Most of the 8 gauge shotguns and ammo I've seen have been industrial stuff. I guess they are used a lot in coal fired power plants and other industrial coal powered pplants to break up the clinkers the develope when the burning coal fuses together. Check out the Remington website. They actually have pictures of the gun and descriptions of the ammo. If I remember correctly its under industrial on the side menu. I actually have an 8 gauge loaded shell in my shotgun shell collection.
They are legal but I believe the migratory bird act made hunting with anything larger than a ten guage illegal. Many manufacturers made them at the time, You can still find new black powder 8 guage guns from time to time. I know a guy that hunts ducks with one and the warden turns a blind eye, probably cause it takes him an eternity to load the thing
I have a reprint of a 1902 sears catalog. It only has one 8 gauge listed. It looks like they only offered a single shot break open at that time. I think it was such a niche weapon, for market duck hunting, that the average man wasn't likely to want one. They only offered a relatively inexpensive single shot for the odd person who desired one, and didn't put too much overhead into stocking a wide selection. Even the 10 gauge wasn't too terribly popular then, back when lead shot was legal.
As an aside, I can remember an article in some NRA magazine about a british guy who made a two gauge single shot goose gun. In england the gauge restrictions weren't as stringent as here, so the waterfowl got wary and english gunners went to eight and four bore guns to reach out and touch them farther off. The two gauge fired something like a 16 ounce proof load! I wouldn't want to shoot it!
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