Joined: 03 Apr 2005
Location: California - East Bay
I've got a couple of Spanish guns that I've been pretty happy with, but I want a truly "best" gun, and have been thinking about ordering a new Spanish gun or a used English gun. It appears that a good used English gun will goes for about 10k more than a "best" Spanish job.
I'm considering the AyA No. 1 deluxe, a top grade Garbi, or (drumroll please), a used Holland or Purdey.
Anyone with a No. 1 Deluxe or a best Garbi feel free to pipe in. I'm parting with more money than I paid for my car!
Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Location: Mpls, MN.
If you feel extravagant, a new G. Granger. Same gun, used, if you want more gun for less money than the English stuff. Have handled all (I may be the only guy here today who knows how a H & H single trigger works) and can say the Granger is nice stuff, period. The propriety sidelock release mechanism is truly a work of art (no screws or exposed sidelevers, simply push the trigger on each lock forward, and the lockplate pops up, to be removed, and inspected or cleaned.)
Trust me, no one in England can match these. Not even for many thousands of dollars (er, Euros) more.
Daniel, Ted is a French double fan (as I am) . . . but being realistic, you're not very likely to run across a used Granger, especially not a 16. (Don't know if that's what you're after, or if you're talking 12ga. You're probably aware that a nice Brit 12 may very well weigh less than an American 16, and that's also true in comparison to some very nice Spanish 16's.) And if you chase after a new Granger, you'll spend a whole lot more than $10,000 above the price of a very good Spanish gun. It may well be worth it, and the gun may well be as good as a Purdey or H&H, but you'll pay for what you get too.
Brit "best" compared to Spanish . . . you indicated you're looking used, which is wise, because you'd spend a much larger fortune on a new Brit best. Again, I'm not sure whether you're talking 16 or 12, but you have to do a fair amount of looking to find high quality Brit 16's. They're out there, but you'll find about 50 12's for every 16, and you'll also pay a premium for the 16.
If you're thinking Brit 16, then you need to be content with 1 oz loads. (You can go heavier than that in a Spanish 16, if you so choose.) I've owned a few Brit 16's, including one Purdey--1880's gun, extractor, that had been sleeved and choke-tubed. Nice gun, but it made me a bit nervous to tote that thing around in the pucker brush. I now have a much newer Greener DH-25 BLE, from the 30's. I like it a good bit more, don't have as much money tied up in it, and perhaps because it doesn't say "Purdey", it doesn't bother me as much to use it harder in the field.
I guess my final piece of advice is that while old Brit guns are very nice, they're . . . well, old. If you shoot them much, they will probably require more "shop time" than a new Spanish gun. And because most of the smiths that work on Brit guns are pretty busy, you'll be lucky if the "shop time" comes in the off season, when you can wait a few months to get your gun back without being deprived of your hunting gun. Understand that I'm a big fan of classic Brit guns, but they require a bit more TLC than something newer . . . or, in the case of American guns, something more rugged. (Not to mention the fact that it's easier to find someone to work on an American gun.) Best of luck.
Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: sheffield.Tasmania Australia
Keep looking ,that English gun will show up.MY 16 Webley Scott 700 has a 1957 serial number but the thing is it has had no use at all, like wise my 470 Gibbs it killed a lot of elephant until the Mau Mau interupted its career.It then lived in a closet for 35 years without firing a shot until I got my hairy paws on it.Keep looking they are out there.
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
I've been reading this line and feeling like a begger at the king's banquet. Then, after reading through again, I realized (once again) that the price we pay for things has little to do with quality or facility, but more with our personal tastes and desires, as well as cultural beliefs.
Having been raised in a lower middle income household, I think the 16 Citori has all the best characteristics needed for the money. I don't understand why someone would want to spend what amounts to me to be nearly a years' salary on an English best gun that requires frequent repair from hard to find craftsmen. I've also handled and shot top shelf spanish guns. They are nice. However, even though they will outlast a British gun before repairs are needed, they are a sight more delicate than my Citori. I can blow through several thousand rounds a year for many years before my gun will need any expensive service work. Due to the handwork required to make them, most Spanish guns have softer steel. Also, parts are harder to get and much more expensive. I've also handled Merkels. They are even more rugged than a spanish gun, but still not as much as My Citori. Plus, the weight difference is not that great, at least I don't feel it.
On the other hand, I've been called a nut for spending over a thousand on my guns when a good used American pump or auto that will kill birds or break clays just as well can be had for far less. Most of my everyday associates would not even look at a 16 ga. gun let alone a 16 O/U. And some think me unAmerican for owning a foreign made gun. My father, a WWII Pacific theater, disabled vet, would disown me if he were alive and knew I owned a Japanese gun. But times have changed. I did not grow up in his world or go through what he faced.
My point is that I am as much a product of my cultural and economic conditioning as anyone else. However, the world is getting smaller and more amalgamistic everyday. Consider this. I am an Irish/French/English/NA/American that uses a Japanese made gun to shoot Italian, Czech, or Australian ammo at Chinese ringnecks, Hungarian partridge, Spanish redlegs, Himalayan/Indian chukars, and Mexican dove as well as native gouse and quail. Boy, talk about a small world. Now its all together boys....lets go shoot our 16's and get razzed by the 12 bore dudes...or the 20 ga guys...hey, does anyone like the .410....hey we forgot the 28 ga....geez Louise... I'm getting dizzy just trying to grasp it all!!!
Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Location: Mpls, MN.
There are some things the Japanese do very, very well for my money-motorcycles, for one, decent machine tools, another.
I'm glad you like the Citori. None for me, thanks.
Any gun that I've ever held that had "Made in Japan" stamped on it, left me cold. Browning BPS, A bolt, Winchester 101, Model 23, SKB anything, Parker reproductions, and every single Citori I ever handled.
The Citori was suposed to be modeled after the Superposed-I wasn't crazy about those, either.
My taste runs more to oil finish on French walnut. Rust blue, carded by hand. 12 gauge weights closer to six pounds than 7 or 8. Fixed chokes that begin about the middle of the barrels, and taper ever so slowly to the end of the tube. Double triggers. S X S versus Superposed. Europe vs Japan. Checkered walnut, or horn buttplates vs a recoil pad, or plastic. 2 1/2 inch chambers vs 3 inch. Signed engraving, rather than the rolled variety on flat steel.
You don't get those things at the Citori price. You have to go to Europe, and you have to pay more money. But thats OK, too.
So, a Citori isn't my bag. Not sure how I would get my sling on it (oh yea, some of my shotguns have a pigskin sling on them, and, no I don't expect most folks to like that, either, but its nice at the end of the day or when the old dog craps out and has to be carried out of the woods!)
But, if you like a Citori, by all means GO FOR IT-and if its a 16, so much the better. I hope you get some fine shooting out of it. There are guns from Europe that have been shooting every season for fifty or a hundred (or more) years with no work being needed, either. I own a few.
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Like I was saying Ted, it is all a matter of tastes cultivated by th values instilled in us from birth. We are products of our experiences. I have read that you are a gunsmith. Is this so? Then naturally, you would have the professional insight to appreciate fine intricate handwork using only the best grade walnut and other embellishments. I'm a shooter. I appreciate the yeoman service my Citoris have given me over the years at what I consider to be a very reasonable price.
This was the genious of Browning.He designed guns that were models of mechanical simplicity, rugged reliability, and absolutely dependable function. Were they all pretty? that depends on how you look at them. Nobody can say the A-5 humpback is graceful looking. However, in the hands of an accomplished wing shot, it handles gracefully and accurately as well as dependably.
The Superposed O/Us are considered by a host of folks to be the benchmark of that genre to this day. My Citori is the simplified progeny of the Superposed. I am grateful to the genious of the man. He made it possible for millions of folks like me to be able to buy guns that are affordable, effective, and dependable. My citoris have not only served me extremely well, but considering the price difference between them and a best English or high end French gun, have allowed me to buy sufficient ammo to shoot enough to become an accomplished shot. In my hands, they are as gracefully effective as any other gun I've ever shot.
This is not to say that you are a poor shooter for buying an expensive gun. I have no idea how well you shoot. I don't even know how you came to love these top end guns. Nor does it really matter as long as you are able to. At least we live in a time and place where we can. To paraphrase Voltaire, I may not agree with your taste in guns, however, I will defend with my life your right to own them. Good on you Ted.
Last edited by 16gaugeguy on Fri Jul 29, 2005 9:18 am; edited 1 time in total
Guy, I like Citoris and I like Superposeds . . . but the Superposed isn't great because it's a model of simplicity. It's actually quite complex (even its somewhat unusual forend attachment!) And that's one reason we ended up with the Citori. The Superposed required a lot of expensive machining, and when labor prices in Belgium went up, Browning went to the Japanese. Simpler design by a whole bunch. And the Japanese, with their industrial base almost entirely rebuilt after WWII, were able to manufacture products a whole lot cheaper than the Europeans. The Citori remains, IMO, one of the real bargains in the gun world.
The Superposed was the gun that made the OU popular, but it was never a simple or inexpensive gun--just relatively inexpensive, compared to the British OU's for sure, which were just about all "best" guns. I think it was McIntosh that compared the Superposed to the Parker. Both guns work extremely well, but they have to be very well-made to do so, because they aren't simple designs.
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
You are right Larry. I should have been more clear. I jumped from the A-5 to the Superposed without making the distinction between the two as to complexity. I'm not even sure if John Browning ever lived long enough fully develop his design. I've heard it was his son and Fabrique National personnel who actually competed it. Enlighten me here. We will never know, but I'd bet a dollar to a donut that John B. would have found a way to simpifiy the basic concept if given enough time.
Now, with the advent of computers to analyze and help create gun designs, computer guided milling machines, and far better cutting tools made from extremely hard and tough alloys, these previously complex guns are mere childs play to modify and manufacture. Even the very best of long defunct shotguns like Foxes and Parkers are much more economical to recreate. That is why they exist.
Regardless of how some folks view such re-creations, they are every bit as good and in many cases, superior to the originals. there may come a time when H&H, Woodleigh, or Purdey recreations will be selling for one tenth the price of originals. It is now possible, therefore, probable. Heck, it might even be happening for all I know or even care.
However, that was not my main point. In my usual convoluted style, I was celebrating our still relatively intact freedom to own and shoot guns without too much hassle here in the US as compared to places like England and even France today. Those freedoms do not depend on how well heeled we are or our social status. In most cases, if we can buy it, we can shoot it. Cheap to extravagant, we have them all...and need them all to insure our continued liberty.
In fact, without the relatively free social environment we have historically enjoyed in this nation, inexpensive yet servicable shotguns never would have happened. Gun designers like John Browning would not have developed their genious except maybe to produce weapons of war. There would not have been a public market, because lower class folks would have been denied the reasons and needs to own firearms as they have been in most of Europe. We'd have only the "very best" for the rich and the privileged. Nothing for the servile classes. I wonder where folks like Ted S, me and you, Larry would be then. I don't know about you guys, but I was never very good at grovelling. I'd probably have been a poacher or highwayman and most likely, hanged for crowbait by now.
Now, help me off this damned soapbox and lets go shoot some clays or something . By the way... Hey Steve, you can weigh in here anytime you like. How's it going?
Last edited by 16gaugeguy on Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:09 am; edited 2 times in total
Joined: 27 Jun 2005
Location: Texas Panhandle
well, i shot my well used Model 24 Winchester yesterday and had a blast. If you are having fun shooting, i think it doesn't matter how much you paid for the gun. did you enjoy shooting it? $450 or $4,500 or $45,000 did you enjoy the experience?
maybe my beer budget won't allow me to move up to the $4,500 range guns right now, but i wonder if those that can have as much fun as i do...
i hope so, i hope every shooter i see enjoys what they are doing, from the beginning 4-H shooter to the state champion. Anything from 2 of 25 to 100 straight, did you have fun?
To me, there's nothing worse than seing someone who seemingly has everything going their way, drives up in a $50,000 vehicle, pulls out a $4,500 gun from a $800 leather case, and then grip, complain and yes, whine about their gun ...
"you going to shoot or bitch....??"
_________________ anything other than the 16 gauge is a passing fad
(kind of like smokeless powder)
Ted, I think these discussions about various European guns to be interesting. No, I have no opinion about which is best, as I don't own any of them. I certainly could afford one but the sad fact is I don't shoot SxS guns very well. They certainly feel and look nice but I can't seem to hit anything with one. The only double gun I own happens to be a Browning Citori in 16 ga. Everything else is a pump or auto.
A couple of years ago, my wife and I were in London. One day she decided to go shopping so I decided to find one of the "fine" gun shops in town. I set off with a map and address to find the Purdy gun shop. I eventually found it in the corner building somewhere in London. As I was standing there, a car drove up and the driver started unloading several guns from the trunk. I started talking to him only to find out he just went out to pick up several guns for service. I've never heard of such a thing. I went into the store and was surprised to see the English hunting clothing for sale. I was approached by a young man dressed in style. There I was in my shorts, tenis shoes and Izod shirt. I could see immediately that I was not dressed properly to be taken seriously as a customer. I did look at some used guns but I never felt welcome in that store. They hardly spoke to me.
Ever since then, I don't think I would by an English gun no matter how cheap is was.
Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Location: Mpls, MN.
I don't own any top end guns-solid mid-pack is more the way most folks would look at them.
But, I don't own any Japanese guns. Several motorcycles of the GSX variety, which, in the genré of sport bikes, are the measuring stick for the class. No guns.
But, you can still get all the things I love about European guns, hand fitting, decent wood, custom dimensions, for less than a new Chevy Cavalier.
I think that is a hell of a buy in today's economy. No, you can't drive it to work, but, you only need one for the rest of your life if you play it right. No such luck with a car.
If you think you must be rich to own a good quality gun, consider reading a bit of Steve Bodio's writing. Far, Far from a rich man, Steve has owned an incredible collection of world class stuff, and happily wrote how he did it.
If you are content with something off the rack, and a little closer to production grade, have at it.
Life is good both ways. I own a bunch of pumps, but, I would be sad if they were all I could ever own.
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