- home
Posted By: Maxey Brantley 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 04/30/13 01:30 PM
After the help with figuring out the Damascus pattern on my barrels in another post here, now I can post the rest of the story.

This 16 ga George Gibbs hammer gun came into our possession (my son's and mine) about a year ago. It was pretty rough as you can see from the pictures below. The checkering was only a memory, the dropper points just a shadow of their former selves. The barrels were so dark that unless you held the gun in the light just right, the Damascus patter was very hard to see. Black powder proof only, but remarkable, the barrels hadn't been touched from what we could tell. They were pitted inside, and looked pretty bad. Wood was black as you can see from the picture. Barrel flats were stamped "Not for Ball" so we knew what we had on the "newest end" of the spectrum. Off to Kirk Merrington in Kerrville, Tx for a better inspection. Yes the gun was off face, but the Stanton and Co locks were still in perfect shape when they were taken off for inspection. Both barrels had .050 wall thicknesses, both chokes were .050, Full and Full again, and the 2 1/2" chambers were unmolested. The verdict was the gun could be brought back to use with some judicious work. OK - re-jointed, forcing cones lengthened slightly, and the chokes opened to IC/M after the barrels were honed/lapped. Chokes and forcing cones were done in the sake of reducing pressure on Kirk's recommendation. Once honed, the barrels were .035 wall thickness, and only one small pit was visible in the choke area of the right barrel....of no consequence according to Kirk. Verdict - the gun would pass nitro proof is resubmitted, but was certainly safe to shoot with 2 1/2 low pressure shells. Several boxes of Kent 8s were obtained and blessed, and off to opening day she went. I cheated on day 1 and shot 28 ga inserts....what a hoot! Added a new Beretta opaque sticky comb pad and a leather boot to get the dimensions right. After 2 birds, it was "what hammers?" Limit of 15 White Wings was taken. Only fly in the ointment was a small chip appeared behind the left lock. Such is life. Day 2, went to the 16 ga ammo, and another limit fell; chip got bigger. I was what to do about the overall condition and the chip.....

Posted By: Maxey Brantley Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 04/30/13 01:47 PM
A better perspective of the size of the gun.

Posted By: gunman Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 04/30/13 05:59 PM
Lovely old gun , well proportioned and nicely filed up .Sympathetic renovation would make the old girl look much younger . Necessary action work aside re brown the barrels ,de oil the wood work and lightly recut the checker but not to sharp ,oil and buff for a satin finish boil off the action . whether you back the guard an lever is a matter of personal choice ,flame blue the pins .
I would not try to fully re cut the points but they can be tidied up a little and fill in the chips .
I always aim to make an old gun look as if it has been well cared for rather than trying to make it look "as new" which usually make them look awful .
Posted By: Rookhawk Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 04/30/13 06:58 PM
Agree with Gunman. This gun deserves thoughtful, conservative restoration. A new finish and some wood repairs should be able to stabalize the patient. Rebrowning would provide very good results. Choke choice was prudent.
Posted By: Maxey Brantley Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 04/30/13 07:00 PM
Gents - yes, you are on the money with your comments....this was a teaser..."after" pictures coming shortly! Too many projects this afternoon - perhaps this evening...
Posted By: lagopus Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 04/30/13 07:19 PM
You are probably aware that Gibbs are still in business under Mark Crudgington. Have you tried to contact them about your gun? Lagopus.....
Posted By: Maxey Brantley Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 02:13 AM
Lagopus - yes, indeed, and I did contact Gibbs last year. Mark Crudgington was kind enough to provide what information he could. First, my serial number "B 4XX" indicated by the "B", a "brought in gun"....which I took to be a finished barreled action, which was engraved, stocked and finished by Gibbs. Based on the "Not for Ball" and other stylistic indications, he (and 2 other smiths) place teh gun as ~1882. He differed from Kirk concerning the lengthening of forcing cones and opening the chokes; he opined no lowering of internal pressures would result. Last week when I provide him "after" pictures and the belief the barrels were 6 iron Damascus, he replied: "The gun looks very good , well done . The 6 iron barrels are probably Belgian ,by the mid 1880s a high percentage of the tubes used came from Belgium where there was a huge ( and cheap ) cottage industry making Damascus tubes of all qualities , hence Greeners caustic comments in edition 9.
Hope you have fun with your bit of " living" history
Let me know how it goes.
Mark Crudgington"

So, here is one picture of the receiver "after" the project was completed. More pix to come later.

Posted By: PALUNC Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 03:04 AM
Very nice, let's see the entire gun.
Posted By: Maxey Brantley Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 03:36 AM
Here are a few more pix....first thing some may say is the finish isn't "right", but a slacum finish wouldn't have stabilized the wood in the opinion of the smith who did the work. The wood was oil soaked, etc., and he though this the best way to go. I like it.

The horn tip was missing - new one fitted...bit out of focus. This is flat diamond English checkering.

Other side

Look what was hiding under all the oil, grit and grime...
The pink smear is a reflection of my smiling face after just opening the gun.
Posted By: Bill Davis Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 07:59 AM
Magnificent!! A real beauty. Well done.......
Posted By: lagopus Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 09:37 AM
Looks excellent; well done. I see Mark at some of the Game Fairs over here and he is always most helpful and pleasant to deal with. Lagopus.....
Posted By: Franc Otte Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 12:58 PM
That is a gorgeous gun Max',that baby must brighten your day just by looking at it..Man, she cleaned up nice, eh ?...lovely.
I grew up an hour or so south of Bristol & would love to find a nice gun from that part of the world someday,
Posted By: gjw Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 02:25 PM
Congrats!!! What a looker, just wonderful. I'd be happy to own her. As others said, she cleaned up nice.

Congrats again!

Posted By: Rocketman Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 05:52 PM
Good job, Maxey!! Always warms the heart to see an oldy-but-goody make a comeback.

Posted By: Joe Wood Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 06:30 PM
You have every right to be proud of the gun! What a beauty. If I may ask, who did the work?
Posted By: patrickwall Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/01/13 11:33 PM

You got me inspired to look into the restoaration of a hmmer gun I have - nothing top level - it's a Belmont Interchangeable, 12 bore hammer gun. Off face, needs honing, cleaning etc. I move back to the states this summer, and will start looking into it's restoration.

Thanks for the great before and after pics - and the thought proces of what level to retored the gun. It's a motivating story.
Posted By: Maxey Brantley Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/03/13 02:52 AM
Patrick - I got lucky I think; the bones were good or it could have been a real money pit....please get a reliable smith to vet your project before diving in.

Joe Wood - I really stumbled onto the smith who's shop did the work by happenstance. They normally only work for the "trade" and asked that I not publicize his involvement with the project. I think he either took pity on me as a neophyte hammer gun owner, or he would have regretted having not stepping were I to totally have botched it up. He personally owns nothing made after 1900. I have to honor his request.

Here is one more pix everyone might find interesting...the original butt plate was horn and had a Widow's Peak....I didn't want to cut the wood and have to put on an outsized pad for the scale of the gun....check out what he managed to do!
Posted By: Sam Ogle Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/03/13 11:29 AM
A Wonderful thing.
I am an American who believes in restoration, and not in the "Don't touch it; leave it as it is" school of thought.
Posted By: gjw Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/03/13 02:10 PM
Originally Posted By: Sam Ogle
A Wonderful thing.
I am an American who believes in restoration, and not in the "Don't touch it; leave it as it is" school of thought.

Oh Boy!! Another can of worms. But I'm with you on this one. I've had a few restored also and always liked the after not the before. I like nice blackened bbls, nice wood finish and something I can be proud of owning and showing. Just Like this wonderful Gibbs.


Posted By: kcordell Re: 16 ga Gibbs Hammer Gun - 05/09/13 02:07 AM
great job on the restoration. Beautiful, fantastic looking gun.
© The DoubleGun BBS @