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I received yesterday, a single-shot break action .410 shotgun. It says "Diamond Arms, St. Louis" on the left side of the receiver and has a plastic Stevens butt plate.

I've seen these listed as a Stevens Mod. 94, but also read that this was a "hardware store gun" made by Iver Johnson for Diamond Arms. I understand they were to be low cost utility guns, and still generally come in at under $100.

The Lady I got it from said it came out here from Nebraska, when she and her family moved here in 1937, she's 92 and sharp as a tack. Her Dad got it refinished in 1939 by a gunsmith in Oakland, and it hasn't been fired since, it hadn't even been out of the canvas case or taken from the hooks above the inside of the hall closet door since then.

It was all greased up and stored very well, I cleaned it and it looks darn near new.

Anyway, the question is, does anyone know what choke this was likely made in? or have any experiences with this type of shotgun?

Here's one, more to come,

 

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Looks like a great lightweight .410

Drop a bore guage into the muzzle and you'll know in a twinkle what the choke is. No predicting it, you've pretty much gotta check it with the guage.

Haul it over to yer local gunshop... he'll surely have one on the counter.
 

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Personally I've never seen a single shot gun like you describe that wasn't sold as a full choke. When I was a kid, people didn't want to pay their $19.49 and get just a half-choke, they wanted a complete return on their investment! :)

Seriously, those guns were sold to rifle shooters who wanted a shotgun that behaved like a rifle. People used to say that their shotguns got better over time as if they aged like whisky, but really they were just shooting the chokes out of them and getting better patterns.
 

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Personally I've never seen a single shot gun like you describe that wasn't sold as a full choke.
I would tend to agree... for the .410. The small shot charge of the .410 required a full choke to get it out past 30' with any pattern integrity. Someone made a defensive .410 shotgun (the Snake Charmer, IIRC...) that may have had an open choke or something, that may be an exception.

My very first firearm was a H&R Topper single-shot in 20ga, I think it had a modified choke... I know it wasn't a full.

Congrats on the shotgun... they are quite fun to shoot, I always take my H&R .410 when we bust clays and go through a box or two. It makes you pick your shots, but when you do your part, you are rewarded with a duster, just like a 12ga!
 

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I will bet if you look at the muzzle close you will see the end of the barrel tapper down indicating a full choke, most single shot guns were done this way to save in machining cost.

Casey
 

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Hotlead, in my experience even these "Store Brand" crack barrels had markings on the barrel showing the factory choke. Pull the forend off, and get any stamp info off. Sometimes it was just a couple of asterisks along with the gauge/size shell it would take. Hopefully it's not chambered for the 2 1/2" .410 shotshell (now obsolete). dozier
 

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Unless the barrel has been cut off, it is full choke as noted above. Reducing the barrel was known as 'swage' choking, cutting a recess inside a couple of inches behind the muzzle was known as 'jug' choking. There was no SAAMI back then so each Mfr was pretty much on his own to determine how much choke was 'full', and some companies were tighter than others. That's why one guy will have a 'Monkey Wards' that shoots like a rifle, and another has a 'OTASCO' that sprays like a garden hose, and both guns were made by the same Mfr, usually Stevens/Springfield, Chicopee Falls, MA.
Trivia: these guns were made to keep the factories open, the workers busy, the Second Amendment alive, and meat on the table during the 1930s depression. They were not meant to be fired extensively or to last for years, not planned obsolescence at all, merely affordability. The fact that they not only survive, but continue to give service, is a powerful statement to the work ethics and engineering genius of this Great Country. dave
 

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Unless the barrel has been cut off, it is full choke as noted above. Reducing the barrel was known as 'swage' choking, cutting a recess inside a couple of inches behind the muzzle was known as 'jug' choking. There was no SAAMI back then so each Mfr was pretty much on his own to determine how much choke was 'full', and some companies were tighter than others. That's why one guy will have a 'Monkey Wards' that shoots like a rifle, and another has a 'OTASCO' that sprays like a garden hose, and both guns were made by the same Mfr, usually Stevens/Springfield, Chicopee Falls, MA.
Trivia: these guns were made to keep the factories open, the workers busy, the Second Amendment alive, and meat on the table during the 1930s depression. They were not meant to be fired extensively or to last for years, not planned obsolescence at all, merely affordability. The fact that they not only survive, but continue to give service, is a powerful statement to the work ethics and engineering genius of this Great Country. dave
One attribute they had (have) in the larger gauges was (is) to kick like a mule crossed with a rattlesnake, thereby encouraging kids to save on ammuntion! It sure worked on me anyway, I thought twice before shooting anything.
 

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These things seem to last a good long time. I'm not sure when my old .410 was made, but I'd guess 1920s or 30s sometime. It spent most of its life behind the kitchen door of a farmhouse, ready to be picked up if varmints needed to be eliminated in the barn or the garden. It's marked "Columbia", but I think it was made by Crescent. All the bluing is worn off, and the lockup is a trifle loose, but it still shoots 2 1/2" shells just fine, and it's not rusty anywhere. I really don't have much use for it, myself, but I have stuck it in the car on camping trips, just for snake and rat control around the campground.
 

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hey gc, i had a columbia 12. i got it from my step dad, he got it from his grand dad. it was perfect & barrel said "12 gauge choke". you are the only other person i ever heard of even seeing a columbia. i gave it to one of my buds who gave it to his brother to keep hawks outta his chicken yard. it is in elizabeth la now, still working for a living.
andy
 
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