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#617987 08/11/22 06:50 PM
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Bought an old Darne ( 1 piece stock; 6xxx SN) on GB last week. I suspected a copy or F. Darne, but I believe it is a true Darne; the logo and all the proofs look correct. It needs a lot of work and wasn't worth it, but I wanted a fixer upper of a different sort to work on for the practice. It was adverised as an R10, but it is marked as R 89 with a single five pointed mark beside it (looks like a star made of sticks). The engraving isn't total, but looks like quite a bit more than is usually seen on an R10. Any one with an idea on the grade marking?

Also odd, the barrels are a tight 16 gauge 65mm chamber. Barrels are marked 17.0,but check out at around .690, even though the wall thicknesses are still relatively robust (I presume they have been honed/bored). Barrels look to have been reblued in the far past, but the color doesn't appear to match (changes at the joint) and the barrels have either been sleeved or this was a monoblock gun. The 17.0 mm marking is on the barrels, not the chamber section. Would this gun have been from the period when monoblocks were used?

Altogether a trainwreck, but I took it on for a reason. Just curious about some of the anomilies.

AGS #617989 08/11/22 07:45 PM
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This one?

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/936264371

That one is a very old 1894 patent R model Darne. The R89 marking is irrelevant to our discussion. The grade mark is the first iteration of the Darne grade identification. If the seller had given us a clear photo of the opening lever, we would see capital block letters that spelled out the name Darne. Later guns have the familiar tail off the D that encircles the name. It is an R10, from the era where an R10 was a fairly high grade gun. The model A and C Darnes were all lower grade guns, stepping up to an R model was a sign you were at the higher end of the working class. Note the 6.5 chamber length markings, and the proof with powder S. I’m a bit concerned that I can’t see the barrel serial number. You want it to match the sliding breech number.
An old bird, for sure. Very early 1900s, perhaps specified with proof using powder S, or, built just prior to 1900. Hard to say for sure.

But, I’m in the ball park.

Good luck. Model A and model C Darne photos attached, just to give the barn hinge gun guys nightmares.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Best,
Ted

AGS #617992 08/11/22 08:50 PM
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That's the one. The engraving and action are in pretty nice shape. All the numbers match and it all fits and functions well. As I mentioned, the barrels are not in the condition he alluded to in the listing. They are solid, but the bores have a lot of pitting from one end to the other. That said, I have rebored three older guns in the last 2 months,and this one has much more pitting than them but none of the pits are anywhere near what they were as far as depth. I would estimate based on those barrels that .002 to .003 will clean both barrels up and leave MWT at over .035 in the front and .050 in the middle with excellent thickness left in the chambers and forcing cones. Surprising since the barrels appear to have been bored .030 already, based on the barrel markings. They were double proofed however, so they apparently had very thick walls to start with. If If the barrels clean up with good thickness, I may have someone repair the rib. If not, I will just do it myself (I have done this a few times in the past) and shoot the gun with subgauge tubes. If they clean up well, I will limit them to low pressure loads.

This is the first Darne I have owned. I have owned a couple of Charlin before, and am surprised at the difference in action . The Charlin are the smoothest operating guns I have seen. This one is in the same leagueof smoothness, but it is a distinct two stage process., It is very stiff and abrupt in coming to the extraction point and then quick and smooth in moving to the open position. The 2 Charlin seem like one smooth process.The Charlin are old lower grade guns with no safeties.

I was surprised that this gun was for sale not far from where I live, in light of the fact that I passed on buying one like your bottom photo just a few months ago on GB. It was even closer to me and sold for less than $500, if I remember correctly. It struck me at the time as being a fundamentally weak design.

It may be I live in a hotbed of ROD's (Real Old Darnes).

AGS #617999 08/11/22 10:30 PM
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I haven’t met any “fundamentally weak” French sporting firearms designs. I’m guessing French proof laws weeded that stuff out.

I wouldn’t lose any sleep over shooting a gun with .050 wall thickness after a pit cleanup hone.

You no doubt grasp that a Charlin and a Darne are completely different designs at this point. It is hard to explain to someone who may have seen one, or, the other, or, more often still, neither. The smoothness thing isn’t really a thing unless the gun is cocked, and you are just cycling the action. Opening the gun after the shot, when it recocks requires the same effort in all of the sliding breech designs

Good luck with your new project. I never recommend sliding breech guns as projects, but, do enjoy it.

Best,
Ted

AGS #618000 08/11/22 11:00 PM
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6.5 chambers = 1889 to 1912 per our previous dating early French shotguns line.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
AGS #618002 08/11/22 11:25 PM
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The gun is early enough they are still noting the gold medal they won at exposition, pre 1900, and late enough that it has barrels that were produced in-house.

Unique gun that should be a lot of fun once it has a bit of cleanup.

Best,
Ted

AGS #618004 08/11/22 11:47 PM
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Ted, in which world's fair did Darne win gold medals? Just curious for history. 1889 - the "Tour D'Effel" fair?

Ted know Darne's. Hurricanes come in September. But this French site is pretty cool:
http://www.littlegun.info/arme%20francaise/artisans%20c%20d/a%20darne%20fr.htm

Last edited by Argo44; 08/11/22 11:49 PM.

Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
AGS #618005 08/12/22 05:11 AM
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Ted knows all things Darne. An important Darne Tedism: To remove the barrel: Never depress the action spring with anything harder than a plastic top to a Sharpie. Thumb is better. The spring is serrated on the free end where it is slotted and a metal tool can break the spring and good luck finding a replacement. Whoever reblued the barrels had the good sense not to blue the sliding action. Gil

AGS #618014 08/12/22 09:43 AM
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Thanks for all the information.
As to projects Ted, I appreciate your stand on project Darnes, but in my mind that is most apropo to the actions. I have worked on and built guns for most of my life, including some target rifles that have won national championships. I really don't see that barrel or stock work should be any different than any other shotgun. In fact, the French guns I own have had rather robust barrels to work with. This gun particularly having only a top rib should be an easy rib repair. I agree totally about the actions though. Given the rarity of parts and the general strangeness, I would not buy one if that were the problem.

AGS #618019 08/12/22 10:31 AM
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Darne part are for the most part custom made replacement items. There are just no vast number of donor guns here to draw them from. Interesting design and a classic looking gun that other than Charlins have no similar competition. I thought about buying a 24 ga. Darne at one time until it dawned on me that the 24 was a under performing 28 for what it could do. Stuck between 20 and 28 with both doing the same job, for less. Still it would be nice to have a long barreled, small bore to add to the collection. So many guns, so little time. Good luck with your project.

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