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Posted By: Ghostrider Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 11/17/17 07:47 PM
Hoping to learn something about Darne shotgun. How rare is a 24 gauge. It is marked Halifax on the top pull levers. I am assuming this is the model.
Stock has not been cut and is still curved but a pad is installed. With the pad removed it will have a little over 14” LOP. Where might I find a buttplate?
Very nice wood but pretty plain engraving.
I'm no expert on Darnes except to say I have an R10 in 12 gauge and love it.
Ted will hopefully be along shortly to give you some info on your 24 gauge.
Posted By: GLS Re: Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 11/17/17 09:40 PM
24 gauge is more common in Europe than it is in the US. It is scarce to rare in the US. I'd love to have one. Gil
P.S. call Larry at http://www.dutchmanwoodworks.com/ for a buttplate.
When talking Darne guns, 24 was rare in Europe, too. I asked Hervé Bruchet, 20 years ago, if they still built 24 gauge guns, and he answered, "Yea, but, I don't know why. Nobody buys them. I don't know why they would".
And so it goes. You have not lucked into a winning lottery ticket, just the lowest grade Darne R model gun, with brazed barrels instead of monoblock barrels, in a gauge that is hard to feed. Not impossible, mind you, but, you will have to really want to shoot it, in order to do so. Most of the 24 gauge Darnes I have seen were 2 1/2" chamber guns, as well. The barrel flats will be marked 6.5 or 65 if that is the case.
There was, at one time, a specific "Halifax" buttplate. Older guns often had horn that had lines cut in it (my Halifax is so equipped). The Dutchman buttplate is a reproduction of the typical R model buttplate, and would be perfectly usable, in addition to being made of stable ureathane, instead of the organic horsey hoof plastic the original was, which, is not stable, and tends to shrink and/or crack.
The screws would have been lightly engraved, with a thin slot (NOT phillips head) and skillfully aligned up and down.
Pictures would be good, especially a clear one of the flats of the barrels. You can email them to me, and I will post them here for all to enjoy or to be scornful of.
I like to think that the scornful wouldn't know what to do with a tray of broiled butter and garlic escargots, fresh off the grille, while Brigitte Bardot was sitting next to them, with a big jug of Fischer Alsace in her hand.
Pics to:

tedjs@usfamily.net

Good luck!

Best,
Ted
Posted By: GLS Re: Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 11/17/17 10:49 PM
There was a 24 gauge Darne on naturabuy sometime ago and it was in fine shape at a finer price. If I were to have one it would be a gun to handload for and RMC brass hulls would be my choice. Wads are available at Ballistic Products. It would make a nice woodcock gun and no one would try to borrow shells from you. wink Last year someone was selling 24 gauge barrels for a Beretta 686 O/U that would fit the 20 gauge action. I was sorely tempted....Gil
We shoot a Fausti 24 gauge over under.
Fun gun if you reload, the factory ammo is a
bit wimpy.
Mike

http://www.gunbroker.com/item/716907089
Ted a few pictures sent more to follow tomorrow.
Got a few:





We have a Halifax with a conventional R model safety, decent wood and case colors, and a SWEEEEEET white line pad of some sort. I'm not positive why one needs a pad on a 24 gauge, but, someone did it.
We have guys here (skeettx comes to mind) who would be out in the garage turning bullets to produce ammunition for some strange WW! sporter that never got popular, that he is thrilled to own. At the other end are guys like me, who prefer to have guns they can feed off the shelf from Wal Mart. The clearance shelf, preferably.
If you have a new gun, I'm happy for you, and I hope you enjoy it. But, TALK of 24 or, 18, or, for that matter, 14 gauge, is about as close as I will ever get. 16 gauge is getting weird enough.
More pics to come, after the legal legwork from the OP's home state is completed.



Best,
Ted
How true, how true, love to bring the neglected firearms back into use. If they could only talk smile
Mike
Thanks for the feedback. Found some 24 gauge shells not as hard to find as i thought they might be. $10.00 to $14.00 per box.
Looking forward to shooting it.
Posted By: GLS Re: Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 11/18/17 01:47 PM
Originally Posted By: Ted Schefelbein

I like to think that the scornful wouldn't know what to do with a tray of broiled butter and garlic escargots, fresh off the grille, while Brigitte Bardot was sitting next to them, with a big jug of Fischer Alsace in her hand.
Pics to:

tedjs@usfamily.net

Good luck!

Best,
Ted


Ted, BB in 2006. Let's re-wind the scenario to 1966. wink
You could actually go 1956. The 24 gauge Darne would have looked better, then, too. But, whatever.

Best,
Ted
24 gauge Darne. All I can say is if you’re going to be a weirdo, you might as well be a full on weirdo.

To all you Francophiles...tune in tonight to watch your hockey club get smashed by the English.


_____________________________
That French chick in Inglorious Basterds was pretty hot.
I bought 2 cases of #8’s today from Midway. $216 for 20 boxes shipped to me. Should be enough to shoot some quail and dove this year and really try the Darne out. They are 11/16 oz 2 1/2” shells.made by Fiocchi. Cannt pick the gunup for another 18 days sure wish I had it for our dove hunt the day after Thanksgiving.
Posted By: GLS Re: Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 11/19/17 12:33 AM
What state requires such a long wait time?
I believe it is Arizona.

Best,
Ted
Yes Arizona,but we do not have a waiting period per say. You can walk in and walk out with a gun. Arizona has a 20 day hold on guns bought by a dealer before it can leave the shop.
I can buy a gun the minute it is bought by the dealer but can not pick it up until 20 after the dealer bought it. I can buy a gun on the 17th day for example and will need to wait 3 days.
The reason is to allows police the ability to possibly find one of your guns that may have been stolen, before it might be resold.
Here is a picture of the barrel flat markings. Thanks to Ted I now have a lot more information on this gun.

Posted By: BrentD Re: Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 12/12/17 05:44 PM
Originally Posted By: Ghostrider
I can buy a gun the minute it is bought by the dealer but can not pick it up until 20 after the dealer bought it. I can buy a gun on the 17th day for example and will need to wait 3 days.
The reason is to allows police the ability to possibly find one of your guns that may have been stolen, before it might be resold.


Interesting. Do you think it works as intended? What do gunowners think about this?
Seems to work once in awhile. I know of at least one time the stolen firearm was identified within a few days and owner got it back.

I think many times the guns dont even get seen for that 20day period. I get heads up on guns I am intreasted in when they come in. If I want it is marked for me and I return in 20days and pay and pick up.

Does not apply to consignment guns from what I remember.
Posted By: Argo44 Re: Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 12/12/17 08:31 PM
Ted, GR..trying to figure out some of the markings. 65mm chambers..so post 1912; Just under the proof marks on the barrel flats are crossed muskets and I have sort of subliminally associated these with Belgian made barrels for some reason. Assume the 17314 is the barrel maker's serial number. There is no SN for the gun posted that I can see - otherwise we could try to date it using Gil's posted chart. Curiosity killed the cat I know.
My Halifax 16 gauge SN 49505 has the SN marked at least 4 places, at least that is all I have found. #1 is on the barrels; #2 is on the metal piece attached to the stock just forward of were it steps down to enter the forend portion. Can only be seen with the barrels removed. #3 is inside the trigger guard & #4 is on the lower "Wings" of the opening lever.

Barrels are 68 CM (just shy of 27"), wt is 5lbs 14 oz, bores are marked 17mm so was proofed @ .669" a slight over bore for nominal .662" diameter for a 16. Chambers are marked 65, though they have been lengthened to 2 3/4 inchs with a long forcing cone. Check on wall thickness revealed "Plenty" of meat there. It carries the French double proof with PT smokeless powder. Marked on frame License Darne & #4. I have the original horn buttplate but it was badly moth eaten. I wanted to see if I could fill in the holes with some epoxy with black coloring added but haven't got it done yet, would need some touching up of the lettering etc as well after filling. It is currently wearing a butt plate from a Browning "Double Automatic".

Essentially I like everything about this gun except the safety. I have tried reversing it & found that even worse to me, don't like operating a safety with my trigger finger. Wish Darne could have figured out how to put a thumb push safety on the top somehow, but just doesn't seem compatible with the sliding breech action.

Stock has a very, very slight rounded semi-pistol grip. It really doesn't change the handling that much from a straight grip, but I think a straight is more aesthetically pleasing, just my opinion of course. Nothing fancy or a highly desirable collector, just a very good shooter. As far as shells I have not babied it & it has stood everything I have fed it without a hitch, including some low velocity 1 1/4 oz loads.
Originally Posted By: Argo44
Ted, GR..trying to figure out some of the markings. 65mm chambers..so post 1912; Just under the proof marks on the barrel flats are crossed muskets and I have sort of subliminally associated these with Belgian made barrels for some reason. Assume the 17314 is the barrel maker's serial number. There is no SN for the gun posted that I can see - otherwise we could try to date it using Gil's posted chart. Curiosity killed the cat I know.


Argo,
17314 is the serial number of the gun, and appears in several places on the gun, if I am not mistaken. The "crossed muskets" are not, in fact, crossed muskets, or, Belgian, but the crossed lightning bolts of the St Etienne proof house applied to guns that have been proofed in a finished (completed) state.

Best,
Ted
Yes that is the SN. Shot it for the first time today. Action is a little tight but I think will loosen up a bit after shooting a few more times. The safety also works as most do. Fliping the lever forward and its ready to shoot. Pull back and its on safe. Weighs 5 1/2 lbs. looking forward to shooting some dove soon.
It takes a LOOOOONG time to break in a Darne. But, when it happens, especially on an R model, it is a beautiful thing.
Enjoy the gun, and have a great Holiday Season.

Best,
Ted
Posted By: GLS Re: Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 12/14/17 11:47 AM
Ghostrider, as Ted has pointed out before, and is mentioned in the English manual, (check the Darne compilation posted in the second forum) another "safe" position with the safety forward or "off" is to have the lever upright slightly opening the action. This is the equivalent of a having shells in a "tipping" double gun with the gun opened. The big difference is that with the Darne, the shells won't fall out. wink Gil
PS: The manual doesn't say anything about having the action slightly opened and implies that it is sufficient just to have the lever or "key" vertical, but I feel better about slight separation. The manual states that a stuck or swollen paper shell that resists fingertip removal when unfired can be extracted by fully engaging the action and raising the lever to its full vertical position while leaving the gun in battery, but then pulling the trigger which fully engages the extractor without percussing the cartridge allowing removal of the cartridge without firing it. This clarifies that the gun won't fire if the lever is fully vertical even though the action is in battery (technically incomplete with lever up).
Great stuff thanks. This answers a lot of my questions. I had wondered how to unload unfired cartridges yesterday. Was able to pull by hand and remove them. Pulling the lever vertical, pulling the triggers and then sliding lever back sounds great. I also always walk with my SXS open, did not relize pulling the lever vertical accomplishes the same true safe feature.
Posted By: GLS Re: Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 12/14/17 05:20 PM
A neat feature of the action is in unloading unfired shells, when one pulls the lever up and action to the rear, the shells lay with rims about an 1/8"+/- outside the chamber for easy removal. When fired, the extractors engage and bring the empty shells out and atop the tracks for either hand removal or tilting the action dumping them on the ground. Gil
PS: the manual suggests using an empty hull first to practice the stuck hull removal. It would give me the heebie jeebies to pull the trigger on a stuck, unfired round even with the lever up despite the safety feature.
GLS;
I cannot pull the trigger on my Halifax with the lever in the vertical position. I have to move the lever forward until it is approximately 60 degrees above the locked position before the triggers will pull. When the triggers are pulled with the lever this far forward there is a distinct click as the strikers hit the cocking surfaces of the lever. I do not know if this is detrimental to them or not, so do not habitually do it.
First movement of the opening lever though begins to withdraw the strikers so I do not believe it is possible to actually fire the gun with it out of the locked position, though I do agree it is best to try it with an empty shell, or better a primed empty then you will know for certain if it fires.
Probably Ted can answer some of these questions for us.
I made a new safety for mine, cut the notches so it is on safe with the lever pointing up & points to the rear or fire. As I mount the gun I find pulling the safety lever to the rear to be a much more natural movement than pushing it forward, sort of akin to cocking a very low mount hammer. Having to reach way up to the side of the un to push the lever forward is nothing like the natural motion of pushing a tang safety forward while mounting. Leaving the safety in fire & raising the lever to about a 45 may be the easiest of all, am going to have to try this & see how I like it when I am able to shoot again. Ted had recommended this method to be prior to my contacting this cancer.
The "daylight" method, noted by Gil, above, is the correct form when using the opening lever as a safety on an R model Darne. There is a position, just between daylight, and the breech contacting the ends of the barrels, where it is possible to trip the ejectors, without tripping the sears. Let me post, here and now, again, that this endeavor always scares the pee out of me, because just a bit further on the lever, and the gun will fire, with recoil closing the action against your thumb. I don't do it, as I have never needed the ejectors to haul live rounds out of a chamber, but, it can be done. Foolish move, as far as I am concerned.
The V safety, and, lever, are a different kettle of fish, few posting here will ever need instructions on the correct use and etiquette of a V model, and at the risk of creating confusion in the unfamiliar, I will post that somewhere else, on a different day, should it be needed.
You guys with a Charlin have no doubt already figured out there is an interrupter built into the mechanism, that prevents firing if the breech is open in the least.
None of this applies to you.
Hard as it is to believe, all three of these versions of the sliding breech gun are completely different, with no common parts, and subtle differences in operation.

Best,
Ted
Posted By: GLS Re: Looking for information on Darne 24 gauge - 12/14/17 10:41 PM
Another interesting feature of the Darne action according to Ted (he will correct if I don't recall correctly) is that it doesn't harm the action to dry fire it without snap caps as long as the action is closed against the barrels. To dry fire it with the barrel off can cause the insert surrounding the pins on the breech face to move forward bending the screws that hold it in place. Gil
Originally Posted By: GLS
Another interesting feature of the Darne action according to Ted (he will correct if I don't recall correctly) is that it doesn't harm the action to dry fire it without snap caps as long as the action is closed against the barrels. To dry fire it with the barrel off can cause the insert surrounding the pins on the breech face to move forward bending the screws that hold it in place. Gil


Grasshopper,
You are a quick study. On a gun that has the face plate retained with 2 machine screws from the bottom of the breechblock, which, includes all obturator disc guns, and most others, those beefy coil springs that drive the percutators will indeed bend the screws.
However, while I have not seen a clear shot of the face of the OPs 24 gauge breech, and, as it is a pretty old gun, I would be willing to bet it has the plate that drives in from the side, mortised at perhaps a 45 degree angle, sans screws from the bottom, and, immune to damage from dry firing, barrels on or off.
This is a piece of minutia that I'm pretty sure you will only find here on Dave's board, because I don't participate on any other boards pertaining to guns, and anyone else who knows this fact, speaks French, and doesn't participate here, either. And, most people don't care.
The safest plan is to just dry fire 'em with the tubes in place.

Best,
Ted
Ted;
My halifax has the dovetailed retainer plate with a single screw at the top to hold it in place. I had simply failed to catch that Gil had said to only raise the lever slightly to set the extractor to force out a stuck hull, but noted he said the manual stated to lift it to a vertical position. My triggers simply will not pull with the lever vertical, it has to come down to a near 60 degree angle before they will release.
I did get it back out 7 tried it (Unloaded) with the lever slightly lifted. In fact I cn raise it to at least 20 degrees, maybe 30 before the breech block starts to move. The triggers can be pulled throughout this range. As I am not using paper hulls have never had a problem with sticking hulls so had simply never looked into this, is good to know though, just in Case. When the weather, & me, gets a bit better I will load a couple of primed emptied in it & check it out, but I don't think it will fire until the breech is locked, I believe it was designed with this as a safety factor. seems first movement of the lever starts retracting the strikers so they cannot hit the primers. well thought out design INMO.
Miller,
I have played this game, with my own R10, in a safe area, with live ammunition. It is possible to get a Darne R model to fire with the opening lever out of battery. I've done it. My own Halifax copy acts much like yours, and like my R10, there is a point just prior to the action being completely closed that you can get the sears to trip, and fire the gun, assuming live ammunition is chambered. The R10 I own has been fired many, many thousands of times, during my ownership and that of others before me, and is not as tight as the old Halifax, which shows no signs of use at all. If I had a stuck, live cartridge, in any double gun, I'd figure out a way to get it out that didn't involve activating the ejector mechanism, with the triggers, but, maybe, that is just me. It is true, in the pre-war directions for Darne R model guns, this method is mentioned, but, I've never seen it mentioned in post war directions for the guns. I'm guessing someone, somewhere, discovered the hard way, with disasterous results, what I learned when I experimented with my R10, and the company quit promoting that feature, if that is what we want to call it. As I have pointed out, a Charlin will not fire until the lever is completely closed.
As I have posted prior, I do consider it to be a fools errand. I never recommend it.

Best,
Ted
An addendum, if I may:

The Halifax gun that I own at the moment, and the R10 that has been restocked to fit me, have slightly different designs, and the position of the lever is different, at the point either gun will trip the sears just before final closing. While this sounds scary, lockup in either design is actually complete just prior to final closing. What IS scary, is knowing there IS a difference, to me, anyway. Perhaps this difference is to be expected, as there is most of 50 years between the dates they were produced, and there are "improvements", cost cutting measures, mostly, made to the design of the R10. The first sliding breech guns began leaving the shop in perhaps 1877, and, they are likely still in reduced production now.
That, is a long time. It would be hard to know all the changes to the guns that occured over those years.
I would suggest a great deal of common sense and safety be used when handling any firearm.
Again, I suggest that in the event a live round is stuck in the chamber of ANY design of gun, a different method than tripping the ejectors be used to remove it.
I find this discussion, at this point, to be about as useful as one that would involve how to go about holding the top lever over just far enough to take a conventional double out of battery, and attempting to get the ejectors to trip without doing the same to the sears.

Best,
Ted
Ted;
Thanks for all the insight. I do still plan on checking this gun out, only with primers installed, no loaded shells, just for curiosities sake to see at what point it will fire. I fully agree with your consensus of using another method should I actually have a stuck shell.
Actually I tried this method with an empty hull fired in another gun which had apparently a slightly larger chamber, so it fit quite tight in the Halifax. I did not find this a useful method as the barrel extractor only very slightly moved the hull then the hooks on the breech jumped the rim leaving the hull intact in the chamber. I still had to get a rod & poke it out from the muzzle. I tried this one hull in each chamber several times & only once did I actually succeed in extracting the hull.
Although admittedly hard on the gun I personally believe a break open design will extract a tighter fitting shell or hull than will this gun, in spite of Darne's claims to the contrary.
Miller,
I believe your method may be flawed. The ejector hook is set just before the shot, and will grab the spent cartridge perfectly, as the shot has molded the base to the hook and chamber of the gun.
Using a spent cartridge from a different gun does not allow that to happen.
I've never heard of a Darne that had extraction issues, at least not extraction issues that were the result of a round being fired in it's own chamber.
It is better to cycle the action briskly, although I often don't, as I prefer to catch the spent rounds on the action flats, rather than letting them hit the ground, and then doing so.
A bit lazy that way, I guess.

Best,
Ted
Ted;
Are you saying it actually takes the recoil of firing a shell to set the extractors? The only means I had at present to get a tight fit was to use this previously fired shell.
As I am seeing it as I open the lever the top bolt dropping down presses the barrel's extractor out forcing it's break from the chamber, but only moves it about 1/8". There is then grooves in the action flat which the extractor hooks on the breech block ride in which have a bump at their forward end to hold the hook up against the rim. Problem is the hooks run off the bump before they have pulled the hull any further than the extractor pushes, at which point they are only held up by spring tension. This spring tension is not sufficient to keep them engaged with the rim so they jump it leaving the hull in the chamber still stuck.
As the breech would be holding the shell in the chamber while firing allowing no more movement than the amount of head space of the shell rim vs rim depth. I truly cannot see how firing the shell would alleviate the sticking problem at all. This would all appear to me to be strictly a mechanical feature after the shell had been fired, which should be duplicated by the process I used.
Once that very short forced movement has ended then all other extraction is simply a matter of a straight pull of the opening lever with no mechanical advantage given it. I am simply unable to detect any advantage of this action design in handling swollen shells. Understand I like the design, just not for this reason. With either factory or properly resized shells there is absolutely no problem with extraction & ejection. I do like the method of puling the fired hull/s from the chamber where they are so easy to pick off by hand to save or just to not liter. Much better than catching ejected hulls from break open ejectors. As my hunting practices do not put me in many of those "Hot Spots" where rapid reloading is a necessity for a break open gun I normally prefer plain extractors & just pick the fired hulls out by hand.
I will say when it comes to the Darnes I do always value your knowledge of them highly.
Miller,
No. It is not recoil that sets the extractor hook, it is tripping the sear. The extractor plate, in the barrels, is spring loaded, and raises unfired cartridges as the breech slides back, the top or verticle bolt doesn't have anything to do with that. That spring loaded plate is also what supports the breech face when the gun is dry fired, although, as previously discussed, it is far less important for that in the case of your gun, due to the plate being dovetailed into the breech instead of being retained with screws, as they are on the newer guns.
I like Darnes. Not to the exclusion of anything else, however. I have never really had any design of gun that had ammunition hang up in the chamber, and, I suspect that since plastic hulls became common, say since 1960, or so, spent rounds stuck in a chamber is likely much less common a problem than it once was. My Father, who spent a lot of time in New Orleans in the USMC, told me the Browning A5 was considered superior as a duck gun because it had twin extractor hooks, compared to the Remington model 11, and Ithaca 37s single hook. I've owned all three and never had an extraction problem. I wasn't hunting, there, in the early 1950s, and can't comment.
Maybe wet paper hulls were the culprit.

Be Well, Sir.


Best,
Ted
Ted;
I grew up on paper hulls, they didn't have to actually get "Wet" to swell. They could just absorb moisture from the air over time to swell without actually having been in water

.
There is an L shaped part pinned to the frame on my Halifax. The vertical leg extends up behind the barrel extractor with the horizontal leg extending back into the frame beneath the rising bolt which lock into the rib extension. I had assumed that when the lever is lifted the dropping bolt hit the top of this lever forcing the extractor rearward. Maybe it doesn't make contact, but I see no other reason for its existence. I
I will have to "Smoke" them up & see if it does indeed make contact to force the extractor out.

With the barrels off I can push that fired hull into either chamber & the spring does not push it back out at all, yet with the breech closed on it, it never failed to push it out that approx 1/8 inch so I believe it is being forced by other than just the spring. Only once with several tries though was the shell pulled out more than that 1/8 inch, so if the spring was doing the work it should have come on out to the limit of the extractor's travel, then on with the breech block from there, but it didn't.
Miller,
From here, listening to what you say, I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that the spring, under the plate that raises unfired rounds from the barrels is tired in your gun.
If you remove the barrels from the gun, you can observe the operation of all the parts by just pushing the breech block up to where it joins the barrels and closing the action. You can observe how everything works in that position:



You won't need smoke, you can observe everything in that condition. Put the muzzles into a piece of carpet, line the breech up with the tubes, press the breech forward, while easing the lever closed and lifting the tab up that allows the breech block to be removed. The breech block should grab onto the barrels fairly tenaciously.
Be careful, the edges of the sliding breech are exposed in this condition. They are sharp enough to cut you. In my Halifax, the rising bolt makes contact with the L shaped lever briefly and lightly, and the spring, under that plate, is busy shoving the breech block rearward from the moment the lever is lifted out of battery. If the spring got tired, the bolt would put more force on the lever, but, I suspect that isn't how things should be. The lever, in the position I illustrated in the above photo, has perhaps 1/8th inch of wiggle room when the spring is compressed.
The lever exists to allow the gun to be properly timed, with action completely unlocking before the spring is allowed to put full pressure on the sliding breech and pushing it open.



Best,
Ted
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