SHOTGUNS FOR SALE.
The shotgun has long occupied a place in the history of hunting in the united states.
The earliest shotguns, or “haile shotte peics,” as they were called, date back to the 16th century in england, where they were used for hunting by the aristocracy, chief among them henry viii.
These were multiple shot firearms and were used primarily for hunting birds.
The english continued to refine the design of guns over the next three centuries, culminating with the application of percussion ignition in the 19th century, and the introduction of a fully functional hinged breech in the 1830s.
Finally, the advantages of a new cartridge that contained the primer, propellant, projectile, and firing pin, heralded the birth of the modern shotgun.
While shotguns of the muzzleloader and musket types were originally imported to america from england and other european countries, it was an american—daniel myron lefever—who is credited with having invented the first hammerless shotgun in 1878.
A gunmaker by profession, lefever was popularly known in his day as “uncle dan” and he was a partner in several gun manufacturing companies in new york.
His design for a new shotgun featured a cocking lever on the side of the breech, the first of its kind.
That year saw lefever win first prize for the best breech-loading shotgun at the st. Louis bench show and sportsman’s association.
The gunsmith patented the hammerless shotgun in 1880, and even improved upon the design in the three years that followed, by internalizing the cocking mechanism to function only when the breech was closed.
The end result of these innovations in shotgun design helped the shotgun find widespread use throughout the american west, as a firearm with a smooth bore designed for firing a shotshell containing a charge of small shot at relatively short ranges.
The period of 1880 to 1930 has been called a “golden age” in shotgun production in america.
One of the earliest gunsmithing companies, parker brothers, started after the civil war and produced 240,000 guns by the hand-assembly of machine-made gun parts.
The parker inventory included shotguns ranging from lightweight bird guns to heavier caliber gauges for waterfowl hunting.
This approach to manufacturing made guns more plentiful than ever before for the masses.
An upland hunter writing under the pen name “cervus” described an optimum shotgun for summer shooting of grouse in 1890, typical of the kind available at that time period: “i have always used a 12-gauge, 8 lb. Gun, with 4 drs. Fg powder, and one ounce of no. 10 shot.
I used such a gun because it was what i had, and i could not afford two. If i could afford a gun specifically for grouse, as long as they would lie to the dog, it would be a 16-gauge, 26-inch barrels, 6 to 7 lb.
Gun, with 3 drs. Powder and three-quarters of an ounce of no. 10 shot. The shooting is the simplest and easiest of all game shooting.”
By the early 20th century, american-made shotguns were offered as everyday items for purchase through local gun dealers and national chains, such as sears & roebuck.
In the 1908 catalog produced by that company, the section “guns and revolvers” included 23 pages devoted to shotguns alone, such as the line of a.j. aubrey hammerless double-barrel shotguns produced at the sears & roebuck firearms factory in meriden, ct. Some models, like the company’s new england hammerless, were sold for as little as $11.95.
Catalogs of the day provided a wide assortment of shotguns for purchase, marketing them as the “genuine american gun” with models that were double- and single-barrel; combination shotgun and rifle, or other “side-by-side” barrel combinations; self-loading magazine; repeating shotguns (marlin and winchester 1897 models); and automatic shell ejection (baker and remington models).
Hunters could scarce believe their good fortune with the low cost, 20-year guarantees, and 60-day free trial periods that came with many of these purchases.
For the upland hunter of america’s woods, fields, streams and marshes, the shotgun has become a reliable standby for success.
As the american sportsmen replaced the pioneers, these guns needed to be reliable in all kinds of weather, lightweight if possible, able to be carried all day, and affordable in cost.
Shotguns could also be versatile to cover a range of uses, whether a hunter was going after ducks and geese at the crack of dawn, quail and pheasant in the evening, or sought larger game by trading out bird shot for lead slugs.