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Understanding Firearms Markings 1880-1945 Ian McCollum www.ForgottenWeapons.com admin@forgottenweapons.com. Proof Marks and Identification. Patent marking Model name/number Brand name Military acceptance

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## Proof Marks and Identification

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**Understanding Firearms**Markings 1880-1945 Ian McCollum www.ForgottenWeapons.com admin@forgottenweapons.com Proof Marks and Identification**Patent marking**Model name/number Brand name Military acceptance Refurbish mark Conversion marking Caliber Types of Markings • Date(s) • Country of origin • Manufacturer name • Serial number(s) • Proof mark(s) • Unit number • Import marking**France – the markings translate to:**Ordnance Factory Chatellerault Chatellerault was a major French state arsenal**What is the point of showing these examples?**Context is essential! Always consider the whole gun to understand what you are looking at.**What is a proof mark?**Proof Marks**Why Proof Marks?**(in no particular order) • Public safety • Industry reputation • Government oversight**Proof Loads**• Typically 25% - 30% overpressure • Either one or two rounds**Proof Marks - England**• The modern British proof law was passed in 1868, with an official nitro proof added in 1904 and a general update in 1925. • British law did not automatically recognize foreign proofs, so many arms imported into England had to be re-proofed. • Up to WWII, pressure was measured in tons.**Proof Marks - England**Birmingham proof mark used prior to 1904: Indicates black powder proof unless accompanied by the words “Nitro Proofed”**Proof Marks - England**Standard proof marks, 1925-1954: Birmingham London Final proof View proof Nitro proof**Proof Marks - England**Standard nitro proof marks, post-1954: Birmingham London (on action) (on barrel)**Proof Marks - England**When on foreign-made guns, the proof marks were enclosed in a circle, and accompanied by the mark “NOT ENGLISH MADE”:**Proof Marks - England**In addition to everything else, a special mark was used to date the proofing. From 1922/23 to 1940/41, this mark was used: A=21/22, B=22/23, C=23/24, etc. I and Q not used. From 1950 to 1974, it was this one: A=1951, B=1952, C=1953, etc. I not used (but Q was).**Proof Marks - England**Lee-Enfield No.5 rifle, rebarreled in 1974**Proof Marks - Belgium**• Royal decree in 1672 required proof testing and marking of barrels • Belgian national proof house established in Liege • In 1888, a new law forbade the sale or display of unproofed firearms • In 1891, proof testing standards for smokeless powder were introduced**Proof Marks - Belgium**• Crown over R – Black powder proof of a barrel (also appears on smokeless barrels). • “Perron” - Indicates fit and function of slides, locking mechanisms. Used from 1903 to 1924 (not on revolvers). • Rampant Lion “PV” - used 1898 - 1924 for smokeless barrel proof. After 1924, it replaced the Perron mark entirely.**Proof Marks - Belgium**• EPV (Epreuve de Liege) with crown – final overall proof mark after 1893 • Plain EPV – final overall proof from 1853-1893 (used on muzzleloaders after 1893) • Star over letter – Individual inspector's marking, 1877 to present. From 1853 to 1877, a crown replaced the star.**Proof Marks - Belgium**Black powder, post-1893**Proof Marks - Germany**• The modern German proof mark law took effect in 1893, and remained definitive until 1939. • In 1939, the proof marking symbol was changed form an imperial crown to a Nazi eagle. • The well-known Waffenamt Nazi symbol was actually a military acceptance mark, and not a proof mark.**Proof Marks - Germany**1891 – 1939 proof marks: Nitro Black powder Choked bore Final proof Rifled bore Smooth bore**Proof Marks - Germany**Weapons manufactured prior to the proof law taking effect (1893) were required grandfathered, but had to be marked (this did not constitute an actual proofing).**Proof Marks - Germany**In 1939, the crown was replaced by an eagle, and the typical 3-proof combination (B, U, and G) was replaced by a single eagle/N mark.**Proof Marks - Germany**Typical commercial Mauser rifle**Proof Marks - Italy**Italian replica cowboy pistols are probably the most likely place to find black powder proofs today. Italy has a nice simple set of proof marks, but a rather strange date code system.**Brescia provisional proof**Gardone provisional proof Proof Marks - Italy The proof marks: • Black powder proof • Smokeless proof • Final definitive proof**Proof Marks - Italy**Proof marks on an Uberti 1858 Remington copy: Proofs will also be found on barrel and cylinder.**Proof Marks - Spain**• Eibar proof house established in 1844, proofing made mandatory in 1923. • Typically appear as a set of 3 markings:**Proof Marks - Spain**• First mark is the actual final proof – gun is good Early (1923-1928) Late (1928+) • Second is the date Until 1927/28, a “P.V.” A – 1927 was used instead of B – 1928 the date C – 1929...**Proof Marks - Spain**• Third mark is an admission to the proof house: Early (until mid 1931) Late (mid 1931 – now) (The King fled in 1931, and the crown went with him)**Proof Marks - Spain**With this in mind, we can interpret this typical Spanish set of markings: Gun was accepted and proofed in 1945**Other Markings**• Date (of manufacture or refurbish) • Model name/number • Manufacturer name • Import marks • Serial number(s) • Caliber • Military acceptance**Date(s)**Dates marked on a firearm can mean several different things: • Date of manufacture • Date the gun was refurbished • Date the model was adopted for military use • Date the design was patented**Date of Manufacture**Dates can take several forms -**Refurbish Date**Sometimes a firearm is marked with the date of a major repair or conversion:**Adoption Date**Model dates are usually more obvious...**Adoption Date**...but not always.**Model Name/Number**Probably the most unambiguous type of marking...**Model Name/Number**But what if you can't read it? (Iranian Mauser)**Model Name/Number**This very clearly says that it is a Type 99**Model Name/Number**Store brand guns – this was actually made by FN**Manufacturer Name**• On civilian guns, typically company name • On military guns, typically arsenal name • Sometimes just a location**Manufacturer Name**Often a company's location will also be marked – this was how you could find the company.**Country of Origin**• This is rarely directly marked on military arms, with the exception of guns imported for commercial sale • It usually must be inferred from other markings**Import Markings**In 1968, the GCA required this information to be marked on all guns imported into the US: • Serial number • Manufacturer • Country of origin • Model designation • Caliber • Importer name • Importer location (city & state)

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