16 Bore Pinfire Shotgun by Damas Bernard
16 Bore Pinfire Shotgun by Damas Bernard. A gorgeous cased pinfire shotgun in its original case with a full compliment of pinfire tools. This set is of the highest quality and rare to find such a set with all the original tools in its close fitting case. It would seem to be a Liège gun but there are circa 15 Bernard’s listed and I can find no specific information about Damas. The underside of the barrels carry the mark of J Evrard who was an “arms manufacturer” of 26 Bassenge Street, Liège and had some patents to his name, one being “the transformation of the army rifle “WERNDL” into a weapon of hunting or war arms”.
A pinfire cartridge is an obsolete type of metallic firearm cartridge in which the priming compound is ignited by striking a small pin which protrudes radially from just above the base of the cartridge. Invented by Frenchman Casimir Lefaucheux in the 1830s but not patented until 1835, it was one of the earliest practical designs of a metallic cartridge. Its history is closely associated with the development of the breechloader which replaced muzzle-loading weapons.
The pinfire cartridge was greatly improved by the 1846 patent (number 1963) by Benjamin Houllier of Paris which introduced a base wad and effectively made the cartridge gas-tight which greatly improved the performance. They were cheap and clean shooting. These improved pinfire guns grew in popularity in France and some were imported by British gun makers to overwhelming indifference on the part of the gun users there. They were prejudiced technically against a gun that ‘broke’ in the middle, despite the much vaunted benefits of breechloading. They owned muzzle-loaders of exquisite perfection, considered themselves the best engineers in the world (inventing the Industrial Revolution), and had a poor view of the French – the old enemy and an unreliable ally.