Almost A Relic

I was reading “The Best Of Nash Buckingham”, by George Bird Evans and came across Nash and his friends using 10 gauge, W & C Scott And Sons, shotguns on ducks and geese in Mississippi and Arkansas.  Around the turn of the 20th century, when he was a boy, if the owner of one of these prized guns wasn’t using it, Nash laid claim to it.  The adult members of their exclusive shooting club, Beaver Dam Duck Club, preferred the large charges, 4 drams of powder and 1-¼ ounces of number 4 shot, that these big bore, 10’s propelled at their quarry.
Now for the rest of the story!
When I was a mere lad in high school, I traded a throwing knife to one of my friends for an old shotgun, a Damascus barrel, 10, gauge with a gold shield inlaid into the comb of the stock.  The gun was in good condition except that it had a severely broken stock right where the action joined. My friend said that he thought someone had been hit with it.  Into the closet at my Mom’ and Dad’s it went for 20 years until I moved to Arizona.

Having a real good job and some extra money, before I left I took the stock to a local gun shop that specialized in repairing antique fire arms. And, for safekeeping, I took the shotgun, sans stock, to my brother-in-law, Jim.   With the owner mentioning what a pretty piece of wood it was, I left it with him and told him that I would call in about a month.
That month turned into 5 and when I went back to Houston, I stopped by the shop and was greeted by a vacant building.  One call to another gun shop and I found out that the proprietor had died and creditors claimed the inventory.

For the next 35 years the old, shotgun slipped my mind, until Jim died and his wife asked me if I knew anything about the old shotgun without a stock?  The memories of the original trade, leaving the gun, taking the stock to be fixed and the shop being vacated, flooded through my mind.  “Yes, I certainly remember my old gun!”

Brad, who is an excellent gunsmith, picked up the gun for me and said he could get another stock for it and fix the trigger sear.  Over the years the trigger sear had been broken, probably from the original wallop.  Brad, really doing a great job, added a new stock and he also machined a new sear and then the old gun went up on my ranch house, wall.
We knew the gun was a 10 gauge, W.& C. Scott And Sons, shotgun and the mention of one like it in the book, spurred me to get it down and take a closer look.
Sure enough, the underside of the barrel shows that the gun is a 10 gauge and can safely handle 4 drams of powder and throw out 1-1/4 ounces of shot, just like Nash mentioned.

The serial number is 6492 and the gun, a very low serial number one, since the numbers ran into the 60,000’s, was a Premier Model, probably built around 1890 and it has over 50 percent of the “brown” still on it.  Back then guns weren’t blued.

Except for the barrels and stock, the gun is covered with beautiful engraving.  The receiver frame, trigger guard, hammers, sight ramp and even the release mechanism on the fore end are covered with the etchings.  This along with the “flowerly” shapes of the wrapped steel, better known as, Damascus, barrels give the old shotgun loads of appeal.

The W & C Scott And Sons, 10 gauge, graces the wall in my ranch house eagerly awaiting a call to service that will never come, the twist steel barrels are just too risky to chance, but it is a great conversation piece – Almost A Relic!