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Is it a 4-bore or a 7-bore?


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The gun I believe was originally an 8 bore brass case gun which was proofed at 7 bore(not at all uncommon), then later in life reamed to a 4 bore.


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Argo44 Offline OP
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As I speculated, the rebore might have been done here in the USA which may be why there are no reproof marks. In fact the gun may have come over here in the 19th century. There is $260.00 hand-written on the label. $260 would be about £54 in 1900...about 49 Guineas. Reilly advertised top end shotguns about this time period for 40-50 guineas.


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And this manhandled antique frankengun is supposedly worth $75,000?


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Originally Posted by Argo44
As I speculated, the rebore might have been done here in the USA which may be why there are no reproof marks. In fact the gun may have come over here in the 19th century. There is $260.00 hand-written on the label. $260 would be about £54 in 1900...about 49 Guineas. Reilly advertised top end shotguns about this time period for 40-50 guineas.

Argo, what is your thinking on the inherent safety of an 8-bore rifle being bored-out to literally twice the bore size, a 4-bore? All that metal being removed? Given that the barrels were originally struck for the 8 bore, do you think that after significant thinning they would then be safe for something so much more powerful than the original load? I mean, wouldn't a re-proof be a worthy and logical investment before assuming this gun is safe to fire? Having a chamber burst in your face from a 4-bore load is guaranteed facial destruction, if not death, lingering or instant.

How this once-wonderful gun got so badly butchered and then hyped for sale is a mystery. But part of the answer is its seller, who seemed to have an awful lot of heretofore incredible antique firearms that had suffered some major indignity, only to be discovered late in the auction process or afterwards. It may be simple ignorance and nothing more than that. But the unwillingness to answer questions or provide photos of critical areas demonstrates a desire to hide facts until a sale has been consummated.
Buyer beware.


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Pm...George L never would answer the questions straight. But the auction house will to the best of their ability. I wrote to them and they immediately put up pictures of the water table, barrels, proof marks, barrel flats, chambers, etc. I subsequently wrote to them and asked about the weight.

The gun rests with Charlton House. It would be nice for somebody to arrange to have an expert go over the gun. But it's up for auction tomorrow. I should have thought of that. (I don't think George is in the picture any longer - and the barrels were bored out long before George got the gun; Can't blame him for that, even though he has dissembled a lot about the gun).

In any event, I'm not in the market for anything larger than a 12 bore. As I said I value my reconstructed shoulder. However, historical curiosity remains. We all thought this might be an original center-break SxS Reilly 4 bore. Outside of this gun, there are only three in existence, that I know of, 1 SxS wildfowler, 1 SxS rifle, and 1 single barrel wild-fowler. So, it was curiosity that led me to post this. If anyone knows an expert in South Carolina who can go over to the auction and take a look at the gun, it would be a boon.

Last edited by Argo44; 03/31/21 09:04 PM.

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Argo,
excellent answer, thanks. One thing that comes to mind is this Jim Kelly of Darlington Gun Works, who is said to have worked on this gun. Wouldn't a gunsmith of Jim Kelly's experience, standing, heck, just plain old honed sense of self-preservation in the face of potential liability like this, make some sort of statement about the shootability and safety of a bored-out gun like this? On literally every rifle that I have seen come out of this collection there is some lingering question, some bigger issue. Not about Did Mabel put that scratch in the barrel, or did JimBob, but Is this gun safe to shoot? Or Why is this critical aspect altered?
I am not trying to be a d#&k here. My experience with the collection this gun comes out of over several years taught me some lessons, and I would be very unhappy if someone on this chatboard with the best of intentions bought this thing, fired it, and was maimed or killed. Or discovered that their investment is very poorly placed.
I will end by saying that we don't know who bored this out. A hundred years ago who would have bored it out, a market hunter seeking a bigger punt gun? Possibly. It is hard to say. But I would firmly say that it is very unusual to see fine, rare foreign guns like this be so badly altered in their own time, when their worth and value were known. It probably wasn't until much later that some enterprising person said "We need to go hunting elephants in Upstate New York, and a four bore is much better than an eight bore." And "a four bore is worth a lot more than an eight bore." Somehow the seller arrived at his own wacky $75,000 price tag for this gun, so he knew something about its rarity. He had something vested in its rarity. Somehow noted gunsmith Jim Kelly missed the constellation of safety questions orbiting this big ol thing when he supposedly worked on it.
OK, PA over and out on this subject. Good luck to whoever purchases this thing.


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This shows why our Proof laws exist!!! That gun would be unsaleable and so it should be.

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Originally Posted by pamtnman
Somehow noted gunsmith Jim Kelly missed the constellation of safety questions orbiting this big ol thing when he supposedly worked on it.

I know Jim Kelly well. There is no reason to think he "missed" anything concerning the safety of this gun. He certainly has the expertise to know safe from unsafe. I can think of reasons why Jim's expertise in these matters was not brought to light, but will keep them to myself. He is an honorable man with impeccable character, as evidenced by the way he told the owner of Bo Whoop what he had, when the owner had no clue about the provenance or potential value of the gun. He could have made a very attractive offer to the buyer for it, bought it, and resold it for a fortune himself.

The bigger question is, how do you know Jim didn't tell George of the potential danger of the thin chamber walls?

Last edited by Stanton Hillis; 04/01/21 06:37 AM.

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Originally Posted by Argo44
We all thought this might be an original center-break SxS Reilly 4 bore.

Ahh, really? Red flags went up the moment this gun was posted here over 10 years ago. The information regarding the proofs that was FINALLY provided proves what most of us suspected then.


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