The Rock Island Auction company’s big winter sale started yesterday and it runs until tomorrow. I was excited about this 20 gauge Mainwaring side-by-side, but I backed off it at the last minute. While it’s a nice looking shotgun, it may of had some serious, deal-killing problems.
Mainwaring was in Paris, and they were more of a retailer than a maker. This sidelock was probably one of the finest side-by-sides they offered. It was made in Belgium, pre-WW2, and the finish on it looks original. All good, it could easily be a $6-8,000+ shotgun.
But according to the auctioneer, it was far from all good. It was proofed with 2 1/2″ chambers and light modified chokes. Rock Island’s said it now had 3″ chambers and no choke. So it sounds like some moron went inside those tubes and reamed them way out. And who knows what else the knucklehead did to the rest of the shotgun?
But here’s the thing: I’m not so sure that the bbls were that bad. I had reasons to doubt Rock Island’s report. If I was correct, the gun was all original and unmessed with. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone to double check it for me. So I had to walk away.