How can i be %100 sure my shotgun is safe?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by ding2134, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. ding2134

    ding2134 Member

    Hey everybody. I know this shotgun isnt the same gun i am going to reference, but the only single shot shotgun i could find on the site. I have an iver johnson 12 ga single shot breakaway champion shotgun that was given to me by my great grandfather. The shotgun from what i have found is 100+ years old. I have never shot a shotgun, period. This gun has just sat for years in my posession just as a conversation piece, but i am just itching to shoot it now. I bought some standard winchester bird shot to do so thinking I should get the ammo with the least "power or kick" so to speak. My issue is the actual safety of the gun. It feels solid as a new gun, very smooth action, hammer, trigger pull, no rust, shells load and eject well, but i am apprehensive to shoot it just because of the age. Is there anything in particular i should look for or do in order to decide if i can shoot this gun? I have not cleaned the gun in any way and am not even sure how you would or if you should. Thank you for your time and i hope someone can help me make the decision to shoot this gun or do what needs to be done to shoot it. My great grandfather passed away and it would be awesome to have my first shotgun shot to be from this piece of history he passed down to me.
  2. Shadowlogic

    Shadowlogic New Member

    @ding2134 if everything looks ok, no rust, no protrusions in the barrel or anything like that it should be fine, my dad is an antique fire arms enthusiast i've shot rifles and shotguns that are 100+ the oldest rifle that i have fired was made back in 1893 so as long as everything functions fine the easiest way to find out is to pull the trigger.. you may want to look for weak spots or thin spots in the metal near the end of the barrel from previous shooting..

  3. ulgydog56

    ulgydog56 Well-Known Member


    GOANRA Well-Known Member

    Gunsmith can give you a good idea, but won't be 100% (no such thing)... micro fractures, etc.

    Still have a smith check it out + appraise it, in writing, for your insurance.

    Then, if you HAVE to shoot it, use low-powder target shell and remove the shot.

    Only clean the innards. Don't alter furniture, patina, etc.

    Sounds great, enjoy it!!
  5. teejay5324

    teejay5324 New Member

    Definitely a gunsmith, have them break it down and clean it and they should be able to test fire it as well. I know it's good to keep the original patina and wear, but if there is rust or pitting on the barrel you may want them to re-blue it while it's there. Good luck and let us know how it works out. oh - and be prepared, there is no such thing as "least kick" with a 12 ga. Just keep it firm to the shoulder and you will be fine. Or take a safety course first if you are unsure. Good luck.

    GOANRA Well-Known Member

    Take someone you could do without into the woods under the pretense of rabbit or squirrel hunting (possibly an anoying in-law).
    Casually compliment their gun and ask if you can try it... and offer to let them try yours...and politely let them go first, while you stand behind a large tree.
    Afterwards, count their fingers and such. Then, give 'em a couple more shells, just to be sure.

    Plan B: Go out to a large field and hang it from a tree limb with the butt tight to the limb & the barrel facing downwards. Take a couple hundred feet of twine & tie it to the trigger & toss it over the branch and walk a couple hundred feet away & set the twine down, go load a HD shell into the SG.
    Return to the ball of twine & give it a tug. Check to see if SG is still in one piece.
    Repeat until you are satisfied it is safe.

    Trust me, I went to College.