The general consensus on Belgian shot-guns

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Kawshik Rahman, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Hello ,
    Fellow respected forum members. As those of you who read my articles on these forums probably know , l am an admirer of side by side shot-guns . I consider myself to have extensive experience and knowledge with English game guns and Italian shot-guns and passable knowledge regarding American and Spanish shot-guns . I am afraid l am most ignorant about Belgian shot-guns ( Except Browning ).
    May l ask what the general consensus here is , about Belgian side by side shot-guns among forum members ? Do hunters here have positive or negative views of these guns ?
    Any insight is gladly appreciated
    Sgt Kawshik Rahman ( Retd)
     

  2. Hammergun

    Hammergun AH Member

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    Like most countries, they were capable of turning out guns of any quality. Cheap stuff sold in hardware stores to best quality guns the equal of almost anything. You must judge each gun on it's merits.
     
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  3. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Hammer gun
    Thank you so much for your insight.
     

  4. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Kawshik, please post photos of the shotgun in question and give as much detail as you can. If possible show the proof marks.
     
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  5. perttime

    perttime AH Veteran

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    I believe this is a general question about Belgian shotguns, not about one specific gun.

    Based on what I have read, you cannot judge a shotgun by its country of origin. Many countries have produced shotguns that are excellent, good, mediocre or barely adequate. Even many brands have done the same, over the years.
     
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  6. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Shootist43
    Thank you for your Kind suggestion. I will try to acquire some some pictures of it soon and post it here.
     

  7. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Perttime
    I apologize for the vague question. There were actually so many Belgian companies producing side by side shot-guns up to the mid 20th century , that l would have a difficult time mentioning or even remembering all of their names. I will try to make a list .
    I have seen one example recently by Auguste Francotte which had 70 millimeter chambers and the left barrel was a half choke , while the right barrel was a quarter choke. The gun seems to have had no problem using German slug type bullets , because it’s previous owner ( now deceased ) used to shoot Sambhar deer and a few bears with it using German Brenneke type slug bullets.
     

  8. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Regrettably, particularly in the Damascus era, the Belgians produced a lot of very cheaply made doubles for export. Many of them found there way to the US. Paradoxically, at the same time, they were building some of the finest shotguns and rifles ever made by human hands. The cheap guns have a well earned reputation for coming off face, ribs separating, stocks cracking etc, etc. The best ones are truly exceptional. I have a Galand (Paris) Sidelock made in Liege that is as fine as any English gun I have ever seen. @ActionBob has a Marcel Thys double rifle that is as good as any Rigby ever produced in the golden era. And let us not forget, for those of us of a certain age, "Belgian Browning" was the epitome of a quality built production arms. A Belgian Superposed is still one of the finest OUs ever produced. Francotte is an excellent well respected brand. They built both basic boxlocks that were durable and very shootable, and some of the finest sidelocks produced in Liege. Also, the Francotte mauser-based rifles are wonderful and expensive finds.
     

  9. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Reg Leg
    Thank you so much for your informative reply. That answers my questions very accurately . So , as l understand , the good Belgian shot-gun firms are predominantly Fabrique Nationale ( Browning ) , August Francotte and Marcel Thys . A gentleman passed away in Bangladesh recently and since neither of his children are interested in fire arms , his shot-gun came to Bangladesh Shooting Federation today and l had the opportunity to examine it . It is made by the firm , Auguste Francotte and have 70 millimeter chambers . It is a side by side 12 bore shot-gun . The left barrel is a half choke and the right barrel is a quarter choke . Seeing it got me fascinated , since my interests lie predominantly with the English game guns and Italian over under shot-guns , and l have fair knowledge and experience with Spanish shot-guns and American shot-guns. However , l knew nothing about Belgian shot-guns and where they stand in terms of quality. Again , l am most grateful for your assistance.
     
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  10. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    A few more than just those three - particularly at the higher end.
     
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  11. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Red Leg
    I am under the impression that they were made in bulk for export market. Today , l was reading about Belgian shot-gun on internet and at least four dozen names of makers were there from the late 1800s to the 1960s decade. You are correct. There must have been some other good ones as well.
     

  12. leslie hetrick

    leslie hetrick AH Enthusiast

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    i think you get what you pay for and the top end shotguns for any country would be ok. not a Belgian made double, but a browning BSS sporter 20ga 3" chambered 28" barrels with SST-SE made in japan in the late 70,s that has been hunted by 3 generation of hunters and with firing thousands of factory-reloads is till tight as ever.

    DSCN0050 (2).JPG DSCN0051 (2).JPG DSCN0052 (2).JPG DSCN0053 (2).JPG
     
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  13. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Leslie Hetrick
    Thank you so much. I have seen a 12 bore variant of this fire arm. It had 76 millimeter chambers and a single trigger . I saw it in 1984.
    Japanese shot-guns are very good . Miroku brand over-under shot-guns are imported into Bangladesh .
     

  14. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Particularly from the last quarter of the 19th century through the start of WWII, there were wonderful guns being made Liege (along with the export junk). Bellow is a picture of my Galand. They were marketed in France as a "French" gun, but were actually made and proofed in Liege. This particular ejector sidelock was built around 1933. It is a superbly built game gun.


    Other famous Belgian builders of first quality guns included Mahillon, Bury, DeFourney, Scholberg, Lebeau Courally, and a host off "guild guns" built by unmarked makers that have to be judged on the quality each example. Somewhat like the Spanish in this century, the cheap export guns undermined the truly wonderful examples for many decades. Browning largely changed that perception in this country.
     
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  15. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Red Leg
    I have commented on your media post .
    There appear to be slight variations among the Belgian makers . I see that many are built like English traditional game guns. However , l have personally seen and held two examples which are capable of firing German slug projectiles .
    One is the aforementioned Auguste Francotte . The other is made by the firm , Masquelier ( which l only recently realized today , is not a French firm , but rather Belgian after randomly seeing it on internet after l read your original comment on my post ). The owner of the Auguste Francotte piece used to use German slug projectiles in the fire arm to shoot bears.
    The owner of the Masquelier piece uses his one to hunt Sambhar deers with German slug projectiles.
     
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  16. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Dumoulin is another of the Belgian top brands.
     
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  17. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Why yes. Also Defourny
     
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  18. Fastrig

    Fastrig AH Enthusiast

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    Just took my dad’s Belgian Browning semi-auto shotgun, built in 1950, to a local gun smith to have it restored to like new condition...metal is in pretty good shape but she’s showing her age...plan to had it down to my son in 30 years or so.
     
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