When I first got into Parker, the collector’s world for these shotguns was still filled with mysteries like the story of the Czar’s Parker and the whereabouts of the three Invincibles. While many of these mysteries have been solved, others, like the “why” of the Parker 12-gauge “1/2-frame”, remain.
PARKER VHE 12 GAUGE IN RARE 1/2 FRAME: Here is a Parker VHE in the rare 1/2 Frame size. Parker made a very low number of guns in 1/2 Frame size. Historians seem to believe that the total number was in the approximate 300-piece range. This gun has 26″ ejector barrels. Mirror bores at .731 with 15/1000 choke (Mod) and 28/1000 choke (Full). Chambers are 2 3/4″. All serial numbers match. Unrestored condition. Auto safety. Weight is 6 LBS 11 OZ. Stock dimensions: LOP – 14 1/16″. Drop at Comb – 1 5/8″. Drop at Heel – 2 1/2″ Price: $3,995
Parker built its first 12-gauge 1/2-frame guns in the fall of 1937 after the company had been sold to Remington and moved to Ilion, NY.
Michael McIntosh wrote a bit about the 1/2 frame. He speculated that it was Parker’s attempt to create a British-style, 12-bore game gun (basically a 12g weighs around 6 3/4 lbs and shoots a 1 1/8oz load).
Parker author & researcher Ed Muderlak disagreed and dedicated a full chapter and 10+ pages of Parkers Guns: The Old Reliable to prying apart McIntosh’s thesis.
Neither writer proved anything. While McIntosh told a better tale and Muderlak presented a sound argument, the 1/2-frame is still a mystery. Or as Muderlak finally states after showing off his argumentative skills “… nobody knows what Remington had on its corporate mind when it retooled for the half-frame in 1937.”