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#434254 01/27/16 05:29 PM
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bonny Offline OP
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I have been looking at an old british made shot gun with damascus barrels recently. The dealer is reluctant to sell me the gun as it is damascus and he doesn't want to be liable if there is a failure and i get injured. There are no gunsmiths i can ask to check the barrels out and looking online for what to look out for is a fools errand eg. "damascus barrels lose strength every year even if they are not shot".

The gun is in excellent condition with no corrosion. The barrels are not pitted, dented, rivelled or corroded. The only thing i can do is measure the barrel wall thickness, but can i use penetrant dye as used in weld tests, or ultrasound to find cracks or rokes ?

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A lot of people on here seem to shoot them without issues and I have become a recent convert.

It seems like the original quality of the damascus and wall thickness are the most important factors, moreso even than the things you conventionally look for like bore condition.

Dr. Drew's link above is extremely informative and a great starting point.

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bonny Offline OP
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Thank you for that Drew, interesting reading.

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Dan, yes i believe a lot of people still use damascus, and why not of course ? If they are in good condition, then use them, there is a haze of urban (and rural) myths about damascus though.
Another thing i considered was an informal proof test, using modern 2 1/2" cartridges, of course if i did that and the barrels gave up, i'd have forked out for a useless gun.

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It has been shown repeatedly that, all things being equal, damascus is every bit as strong and usable as the steel of the time, sometimes rather better!
When you buy a late 1800's gun with steel barrels do you crack test them? I suspect not, yet the steel barrels that predate Whitworth's fluid steel process were no better than the damascus they were competing with.
The big advantage of damascus is that IF it bursts, it tends to 'birdcage' ie unravels along the weld joints, rather than turning into a hand-grenade as does steel.
I am perpetually amazed at what damascus will put up with. I have successfully reproofed damascus guns down to 0.014" MWT (not that I would recommend it but the gun had to be in proof to export and it was a family heirloom).
And I regularly successfully nitro reproof damascus down to 0.020" MWT and below. Rivelling is the big problem, not bursting.
I often wonder if the occasional stories that one hear of burst barrels are more to do with poor homeloads, obstructions in barrels and distracted shooters not checking their barrels between shots. And suddenly it is all the fault of the gun not the stupid a*** shooter.

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bonny Offline OP
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Toby, are black powder cartridges available from any of the major uk makers ? I have been on several websites, lyalvale, hull, eley and i cannot see any listed.

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bonny: where are you?


birds are gone...dogs are gone...awl we got left are the gons...
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Ireland ed

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Originally Posted By: Toby Barclay
I often wonder if the occasional stories that one hear of burst barrels are more to do with poor homeloads, obstructions in barrels and distracted shooters not checking their barrels between shots. And suddenly it is all the fault of the gun not the stupid a*** shooter.


Amen! The one instance of damascus barrel failure, of which I have first hand knowledge, was just that ................ poor homelands (reloads). I tried to explain to the owner, beforehand, about pressures and certain powders and hulls, but to no avail. Chamber blew out. Classic results of an intensely high chamber pressure.

SRH


"With one foot in the grave ..........and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel" T.P.
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