Original vs. redone: the real cost of a restock…

A little while ago, this discussion came up over at Doublegunshop.com regarding how a new stock on a double barrel shotgun would affect the gun’s overall value.

I contend that when all’s equal, restocked shotguns are always worth less than comparable, 100% original models. This is regardless of who restocks the gun or the quality of the work (in the online disussion, I’m the PITA who goes by Obsessed-with-Doubles).

Others disagreed. They felt that a properly restocked shotgun was just as valuable as one with the original wood, especially in the UK markets.

This leads us to the point of this post. On 4/18, we have the chance to put the BS to the test.

The following Boss sidelock ejector double barrel shotgun is at Gavin Gardiner’s 4/18 Spring Fine Modern and Vintage Sporting Guns.

Boss at Gavin Gardiner's, Lot 178
Boss at Gavin Gardiner's, Lot 178

Catalog info: 29-inch replacement barrels by the maker (no. 9995), with 2 1/2-inch chambers, about 1/4 and 1/2 choke boring, the frame, locks and gold numbered top lever with fine bouquet and scroll engraving and retaining traces of hardening colour, gold lined cocking indicator, rolled edge trigger guard, 14 1/4-inch well figured replacement stock, 6lb. 11oz., nitro proof, lightweight leather case with reproduction label.

The maker confirms that the gun was rebarelled in 1988 and restocked at the same time. Bores/walls: Rt: 729/28 & Lt: 729/28.

Estimate: £16,000-20,000

To clear things up a bit, I emailed a few more questions to the auctioneer. Here’s the response I received from Gavin Gardiner:

“As you can see, the gun is a very attractive example, that was rebarreled and restocked by the makers in the late 1980’s. Since then the gun has been little used. The barrels have not been re-blacked since that time and neither has the furniture(lever, guard etc… though this will have been re-blacked when the gun was rebarreled). The hardening colour that remains on the action is the original. The barrels remain as new and are free from any pits bulges or dents and measure as for new. The gun is clean, crisp and tight and everything is functioning as it should. As I said, it appears little used since refurbishment, and is an excellent example that is ready to be used right away.”

Granted, this Boss has been more than restocked. It has also been rebarreled. But all the work has been done by Boss – the side-by-side’s original maker. So this should be the ultimate test of the “if it’s done right, it’s fine” line of reasoning.

Once this auction ends, we’ll compare this lot’s final price to what all original Boss sidelocks are bringing. This will give us a sense of how the market values restocking & new barrels.

For now, here’s a list of vintage Boss sidelock doubles on the US market. Take a look and check out what you get for your money.

12g Boss at Osprey Arms

12g Boss on Gunbroker.com

12g Boss at Barnett’s

Even those these guns appear to be all original, I think they’re all overpriced by about $10,000. A couple have been on the market for 1 year+, so the market seems to agree with me.

London auction alert – 4/18: an E.M. Reilly sidelock ejector…

On Gavin Gardiner’s April 18th Spring Fine Modern and Vintage Sporting Guns, I’ve saved the best for last. This E.M Reilly may just be the sleeper of the sale.

12 gauge E.M. Reilly double barrel shotgun at Gavin Gardiner's
12 gauge E.M. Reilly double barrel shotgun at Gavin Gardiner's

Lot 180: E. M. Reilly & Co. 12-bore sidelock ejector, No. 33922
30-inch damascus barrels with 2 1/2-inch chambers, about improved cylinder and full choke boring, doll’s head extension, the frame, back action bar lock and top lever with bouquet and scroll engraving and retaining much original hardening colour, 14 3/4-inch well figured stock, 6lb. 9oz., nitro proof. Bores/walls: Rt: 734/26 & Lt: 736/26. Estimate: £1,800-2,400

Pros: Looks like it could be very original. Good bores, good walls, damascus bbls, excellent maker, nice weight.

Cons: Not sure of the quality of the gun – would have to see more pics. Wood & bbls could be refinished, same with toplever & triggerguard. Again, would have to see more pics.

This is the kind of double that makes me drool. It’s probably from around 1890 -1895 and it has that great vintage look. It looks like it has escape the British refinish mill, too.

 

London auction alert: Gavin Gardiner, April 18th…

Gavin Gardiner’s Spring Fine Modern and Vintage Sporting Guns sale on April 18th. I poked through the catalog and pulled out a few lots for a further look. Here’s the first one that caught my eye.

Boss at Gavin Gardiner's, Lot 178
Boss at Gavin Gardiner's, Lot 178

Lot 178: Boss & Co., 12-bore single trigger assisted opening sidelock ejector, No. 6364

Catalog info: 29-inch replacement barrels by the maker (no. 9995), with 2 1/2-inch chambers, about 1/4 and 1/2 choke boring, the frame, locks and gold numbered top lever with fine bouquet and scroll engraving and retaining traces of hardening colour, gold lined cocking indicator, rolled edge trigger guard, 14 1/4-inch well figured replacement stock, 6lb. 11oz., nitro proof, lightweight leather case with reproduction label. The maker confirms that the gun was rebarelled in 1988 and restocked at the same time. Bores/walls: Rt: 729/28 & Lt: 729/28. Estimate: £16,000-20,000

Pros: Original gun was made around 1915 (a good period for Boss) and the new barrels and stock were done by Boss. The barrels are modern and they have excellent measurements.

Cons: Some parts probably reblacked and the forend was probably refinished . The case isn’t original. Estimate seems high. Also, the auctioneer has left out a lot of important info and the pic shown says very little about the gun.

Another thing, this side-by-side shotgun is not an “assisted opener”. Boss never mad assisted-opening shotguns. The auctioneer is referring to a by-product Boss-patent ejectors. Because of the way these ejectors work, the luggers (I think that’s what they’re called) press against the face of the action. This force helps open the gun a bit- when the gun is cocked. After the gun has been fired, the ejectors do not do this and they have no effect on the opening of the gun.

BTW: before you think these guns are fantastic deals, consider this that when buying in the UK, you should double whatever you’ll pay in £  and add 5-10% to get a good estimate your total costs in $s.

 

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