If you think Damascus barrels mean light loads and Cylinder chokes, now is the time to swap those ideas for something more progressive. English gunmaker Longthorne, renowned for its one-piece barrels, has just built a twist-barrel gun that shoots steel.
Damascus, created when alternating bands of iron and steel are twisted about a mandrel and hammer welded into a homogenous whole, became popular in England during the 19th Century. Later it was replaced by fluid steel, but something was lost. Finely patterned Damascus barrels are as beautiful as well-figured walnut stocks or color-hardened actions.
In recent years Damascus has enjoyed a renaissance, with James Purdey & Sons building a small number of Damascus guns. Longthorne uses the same material that Purdey’s does, which is supplied by Damasteel AB of Sweden. According to Longthorne Marketing Director Elaine Stewart: “We purchased the Damascus in 2013 intending to create a set of barrels but never found the time. Then in 2018 we mentioned it to an existing customer. He was intrigued by the possibility of the world’s first one-piece Damascus barrels, so we calculated a price and he persuaded [my husband] James to make the barrels.
“Next the customer wanted the barrels proofed for ‘superior steel.’ Not wanting to disappoint, we visited the London Proof House, and the Proof Master offered to proof the barrels for lead first and then steel. I can’t tell you how relieved we were when they passed!”
The barrels were finished in a traditional manner, and now the gun is a beautiful representation of old and new.
For more information, visit longthorneguns.com.