Friday, December 14, 2012

Darne M1892 Rotating Breech Shotgun...

Had a Mr. Charles D____ bring this in for identification.  I will attempt to post here all I know about it.  It is a Darne manufactured side by side shotgun, apparently chambered for the 12 ga. 2½" shell but I was unable to verify this as I had no tools, not even a proper screwdriver with which to remove the forearm.  It was definitely made before WWII as it was found in the forest by a US GI (Mr. D's father) during the Battle of the Bulge.  I think we can safely say that this is a pretty unique acquisitional circumstance!

I got to shoulder the gun and it fits me to a "T".  I'd love to quail hunt with such a gun.  It is light, well made, comes to the shoulder easily and my eye is correctly aligned right down the rib.  With light 12 or 16 ga loads it would be a delight on upland game.
The action closed as seen from the right

The Butt Plate
Regis Darne is the designer and obviously he had a unique approach to solving engineering problems.  This was his first approach to the problem and in 1881 he produced a hammer gun in which everthing rotated to the right to open the breach.  Of his rotary breach guns, the 1881 has hammers, the 1892 does not and the 1908 has the lever on top in a more (now) conventional position.  This last gun was produced in very limited numbers, some say as few as 1000 guns were made.  Darne probably saw that his own sliding breach shotgun, for which he is much better known here, was a better system and less expensive to produce.
The muzzles showing the "feather" rib and sight bead

The action open as seen from the right side
I don't think that there are very many in the U.S. as this is the first I've seen.  Further, I can't remember reading much about them.  Regis Darne's later sliding breach shotgun is much more well known.

The owner wanted a value on this gun.  I believe it has the shorter chambers and may not be nitro proofed.  But, again, I was unable to check because I didn't have a proper screwdriver or measuring tool.  I estimated that it was worth between $2500 and $3000.  I have now seen values nearing $4500 for this gun.  I suspect that other gauges might be more desirable and perhaps more or less common.  That has to affect value.
The action open as seen from the rear

The rib at the breach showing the matting and barrel marking

In sequence this is the method of operating the action...

- Darne by Jean Michel


Anonymous said...

A friend has one of the other type of Darne shotguns.
He brought it along on a grouse hunt years ago. I got to handle it, but
not shoot it.
Interesting gun.

I was not aware of the rotary breech Darnes.

Anonymous said...

My dad has one of these guns with the rotating breech. It's very old. Any idea where / how he can get the gun appraised in NJ?

Hobie said...

I am completely unfamiliar with any gun dealers in New Jersey so I can't help you with a recommendation for an appraiser. You might try calling auction houses there or in New York.

I would say though, that if he has one of these guns it is no older than 1892. To me, that isn't very old as it is only about 60 years older than I am...