firearm once used in the remote corners of
the EMPIRE ("Rule, Britannia...", Thomas Arne).

Good Luck!
Webb

stanforth
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:56 am
Location: Oxford England

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by stanforth » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:31 am

If you had looked at my details on the top right hand side of my post you would have seen my location. :lol:

eman13
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:03 am

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by eman13 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:28 am

Thank you all so far for your responses, I really appreciate them! I have done a little research into the possible history and origin of this gun, and will be happy to share. I wanted to not taint the initial responses with the biases I already had and see where your conclusions would lie.

The seller believed it to be a whaling gun used for launching harpoons during the height of the whaling era, a good guess given the amount of whaling guns that are still floating around. I however do not believe that to be the case because it has a muzzle size of 0.948", which does not match any standard size of bore used for harpooning (7/8", 1", or 1 1/4"). This size however does correspond well with the historic 4 bore size, which was not the proper 1.052", but slightly undersized. It is not likely either that it was an enlarged rifle either because of the breech plug being the same size as the bore (not undersized as seen when that happens), and it seems to be the original breech for the gun.
IMG_20181114_204507768.jpg
IMG_20181114_204507768.jpg (706.25 KiB) Viewed 701 times
Almost all guns larger than 8 bore did not have rifling because of difficulty loading and potential of causing blockage.


I do believe however it is a large game hunting gun for a few reasons. The unbreached barrel weighs a whopping 6.32lbs at 24 inches long, with the breach having a wall thickness of 0.4". This is comparable to the barrel weight of a fouling gun of the same gauge, but 48" long. It was clearly designed with higher pressure in mind. The only guns that I have found that are similar to it are the weapons carried by Fredrick Selous and Samuel Baker.
i099.jpg
i099.jpg (223.86 KiB) Viewed 701 times
Selous is pictured above with his 4 bore used during his elephant hunting days. It was a lightweight, single barreled, designed for horseback use 4 bore that saw a lot of action until it became double loaded at one point and gave it up for "upsetting [his] nerve".

I have only read of a handful of this single barrel 4 bores being made, all for horseback use so that a hasty retreat is possible when the large pachyderm target being shot at is either dead or very angry. I was hoping someone had access to the barrel manufacturing records of the early Remington factory, this would allow me to solidify or refute my hypothesis, or at the very least give me an approximate date of manufacture. I doubt Remington made a lot of 4 bore barrels.

P.S. I have read some of WDM Bell's books, and he was one of the very best elephant hunters of his day! However, he was a little later in history, eschewing the large bore guns for the fancy new smokeless bolt actions that went much faster with deeper penetration.

wlw-19958
Posts: 83
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by wlw-19958 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 7:30 am

Hi There,

Unfortunately, most of the early factory records were
not retained. Remington has been through bankruptcies,
sold and bought, and re-organizations and old records were
disposed of as just so much clutter hanging around. New
owners didn't see any value in Company history. A lot of
what is known comes from Schuyler, Hartley and Graham
records (they were a large distributor of firearms) and
personal correspondence saved by family members from
old Company representatives. (As a side note, Marcellus
Hartley and Oliver Winchester formed a partnership and
bought Remington in 1888).

If I recall correctly, the big game hunter I read about long
ago (I think it was Bell) started with a 4 gauge but quickly
moved up to the double express rifles and then later graduated
to the smaller smokeless high power rifles. He said that the
four gauge gave him a permanent "flinch."

Good Luck!
Webb

marlinman93
Posts: 220
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:47 pm

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by marlinman93 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:23 am

aardq wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:32 pm
Just throwing out a guess here, and agree with an above poster, that this started out as a rifle and was later converted. The reason I think this, is that the barrel is part octagon, and part round. I've never seen and octagon, or part octagon shotgun barrel. There's my guess, what's your's? ; )
Just a side note here. Husqvarna built commercial Rolling Block shotguns with part octagon barrels. I have one in my collection.

Researcher
Posts: 947
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2003 11:06 pm
Location: Washington and Alaska

Re: Muzzleloading 4 bore Remington barrel

Post by Researcher » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:12 pm

J. Stevens Arms & Tool Co. also made shotguns with part octagon barrels --
No. 185, 190 and 195, Catalog No. 51, 1902.jpg
No. 185, 190 and 195, Catalog No. 51, 1902.jpg (139.92 KiB) Viewed 630 times

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests