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Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

“Buy the gun, not the name” – that’s a bit of wisdom firearm collectors toss around all the time. It’s good advice, too. There are lots of big-name shotguns out there in lousy condition. When you’re buying, it’s easy to be blinded by  a  famous name — like James Purdey & Sons –  and overlook the problems a gun has.

It’s also easy to overlook great guns built by lesser known makers, especially if you haven’t developed an eye for quality. Because the shotgun shown here was built by an unknown Belgian maker, many people would pass by it without giving it a second look. But quality wise, it’s just a notch below a British best and probably better than the finest Spanish stuff. Price wise, it’s costs 1/3 to 1/4 of what you would pay for nice 20 gauge by Holland & Holland or Boss.

Here’s more about this double from the seller:

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun: A spectacular 20ga sidelock ejector gun great engraving the gun was built in the late 50s on a Francotte action fit and finish as good as Holland or Purdey for a lot less 27 1/2 in barrels all the original blue articulated front trigger 14in LOP double trigger splinter checkered butt. Couldn’t replace for twice the price. Price: $12,500.

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS ShotgunBelgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Belgian Best 20 gauge Sidelock Ejector SxS Shotgun

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

In 1984, of of America’s most famous double-barrel shotguns was reborn as the Parker Reproduction by Winchester. Built in Japan until 1998, these side-by-sides were offered for sale until around 1997. Since then, they’ve gained a following and their prices have risen steadily.

There were about 6,000 20 gauge Parker Repros, and almost all of them were DHEs. Most of the ones I see out there have single triggers, so this caught my eye because of it double triggers. It’s up for auction now at Gunauction.com, and the listing ends: January 26, 2014 19:30:00 PT.

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun: Barrel Length is 26”, Chambered for 2 ¾” shells , Equipped with Ejectors and Double triggers, Chokes are Modified and Improved Cylinder, Length of pull is 14 ¼, Drop is 1 ½: to 2 1/4”, Weight is 6 ¾ Lbs.

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Parker Reproductions Model DHE 20 Gauge SxS Shotgun:

Lynn Bogue Hunt Quail painting

Lynn Bogue Hunt Quail painting

I encourage you to check out this piece about attempts to restore quail populations in Virginia.

Upland game bird populations are in trouble in many parts of the country. Programs like these are one way we can help.

I added this video just for the fun. This award-winning quail caller can make some amazing sounds just by whistling. Uncanny. Hold on until the end to hear to get a covey of quail to attack you.

20 gauge Lefever BE Double Barrel Shotgun

20 gauge Lefever BE Double Barrel Shotgun

Of the major American shotgun SxS shotgun makers — Remington, Lefever, A.H. Fox, Ithaca, Parker Bros, & L.C. Smith – Lefever made the fewest guns. While most of other companies turned out over 200,000 doubles in their history, Lefever made just 65,000 or so shotguns (and a handful of double rifles).

Most of Lefever’s side-by-sides were lower grades in 10 and 12 gauges. As you climb the ladder to the gun’s top models – Bs, As, AAs, Optimuses and Thousand Dollar Grade, the production numbers drop fast. When you start looking foe twenty gauges in these higher grades, the numbers slip into the single digits. So when an unheard of, high-grade 20 gauge Lefever pops up, it’s big news to a handful of serious collectors.

20 gauge Lefever BE Double Barrel Shotgun

20 gauge Lefever BE Double Barrel Shotgun

This 20 gauge BE is that kind of big news. Made around 1911 or so, I hear this little Lefever was being walked around Saurday at the Las Vegas Antiques Arms Show. I’m sure it attracted a lot of attention.

 

20 gauge Lefever BE Double Barrel Shotgun

20 gauge Lefever BE Double Barrel Shotgun

20 gauge Lefever BE Double Barrel Shotgun

20 gauge Lefever BE Double Barrel Shotgun

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28" barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28″ barrels, straight grip

If people are still collecting shotguns in 2114, one double I’m sure they’ll be call an American classic is the 28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under.

Ruger introduced their Red Label shotguns in 1977 and offered them until 2011 (and they’re introducing a modified version this year, btw). First available as 20 gauges and then 12s, the Red Labels were decent guns. In most of the shops I visited as a kid, they were the most expensive shotguns on the racks, right up there with the Belgian Browning Superposed and the Beretta 686s.

One-hundred percent American made, Red Labels tended to be heavy, and the fit and finish on a lot of them was not good. But the 28 gauge Ruger Red Labels were different – like a single, gorgeous pup in a litter of malformed runts. These Red Labels were lightweight and sleek. If you could find a good one, they were beautiful upland guns.

And it looks like the one you see here might be a good one. It’s on Gunbroker.com now and the listing end on 1/21/2014 5:15:24 PM ET. So if you like what you see, step up and get it. The price looks very fair.

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under, 28″ bbls:  VR barrel…boxlock, SST, auto ejectors, checkered English straight grip stock, stainless steel frame…Comes with the original box, manual, choke wrench and all 5 choke tubes…Gun is mint/hard to even tell if it has been fired/Like New.

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28" barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28″ barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28" barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28″ barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28" barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28″ barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28" barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28″ barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28" barrels, straight grip

28 gauge Ruger Red Label over under shotgun, 28″ barrels, straight grip

 

Merkel Model 201 20GA, Model 201 Ejectors, 28" barrels

Merkel Model 201 20GA, Model 201 Ejectors, 28″ barrels

Here’s a great looking over-under at a very fair price. These Merkels are extremely well made, and it’s rare to find on in 20 gauge with a straight grip, double triggers, and a nice long length of pull. The price looks very fair, too.

According to Hallowell.com, Merkel’s 201-E was the one up from the lowest-grade O/U that the company made after the war. I was built on a Blitz action with two Kersten locks and biteless underlugs. You can read more about the Merkel grades here.

Merkel Model 201 20GA, Model 201E Ejectors, 28″ barrels: IC & MOD, made in 1955, straight grip, double triggers, front articulated with vent rib. Dimensions aprox: 1 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ x 14 3/4″ LOP. Excellent condition with nice game scene engraving. Price: $2850

Merkel Model 201 20GA, Model 201 Ejectors, 28" barrels

Merkel Model 201 20GA, Model 201 Ejectors, 28″ barrels

Merkel Model 201 20GA, Model 201 Ejectors, 28" barrels

Merkel Model 201 20GA, Model 201 Ejectors, 28″ barrels

Merkel Model 201 20GA, Model 201 Ejectors, 28" barrels

Merkel Model 201 20GA, Model 201 Ejectors, 28″ barrels

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26" bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26″ bbls

Here’s a nice little double. This Francotte is a 14E – one step up from the company’s field grade Knock About model. It’s looks all original, and I bet it would be a fantastic quail gun.

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26″ bbl: 2 1/2″ chambers, m/f, 14 1/8″ LOP, 2 5/8″ DH, 1 3/8″ DC, 4lb. 2oz., hand rubbed oil finish. All original, untouched, unmolested gun. Manufactured in 1925, with letters and other documentation from Griffin & Howe, the authority on Francottes. Stamped Francotte Choke Bore. Gun is in about 90% condition, no cracks, dents, gouges or deep scratches in wood. BBl retain most of their original color. Metal is in excellent condition with about 85% blue remaining. Engraving is also excellent. Price: $9750

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26" bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26″ bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26" bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26″ bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26" bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26″ bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26" bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26″ bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26" bbls

August Francotte 14E SxS Shotgun .410, 26″ bbls

Fleeing woodcock

Fleeing woodcock

Good friends, a couple nice dogs, and a promising cover. That’s about all you need.

    A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun, restored by Turnbull

A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun, restored by Turnbull

So the answer is… restored, by the  Turnbull Manufacturing Company.

This nice looking little double was auctioned off in Julia’s Fall, 2013 auction. Here’s its the listing from that sale:

PARKER .410 VH BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED BY DOUG TURNBULL. SN 226161. Cal. .410. 3″ Chambers. 000 Frame. 26″ Bbls. This lovely little gun with all correct markings and specifications as outlined in PARKER GUN IDENTIFICATION & SERIALIZATION ledger, including ball grip, and Parkers dogs head buttplate, has had all of its orig finishes and engraving completely and competently restored. Gun features automatic safety and double triggers, along with splinter forend. Bore diameter at muzzles: left-.396, right -.396. Wall thickness: left -.035, right -.038. Drop at heel: 2-3/4″, drop at comb: 1-3/8″. Weight: 5 lbs. 9 oz. LOP: 14-3/8″. CONDITION: Excellent, essentially as new, as restored, with only a few subsequent light handling marks. Bores are excellent. Action is tight.

 

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original condition on a vintage shotguns is like good bird cover: I know it when I see it. The same is true with wood and metal finishes that have been restored. Spend enough time around old guns, and you start to develop an eye for what’s original and what isn’t.

So for everyone who thinks they’re good at spotting one or the other, here’s a test. Take a look at these pics and let me know what you think. Tell us why you think it, too. Tomorrow I’ll post the answer and who knows…maybe you’ll be right.

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

All pics copyright James D. Julia Auctioneers. Be sure to check out all the splendid firearms in their upcoming sale.

 

 

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

Original or redone? A .410 Parker Double Barrel Shotgun

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