Mortimer 13 ga. Shotgun, Antique

Mortimer Shotgun

Mortimer Shotgun Broken Down

This Mortimer shotgun was manufactured in Edinburgh, Scotland and left to me by my father. I have no knowledge of its history previous to his ownership of it. It is a side by side (double barrel) shotgun. The firing mechanism is “pin strike” meaning that the cartridges (brass) had a firing pin protruding from the primer in the cartridge up through the tiny holes in the breech end of the barrel. When the hammer fell on the pin the primer was ignited, igniting the powder, which fired the bullet.

Pinholes & Hammers

Thomas Mortimer was the scion of a famed London gun-making family, H & T Mortimer, established in 1755 in Fleet Street. In 1835 Thomas came to Edinburgh to set up in Princes Street. In 1938 the business merged with John Dickson.

http://www.john-dickson.com/the_company/the_company/thomas_mortimer.aspx

Mortimer Nameplate

The pin fire shotgun was invented in 1828 and had a short life span. Its use was declining by 1860, being quickly replaced by guns using center fire cartridges.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinfire#Current_status

Shown below are the proof stamps on the gun. They are Birmingham stamps which would have been legally used throughout the United Kingdom, including Scotland. It is not unusual that Mortimer, originally located in London, would have used these stamps while working in Scotland.

imagesince 1856 Birmingham provisional proof for barrels

image1868-1925 Birmingham definitive black powder proof for shotguns

http://www.phoenixinvestmentarms.com/archives/Proofmarks.pdf

Terry at Freestate Gun Range prefers a date close to 1868 because of the rapid decline of the pin fire shotgun after 1860.

In perfect condition it would have a value of $15,000.00 today, July 29, 2011. However the stock is broken and the forearm is missing. The forearm would be a wooden extension under the barrel to protect the shooters supporting hand. The action; however is in perfect condition, the stamps are clear and it is a rare piece. It’s value is in its antiquity. It should be wiped with light oil (WD-40) as needed (perhaps annually). Any efforts to restore or repair it would decrease, rather than increase, its value.

Charles Carter Glass

July 29, 2011

About ccarterglass

Born 1942, live in Baltimore, retired from government service, information management. Navy veteran. Veteran of Vietnam and the drug wars. Artist. Love music; classic, classic rock, celtic traditional, celtic rock. Also love all creatures great and small.
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10 Responses to Mortimer 13 ga. Shotgun, Antique

  1. Jennifer Simon says:

    Wow – so glad you found out so much about the gun. It would be great to know how Grand-daddy acquired it!

    • ccarterglass says:

      Jennifer: It’s all because I decided to take a NRA Basic Pistol course, and an NRA Basic Rifle course. The guys at Freestate Gun Range were extremely interested and helpful. Yours, Aye! Uncle Carter

  2. Jeff Cawthorn says:

    Hello sir I saw your Mortimer black powder shotgun and I have acquired one that looks similar to yours and mine is in excellent shape all parts are there and no cracks or busts in the wood in any way. Mine has 40 inch barrels so you can imagine how far that thing reaches out there. The only bad thing with mine is someone along the way decorated the stock with inlay silver and brass designs like a dog, moon, black powder holder and gun and I have no idea how this is going to hurt the value. But these decorations to appear to have aged with the gun. Its something that has not been added recently. Also it is so old I can’t find numbers anywhere on it and found out through some research that some dis-assembly may be needed to find out. I would like to talk to you and maybe get some info on where you found so much out about yours, it would be a big help to me. If you could sir please email at ontargetacademy@yahoo.com, maybe we can get together on the phone and talk some gun talk lol. Thanks for your time and take care, I look forward to hearing from you.

    • ccarterglass says:

      Mr. Jeff Cawthorn

      I was assisted in my research by a firearms historian at Freestate Gun Range http://www.freestategunrange.com/ of which I am a member. I was able to develop information from online sources about Mortimer, and determined that he was working out of Scotland during the time he was producing pin-fire shotguns. I was fortunate that the Mortimer plate is still attached to my gun and that the proof-marks are still visible. You can research proofmarks at http://www.phoenixinvestmentarms.com/archives/Proofmarks.pdf .

      Thank you for your interest in my post. If I can be of further assistance do not hesitate to contact me.

      I see from your email address that you are near Fort Worth, Texas. My family is from Personville and Lost Prairie, Texas in Limestone County.

      C. Carter Glass

  3. cameron shaw says:

    Mr. Glass, I just found your blog, I have a Mortimer shotgun I just picked up, but the nameplate says RS mortimer, removed the barrel and it has the london black powder proof marks too, the top of the barrells say London improved fine twist on the top…it also has the Birmingham proof marks too..ever heard of RS mortimer?

    • ccarterglass says:

      Mr. Shaw, I am very sorry to be so long in replying to you. I have been unable to develop any information about RS Mortimer. Perhaps when you do obtain information you will be so kind as to post it to me. Thank you.

  4. Brad Williams says:

    Mr. Glass, I have acquired a R S Mortimer 13 ga. shotgun that sounds just like the one that a Mr. Shaw described to you on April 23 of this year. I would be very interested in any information that you or he finds on this gun. I am at a loss as to where to look for more info. I have the same markings on the bottom of the barrels that Mr. Shaw described, and in addition I have also found an EH and K facing opposite directions on the divider between the barrels in the same area as the 13’s and proof marks on the barrels. Any help that you could throw my way would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Brad Williams, Austin, Tx

    • ccarterglass says:

      Mr. Williams: I wish I could be of some help. In his book “The Mortimer Gunmakers, 1753-1923″ H. Lee Munson does not include a chapter on RS Mortimer. I developed most of the information on the shotgun I own by taking it places like gun shows and shooting ranges. There are a number of sites on the internet that can help identify gun proof marks.

  5. cameron shaw says:

    Im starting to think that the RS in Mortimer on my shotgun stands for ” really secret” lol…..

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