Ethan Allen & Co. Hinge Breech 12 GA SXS Hammer Double Shotgun, Antique

SOLD FOR: $710.00

WOA#: WY240321KS030

Make: Ethan Allen & Co

Model: Hinge Breech Hammer Double Shotgun

Serial Number: 291

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1865-1871

Gauge: 12 Gauge, Black Powder only

Action Type: Side by Side, Hinge-Breech, Dual Trigger Shotgun with Manual Extractor

Markings: The top of the breech-block is marked “ETHAN ALLEN & Co. WORCESTER MASS. / ALLEN’S PAT’S” with patent dates. The top of the rib is marked “Fine Stub Twist” in gothic script. The serial number is marked on the bottom of the breech-block. There is decorative engraving on the receiver.

Barrel Length: 27 1/2″

Choke: Both are Cylinder Bore, Fixed.

Sights / Optics: There is a silver-colored bead at the front of the rib.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two piece checkered walnut with wedge-secured forend, straight wrist, straight comb and smooth steel buttplate. The forend ha a triangular inlay at the front. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. The forend has some losses on the left edge. There are cracks in the wrist on each side. There is a small loss at the toe where the buttplate is dented. The forend checkering is worn almost completely smooth, the wrist checkering also shows wear but is better defined. The LOP measures 14 1/4″ and 13 3/8″ from the fronts of the triggers to the back of the buttplate. The plate has scattered erosion and is dented at the toe. The drop at comb is approximately 2 1/4″, drop at heel 2 3/4″. Overall, the stocks are in Good-plus condition as refinished Antique.

Type of Finish: Browned & Case Color

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bores are gray. There is scattered erosion and pitting in the bores with a few shallow dents visible in the bores. In this writer’s opinion, the bores rate 4 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 65% of its metal finish. Most surfaces of the barrel assembly show good twist patterning with wear toward the muzzle-end and some areas going to a light-moderate patina. The receiver has mostly gone to a light patina. The top tang appears to have been altered or repaired. There are some light nicks and scratches. There is some scattered light surface oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this shotgun rates in Good-Very Good condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The hammers each fall from the safety notch when the triggers are pulled. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The guard is pulled down to operate the extractor. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: Ethan Allen (ca. 1808-1871) was one of the most important gunmakers in the United States during the early-mid 19th century. He created his first firearm in 1836 and remained a prolific gunmaker until his passing in 1871. During a career that spanned nearly four decades, Allen made a variety of different firearms which included falling block rifles, percussion revolvers and just about anything in between. Perhaps most common were his various pepperbox revolvers, but among the least common are the hinge-breech double shotguns produced by his firm.

With fine twist steel barrels hung on the frame, the design used a breech-block hinged to a receiver to allow loading from the breech-end. The block contained the firing pins as well as a lever which activated a pin to release or lock the block to the receiver. The guard was also hinged, operating an extractor. The result is a quite interesting design, from the era in which there was a wide variety of mechanisms to allow for breech-loading, but none had really been proven “correct”.

This example shows its age, but is a fascinating piece. It will definitely stand out in a collection of early breech-loading doubles. Please see our pictures and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Ethan Allen & Co. Hinge Breech 12 GA SXS Hammer Double Shotgun, Antique
Ethan Allen & Co. Hinge Breech 12 GA SXS Hammer Double Shotgun, Antique