It’s a week of firsts. Thursday, there was this 16g Miroku. Today it’s another rare 16, this one by the Pittsburgh Firearms Company.
From I dug up online, it looks like the Pittsburgh Firearms Co. was from around 1860 to the mid 1880s. Sometime towards the end of their life, they imported Westley Richards’ Anson & Deeley patent boxlock shotguns. It also appears they imported Anson & Deeley patent guns made in Birmingham by a company (or companies) licensed by Westley.
This one was definitely made in Birmingham, and it carries the “not for ball” proofmarks in use from 1875-1887. It also has the big, round cocking arms that are typical of the early Anson & Deeley actions. I’m almost certain the bbls are damascus, and it looks like they’ve been hotblued.
I don’t know how many of these boxlocks Pittsburgh Firearms made all together, but I bet the number is very low. I’ve only heard about 4-5 of them.
Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock: This is a very old side by side made by Pittsburgh Firearms. It is a 16 gauge shotgun and has 29 inch barrels and double triggers. The gun says not for ball on the gun meaning it was made around the year 1885. It has beautiful engraving .The serial number is very low-305. Weighs 6.2 lbs. locks up tight with the Anson and Deeley box lock action, shiny bores. Comb-2in Heel-3in.
8 thoughts on “Super rare: a 16g SxS by Pittsburgh Firearms…”
So if it says “not for ball” could you shoot modern shot shells through it?
As I understand it, that meant solid shot, slugs, since many guns were used for larger game as well in Europe. If a gun is Nitro proofed, steel barrels, and chokes are reasonably open you could (probably) use modern shells, but if the barrels are laminated or damascus that’s not advised; pressures are just too high.
Better to load your own at lower pressures, ca. 8,000 or less, with Nice or ITX which are soft enough to not do damage. Or buy expensive RST shells which are also good for older guns. Even LC Smiths and Foxes need to be treated tenderly as modern shells may fire OK, but can crack the older stocks. Even for ducks lighter loads work fine if you let them commit to your decoys in my experience. I’ve taken quite a few eiders using lower pressure shells with No. 4 ITX loads (and in both 12 and 16 ga.), and a few geese as well. Going to try some No. 2 ITX in 16 ga. in Jan. for eiders.
No. The “Not for Ball” mark was applied to tell shooters that the gun has choke in the bbls and to keep them from shooting single balls out of the guns (a common practice with percussion guns).
If the barrels on this gun are sound and in proof, you should be able to shoot low-pressure shells through them (like RSTs). But you need to have a qualified gunsmith check out the bbls first.
You’re right about the mark. It was applied to point out that the bbls had choke in them and to keep shooters from putting single, bore-sized lead balls into them. Guys used to do that with percussion guns, and in the early days of breechloaders, some tried to keep doing it.
Regarding modern ammo: Even if a gun is nitro-proofed, I would stick to low-pressure ammo. Some modern ammo generates very high pressures and these pressures can be bad for any old shotgun.
The Pittsburgh Firearms Company guns were Westley Richards clones built by Richard Ellis of Birmingham and retailed by the Pittsburgh Firearms company. I have one in the shop now that is a 16 bore with 32 inch damascus barrels. They were a very well-made gun and are part-for-part identical to a WR (well, as identical as a hand-finished gun can be).
Thanks for the info. Does the one in your shop have a lot of drop in the stock? Any pics?
I just read somewhere that a Richard Ellis had some kind of affiliation with Webley & Scott at the time Scott & Webley merged. I wonder if this Ellis was the gunmaker?
Happy New Year.
The barrels are damascus. The stock was missing, so I can’t comment on the original dimensions. When I get a chance, I’ll take some photos.
That may well be the same Richard Ellis. I suspect that the Birmingham gunmaking trade was probably very “close-knit”.
Cool. Thanks. I know of another 16g. A guy on the Doublegunshop board has it.
He said it was all original with a good amount of finish. I would love to see it.
Take care — and Happy New Year.
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