My father-in-law gave me this black powder shotgun. I’ve had it a while and thought it’d look cool hanging over my copies of our founding documents (Declaration, Constitution, and Articles of Confederation). So, after getting them hung, I started polishing this rusted old beast up and finally found a useful stamping on the barrel - ZULU.
This was probably made around 1860 - 1870 near the end of the Franco-Prussian War. It started its life as a rifled, muzzle-loading musket, but at the end of the war breech loaders were becoming popular and the manufacturers were stuck with a bunch they couldn’t sell.
The breech was hacked into place, but nobody wanted to buy a modded gun when they could get one built proplerly for about the same price. So, finally the manufacturers cut down the stock and barrel, tacked a bead on, and bored out the rifling to turn it into a shotgun.
A ton of the Zulus were sold to native Africans in order to help them harreass the British, while quite a few were also shipped to America and sold to American Indians as a low-cost entry into gun ownership.
Based on the fracture in the stock near the breech, and stress fractures in the breech itself, this particular gun saw a lot if use, or frequent over-charge. Either way, I thought it was an interesting history lesson, and it does look pretty cool hanging in my front room.