Object Title

Centrefire breech-loading double-barrelled shotgun - Wesson 1867 Patent

Centrefire breech-loading double-barrelled shotgun - Wesson 1867 Patent

Date

1871

Object Number

XII.10167

Provenance

Purchased in auction at Christies, King St. London. Lot 129. sale no. PAN-4807. 15th July 1992.

Physical Description

Fitted with lift-up top-lever, rebounding backlocks with high-spurred hammers, sprung-strikers, best foliate engraving. Well figured stock with extension, the wooden filleted action bar fitted with horn-lipped and bolted fore-end. The barrels are damascus twist and browned

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 45.5 in (1156 mm), Barrel length: 30 in (762 mm), Weight: 6 lb 15 oz

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number 69

Calibre

12 bore

Inscriptions and Marks

Underside of each barrel stamped with the combined monogram of D.B. Wesson and Dexter Smith, the gauge and the monogram of J.W. Storrs

Associations

Notes

See Robert J. Neal & Roy G. Jinks, 'Smith and Wesson 1857-1945', 1A.s. Barnes & Co. Inc. South Brunswick, 1966. pp. 240-245.


The total production of this design appears to have amounted to about 219 and production seems to have lasted for four years, 1867-1871.
Unfortunatly this shotgun was not completed in the life span of the company 1867-70. The gun was sold after D. B. Wesson purchased the remaining assets in 1871. The records show that it was to be built as a Deluxe Monogram Grade, and this grade retailed for $225 in 1870. Since the company did not have an order for this gun there was no proof information in the proof record book.
These shotguns were of the highest quality and had a retail price of $175. In fact it was America's first high quality cartridge shotgun and was directed at the very exclusive high price sporting market and for this reason was not widely accepted. The affluent sportsmen of the United States still preferred the higher priced English and European shotguns even though the Wesson Fire Arms Company gun was of equal or better quality.
Therefore, in December of 1871, D. B. Wesson discontinued production after manufacturing 219 shotguns.
During the 1870's, Mr. Wesson assembled from parts a small quantity of these shotguns on special request. Limited quantities of these shotguns were marked with the famous Smith & Wesson name rather than the original name of Wesson Fire Arms Company. Some of these shotguns were also manufactured with unmarked barrels and some could have been assembled by Smith & Wesson as well as Dexter Smith, son of Horace Smith, and Charles Parker who also purchased some of the excess parts.
(Personnal communication between Roy Jinks and M. Murray-Flutter, January 1993.)