Auction alert: a 16g Browning Citori O/U shotgun…

Browning 16-gauge Citori with a 28 in bbl and 2¾ inch chamber
Browning 16-gauge Citori with a 28 in bbl and 2¾ inch chamber

Here’s a nice looking over-under that you may be able to get a deal on. It’s on Gunbroker.com and the listing ends 4/18/2015 @ 11:54:33 AM ET.

Browning 16-gauge Citori with a 28 in bbl and 2¾ inch chamber: Made in Japan in 1987, according to serial number search. All stock dimensions, length-of-pull, etc. are factory set and no modifications have been made. It has the factory plastic butt pad. Browning choke tube wrench and nine (9) chokes included: (6) Browning invector – 2 full, 2 mod, 2 improved cylinder. Three (3) Briley flush fit chokes – 1 light mod, 1 skeet, 1 improved mod. Has a red fiber-optic sight, with a steel mid-bead. I bought this gun used in 2007. The previous owner had stored the gun in a wet case and caused damage to the surface – rust and light pitting on barrels, and oil stains in the wood – all was cosmetic with no effect on the performance. I refinished the stock with Birchwood Casey stock refinish. I also removed the rust and polished the pitted spots out, touching up with Brownell’s Oxpho blue. If you are buying this gun as a showpiece, please reconsider – this gun is meant to be hunted with and any bird hunter wanting a practical 16 gauge over/under would be happy with this shotgun. The action locks up tight and the bores are perfect. Functionally, this gun is in 95%+ condition, cosmetically, it is about 85%. No box or papers.

Browning 16-gauge Citori with a 28 in bbl and 2¾ inch chamber
Browning 16-gauge Citori with a 28 in bbl and 2¾ inch chamber

Auction alert: Two HE Super Foxes, a 12 & a super-rare 20 gauge…

Rare 20 gauge A. H. Fox He Grade Superfox Double Ejectorgun Shipped To E.C. Crossman
Rare 20 gauge A. H. Fox He Grade Superfox Double Ejectorgun Shipped To E.C. Crossman

Here are two tough-to find American doubles coming to auction. They’re both A.H. Fox HE SxS, one in 12 gauge and one in 20 gauge. Both are coming up this weekend at Amoskeag Auctions March sale.

Fox made about 300 of these HE-grade Super Fox side-by-side shotguns — just sixty in 20 gauge and the rest in 12. All of them were heavy, overbored doubles made for wildfowling with Western Cartridge’s new-at-the-time Super-X ammo.

Lot # 85: Rare A. H. Fox He Grade Superfox Double Ejectorgun Shipped To E.C. Crossman. Serial #202292, 20 Ga. (2 3/4”), 32” Chromox barrels choked full and full with bright excellent bores showing just some faint remnants of light pitting in a couple spots with a tiny dent in the right tube near the muzzles which was professionally raised. The barrels retain about 90% original blue, the loss due to overall light fading, actually appearing much stronger undernormal ambient light. The frame is lovely and retains 75-80% original color case-hardening which is quite vivid, the belly of frame toning to a silvery case-hardened patina; it features light fancy borderline engraving with little floral sprays around the pins and screw holes.

Rare 20 gauge A. H. Fox He Grade Superfox Double Ejectorgun Shipped To E.C. Crossman
Rare 20 gauge A. H. Fox He Grade Superfox Double Ejectorgun Shipped To E.C. Crossman

The gun is stocked half-pistolgrip in a nice grade of walnut, the stock rating very good plus to near excellent with much original varnish and only minor dings and handling marks from the years. It is fitted with a more contemporary Hawkins recoil pad, added to the contour of the butt, the original pad having deteriorated with the years, the length of pull is 14 7/16” with drops of 1 1/2” and 2 7/8”; the forend is a bit darker and rates very good plus as well showing a thin sliver of bedding compound at its junction with the forend iron. The gun locks up Fox-tight with the top lever still right of center, the gun seems to operate well mechanically and the ejectors are robust; the safety is non-automatic. The included factory letter confirms the configuration and shows shipment to none other than E.C. Crossman on August 14, 1925 “for Phill Crosman” (sic). Savage historian John T. Callahan took the liberty of including copies of the original build card and job tag for the shotgun. The build card, under the “For” heading reads “E.C. Crossman”, the rear of the card showing pellet count for left and right barrels. The job tag reads on front and back: “Test Gun and send to Phill Crosman” and “Mr. Roll This Gun shoots 79% in 5 shots out of Right bbl 79 1/2% out of 5 shots in Left bbl B.Becker”, obviously from the renowned Burt Becker to Adolph Roll, Fox Sales Manager. With only sixty 20 ga. Super Fox shotguns ever made, this is a really rare and lovely Super Fox in its own right, all-the-more desireable with the connection to the famous Crossman clan. Truly a super – Super Fox. Estimate: $8000 – $10000.

12 gauge A. H. Fox He Grade Super Fox Boxlock Double Ejectorgun.
12 gauge A. H. Fox He Grade Super Fox Boxlock Double Ejectorgun.

Lot # 386: A. H. Fox He Grade Super Fox Boxlock Double Ejectorgun: Serial #29562, 12 Ga. (3”), 30” barrels choked full and full with bright excellent bores. The barrels retain about 98% excellent quality restored blue finish with some light muzzle wear and a remnant or two of light pitting beneath. The frame is lovely retaining 99% restored vibrant color case-hardening with the familiar light H-grade borderline engraving and makers name; the triggerguard shows excellent blue as well. The round knob pistolgrip buttstock rates excellent as professionally refinished with evidence of a repaired crack at left and right of top tang; it seems to have been effective and the stock seems sound and will not flex. The splinter forend is in a similar state of condition and both show perfectly chased checkering.

12 gauge A. H. Fox He Grade Super Fox Boxlock Double Ejectorgun.
12 gauge A. H. Fox He Grade Super Fox Boxlock Double Ejectorgun.

The length of pull to the grooved hard rubber buttplate is 14 1/8” with drops of 1 5/8” and 3” (although the factory letter indicates 2 3/4”, the stock appears original in all respects). The safety is non-automatic and two of the screws show some light slot damage…they are not quite regulated and clearly someone with an incorrect width blade attempted to turn them. The gun locks up tightly with the top lever still right of center and the gun seems to operate properly mechanically. The included factory letter verifies the configuration and shows shipment in September of 1925 to W. R. Burkhard Co. (St. Paul Minn.). Really an excellent as-restored Super Fox that should be taken back afield for some waterfowl bustin in the fall seasons. Estimate: $2500 – $4000

Another 20g Beretta Onyx, but with something different….

BERETTA 686 Onyx - 20 Gauge , Color-Case Hardened Action
BERETTA 686 Onyx – 20 Gauge , Color-Case Hardened Action

I know, another 686. Blah, blah, blah. But this one is different, I swear. How? It has a color-case hardened action, something I’ve never seen on a 686 from Beretta. I really like the looks of it  – even though the wood stinks. If it were mine, I would class it up a bit with a new custom wood set from Cole Gunsmithing.

BERETTA 686 Onyx – 20 Gauge : Price: $2,099.99

Caliber: 20 gauge
Chambers: 3 Inch
Metal Condition: Excellent but for a small amount of suface corrosion near the hinge pin on either side.
Wood Condition: Excellent
Bore Condition: Bright and shiny
Barrels: 26-1/2 Inch
Triggers: Single gold trigger, selectable at the tang safety
Stock: Checkered walnut
Stock Dimensions: 14-1/2 Inch LOP
Fore End: Matching checkered walnut
Butt Pad: Textured rubber pad
Weight: 6 lbs
Sights: Ventilated rib with gold-colored bead.
Chokes: Screw-in chokes, Imp Cyl and Full furnished

Good guns alert: Beretta 686 20g & 20/28g set, both with 28″ bbls…

If you follow this blog, you know how much I love these guns. And if you’ve ever shot a Beretta 686 with 28″ barrels, you’ll know why. These two are in nice shape and priced right. If you think the wood on them is too plain, check out these custom stocks from Cole Gunsmithing.

BERETTA – Gallery Special – 686 Onyx – 20ga & 28ga Set – High Grade Wood: Two Barrel set – LOP 14-3/4”, Drop 1-1/4” to 2 3/8″ over a Kick-Eez pad, with a slight cast off. Both Barrels 28″ Mobilchoke and Numbered 1 & 2 with 5 factory screw chokes each gauge. Weight – 6 lbs. 7 oz. with the 20 bore barrels and 6 lbs. 10 oz. with the 28 bore barrels.

BERETTA - Gallery Special - 686 Onyx - 20ga & 28ga Set - High Grade Wood
BERETTA – Gallery Special – 686 Onyx – 20ga & 28ga Set – High Grade Wood

Sold only thru Beretta Gallery stores – Gallery markings on the bottom of the frame, top tang, and trigger guard. Upgrade wood with oil finish and a stock oval. Schnabel forearm for each set of barrels. Original satin black finish at 98+%, and original wood oil finish is at 98+%, bores are as new and the gun remains as tight as new. Very Rare Gun. The only Black Onyx Finish multiple barrel sets I’ve every seen have been Gallery Guns. I suspect the Onyx was never offered in the two barrel set, except through the Gallery Store. Price: $3,950

 

Beretta 686 Onyx 20 GA O/U: Price: $1,499.99

Beretta 686 Onyx 20 GA O/U
Beretta 686 Onyx 20 GA O/U
Caliber: 20 GA
Chambers: 2 3/4 inch and 3 inch.
Metal Condition: Excellent. A light handling mark bottom barrel at bore.
Wood Condition: Excellent.
Bore Condition: Very bright and shiny.
Barrels: 28 inch matte black with a ventilated rib.
Triggers: Single
Stock: Checkered walnut pistol grip with a black steel cap.
Stock Dimensions: LOP 14 1/2 inches.
Fore End: Checkered walnut.
Butt Pad: Beretta black rubber pad.
Weight: 6 lbs. 3 oz.
Sights: Brass front bead.
Chokes: Tubes

A nice little hammergun, from Liege, Belgium…

Lovely 16 GA. SXS Belgian hammer shotgun by F. Lancelot & Co. Liege Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples.
Lovely 16 GA. SXS Belgian hammer shotgun by F. Lancelot & Co. Liege Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples.

Liege used to be the gunmaking capital of the world.

Located in eastern Belgium, it straddles the banks of the Meuse River. In the early 19th century, John Cockerill develop a steel industry there, and it was with this steel that countless gunmakers and craftmen filed up and turned out millions of firearms, from crudest muskets for the African slave trade to the finest shotguns for Kings, Czars and other rich folks around the world.

The double barrel shotgun you see here is fell somewhere in between these extremes. It was made by F. Lancelot — a gunmaker lost to history — and it’s a basic, 16 gauge hammergun with fluid steel barrels. Even though it was an inexpensive shotgun in its day, I’m sure it was still very well made. Here’s more about it from the seller:

Lovely 16 GA. SXS Belgian hammer shotgun by F. Lancelot & Co. Liege Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples.
Lovely 16 GA. SXS Belgian hammer shotgun by F. Lancelot & Co. Liege Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples.

F. Lancelot, Liege- Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples: Lovely 16 GA. SXS Belgian hammer shotgun by F. Lancelot & Co. Liege Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples. This smokeless proofed fluid steel barrelled  shotgun has it’s original 2 9/16″ (65m/m) chambers with long forcing cones and side clips.  Chokes measure .027 and .022 (16.4 and 16.5) barrel length 27.5″ Straight grip stock measures 14″ LOP to a bone butt plate. This strong action has three locking lugs including a Greener type cross bolt. The barrels retain 95+% of the original blue. The fore end and butt stock wood retain all of their original finish with only very minor nicks and scratches. An excellent Belgian pre-war hammer double. Price: $1750

Lovely 16 GA. SXS Belgian hammer shotgun by F. Lancelot & Co. Liege Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples.
Lovely 16 GA. SXS Belgian hammer shotgun by F. Lancelot & Co. Liege Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples.
Lovely 16 GA. SXS Belgian hammer shotgun by F. Lancelot & Co. Liege Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples.
Lovely 16 GA. SXS Belgian hammer shotgun by F. Lancelot & Co. Liege Retailed by P. Varriale, Naples.

Good gun alert: a 16 gauge FAIR O/U shotgun – just $1,199.99…

FAIR 16 gauge double barrel O/U shotgun
FAIR 16 gauge double barrel O/U shotgun

Upland hunters: If you’re looking for one shotgun that can handle it all, this 16 gauge FAIR O/U is it. And at $1,199, it’s a steal.

FAIR stands for Fabbrica Armi Isidoro Rizzini, and Italian company that has been around  since 1971. Since 1999, various importers have been bought them into the US and today it looks Cabela’s is at least one of the companies selling them.

A lot of the modern 16 gauge O/Us that you see are built on 12 gauge frames. This can make these shotguns heavy and clunky. So it’s nice to see that FAIR’s 16 gauge O/Us are built on true sixteen gauge frame.

Here’s more about the shotgun from the seller’s listing:

FAIR 16 gauge double barrel O/U shotgun
FAIR 16 gauge double barrel O/U shotgun

FAIR 16 gauge Double Barrel Over-Under Shotgun: 28″ barrels, screw in chokes, 2 3/4″ chambers. Single selective trigger. 14 1/2″ LOP., 2″ DAH, 6 1/2 lbs. Built on a 16-gauge frame, in its original case. Price: $1,199.99

Big bucks for a plain Charles Daly boxlock…

Prussian. Lindner-made Charles Daly Empire Grade Double Barrel, Side by Side, Boxlock ejector, Shotgun
Prussian. Lindner-made Charles Daly Empire Grade Double Barrel, Side by Side, Boxlock ejector, Shotgun

Lindner-made Charles Daly side-by-side shotguns used to be one of the best buys in the vintage double world. That’s why I was excited to see this lightweight 12 gauge come up yesterday at Amoskeag Auctions. It was in great condition and I was hoping to get a deal.

Well, a deal didn’t happen. This Charles Daly hammered down for $4200. Add in the buyer’s premium,and  the winner is going to pay at least $4830 for this gun. That’s a lot of money for a plain 12 gauge boxlock – even if it was made by the famous Lindner clan.

Auction Alert: a bunch of nice Brownings…

I’m chilling and relaxing, and then I remembered this auction that

Browning - BSS 20 Ga Shotgun w/ Browning case
Browning – BSS 20 Ga Shotgun w/ Browning case

I had to tell everyone about: Cornwell Inc Land & Home Brokers in Aurora, NE, has this bunch of real nice Brownings in its sale, ending tomorrow around 10:30AM, EST:

Browning – Lightning Superposed 20 Ga Shotgun

Browning – 12 Ga Shotgun BSS w/ case

Browning – Lightning Superposed 12 Ga Shotgun

Browning – BSS 20 Ga Shotgun w/ Browning case

Browning – Citori Superlight Over/Under 410 Ga Shotgun; NIB

Browning – Belgium 12 Ga Shotgun 1931 w/black elephant hide case

20 gauge A.H. Fox XE shotgun: Really a good investment?…

20g Fox XE double barrel shotgun
20g Fox XE double barrel shotgun

“Investment” is a word that comes up a lot in the gun circles, as in “..right now, shotguns like this are excellent investments.” Statements like this make me think “maybe”.

To see what I mean, let’s consider this 20 gauge A.H. Fox XE side by side. It sold a couple weekends ago at Rock Island Auctions for $20,700. This same gun changed hands back in 2008 at Julia’s spring firearms auction for $14,950. (BTW: here are some better pics of it: 20g Fox XE double barrel shotgun, spring 2008).

So here were have a A.H. Fox 20 gauge XE selling twice in 4 years. Was the gun a good “investment”. Lets run some numbers and see.

First, we need to adjust the sale price. Both auctioneers are include a 15% buyer’s premium in the prices they show. We need to take this out to get the real sales prices: $18,000 in 2008 and $13,000 in 2012. This cuts the 4-year gain down to $5000. Still not bad.

Next, lets consider the seller’s premium. This fee is negotiable and if you bring the right stuff to an auctioneer, it can fall to zero. To keep things simple, we’ll just assume that the seller rung all the right bells and paid 0%.

Finally, there are the miscellaneous fees and taxes. Shipping the gun back and forth both times probably cost the seller several hundred dollars. We’ll use $250. Tax wise, since the seller had the gun for over a year, the gains will be dinged  28% – if the seller pays paid them. Most gun auctions don’t process 1099s on sales, so paying capital gains on stuff is totally up to the consignor. Of course, Uncle Sam says it’s something they must do.

This final bit of figuring knocks the gains down to $4750 without taxes and $3420 with them. So what kind of return is this over 4 years? If my math is right (and it may not be), the seller’s looking at 8.0% and 6%. That’s not bad. In this case, I would say that this gun was a decent place to stash some money for a few years.

What do you think?

BTW: please let me know if my calculations are wrong. I’m a writer, not an accountant or financial analyst.

Check out this crispy, 16 gauge F.W. Heym over/under…

I’m always amazed by the doubles people have squirreled. Judging by the condition of this 16 gauge over/under, this F.W. Heym has been hiding under some bed, or in some back closet, most its life.

16 gauge F.W. Heym over/under shotgun
16 gauge F.W. Heym over/under shotgun

F.W. Heym was a German gunmaker founded by Friedrich Wilhelm Heym in July 1865. This shotgun was sold through the Sloan’s Sporting Goods back in the roaring ’20s. Sloan’s  used to be a big player in the fine firearms world. They had a store in NYC and Ridgefield, CT, and back when this o/u was bought, it was probably just another one of the fine doubles on the shop’s racks.

The shotgun itself is a mid-grade boxlock ejector with sideplates. The scrollwork is very well done, even though there isn’t all that much of it. I think the single trigger is original. The gun locks up on the Kersten-style system and I bet it closes with a bold KERCHUNK! Judging by the serial number, I think it was made around 1924.

A few things I love about this gun:

-The wood. It looks like real French walnut.

-The horn inlays on the stock.

-Its 28″ barrels.

-All its original condition. Not many shotguns make it past their 80th birthday that way. Fortunately, this one has.

Dang – I want this shotgun: an 8 gauge W. & C. Scott Excellentia…

I have a weakness for the impractical, especially impractical old shotguns. That’s why I love this 8 gauge W. & C. Scott Excellentia.

Considering that 8 gauge ammo is almost impossible to find, and that hunting with an 8 gauge shotguns is illegal in most states, I think this side-by-side is as far from sensible as a double barrel can be. Maybe that’s why I keep wishing I had bought it. Pic courtesy of Lewis Drake & Associates.

8 gauge W. & C. Scott Excellentia Double Barrel Shotgun
8 gauge W. & C. Scott Excellentia Double Barrel Shotgun

 

Another good gun at Julia’s: 24g Charles Daly Regent Diamond grade

Charles Daly was a businessman, not a gunmaker. Born in 1839, he partnered with August Shoverling around 1875 to import shotguns into the United States. These side-by-sides were marketed under Charles Daly’s name, and up to about WW2, they were some of the finest double-barrel shotguns for sale in the US.

A Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade 24 gauge
A Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade 24 gauge

This little 24 gauge at Julia’s March 2012 auctions shows just how nice a Charles Daly can be.  This is a Diamond Regent, and while this was the highest grade gun Charles Daly offered, some Diamond Regents were fancier than others, like this 16 gauge from the NRA’s Robert Peterson collection.

As for the gauge – 24 – I’ve seen a handful of shotguns made for it. All these guns have been european, and I think most of them were Italian. I’ve heard that 24 gauges are popular in South America for doves and in Europe for smaller upland game. If you buy this Daly, this  Fiocchi 24 gauge ammo is out there and available.

Prussian-made Charles Daly side-by-side shotguns were very expensive back in their day.  Schoverling, Daly & Gales listed the Diamond Regent for $500 in their 1907 catalog. Parker was asking the same price for their just introduced A-1 Special.

Today, Parker A-1 Specials brings much more on the collector’s market. But I don’t think they’re better shotgun. Dalys have always been fantastic doubles, and many people think they’re among the finest boxlocks ever made. I agree with them.

Here’s the complete listing of this gun from Julia’s website:

Lot #1190A: RARE AND DAINTY CHAS DALY REGENT DIAMOND 24 GA SHOTGUN.

SN 1736. Cal. 24 Ga. Wonderful, Prussian, Linder made Daly with factory 24” bbls, 2-3/4″ chambers with tapered, concave, matted ribs and sgl metal bead.“CHARLES DALY REGENT DIAMOND QUALITY” is inlaid in gold with scroll engraving extending about 6-1/2” up the rib. It has a rib extension with dbl bites, selective ejectors & checkered dbl triggers. Dovetail bbls are made of Excelsior steel by Witten and bear the maker’s brand along with the crossed pistols and “HAL” markings indicative of Linder made guns.

Scalloped receiver is stamped “PRUSSIA” on the water table is wonderfully engraved with full coverage flowing deep-relief scrollwork having a small oval vignette of four partridge on left side, two pheasant on right side, the indicative large gold crown is on bottom with two intricate snipe in an oval on trigger bow. Fences are deep relief engraved in flowing acanthus patterns with sculpted rib across radius with side clips.

Receiver also has cocking indicators & maker’s name along the base of the bbl bosses with “SAFE” in gold on top tang. Mounted with superb,honey & chocolate Circassian walnut with ebony tipped Prince of Wales grip with checkered side panels and drop points. Bottom of stock has a small gold oval engraved “H.M.A.”. Matching splinter forend has ebony tip with appended metal engraved to match gun.

Bore diameter: left -.587, right -.589. Bore restrictions: left -.020, right -.003 Wall thickness: left -.025, right -.023. Drop at heel: 2-7/8″, drop at comb: 1-3/4″. Weight: 4lbs. 12oz, LOP 13 3/4” over a 1/2″ well-matched stock extension and solid red pad. PROVENANCE: Ex- William Keith Neal Collection (Consignor’s grandfather and noted British antique arms collector).

CONDITION: Very good plus. Bbls retain most of their orig finish with areas of light to moderate pitting towards the muzzles and one or two light handling marks. Action retains most of its vibrant case colors underneath sharp engraving. Wood is sound and retains about all of its orig hand rubbed finish with scattered light dents & dings from normal handling. Recoil pad is slightly flattened and separating from its base at toe. Bore is bright and shiny. Mechanics are crisp, ejectors in time. A diminutive and rare beauty! Schoverling ,Daly & Gales offered this grade(No. 500)at $500 in their 1907 catalog. 4-45629 JWD24 (15,000-20,000)

Vintage Double of the Week: a W. & C. Scott 8 gauge…

As the 19th century ended, the shooting world was winding up 100 years of change. In 1800, muzzle loading flintlocks had ruled the field. Then in 1839, percussion guns took over, followed by breech loaders and then centerfire hammerguns. By 1885, these hammerguns were out and self-cocking, hammerless doubles were in.

8 gauge W. & C. Scott double barrel shotgun
8 gauge W. & C. Scott double barrel shotgun

While the new hammerless guns had their benefits, hammerguns had two advantages that were tough to beat. First, exposed hammers make it easy to see if a gun is cocked and ready to fire. Second, cocked hammers can be dropped, decocking the gun and returning it to a “safe” state.

So some people raised on hammerguns must have looked at the new, “hammerless” models with suspicion. To overcome their apprehensions, some makers added cocked indicators to their hammerless guns. A few makers even came up with ways to uncock there guns. But, W. & C. Scott may be the only maker to ever come up with a way to do it all, and you can see their solution in this gun. This is the gun and it’s an 8 gauge that Scott called THE COMBINATION. Lewis Drake had this gun a while ago. Like a lot of his stuff, this gun looks like it was in very original condition.

 

Auction Alert: Fox, Ithaca & FN/Browning…

Good guns! Some nice double barrel shotguns are coming up to auction of the next few weeks. Here are couple side-by-sides and over-and-unders that caught my eye:

Fox A grade 20 gauge double barrel shotgun
Fox A grade 20 gauge double barrel shotgun

A.H. Fox Grade CE, 20 ga. side by side shotgun, mfg. 1927

A.H. Fox Grade A, 20 ga. side by side shotgun, 28″, mfg. 1930

Fabrique Nationale & Arms 28 Ga. O/U Shotgun

Ithaca Classic Doubles 4E 20 Gauge Shotgun

Couple good grouse guns at auction…

Amoskeag’s 11/19 auction has a bunch of good double barrel shotguns coming up in it. Here a couple that would be ideal in the uplands.

20g Browning Superlight – of all the classic “America” shotguns, the Belgian Brownings are the most shootable. With modern dimensions and chambers, they’re very handy guns. Most of them are heavy, though. The Superlights are the exception. In 20g, they make great upland guns.

 

20g Browning Superlight Shotgun
20g Browning Superlight Shotgun

20g Parker DHE – This is a nice, later Parker (1937) with a straight grip, 14 1/2″ LOP and 2 1/2″ of drop. That’s a combination you see in very few vintage American doubles, and it makes this Parker very desirable. The only drawback is that I’m sure a lot of people will be after it.

20g Parker DHE Double Barrel Shotgun
20g Parker DHE Double Barrel Shotgun

 

 

 

Wow- what a cool 10g L.C. Smith…

The 2 7/8″ 10 gauge is a load lost to time. Back in the late 19th century, it was the most popular load in this country and lots of American double barrel shotguns were made to shoot it. But as powders improved and shooting styles changes, more and more hunters swapped their 10s for 12s.

10 gauge L.C. Smith Grade 3 double barrel shotgun
10 gauge L.C. Smith Grade 3 double barrel shotgun

By the beginning of the 20th century, the 10g was pretty much obsolete. While a few were still made, it was a vanishing species. It would be revived a bit when 8 gauge shotguns were banned by the Feds and Ithaca introduced its 3 1/2″, 10g to fill the gap, but it would never reign supreme again.

Here’s a 10g L.C. Smith made towards the end of this gauge’s popularity. It’s a beautiful gun, and rare in a Gr. 3. The Gr. 3s were medium quality Smiths and the company made just 3,790 of them.

At auction: a “holy cr@p” L.C. Smith, 8g, Grade 4…

Eight gauge L.C. Smiths are rare double barrel shotguns. I don’t know the exact figures on how many were made, but I bet it’s under 50 all together. These side by sides were made as waterfowlers, hunting that can be hard on guns, so mot of the one I’ve seen have been in fair condition. This one at in Julia’s upcoming auction is pretty typical. The one pictured below is not.

That gun is a Gr. 4 (1 of 2 made). It has 32″ barrels and it’s nearly-new, original condition. Spectacular. Best of all, a place called Laughlin Auctions in Edinburg, VA, is auctioning it off this weekend. So if you have to have it, go for it. Be prepared to go deep, though. This gun is attracting a lot of serious attention. I wouldn’t be surprised if it went for $25,000+.  There’s been a lot of discussion about this gun. Click here for the thread.

8g L.C. Smith Gr. 4 shotgun, 32″ bbls

8 gauge L.C. Smith Gr. 4 shotgun
8 gauge L.C. Smith Gr. 4 shotgun
8 gauge L.C. Smith, Grade 4, 32" bbls
8 gauge L.C. Smith, Grade 4, 32" bbls
8 gauge L.C. Smith, Grade 4, 32" bbls
8 gauge L.C. Smith, Grade 4, 32" bbls
8 gauge L.C. Smith, Grade 4, 32" bbls
8 gauge L.C. Smith, Grade 4, 32" bbls

It take more than a missing safety…

Live Bird Gun — if you collect double-barrel shotguns, those three words can cost you plenty. There seems to be something special about doubles made for pigeon shooting–something that collectors like and sellers love. That’s why true pigeon guns command premium prices. It’s also why dealers are quick to label any side-by-side or over/under with certain features a Live Bird Gun.

To see what I mean, check out this 20 gauge Parker DHE. It’s a nice 20g–with no safety. A missing safety is supposed to be a rubber stamp that certifies a double as a “Live Bird Gun.” But while plenty of pigeon guns lack safeties, not all of them do, and a missing safety does not mean a double was made for pigeons. So in this Parker’s case, are we looking at a true pigeon gun? I doubt it.

My first objection is to the gauge  – 20. Live pigeon shooting is a competitive sport. It’s expensive to participate in. To succeed, you must down your bird in a set area (the ring). To do this effectively, you would want to put as much lead as possible on your target (shooters are limited to 1 1/4 oz. loads). While there are handicapped advantages for 14 & 16 gauges, there are none for 20s. So there’s no benefit to shooting live pigeons with a 20g. In a game where money rides on every pull of the trigger, zero advantage equals zero reason.

Also, this Parker is a light gun (it’s on an O frame) with a longish stock (14 3/8″ LOP) and 28″ barrels. Whoever ordered it  was not a small person (DH-grade Parkers were custom guns). Instead, this shooter were probably a bit bigger than average and they wanted a light-weight gun. But if you were shooting pigeons with a 20g, you would push the heaviest load possible through the gun–probably an ounce. To make the double comfortable to shoot, the gun would have to be much heavier than this one.

Finally, there’s the single trigger. Back when single triggers were less than 100% reliable, pigeon shooters tended to avoid them. Misfires and malfunctions count as balks–or missed birds–in the pigeon ring. And when a missed bird can cost you $1000+, you do everything possible to avoid them. That’s why pigeon shooters used to insist upon double triggers.

So why is this gun missing a safety? Not everyone liked them, that’s why. Charles Askins and Nash Buckingham had shotgun made without them (Bo Whoop didn’t have a safety), as did many other shooters. I’ve seen enough safety-less 20 gauge guns to think that it was common for people to order them without it.

My guess it that this Parker was made as a gentleman’s quail gun. The owner probably  shot on plantations over pointers and the gun spend most of its time in a case or scabbard. It would have been removed when the dogs were on point and loaded after it’s owner was ready to shoot and waiting for the flush. Whatever the case, I doubt it saw any time in a pigeon ring.

The things in my Inbox…

Like you, I get lots of emails. I sit down, scratch here and there, crack open the laptop, and find that my Inbox is full of emails. Sometimes they have pics attached. A couple times a year, these pics are of guns like this one: a 12g A.H. Fox HE grade double barrel shotgun

A.H. Fox HE grade 12 gauge shotgun
A.H. Fox HE grade 12 gauge shotgun

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Fox made about 300 HE-grade side by sides, and this one’s cherry enough to make my whole ‘friggin month.

A little tribute to 4 bore double barrel shotguns…

I’ve been on a big-bore kick for a little while now, and seeing a couple 4 gauge and 8 gauge double-barrel shotguns at the Southern has fed this obsession of mine. While I’m not sure what I would do with one, I’m beginning to think that I can’t live without an 8 gauge side by side, or maybe even a double 4.

If I win the lottery any time soon, it looks like I can place an order for a new, hammerless sidelock 4 gauge double barrel. Watson Bros. in London is making them. Take a look at this video to see more about these massive guns.

The Kings of Condition…

When it comes to collecting vintage shotgun, there are three things I focus on: condition, condition, & condition. Take a look at the hammer prices in an auction catalog and you’ll see why: original condition holds its value and sells, and I want to buy side-by-side shotguns that are going to be worth more in the future, not less.

Stephen Grant 12g Double Barrel Shotgun
Stephen Grant 12g Double Barrel Shotgun

With this in mind, here are a couple guns that really caught my eye last weekend at the Southern Side by Side. Both of these double barrel shotguns– a Charles Lancaster and a Stephen Grant–are awfully original (the buttstock on the Lancaster had been cut and the bbls on the Grant were rebrowned). But considering that both gun were made in the 1870s and the amount of original color, blueing, and wood finish they had, I still wanted both guns.

The Charles Lancaster is a very odd gun: a 16g with a sidelever. Charles Lancaster was actually Charles William Lancaster. His father had the same name and both of them were barrel men and gunmakers of the first order. Charles Lancaster, Sr., founded this firm of gun makers in 1826. He was located at 151 New Bond Street, London. His eldest son, Charles William Lancaster, joined him in about 1845. Both of them were well known for turning out fantastic guns and they were famous throughout England as barrel makers of the first order.

If there was one gun at the Southern that just stunk of class, the Stephen Grant was it. It is a quintessential British hammergun. This gun was made in 1877 and it has all the classic Grant features: including a sidelever and the Grant & Hodge’s Patent action. The gun also had toe and heel plates. It was fantastic.

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