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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I know nothing about guns but I am trying to research the provenance and date of a vintage gun for my Dad. Any info or advice appreciated. It is a 12gauge double barrel shotgun. He thinks it was made in Germany. See pictures. Here are some of the markings:
a number that seems like a serial number=24375
another number in fancier and bigger script=22269
a mark that says Basson Fres within an oval

possibly a proof mark, very very tiny, underside and between the barrels that is a G with a star above it.
it has a Greener style lock that’s been modified.
selective ejector.

Please forgive me if I am sharing these details in an odd way—I don’t know what is customary. Pictures attached.
thank you for any info or leads.


God, Guns, Glory
35,702 Posts
Welcome to G&G from Alaska.
Stop by the Introduction thread and say hello to everyone.

Premium Member
25,776 Posts
Nice looking shotgun.
We have members that know a thing or two about some of these obscure firearms.
@PaleHawkDown seems to have lots of resources for identifying various types, brands, etc.
I tagged him so perhaps he'll see your post and chime in.

21,082 Posts
This is a weird duck. The markings are French. The Fres notation marks this gun as having come from the shop of a member of the prestigious guild at St. Etienne.

Cross referencing, I found a Basson (no other name listed) who was a gun seller and gunsmith in St. Etienne, France, and there was a Basson gun shop in St. Etienne as late as 1951.

That all makes sense, but the gun itself is a "German" double barrel box lock, which was exclusively made by the guild members of Suhl in what is modern day Germany. These were made from late 19th Century into the early 20th. This particular gun is post-1892. There should be a dozen marks on the flats in that second picture where the "7.5" is located, but someone has tried to scrub off all the German markings. I highlighted them to show you what I mean. You can still see the remains of a "crown over U" marking this as from Suhl (bottom, left highlight). There would have originally been a dozen or so markings on the flats, one set for each barrel.


The thing about guild guns is that no matter who they were made by, they all fit a certain pattern and standard, and no one (barring the Spaniards and Belgians) allowed their frames or locks to look like those of (pffff) foreigners. The back of St. Etienne box locks, for example, was square, as opposed to the "double arch" found on the Suhl guns.

The only thing I can figure is that this guy had a gun shop that imported firearms as well as making them. That might even explain what appears to be two sets of serials - one for the initial maker at Suhl, and one for St. Etienne, but that would not explain why he scrubbed off all the important information such as bore diameter, chamber dimensions, inspector marks, or powder proofs

Another guess is that this guy was trying to pass someone else's work off as his own, which is why this thing has been so scrubbed, and only a few French markings remain. I say that, because he shouldn't really have added the "Fres" mark to a gun that was not his own.

The third guess might be something in the middle; this guy was assembling from parts.

Long story short, you have a Suhl pattern receiver, made in Suhl sometime between 1892 and 1910, that is somehow tied to France by a guy from a competing guild in another country. At some point, someone tried to scrub off the German markings.

I wish it could talk and tell us what is going on here, because the whole thing is a bit shady.
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