Heirloom ‘found’ sawn-off shotgun finds its way to museum

Heirloom 'found' sawn-off shotgun winds its way to museum

This classic old “whippit” was found in a window well back in 1970. (Photo: Michael G. Seamans/Portland Press Herald)

When he was 18-years old, Bill Lessard stumbled across a chopped-down SXS while doing construction at an old shirt factory in Maine. Now, a half-century later, he is bringing it back home.

As reported by the Portland Press-Herald, Lessard found the gun in the old C.F. Hathaway Co. building in Waterville, Maine back in 1970. At the time he was just 18 and the factory had long since moved. He found the gun, an abbreviated German-made percussion double-barrel, secreted inside a window well.

“When I dug it up, I wasn’t sure what it was. I thought it was a chunk of steel of something,” Lessard said. “It took me a while to clean it before I realized it was a sawed-off shotgun.”

ATF rules on NFA items generally do not apply to guns that use a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or similar type of ignition system or replicas irregardless of if they were made before or after the year 1898, leaving Lessard free from pesky tax stamps or Title II violations.

He made the local news with his find back then, and has since carried it with him as a relic and family heirloom of sorts through moves across country, until coming to the decision to go ahead and donate the old burner to a museum.

Currently a 64-year-old North Carolina resident, he reached out to the local town museum in Waterville and offered the donation, which they accepted.

The new owners of the scattergun, the Redington Museum is operated by the Waterville Historical Society in Waterville, and is located in a Federal-style home that was built by Revolutionary War-veteran Asa Redington in 1814.

Odds are that old Asa, who served in three different regiments of scrappy colonials as well as Washington’s personal guard, would appreciate the newest addition.