Auction Alert: W.W. Greener, Holland & Holland double rifles…

Good guns are where you find, and you never know where a nice side-by-side will pop up. Just check out these double rifles coming up at this little auction in Kuna, ID.

BTW: You can get great deals at little auctions like this. You can also get very burned. Be sure you have these guns checked out thoroughly before bidding.

W.W. Greener Double Rifle
W.W. Greener Double Rifle

W.W. Greener .450/400  – W.W. Greener DRs are hard to find and from what I can see this one looks very original. With a litt’e cleaning up and care, it could be  a great gun.

Holland & Holland Double Rifle
Holland & Holland Double Rifle

Holland & Holland – this DR has problems, and it looks like a P-R-O-J-E-C-T. But it does look original and it is an H&H.

Reading between the lines…

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.

W.W. Greener Hammer Double Barrel Shotgun
W.W. Greener Hammer Double Barrel Shotgun

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.



A nice Greener hammer gun…

In the last 182 years, W.W. Greener has made thousands of double barrel shotguns. May of these shotguns have made there way into the US. The ones you usually are boxlocks like this FH 70, this 12 gauge Empire. Sidelocks like this are less common, but you do see them (that one was converted to a straight grip,  btw).

W. W. Greener Hammer Double Barrel Shotgun
W. W. Greener Hammer Double Barrel Shotgun

The Greeners you rarely see are higher-grade, side-by-side hammerguns. Greener made lots of them, but they rarely show up – in the States or in the UK.

So when I saw this one at Rock Island Auction I was excited. Take a look at it and you’ll see why. It’s an upper-grade gun with lots of original color. Too bad the barrels have been through a bris and the butt stock looks a little refinished. If the gun was all original I would be trying to add it to my safe.

It’s what you can’t see that counts…

A W.W. Greener with a straight grip and a top safety is one of the double-barrel shotguns on my current want list.  Nice Greeners are pretty easy to find. Greener made tons of guns, and many of them were imported into the US. Right now, there are at least a half dozen nice ones on the market, including these this one and this one.


But almost all of Greener’s guns have side safeties. I HATE side safeties. They’re ugly and difficult to use, and I think they were more gimmick than innovation. Fortunately, down through the years many people have agreed with me. They ordered Greeners with top safeties and a few of these double-barrel shotguns hit the market each year.

This one at Holt’s 10/22  auction looked like a real nice example and possible addition. Here’s the it’s full description from the auctioneer:

W. W. GREENER: A 12-BORE ‘GRADE FH50’ FACILE PRINCEPS EJECTOR. 28in. nitro barrels, rib engraved ‘W. W. GREENER. MAKER. 40 PALL MALL. LONDON. S.W. WORKS. ST. MARY’S SQUARE. BIRMINGHAM’, 2 1/2in. chambers, bored approx. 1/4 and 3/4 choke, treble-grip action with slim side bolsters, top tang automatic safety with gold-inlaid ‘SAFE’ detail, fine acanthus scroll engraving, retaining some original colour-hardening and finish, 14 3/4in. well-figured stock including 1 1/8in. rubber recoil pad, weight 6lb. 7oz., in its lightweight green velvet-lined leather case with gold-tooled label and with large Greener oil bottle. Estimate £2,500-3,500

So far, so good. From what I could see, the gun looked nice: Twenty-eight inch barrels, nice long stock, decent weight, nitro proofed and in proof, in its original case. As I read all this, I was pretty sure my want list was going to get shorter. But buying out of the UK is a pain in the ass, especially at an auction, and I wanted to 175% sure that this Greener was worth the extra $$ and effort it would take to get it.

So I sent off these questions to the auctioneer:

-How original is this gun?
-What are the bore measurements?
-Are the barrels their original length?
-What are the barrel wall measurements?
-Are there any dents, ding, or bulges in the barrels?
-Is there any pitting in the barrels?
-Any rivelling in the bbls or other problems?
-Are there any repairs to the barrels?
-Are the barrels tight and on the face?
-Have the bbls been reblacked?
-Has anything on the gun been refinished, reblacked, recolored or reblued?
-Are there any cracks, splits, or repairs in the wood?
-Do all the serial #s match – action, triggerguard, forend, bbls?
-Does everything work properly – triggers, ejectors, top lever, safety, forend release, hammers, cocking, etc?
-Does it have a long triggerguard (like a straight-gripped gun should)?

I know it’s a lot, but I’ve learned to ask too many questions. This helps prevent surprises and expensive mistakes. Here are the answers I received back (I bolded the problem areas):

-The gun all appears to be original, possible later recoil pad

-The bore measurements are .735+ .735+ 23 21+

-The barrels appear to be the original length

-Some minor scratches to the bores, slight signs of minor rivelling

-No pits

-The gun does not appear to have been refinished

-No visible cracks to the woodwork

-All matching serial numbers

-All mechanisms appear to function correctly with the use of snap-caps

-The triggerguard is long, as it should be.

It’s interesting to see what the auctioneer did and didn’t say. I’m not sure what to make of discrepancies like his failure to mention if there are any dents, dings, or bulges in the barrels, or to tell me if the gun is tight and on the face.

I do know that this dream gun turns out to have mediocre barrels. Judging by so-so walls. enlarged bores and rivelling, I would say someone honed the tubes a bit. That’s sucks, and it makes the gun a pass for me.

The hunt for the perfect Greener continues.

Tons of Good Guns — 11/6, Ephrata, PA, Horst Actions…

Horst Auctions in Ephrata, PA, is holding a big gun auction on Saturday, 11/6.

Horst Auction
Horst Auction

Here is a listing plus pics of everything in the auction. There are plenty of good guns there. Lots featuring double barrel shotguns are listed below:

108.     W. W. Greener hammer double ser.# 23915.

110.     Parker Bros. “T” Quality ser.# 76804.

112.     Baker Gun Co. “Model 1897” ser.# 32066.

114.     Moore & Harris percussion double ser.# 500

116.     J. P. Sauer & Son hammer double ser.# 239414.

118.     Browning “Citori Lightning” ser.# 27339NX773

123.     Parker Bros. “VH Grade” ser.# 179744

135.     Ithaca “Crass Quality 1” ser.# 92137.

137.     Parker Bros. “Lifter Action” ser.# 8399

141.     Moore & Harris percussion double ser.# 4227

145.     Remington Arms Co. mod. 1889 ser.# 252033.

147.     A. H. Fox “Sterlingworth” ser.# 91323

149.     J. P. Sauer & Son mod. V or 60?? ser.# 141721

180.     A. H. Fox “Sterlingworth” ser.# 122724

185.     Savage-Fox “Sterlingworth” ser.# 266415

202.     Parker Bros. “G” Quality ser.# 64751.

203.     Browning “Superposed” ser.# 2785.

204.     J. P. Sauer & Son mod. V or 60?? ser.# 122997

205.     Lefever Arms Co. “H Grade” ser.# 58831

207.     Charles Daly “Superior” grade ser.# 1771

209.     Meriden Firearms Co. “The A. J. Aubrey “T” Quality” ser.# 2949

210.     Remington Arms Co. mod. 1900 “Trap Gun F Grade” ser.# P135125

212.     A. H. Fox “CE Grade” ser.# 31688

213.     Lefever Arms Co. “G Grade” ser.# 47604.

214.     G. L. Rasch hammerless ser.# 672

215.     G. Hemenway hammer double ser.# 6321

216.     Prize Machine Gun mod. 1883 ser.# 28946

218.     Parker Bros. “G” Quality ser.# 129283

219.     Darne mod. R10??? ser.# SPC623. — 20g

259.     Regina hammerless ser.# 1421

260.     A. H. Fox “A Grade” ser.# 301319. — 16g

262.     Parker Bros. “G” Quality ser.# 89164

263.     W. & C. Scott & Son “The Monte Carlo B” ser.# 70886

264.     W. & C. Scott & Son “The Excellentia” ser.# 34334.

265.     George Gibbs mod. unknown ser.# C700.

266.     Lefever Arms Co. “BE Grade” ser.# 39303

267.     H. Clarke hammer double ser.# 8516.

268.     Charles Holloway hammer double ser.# 1213

269.     E. Remington & Sons mod. 1882 ser.# 15344.

270.     Prize Machine Gun mod. 1883 ser.# 35470

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