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