A nice 16g SxS that doesn’t cost a fortune…

Bargain bird gun: A St. Etienne "Heliobloc" 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors
Bargain bird gun: A St. Etienne “Heliobloc” 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors

When I first got into doubles, I thought every gun with two barrels cost a fortune–especially side by sides. Of course, to a kid just out of college they did.

But as I learned more about nice shotguns, I realized not all doubles are insanely expensive. While you can easily spend $5,000 – $30,000+ on a SxS from a maker like Parker or James Purdey & Sons, you can also spend less and get one that would be an ideal bird gun.

The boxlock you see here looks like that kind of gun. Sure it’s a basic boxlock, but it’s built on one of the most reliable designs ever created (the Anson & Deeley action). With sideplates and a blued finish, it’s a nice looking gun, and because it’s European, it has that “je ne sais quoi” that set it apart from your everyday A.H. Fox or British boxlock. Best of all, it costs less than a brand-new Benelli autoloader.

Bargain bird gun: A St. Etienne "Heliobloc" 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors
Bargain bird gun: A St. Etienne “Heliobloc” 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors

St. Etienne “Heliobloc” 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors: A nice guild gun on St Etienne preferred boxlock action; the Helicobloc action works on the same principle than the Webley screw grip, but with the thread at the Bottom of the top lever spindle. This one is sideplated, double triggers, manual safety, border engraved with a black finish (90% condition). The stock is semi pistol grip with round knob, 14 ¾” LOP over .800” pad,  1 ¾” and 2 ¾” drop, ¾” cast off with nice skip line checkering and carved borders (90% finish 95% checkering). 27” tubes with dovetail lumps by Jean Breuil barrel maker (very nicely done with brazed ribs, triple-proof and Martens steel). Bores are .669, walls are .031 and chokes at .014 and .022 (mod and imp mod). Blacking is in 90% condition, the bores have light oxidation at the upper mid barrel , that I guess would clean up with a .002 honing. Price: $1,200

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