Last weekend I bought this H&R Model 1900 shotgun from the neighbor of a friend. I paid $60, which considering the gun’s condition, was probably too much. However, the neighbor is a widow selling off some of her late husband’s guns, so I don’t really care in this instance.
It’s a single shot 12 gauge. After getting it home I identified it as a Model 1900, which places the date of manufacture between 1901 and 1915. It was probably made with a 2.5” chamber but I measured it at 2.75”, so it’s likely that it was lengthened by a gunsmith. This was a fairly common operation after 2.75” shells became popular.
The Model 1900 was made with either an extractor or an ejector, and a twist steel or plain steel barrel. This one has a plain steel barrel and extractor. If it had a twist steel barrel I’d relegate it wallhanger status, but this one is mechanically sound so I feel comfortable shooting it with low brass loads or Aguila mini-shells.
In my online research I found this scan of an old catalog:
When this shotgun it came into my possession it was covered in about a century’s worth of rust, dirt, and dried up grease. Also, the barrel looked like someone had taken a Scotchbrite pad to it in an effort to clean it up, but never got around to finishing it. However, it is mechanically sound and locks up tightly.
Unlike other top break single shots I’ve seen, the way you take it down into two pieces is by removing the barrel pivot pin.
Open the action, lift the toggle, rotate it 90 degrees, and then you can pull it out. Now, you can separate the barrel and forearm from the frame.
I put a few shots through it last weekend and the choked barrel throws a pretty decent pattern at 15 yards, centered on your point of aim.
The gun cleaned up OK, which I’ll detail in Part 2.