CSA Shotgun W/ Socket Bayonet Alteration
This shotgun was based off of the Confederate-altered side-by-sides found in both Ed Holloway's Confederate Long Arms and Pistols and Albaugh and Simmons Confederate Arms and has been altered to accept a socket bayonet for infantry use similarly to the originals found in books and private collections. This particular shotgun was featured in Russ A. Pritchard's book Confederate and Southern Agent Marked Shotguns.
This 20 gauge shotgun began life as a brand new Pedersoli Shotgun complete with badly cold-browned barrels and cyanide-dipped case hardened locks. A poorly shaped, polyurethaned stock completed the look; making this shotgun scream "historically inaccurate" with badly applied modern finishes and a stock that needed some "help" to make it look like the finely-crafted pieces of the mid 19th Century.
Steve Krolick was given the task of converting this reproduction shotgun into a mean-looking Confederate weapon. His first task was to strip the stock and re-shape it before re-staining it and lightly antiquing it to give it the look of a weapon that would have already seen some considerable usage as a trusty hunting gun long before the war even started.
The next step was by far the most challenging as Steve turned his attention to fabricating a bayonet setup for this double gun. After researching multiple designs, we decided that the best bet would be to utilize a socket bayonet design for this build. A socket bayonet offered multiple advantages in both practicality and durability. For one, a socket bayonet would be much lighter than a saber bayonet and would not damage the relatively-thin barrels during regular use. It's weight also allowed us to keep the gun's balancing point closer to the center of the weapon and helped us avoid a gun that would be dreadfully "nose-heavy" while the bayonet was affixed. Steve fabricated the socket bayonet for this piece using only methods and materials that were available to gunsmiths during the mid-19th Century. He started with a M1842 bayonet as a base - a bayonet that would have been readily available to any Confederate gunsmith. The socket was cut open and then clamped around the barrels to ensure a wonderfully positive fit. Steve then fabricated a latch system that allows the bayonet to snap firmly onto a lug that was brazed onto the barrel. The finished bayonet is extremely user-friendly with a thumb latch that can be operated with one hand. The bayonet is also very strong and clamps on to the barrel very tightly with just enough "play" to allow the bayonet to be slid on and off easily.
Steve completed the project by attaching sling swivels to both the butt stock and rear entry pipe. Sling swivels were a common feature on original Confederate-altered shotguns and can be found on a majority of surviving originals. He then removed all the modern Italian proof marks from the barrels and patined them, along with the locks and hardware, to match the antique look of the stock. As a final touch of "Southern provenance", Steve stamped the top rib of the barrels with "O'Dell Natchez" to attribute it to Mississippi Gunsmith and Arms Dealer Stephen O'Dell.
The finished product is a wonderful example of one of the South's fiercest "conscripted guns". These civilian-owned guns were often brought by the owners from their homes to the front lines. Many of these civilian guns were professionally altered for military use just like this one with the addition of a bayonet and sling swivels. These shotguns were used to great effect as mentioned in the 1862 diary of one Confederate solider who wrote, "By the time the Yankee skirmishers could run to their places in ranks....we were halted [in front] of their two lines of savage bayonets...In the twinkling of an eye almost, both barrels of every shotgun in our line, loaded with fifteen to twenty buckshot in each barrel was turned into that blue line and Lo! What destruction and confusion followed!...Every man who was not hurt or killed broke to the rear, most of them leaving their guns where their line had went down."