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JerryH
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British Proof Mark ?
Mar 12th, 2020 at 12:39pm
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I know the proof marks are London proofs for Provisional, View, and Definitive Black Powder for shotgun and muzzle loader barrels, but what does the mark circled in red mean? This is an 1885 Winchester rifle that was converted to 20 gauge shotgun.

Jerry H
  

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John Boy
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #1 - Mar 12th, 2020 at 1:58pm
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Possibly that the original action was a 44 caliber?
  

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Joe Do...
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #2 - Mar 12th, 2020 at 2:50pm
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I believe this might be the way the English measure bore diameter, meaning 44 "Balls to the Pound" (Gauge) but that would make the bore diameter .474" ... which could be for the original .45-75 caliber.
  
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Old-Win
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #3 - Mar 12th, 2020 at 5:26pm
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Jerry, the 44 is probably a bore gauge number but it does not correspond to diameter like ours do here in the United States. Jonathan Kirton wrote about it in his book on the British Falling Block Rifles  but he does not have a real good explanation for it and was unable to figure out the meaning. A bore gauge of 52 has a bore diameter of .450"and a bore gauge of 49 has a bore diameter of .456". My Deeley & Edge has a bore gauge number of 52 and is a bore diameter of .450". If I'm reading his chart correctly,  he said bore gauge numbers were dropped in 1887.  What is the year of your high wall? Is it a very early serial number ? Bob
  
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JerryH
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #4 - Mar 12th, 2020 at 5:42pm
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Bob,

The serial number places it in early 1887.

JerryH
  

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JerryH
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #5 - Mar 22nd, 2020 at 11:15pm
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Back up for another look hoping for more ideas/answers. Thanks for the responses.

If I go with Joe Do... that it translates into .474 is it possible that the neck diameter was measured rather than the groove diameter?

Cartridges Of The World shows a neck diameter of .478 for the 45-75 WCF. Pretty close and I'm sure there was some variation.

Just looking for more ideas/answers on what it means.

Thanks,
JerryH

  

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marlinguy
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #6 - Mar 23rd, 2020 at 11:36am
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Just a thought, but the markings may vary in age, and when they were applied. Likely it got proofed when it arrived in London in the original caliber. Then when modified to it's present configuration it got proofed again. So some markings relate to the original caliber, and some to the present chamber.
  

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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #7 - Mar 23rd, 2020 at 4:39pm
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it does not look like a british gauge mark to me.
they do not have a point before the number for the ones I've seen (mostly 52 gauge marks on rifles  from the 1870's) and they only have 2 digits.

This I read as .440
which is then on british marked guns either a bore caliber in inch or the length of the cartridge (but these are normally over the barrel, not under, and in this case it is obviously not possible  Smiley

the other marks can not really help dating the proofing time as they have been in use for a very long period of time without changes.
  
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #8 - Mar 23rd, 2020 at 6:23pm
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I finally dug out my copy of A. Baron Engelhardt's The Story of European Proof Marks, which is still accepted as the definitive story thereof through the immediate post-WWII years.  In the section on British proving requirements and accompanying marks, ".440" is found in only one table, the "Scale of Proof Loads for Breech Loaders".  That table, in use from 1887 to 1904, was for barrels that were rifled, choke-bored, or neither.  The ".440" referred therein to the diameter of the proof bullet for a barrel with a .460 bore, which fell within the dimensions of a 47 Gauge (.463-.460).  So why stamp it on the barrel?  Because a .443 proof bullet was used for the larger 47 Gauge bores.

I hope that was understandable and helpful.

Bill Lawrence
  
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JerryH
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #9 - Mar 23rd, 2020 at 7:48pm
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Thank you everyone for your responses.

Bill,

I really appreciate you taking the time to find that information, and explain what that mark means.

Another mystery solved.

Thanks again,
JerryH
  

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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #10 - Mar 24th, 2020 at 7:18am
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Thank you for the research Bill. I'll have to pickup a copy of that book.

Joe
  
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MrTipUp
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #11 - Mar 24th, 2020 at 10:16am
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I'm sorry, Joe and others, I wasn't clear enough.  Engelhardt's work is actually a very long monograph.  But it must have been printed, for my copy is the one John Amber included in his first Gun Digest Treasury (1956).

Bill Lawrence
  
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Re: British Proof Mark ?
Reply #12 - Mar 25th, 2020 at 10:30pm
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In the back of Madis' Winchester Book, there are a bunch of miscellaneous markings found on Winchesters,  One of them is the number 47, with a period under it, the number specified as "Inspector's marks, from 1 to 100 incl., with dot."

The height specified for the number was .05".

Your "dot" isn't under the number, but otherwise looks pretty close to the spec.  Kind of like the little paper in mould boxes and with other articles that says "Inspected by No. 325," or whatever.

"Assembly marks" followed the same number sequence, but had a "dash" associated with them.
  
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