View Full Version : Need Help with ID on 2 Very old Shotguns - Possible Zulu

01-05-2015, 01:31 PM
These two have been in the family forever and a day.
Iíve always been told they were Zulu guns which were rifles bored out to 12 gauge shotguns and used in the Boer War.
They are identical except one has no firing pin and the pin securing the hinged breech is slightly longer in one with the end hole on a different angle.
Iíd appreciate any and all information as possible to help identify the guns and any history about them, when and what purpose they had etc.
The proof marks on on one of the photo's.
Not sure if Iím going to sell them or not as they just sit in the safe.
Thanks for your time and my email is bgoodyear@rakon.ca
Barry G.

01-05-2015, 01:48 PM
This is going to bother me.....I know that action from somewhere and can't remember the name, at work with no library at hand either......any sign of where a sight used to be? If the barrels were converted from a large bore rifle I'd think they might have remnants of the rear sight somewhere. Interesting pieces. Similar to a Snider conversion but it appears purpose built for a cartridge rather than a converted muzzleloader.

01-05-2015, 02:10 PM
There's no evidence of a rear sight (there's a very small flat spot immediately forward of the breach with no markings or grooves), however there is a very little steel nub for a foresight.

Rory McCanuck
01-05-2015, 04:35 PM
Converted Snider-Enfield?

01-06-2015, 11:15 AM
Converted Snider-Enfield?

The swinging block operates in the same fashion as the Snider (from what I see) but is much shorter than the swinging portion on the Snider. The Snider, being a muzzleloader with part of the breech end of the barrel lopped off doesn't have that notch in the back end allowing for the shell to slip in and out, therefore the swinging block is as long as a .577 cartridge to allow for extraction and insertion. I know I've seen these somewhere and it's making me crazy...

01-06-2015, 11:20 AM
http://i1328.photobucket.com/albums/w534/kennymo81/Mobile%20Uploads/D3200722-F29D-44A3-9174-FBC51C0FEFB2_zps4kj2uczh.jpg (http://s1328.photobucket.com/user/kennymo81/media/Mobile%20Uploads/D3200722-F29D-44A3-9174-FBC51C0FEFB2_zps4kj2uczh.jpg.html)

The Snider breach area for comparison. The Enfield lock is quite a bit different as well.

01-06-2015, 04:52 PM
Goody, On your third pic of the close-up of the open breech. I can see Belgium proofs indicating a Damascus steel barrel. This mark was used up until about the 1890s for the government safety inspection that was put on before commercial sale. There are other proofs but they are not clear enough for me to interpret them. This action appears to be similar to some that were used and sold off in the latter part of the 1800, possibly from the 1850s to the 1870s. I cannot be sure because there may be other marks that are not visible or under the wood that clarify.

01-06-2015, 10:30 PM
I'll take a better look and it looks pretty easy to take off the stock and see if there are additional marks.
I'll try to get a clearer pic; a little though to focus on.

01-06-2015, 11:05 PM
Found this on the interwebz. Looks like the action is a modified knockoff of the Snider design as used by the French to convert their own muzzle loaders. Starting in 1864, so pretty much identical timing with the Brits and just before the Americans started with the trapdoor Springfield conversions. The Belgians bought them up as obsolete then, as you thought, drilled them out to 12 bore. Should be Belgian proofs on the barrel and French markings on the lock if alls in order. I've got nothing on the Zulu connection but I see this one was listed as the same?

This is a Snider style conversion of an 1853 French Military musket. Originally a percussion muzzle loader, most were converted to breech loading about 1864 for use in the Franco-Prussian war(1870-71)which the French lost. They were called Tabatiere muskets as the soldiers thought the Snider conversions looked like snuff boxes. After the war, most of the converted muskets were sold to Belgian arms dealers who converted them to 12 gauge shotguns by boring out the barrels and sporterizing the stock. Many were sold to westward bound settlers by Sears as well as suppliers like Schuyler, Hartley & Graham. Although use mainly to put food on the table, one was actually used in a double murder in McGregor, Mn in 1895. This particular shotgun is in fine condition, with a mostly shiny bore in its 32 inch barrel,and what appears to be the original finish. It has French proofs on the barrel, lock and trigger guard and Belgian proofs on the breech block. A most unusual feature is the date 1881 and the initials GB marked on the stock. As this was an estate find, there was no documentation to the markings.