The interesting history behind these OC readers’ vintage guns


Appraising an 1800s Kentucky rifle, a 1940s Model 94 and two historic Belgian guns

I enjoy your articles. I’m curious about this double-barrelled pistol (above), which I found at an estate auction. I couldn’t resist buying it at $25. Thanks and all the best.

Gord Steinke

Edmonton, Alberta

That’s an interesting old gun. The proof marks are Belgian, and they indicate the gun was proved for smokeless powder (the P.V. means poudre vive, which is French for “bright powder”). Some sources say this proof mark was introduced in 1898, but it’s unusual to find a double-barrelled handgun for smokeless powder cartridges from that era. By then, smokeless powder revolvers had pretty much taken over, and there was considerable interest in semi-automatic designs.

The workmanship of your pistol appears quite good, judging mainly by the checkering and carving on the wooden grip and the overall fit of the parts. I have no idea what cartridge it was chambered to accept, however. There’s not much more I can tell you except that it’s a neat old relic, and that for $25, you could hardly go wrong.

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