Gun Auctions can be great place to buy double barrel shotguns — if you know what you’re doing. And I really mean “if”.
Auctioneers need to get as much as they can for every lot in their sale. Buyers need all the information they can get. This sets up a sort of cat-and-mouse game. And while an auctioneer should tell the truth about a item (should), there are plenty ways to tell the truth without giving away a gun’s whole story.
This is what I mean. Check out this 12 gauge W.W. Greener hammergun. From the pics and information listed, I can see three issues with this gun. None of them are called out. Can you guess them?
The first is the butt stock. It looks refinished. Let’s check the condition report to see what it says:
“Very Fine. The barrels retain 70% of the damascus pattern with the balance a smooth brown patina. The action retains 70% original vivid case colors. The engraving is crisp. The wood is very fine with some minor handling marks and some scattered minor blemishes in the overall crisp checkering with minor chip missing from the forearm (right side). The case is good.”
Nothing about a refinish. Of course, there’s nothing about it being original either (even though the auction has “original vivid case colors”). This omission makes me think that the auctioneer believes the stock has been redone (very well, though).
Issue number two and three have to do with the barrels. First, there’s the length. The listing says they’re 27 3/4″ long. OK, but the barrels on vintage British shotguns are almost always 28″ or 30″. So what’s going on — have these been cut, or did the auctioneer make a mistake?
I sent some emails to find out. The auctioneer confirmed that the barrels were 27 3/4″ long; W.W. Greener confirmed that this length does not match what’s in their records. So it’s safe to say the barrels are cut.
Next, check out the browning on the barrels. Since the barrels have been cut, that brown is probably not original. If you take another look at the condition report you’ll see that the auctioneer doesn’t think the bbl’s finish is original, either. If he did, he would say so.
So that’s 3 issues. While they auctioneer doesn’t scream about them , I’m pretty certain he knows they’re all there.
BTW: The only way to know if the gun is really OK is to inspect yourself, or to hire someone to look it over for you.