Was hoping to get some help from the experts on this side of the forum.
I purchased an old hammergun that was too unusual to pass up. I was hoping that some of you might have insights into what it actually is. Let me give you the facts as I see them:
1. Made for Army Navy Cooperative Society Limited
2. It appears that it was designed to shoot solids from the day it was made.
3. Trigger guard goes all the way down to a semi-pistol grip that is finished with a horn cap.
4. Gun has hammers that go to half cock
5. Gun has stalking safeties that appear original
6. Gun barrels are very heavy. All proof marks indicate 28 bore.
7. No indication the gun was converted from some prior Black Powder Express cartridge.
8. Gun has one flip up site and a front bead.
9. Right barrel roughly measures Cylinder
10. Left barrel roughly measures Improved Modified
11. Overall weight of the gun is 7 pounds, 7 ounces.
12. Stock and its horn butt plate appear original. 14-5/8" LOP.
13. No cheek rest is carved in the stock. Standard shotgun dimensions and shapes.
14. Forend uses the "Rigby style" lever fastening method.
15. Barrels are 28"
16. No case, tools or accesories were included
17. No sign of rifling or "paradox" style rifling exists. I don't believe any method of rifling, oval, ratchet or other ever was in the gun.
18. Nigel Brown's "British Gunmakers" volume 1 says that my serial number (IF it follows Army/Navy shotgun numbering system!) would be in the date range 1890-1896.
Pictures of the germane areas of the gun are here: https://moritz.homeserver.com/PhotoViewer/album634815994798731250/index.xml
Here is my theory, please adjust or debunk it as you see fit.
Because it was made for Army / Navy, I'm guessing that a British officer had this thing built as he was going abroad to India or Africa. I believe his intention was to use it for shot on birds and then to use the right barrel with ball and patch 28 bore shells for deer and other medium sized animals. The prior owner states that when he acquired it there were 28 bore shells loaded with either conical or cylindrical lead solids in the gun's case. The left bore has choke and is proofed with the stamp "choke" but the right barrel is not marked accordingly. The intention was to shoot solids in the right barrel only.
Has anyone heard of such a thing before? Anyone have any thoughts on my theory? Anyone have any idea what 2.5" shell was supposed to be used with what type of solid bullet? Please take a look at the joint Birmingham and London proof marks, what was the story there?
Thanks for any and all help you can provide!