Buying a shotgun? Here’s the word that matters most…

Holland & Holland Royal Express Double Rifle in 375 Ex
Holland & Holland Royal Express Double Rifle in 375 Ex. Is that finish original?

I was raised on gunshops and gunshows – rows of beat up guns, surly guys, rusty junk, and every now and then an OK double.  Today, most of my firearms shopping happens online, and it’s amazing how many nice shotguns I can see.

To date, I’m sure I’ve read over a million listings for side-by-side, double rifles, and over unders. (I need a more productive hobby) One of the thing I’ve learned: What a listing doesn’t say is more important than what it does say. A lot of sellers leave out important stuff. Sometimes these omissions are subtle, but significant.

These listings are a good examples of this phenomenon. Even though they say a lot, there’s one word  they don’t mention (even though one of them bounces all around it). Can you guess the word?

Holland & Holland Royal Express Rifle in .375EX: Barrel finish slightly faded and some wear; case color has some wear at edges; scope finish has handling marks. Wood has some minor dings and marks; overall very good. 26″ bbls, 2 1/2″ chambers. Bright; strong rifling. Oil finished walnut stock with raised cheek piece and checkered pistol grip; case colored engraved grip cap with trapdoor. 9 lbs 13 ozs with scope. Changeable front blade with 3 leaf express rear/ Voigtlander scope on quick disconnect. Factory leather bound case and accessories; compartment in pistol grip contains 2 extra firing pins and extra front sight and screw. 15 1/2 LOP. Price: $29,999.00

Boss Best 16g: #65XX: 27″ 003 AND 009. Self opener, Double trigger, Splinter forearm, English grip, Excellent condition in maker’s case. 5lbs 15oz. 2 3/8 X 14 1/4 overall including 1/2″ pad and 1/2″ spacer. Price: $65,000

A.H. Fox A Grade, 16ga:  28” barrels choked M/IM.  Chromox Barrels, Philadelphia PA gun, 100% new and unfired.  Large bold engraving. Capped pistol grip, butt plate, splinter forend. 100% case color, 100% barrel blue and 100% wood finish. A perfect example. Price: $6,995

The word’s ORIGINAL Is its omission a big deal? Probably not, especially if the seller is willing to confirm it in writing. But if the seller balks…well, that would make me worry.