2 important issues with yesterday’s 20g Parker GHE …

Parker Brothers Hammerless GHE Grade 2 Frame Size 0, Caliber: 20ga, Barrel: 26", Bore Condition: Excellent
Parker Brothers Hammerless GHE Grade 2 Frame Size 0, Caliber: 20ga, Barrel: 26″

Yesterday, 10/14, I posted an online auction alert for this shotgun:

Today, I learned that I missed two issues it has thanks to a person following Dogs and Doubles on Facebook. Because of these issues, I’m shifting my “recommended” to a “be forewarned”.

ISSUE 1: The checkering pattern on the forend is incorrect for a GH-grade Parker.

Checkering recut to the wrong pattern for a GH-grade Parker
Checkering recut to the wrong pattern for a GH-grade Parker

It should look like this:

Correct forend checkering for a GH-grade Parker
Correct forend checkering for a GH-grade Parker
Correct forend checkering for a GH-grade Parker
Correct forend checkering for a GH-grade Parker

ISSUE 2: The “2 3/4 SHELL” stamp on the barrel flats was not put there by the maker.

This "2 3/4 SHELL" mark is not original
This “2 3/4 SHELL” mark is not original

While the incorrect checkering pattern doesn’t bother me much, that 2 3/4 SHELL stamp gives me pause. Was it put there to inform — or deceive? And what should you make of it?

Chamber-lengths on older Parker shotguns are a confusing topic and trying to figure them out makes my head hurt. From what I can figure out, this 20g GHE was probably made with 2 3/8″ chambers for low-pressure 2 1/2″ shells.

No, that’s not a typo: 2 3/8″ chambers for 2 1/2″ ammo. Parker often bored chambers 1/8″ short, believing it improved shot patterns.

Once 2 3/4″ became the standard shell length for American-made game loads, gunsmiths and gunmakers often lengthened short chambers to 2 3/4″.

So is that what happened with this gun? Sort of. If the chambers really are 2 3/4″, a gunsmith — not Parker or Remington — did the work. As for the stamp, it’s not from the factory. But the person who had the gun redone may have asked to have the chambers opened and the gunsmith obliged and marked his work.

Or maybe a gunsmith opened the chambers to 2 3/4″ before the gun was redone and then later someone else added the mark to make the longer chambers appear original. Possible, but unlikely.

Regardless, one thing we do know for certain is if you were to buy this gun, you need to have a qualified gunsmith take a close look at the barrels and action to be sure everything is still in sound, safe, and shootable condition.

And even if they are, remember that you can’t shoot modern, high-pressure 2 3/4″ loads in this gun. You must still use vintage-style shotgun ammo.

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5 thoughts on “2 important issues with yesterday’s 20g Parker GHE …

  1. a great service would be to “POST PRESSURE OF DIFFERENT BRAND SHELLS in 12-16-20 gauge REM/Win/Fed/Rio/ Nobel Sp.

  2. Hello Gregg,

    Thank you for the follow up to your original post. The checkering and the barrel marks both had me scratching my head as well, for many of the same reasons you mention here. It also appears to me that the checkering is “diamond cut” not “flat top”. That said, I haven’t been able to determine if “flat top” checkering would have been “factory issue” in 1917 (when the gun was mfg.) or if “diamond cut” could have been requested by the customer. Lastly, the “P.S.” stamp on the barrel also has me scratching my head. I find it hard to believe this is a Del Grego restoration considering the items you’ve noted. I contacted the seller and was advised “ Unfortunately, we do not have any of the original paperwork from the original owner, except for the note inside of the box seen in the pictures.”

    I was very interested in the gun after you included it in this week’s line up, but have transitioned to not so much for obvious reasons. Anyways, thanks again for the follow up post and keep up the great work!

    Take care,

    Brett

  3. I agree it would be helpful. But getting all that info, maintaining it, and then making sure it’s accurate would be far too much trouble.

    If you have any questions, reaching out to makers is probably the best way to find out.

    Gregg

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