Old 410 shotgun and ammo for it

I have an old .410 double barrel… made overseas and damascus… so it is labeled do not fire. But we decided to hang it up in the house and after looking around, saw it would be nice to use spent shotgun shells to hang it (screws with the shotgun shells over the screws)… We had spent .410 plastic and used them, but they are too new to look right with the shotgun.
So in visiting some gun shops, I asked a few guys if they had any spent paper .410 shells. One said he thought he did… of course being 700 miles away, it was months before I went back (visiting relatives in that area)… and sure enough he remembered and had 3 shells for me…
My problem?? They are live cartridges… and it hurts me so to fire them off, knowing I don’t have any in my collection!!
Well, I promised I would fire them… they are Remingtons… nothing rare… and I figure to fire only the 2 I need and keep the 3rd in my collection…
But it is sooo difficult to do!!!
Now I am keeping an eye out for an older box of .410 to put up on the frame of the door, right under the shotgun… empty is fine…
It’s fun to be on the lookout for not only boxes that interest you, but a particular one as well!

The hunt is definitely part of the fun, for sure! I do not know much about shotgun shells but would imagine the ones you what would be available. Sounds like a really neat static display. Would love to see a picture if you decide to take some. Just curious, does the shotgun come from Damascus or is it made from Damascus metal? I have never seen a gun of any-sort made from Damascus metal, bet they would be beautiful works of art.


I’ll have to take a pic someday when I get it all set up… the gun is pretty simple… but the stock was broken at some time and wrapped well with leather strip… It has some markings on the metal… some of it is buried under the leather… but not a name-brand where it would be worth anything… just a good wallhanger… It interested me because it was a .410 double barrel.

Jason - what she is referring to, I am sure, is a shotgun with what is called Damascus Steel Barrels. This is not to be confused with Damascene engraqving, or being made in Damascus.

The barrels were made by a process that I cannot easily explain here, as I am not expert on these processes, but they involve twist steel and soldering. They are always considered to week for smokeless powder loads, and sometime older guns develop little pin-whole type separations and “leaks” in the barrel and then, in many people’s opinions including mine, are not even safe to fire with black powder loads. Some people think any Damascus barrel is automatically safe with black powder, but that simply is not true.

The proces does, if a gun is mint and the barrels are browned (especially), reveal beautiful swirling patterns in the steel. A minty, high-quality shotgun with browned Damascus barrels, while not offering much as a shooter in my own opinion (I am not a fan of black powder shooting, despite being a cowboy action shooter, and that is really subjective, I know. Many fine shooters, far better and more knowledgeable than I, love “the dark side”), are magnificent to behold. Unfortunately, along with the fine quality guns like British doubles, Parkers, L. C. Smiths, etc. that were made at one time with these twist-steel barrels, a lot of really junky shotguns (junk the day they were made) were made with them as well. Of course, you can say the same for fluid steel-barreled guns.

If your gun is with Damascus Steel Barrels and from European origin they are big chances it is an old gun.

Better to check the proof marks under the barrel.

Because they are 99% chances it DOESN’T SHOOT 410 which is 12 mm Magnum but only regular 12 mm loaded with black powder.

Good advice to avoid the lost of your face or hands.


Most “Damascus” barrels aren’t actually Damascus they are just laminated steel made to look like Damascus. This makes it even more advisable not to shoot it.
No un-named gun of that vintage would have a quality barrel. Has it got a thumb break release for the barrels on the side of the action? if so its probably Belgian circa 1890-1910. Thousands were made and sold as boys guns.
About 100 years ago that gun was probably some kids proudest possession.

My mistake… for some reason I think of it as Damascous, but yes, it is marked on top in the middle of the barrels… Belgium Laminated Steel… It’s a break open, double barrel… has checkering on the stock and forearm… and on the right sideplate, what looks like PET… If there is anything marked before that, I’ll never know since has the leather wrap at that point. It has two triggers. I bought it knowing it was not shootable.
There are no markings for gauge… just thinking .410 which is what the barrels look like… and not knowing overseas shooting, I would not think of the correct mm equivalent… thank you for that info.
Without taking the forearm off, there are two spots with numbers on the bottom of the barrels… one is … 12 … the other looks like … 529…
I’d be afraid to pop off the forearm… it appears to have a notch in the wood on one side, but it also has a hole filled with wood putty near that spot… and because the leather is wrapped so nicely, won’t take that apart either.
I had seen some old double barrels at gun shops with the stock having fancy carving and almost purchased them… but I guess with this one being small, although it had nothing fancy, it was more appealing as a wallhanger.

Its a good wallpiece and despite being nothing special its a good old gun. Don’t you wish these old guns could talk? What stories they would tell.

Probably bought for a boy these .410s were short in the stock and had less drop in the stock compared to an adult gun. Can you imagine the excitement that it created?.

I believe the enduring popularity of the .410 is in part due to the fact that so many of us have boyhood memories of owning one.

.410 seems right since a .410 shell fits snug in the barrel ( I really should clean and oil them )…

Someone cared enough about the gun to do a nice job wrapping it with leather. I’ve seen some for sale on the internet, wood chipped and the stock taped!

And yes, I’d love to hear stories… I picked up a single shot 16 gauge that has initials, date, and time hand cut into the stock… all we could picture is some boy maybe shot his first deer or something with that gun. The only reason I picked up this gun was because of the writing on it… ( funny… my husband and I would never cut anything into the wood on ours guns, though ).

[quote=“bomar97”].410 seems right since a .410 shell fits snug in the barrel ( I really should clean and oil them )…



  1. you can have a gun chambered for many kinds of 12 mm (or 410)
    Indeed it depends of the length of the case (unloaded case, not loaded ctge)
    The most common cases lengths are :50, 60, 65, 70, 75 mm
  2. If you shoot a longer case than the one the gun what designed for you will have big problems.
  3. Therefore to check the gun either make a cast of the chamber to see the chamber length, either put inside an unloaded case to see if it enter


This thread is wandering pretty far from cartridge collecting, and I am tempted to lock it or delete it.

We do not want to turn this forum into a gun discussion forum, a hunting story forum, or a duscussion on what is safe or not safe to shoot in specific guns.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Trying to get back on a cartridge theme. Old .410 cartridges were quite low powered affairs in the early days. 2" appears to have been popular and 2 1/2" the heavy load. Certainly in Britain judging by the Eley catalogs

This I attrubute to cost, in relation to todays prices a box of any sort of shotgun shells years ago was steep and had to be justified by putting food on the table.
The attempts to stretch the range and performance of the .410 by going to 3" only came later.

I think a modern .410 cartridge is a different animal to what would have been around years ago.

There are some serious shotgun cartridge collectors on this forum. I would like very much to hear their input. Was it ever a black powder load?

[quote=“Vince Green”]
Was it ever a black powder load?[/quote]

Of course the first 12 mm (410) were loaded with black powder

Very cool old shotgun for sure! Definitely not the type of Damascus metal I had in my head. I love the leather straps around the stock. Reminds me of a documentary I saw on Winchester lever action rifles where the Indians (Native Americans) would cut the butt of the stock off and other parts to make the gun shorter and lighter. They then wrapped the stock with thin leather strips like your shotgun. this made it easier to shoot while riding a horse :-) Still, I doubt if a Native American put the leather on that gun, but would be cool. It sure looks sweet on your wall with the shotgun shell pegs. Do they make 410 shotgun shells with AP Sabots?


For a real nice article on collecting .410’s, click on the following which takes you to the IAA Home Page where the article is posted.


Cool link Ron. I did not realize 410 shotgun ammunition went back that far historically or came in such a variety of lengths.

The link is good info… I had looked at it earlier…

If I were to search for box of ammo by a manufacturer that was probably used in Europe for this shotgun, what brands should I be looking for? I would think this gun is in the first part of the 1900’s… I wouldn’t think it was earlier… the firing pins are for centerfire.