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16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

Here’s a shotgun I’ve always wanted: a 16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels. This one popped up on Gunsinternational.com on Tuesday. I must of spent half an hour looking it over, examining the pics, reading the description, and wondering if I had finally found one of my dream guns.

At first glance, this one looks like a decent, pretty original double. It’s old (#82,242 – 1895), and a bit tired, and I doubt the checkered side panels are original. But the rest of the gun looks solid. Unfortunately, it sounds like the barrels are in poor shape and off the face. Those are deal killers for me, especially on a gun that cost $2899 (I think that was the asking price). I decided to pass. But I guess those warts were fine with someone else. The gun was marked SOLD by the end of the day.

Parker introduced their DH (D – or Grade 3- and H for hammerless) shotguns in 1888 and these side-by-sides went on to be the company’s most popular line of “fine guns”. The company made 16,398 of them, and each one was custom ordered.  According to The Parker Story, just 458 of those 16,398 DHs were 16 gauges with damascus barrels. Of those, maybe 10% were built with straight grips – and that’s a very optimistic maybe.

I saw a real nice 16g DHE with damascus barrels and a straight grip 3-4 years ago. The only problem was its 13 1/2″ LOP to a skeleton butt plate. Too short for me, and the gun was too much money to buy it and mess with. Oh well….

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

16g Parker DH with a straight grip and damascus barrels.

14 Responses to “Would you have pulled the trigger on this Parker?”

  1. harold pickens says:

    I think I would have bought it. I have a DHE 16 O frame with 26″ cyl/mod barrels (factory letter),Titanic steel. It weighs 6 lbs even.
    Mine also has the checkered side panels as this one. It woulld take an offer of more than double that to get me to even pull it out of it’s case to show you.

  2. Gregg says:

    Yeah – well I couldn’t get over the pitting in the bbls. There’s nothing to be done about it.

    Sounds like a nice gun. Does it have a straight grip? Does the letter mention the checkered panels?

    I know some DHs were ordered with the checkered side panels.

    Thanks,

    Gregg

  3. Andy kelley says:

    Hi Greg, I don’t know how you resisted. I just bought a 16 VH on a 0 frame 26in. Barrels which requires a lot of work but I will hunt with it in the fall. Regards, Andy

  4. Gregg says:

    This is the description of the bbls from Cabelas:

    The bores on the original (28″) barrel set are bright with some light pitting scattered throughout. In addition, there is a rather substantial area of moderate to severe pitting on the inside wall of the left bore just prior to the choke. The second set (26″) of barrels show light to moderate pitting in both bores for about 6″ before the muzzles.

    Too rough for me….

    Thanks,

    Gregg

  5. Jeff Wemmer says:

    The good news is that somebody got a killer deal…The bad news is that it wasn’t you! (sorry bout that)

    If you read the description carefully you would see that it came with an extra set of 12 ga. bbls. Now, that would be the first time ever that I have seen a set of 12 ga. barrels on an “O” frame gun. Even if they didn’t fit the gun, 12 ga Damascus barrels in their own right can be worth upwards of 2K with a fore end.

    Remember: Cabela’s is a reputable firm and offers a 5-day inspection. That’s ample time to have a good barrel man vet-out the barrels for safety and overall condition.

    If legit, “rare” doesn’t even begin to describe this gun.

    Next time call me! Seriously!

    Can’t get’m all.

    JW

  6. Jeff Wemmer says:

    UPDATE: This is a #1 frame. I spoke to the store manager and the 28″ barrels are as described: “Left barrel is mirror bright, Rt. barrel has some very slight streaking just in front of the chamber”. In other words fine provided the wall thickneses check out.

    The 12 ga barrels not numbered to gun (per description) apparently have been cut (matting runs all the way to end without normal flat smooth tip border in front of bead) and they DO NOT have a fore end.

    Still, This is a great gun for a serious bird shooter!

    JW

  7. Gregg says:

    Well – this is what the description says about the 16g , 28″ bbls:

    “The bores on the original (28″) barrel set are bright with some light pitting scattered throughout. In addition, there is a rather substantial area of moderate to severe pitting on the inside wall of the left bore just prior to the choke.”

    That severe pitting was what turned me off.

    Gregg

  8. Charles says:

    For some extraordinary reason the boxlock market has pretty much flattened out in the UK, rather in the same way as antigue brown furniture has. And why? I cannot honestly think of a good reason. They shoot as well as any sidelock and are far easier and cheaper to mend and maintain. Small bores in the category admittedly do command more respect and most especially with long barrels of more than 28″. That said you good people really ought to pay some attention to importing some very fine specimens at low prices. HOLTS next sale is June 19th in London when reliable condition reports can be sought from their experts by contacting them on-line from their web page.

  9. Gregg says:

    Thanks for the comments. I agree with you on British boxlocks being great deals. The problem is getting them over here. The shipping costs are high, customs can be a pain, and you never really know what’s going to show up.

    Auctions are a more reliable source, but houses like Holt’s charges ridiculously high fees. Also, I’m very reluctant to bid on any gun in the UK unless I can get independent verification of its condition. I’ve seen too many discrepancies too trust auctioneer reports.

    Gregg

  10. Jeff Wemmer says:

    I get you. believe me. But, I’m thinking based on the store’s description via the phone it’s not as bad a s the description leads us to believe.

    Anyway, you can return it if for any reason it is not satisfactory. Keep in mind that the frame is of the older more sculpted style, it’s a straight grip, has original skeleton butt and is an extractor gun…Perfect for the north woods!

    As for the UK Boxlock marketplace – I totally agree Gregg, there really are some excellent values. But like you said, there is quite a bit of added expense in getting them back into the States. I use a couple of importers, but only for the really high end stuff. It’s hard to justify spending upwards of 1000.00 bucks on getting a gun home unless it is of substantially higher value.

    Not to fear, the best made box locks were made here or in Germany (Prussia), the Brits built much better side locks than we did. But, I have yet to see a British A&D boxlock that could hold a candle to a Parker when it comes to a true working gun. This coming from a guy with 80% English guns in his modest collection.

    I do, however have a Venables large frame 1 5/8 oz. proof Pigeon gun that has side clips, 31″ chopper lump barrels with Purdey double under bites and a really nice hidden Greener type cross bolt. Full coverage scroll engraving and a single trigger that never seems to fail. It’s an odd, yet great looking gun – a hybrid of the best of UK box lock features. Now, if the Brits built more of those then maybe I’d look at things differently. What a gun!

    JW

  11. Charles says:

    Jeff, an interesting pigeon gun you speak of by Venables of St.Aldates, Oxford. A provincial maker that always has to be respected.

    Whilst not wanting to venture into who makes the best of what, I have shot German BL guns in my time and frequently found them to be cumbersome. Having never had the opportunity to shoot a Parker I cannot comment, save only to say that one day I might have that undoubted privilege. There aren’t too many about this side of the pond.

  12. Jeff Wemmer says:

    Charles,

    As with any guns the country of origin is not as important as the gun’s, fit, finish and actual specifications.

    I would tend to agree that the majority of “hun” guns are in fact quite “clubby”, as are most American doubles. However, of late this “clubby-ness” has come into vogue given the explosive growth of Sporting Clays. What was once considered “proper” for the field is no longer desirable for “competition / recreational” clays. From a strictly shooting standpoint, I believe the days of 30″ 6 lb. 8 oz. 12 bore British guns is coming to an end as well. My most recent Purdey guns (January of 2013) were spec’d at 7 lbs for field use and I was made aware that this recent “trend” is becoming the norm. We are simply a larger species then back in the Victorian era when all of these “classic” weights were standardized to some degree.

    The beauty of the Parker gun is that they made 12 bores in at least 7 frame sizes with a tremendous variety of barrel lengths, weights stock dimensions, etc. I can not think of another maker on earth that built 240,000 plus guns with such variety. The trick is to find the one to suit your tastes and shooting style. With the large number of Parkers on the market at any given time it doesn’t take long to find one if you are persistent. However, they can vary wildly in price.

    If you are an avid clays shooter I would recommend a #2 frame VHE with either 30 or 32″ barrels and a PG stock. These can be bought reasonably and generally weigh in at between 8-9 lbs. Another caveat to this is that they can be shamelessly modified to suit your shooting style given that most have been fairly well used.

    And at last, I will concede that NOTHING compares to a fine British gun when it comes to style, fit and finish. Even the oft lauded Parker A1-Special / AA grades are at best on par with the British high-grade box locks of the same era. I own multiple examples of both and always admire the “Venables” mentioned earlier as being on par with a Parker AA, but for about 10 times less money!

    Don’t get me wrong here; I’m hopelessly addicted to Parker graded guns – must be the “colonist pride” coming out in me! LOL.

    Best,

    Jeff

  13. Charles says:

    Jeff
    Your lengthy reply has taught me a great deal and I had no idea that Parker had turned out so many weapons during their history.

    I am bound to admit that I am a rather poor clay shot and I don’t do it very often though I did score 57 from a possible 80 over 10 stands in a large competition at Holland & Holland’s shooting grounds near London a couple of weeks ago and very much to my surprise too boot!!

    My preferred experience is that of game shooting so the lighter 6lb 6oz side by side is my choice, and at this stage of my life I’m far too ancient and grumpy to change. Besides, lugging something of 8lb up a 1 in 10 gradient 250 feet up to a grouse butt would have me not only gasping for breath but the grouse would definitely fly by to live another day!!

    I did however find what you told me very interesting and am grateful for those comments you made. You can now understand what I meant with reference to those ‘hun’ guns…

    Charles

  14. Jeff Wemmer says:

    Indeed, Charles, indeed!

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