How To Identify Old Double Barrel Shotguns?

The antique market for shotguns has been blooming lately. That also brought in some problems. As we know antiques usually fetch a good amount of money, and a lot of people try to artificially age their double-barrel guns to make them appear “antique”.

If you don’t want to fall for those scams, you will need to know how to identify old double-barrel shotguns. After all, who doesn’t love to have some classics in their collection? Don’t worry, I’m here to help you find the right classic for your collection. Here are some tips that might help you in your scavenging hunt.

Identifying Antique Double Barrel Shotguns

How To Identify Old Double Barrel Shotguns

Identifying a well-maintained shotgun is easy. If the gun is in good condition already, you can easily identify it through the serial numbers imprinted somewhere in the gun. As the imprint is usually done in the body of the gun, a poorly maintained or too old gun dating before 1897 might be harder to identify.

They tend to have deteriorated bodies and have no original manufacturer imprinted anywhere. Due to this, a lot of scams happen quite often. They try to convince you that it’s too old, that’s why it has no imprint and is more valuable.

Chances are, there is a brand name mentioned in the weapon you are looking for. If it has the brand’s name visible, then you can search for the brand’s name and look for the models in their antique product catalog. If you have a serial number and the number matches on their catalog, you have a deal on your hands.

There is a catch tho. Unfortunately, most of the antique shotguns are not manufactured in the USA. They have been exported from all over the world. If that’s the case with your double-barrel shotgun, then chances of identifying it are almost non-existence.

The bottom line is, always look for numbers and names in the gun. Those are the clues that will help you identify if it’s a scam or it’s the real deal.

Double Barrel Shotgun Manufacturers

As I mentioned earlier, double-barrel shotguns are manufactured all over the world. They were exported to North America through ships and other means of carriers. The first double-barrel shotgun was created by John Gilleland. Back in 1863, this man created a legend that will make sure he is immortal in the pages of history forever.

While his intention was for people to defend themselves from both short and long-range, the weapon wasn’t solely used for that. By the late 19th century, a lot of vendors started to make shotguns and distribute them. Many European countries such as Belgium and Great Britain jumped on the train to make those guns as well.

What About American Manufacturers?

American manufacturers weren’t behind in production at all. Some might consider them to be more formidable when it comes to constructing weapons compared to European countries. Here are a couple of manufacturers that used to and still work on shotguns.


Not to be confused by the Fox you see in the jungle. Fox was a pretty big deal during the WW2 era. Founded in 1906, Fox has made 12, 16, and 20-gauge shotguns.

Parker Brothers

Parker Brothers are one of the most famous shotgun manufacturers in the world. They created double-barrel shotguns back in 1868. Later in 1934, Remington Arms acquired the company and has been making classic shotguns for decades.

Ithaca Gun Company

Ithaca is the company behind the most classic and antique shotguns that you find in shops and online. They constructed the sturdiest and most durable shotgun back in 1883. Throughout their production era, they produced double-barrel shotguns up to 1948.


Smith went into production of double barrel shotguns in 1881. They were making them till 1950.


If you haven’t heard of Browning yet, it’s a heresy in the gun world. Although Browning is behind in making a large share of American shotguns, they also superposed shotguns made in Belgium.

Some European Manufacturers Worth Mentioning

Here are some U.K. and European manufacturers that deserve credit for the guns that they created.

  • W. & C. Scott
  • James Purdey and Sons
  • Westley Richards
  • Verney Carron
  • Manufrance
  • Merkel
  • Springer
  • Heym
  • Ugartechea
  • Franchi
  • Abbiatico & Salvinelli
  • AYA
  • Guyout
  • Arrieta
  • Beretta

How To Value Antique Double Barrel Shotguns?

Now that you know what companies usually made double-barrel shotguns back in the day, how do you identify the value of your shotgun? Here are a couple of pointers that might be able to help you.

Chamber length

Older shotguns used to be equipped with shorter chambers. A modern shell can’t pass through that chamber. You will need to consider the chamber gauge as well. When it comes to 16 and 20-gauge shotguns, the shorter guns are usually more valuable.


You will need to check if the action is loose or feels too tight. Hold the barrels tightly to feel what the action feels like. If they feel too loose, then your gun value will decrease a lot. As you will need to spend some time to fix that. If you do so, it decreases the value. That’s just how it is.


Barrels are made out of metal. They will lose their shine and quality. If they imitate a bell-like sound when you flick a finger on it, that usually means it’s in good condition and can be used with little to no repair. But if it feels solid and has no echo at all, then you will need to properly clean it up. If it’s too damaged and not fixable, your gun’s value might become zero.


Last but not least the stock. Older shotguns used thick wood as their stock. They didn’t have reinforced polymers to use that instead. And wood tends to show its age if kept in an improper place with no maintenance. Make sure the stock is not cracked and still is in a position where it’s redeemable.

Involve the professional

Listen, you and I can take all day searching on the internet and trying to figure out the actual value of the gun, but we won’t be able to reach a conclusive finish line. I would request you to get your gun checked by a professional as well to identify its actual value of it.


No matter how good you might be at finding antiques, it’s always recommended to cross-check your findings with a professional. That way, you will not get duped ever or get undervalued and scammed.

Hopefully, this guide was able to direct you to the right path and help you identify old double-barrel shotguns. If so, I’m glad I took my time to write up something to help you guys. As usual, thanks a lot for spending your time with me. I will see you guys on the next one. Till then, take care and have fun.

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