French Snider shotguns used in Civil War?

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ewmail15

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Does anyone know if the French Model 1853/1867 Snider "Hunting" Conversions (aka "ZULU" shotguns) ever saw service in the Civil War? My dad just picked up one at an auction, and it's in rough but restorable condition. Stock has a crack along the underside, plus a warp that I'm hoping to repair. Should have it tomorrow and upload more photos.

Anyone with stock repair knowledge, please let me know the best glue that will dry clear and require minimal sanding. Is there also any fluid I can use to soak the stock and harden up the fibers?

I had a friend show me his father-in-law's Snider late last year, and shortly after saw the same type firearm on American Pickers, with the owner having a box with a rope-attached hook for firefighting purposes. Thanks, Eric.

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ewmail15

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Here are some more photos. Let the liquid wrench do a few hours of penetration on the firing pin, and it came loose after several light twists. I'm missing two parts on the left side, maybe more overall. It's different than the friend's relative's Snider. More to come...

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Jobe Holiday

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What you have is a French/Belgian Tabiterre musket that has been altered to a shotgun after its military usage had become obsolete. These are commonly referred to as "Zulu" shotguns because they were common items sent to the African Trade. So much so, that you can find them with "ZULU" engraved on top of the barrels.
J.
 

ewmail15

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Thanks Jobe. Can't find the Zulu on first pass with my 40x, but will keep trying. See attached all the new pics. Looks like all are parts-matching serial 1441, as well as I guess the "III" and "II" on the barrel and receiver/frame undersides for the conversion? Jobe or others, what about the left side? Were there two pieces with a coil spring used to latch the breech block in place? Were they removed with the conversion? Was it previously a rifle, and they bored out the heck of the bore? I see a center fire pin I believe was welded (?) shut.

Was there a coil spring used to return the shotgun firing pin to the ready state? Looks like there's some damage to the secondary lower curved seal of the breech block.

That the frame and breech block are brass makes it my third addition firearm restoration.

Stock needs that titebond 3, and I need to learn about the markings. Parts are soaking in pb blaster, and believe I felt/saw bluing on the lockplate face. Missing the front sight ball(?). So glad it's all parts-matching.

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ewmail15

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With all screws removed, I still am not able to remove the trigger guard/plate. I see nothing keeping it in place. I do see a metal screw behind the triangle piece. It's the same type that was used vertically on my Merrill 14112 stock towards the buttplate tang - no head at all it seems. The right side rear stock shows a prominent screw that must have been used to deal with a top crack coming from the top buttplate tang.

I don't see any manufacturer markings or manufacture year - more to research.

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ewmail15

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On latest cleaning, I correct my prior line about brass. Guess there's only one brass piece, and it's the one added to better channel the shotgun shell. Are the block and frame bronze?

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ewmail15

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Found some illegible letters on the lockplate. Took lot of time and angles of light/shade to make them visible. I found a facebook forum for these tabatieres and hope to gain loads of new info, esp. on the markings and Zulu and manufacturer and year.

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Jobe Holiday

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My reference to some of these shotguns having "ZULU" engraved on top of the barrel is only one example of a variety of names and distributors that can be found on these old guns, and I actually have one with "ZULU" on it. I acquired it a few years ago because of the very nice condition and the naming for the Princely Sum of $40. Although these interesting relics are barely collectible, even Flayderman recognized them in Section 17-189 of the last edition of his guide. I really suspect Norm was trying to create a market for them because they still don't sell for anywhere near the values he put on them some years ago!
J.
 

Saphroneth

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Does anyone know if the French Model 1853/1867 Snider "Hunting" Conversions (aka "ZULU" shotguns) ever saw service in the Civil War?
I doubt it, because of the /1867 part, which would imply that the conversion was based off a pattern accepted (or started manufacture) in 1867.

The Snider was a post-ACW conversion of the Pattern 1853 Enfield, which is where the 1853/1867 comes from. The Snider action was invented by an American, so I suppose it's theoretically possible that there were some originally French (therefore not P1853) rifle muskets converted into a Snider action before the end of the Civil War (therefore not /1867).

It seems inevitable that some mislabelling has happened somewhere in the process though.
 
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ewmail15

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In the daylight I saw another pair of illegible French words on the lockplate. Research continues. I have two French Gras bayonets that have that big cursive "M" before St. Etienne as the factory.

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yulzari

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These guns are civilian shotgun conversions of the Fusil Modele 1867 so post date the ACW and never could have served in that conflict. Designed to take the Gevelot Modele 1868 18mm centre fire cartridge. The action works as the Snider action and was patented in France jointly by both Jacob Snider and M. Schneider, allegedly so that it could be claimed to be a French mechanism.

It was a breech loading conversion of assorted French muzzle loading old guns, some of which might have been in the ACW I suppose, as muzzle loaders.

The Belgians bought all the Modele 1867s they could dirt cheap from France and captured ones from Germany. They sold so well that the Belgians not only bought all they could find but, in the end, were reduced to making their own actions. It is just possible that, if the old French muzzle loaders were used in the ACW the Belgians might have bought them after the end of the conflict as surplus but I know of no such sales or purchases.

The short answer is: no they could not have served in the ACW.

The name 'Zulu' was given by the marketing people to the shotguns which sold almost exclusively to the civilian cheap shotgun market in the USA by the many tens of thousands. Made for black powder cartridges many have either been destroyed or the actions stretched by fools using modern nitro cartridges in later years. The Fusil Modele 1867 was popularly known as the 'Tabatiere' i.e. 'snuff box' from the similarity of the action to the opening of a snuff box. Yours probably saw service in the Franco-Prussian War 1870/1

Research the Fusil Modele 1858 which would have been your original base muzzle loader. There is a Facebook group 'Zulu Shotguns & Tabatieres' which would be a useful source of information to you.
 
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ewmail15

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Here are update photos. Facebook forum members helped me thru disassembly and some great research content, esp. markings.

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Titebond III worked well, and she's now in my vice, after being over a pot of boiling water, to soften up the fibers around the rear of the grip, which is where she had major bend.

Used baking soda and lemon juice on the bronze, and the block and receiver cleaned up a bit. Wasn't until I used my small brass bristled brush that it cleaned up like the once shiny bells of France.
 

ewmail15

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Can anyone help with steps to add a new bead front sight? I might have to take it to a gunsmith, but if it's not too complicated, I'd like to try. Thanks.
 
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