In New England, a ruffed grouse is called a pa’tridge. I don’t know why. There’s always one gauge I associate with pa’tridge hunting: the 16. I don’t know why this is, either.
Sixteen gauges have been around forever, but they’ve been very popular. The British never loved them, at least not as breechloading centerfires. It think it’s because the standard British game gun is a 12 gauge that’s weighs around 6lbs, 12oz. and is proofed for 1 1/8 ounces of shot.
Most British 16 gauge shotguns weigh just a few ounces less, and they’re proofed for a 1 ounce load. So for a gun buyer in the UK, the sixteen offers little benefit in weight while it pushes a 10%+ smaller payload.
But American 12 gauges are bigger guns, usually in the 7 1/2 pound+ range. For most makers, you had to drop down a gauge to get a double in the 6 1/2 – 6 3/4 pound range. I think that’s why the 16 gauge was more popular in the States.
The sixteen you see here is Parker’s VH grade. The VH was Parker’s original knock-about gun, and even though it was the least expensive hammerless double the company offered until they introduced the Trojan grade in 1913, the VH was never a cheap gun. It cost $50 when it was introduced in 1899. The same year, Winchester Model 97 repeater retailed for $27.
Parker called the VH “A gun for hard usage that cannot be equaled” and most buyers purchased them off the rack in 12 gauges on No. 2 frames with pistol grips. With its straight grip, this one was probably specially ordered.
Here’s more about it from the seller:
Parker VH 16, Remington Era, Straight grip, 28″ Exc. original: Serial Number 240237, made approx. 1937. It is a VH 16 gauge with 28″ barrels choked light modified and modified. 2 3/4″ chambers with excellent bores. Length of pull is 14″ over the original dog’s head plate. The original straight grip stock is in excellent condition with sharp checkering. Both the wood and trigger guard are number matched to the shotgun and are without any doubt original. The wood is probably 2X fancy and is the nicest peice of wood we have seen on a V grade.
There are generous amounts of original case color remaining on the receiver sides and around the lever. Lock up is tight and the shotgun remains in excellent mechanical condition. DAH is 2 5/8″ DAC is 1 1/2″ and the weight is approx. 6 lbs 10 oz.. This is one fine original little English stock 16 gauge Parker with tons of condition. Price: $5,500.00