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Posted By: muchatrucha Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 02:10 PM
I am considering purchasing a used 12 gauge sidelock in the $4k to $6k range preferably with 29"-30" barrels.I intend to use in the field, at vintage events and informal clay shooting. It would be nice if it had "decent" engraving and wood.
After an extensive search of online resources and advertisements, it appears that I might purchase either an old Birmingham (non-London) gun or a lightly used AyA or Arrieta Spanish entry-level gun. Both options would suffice.
I have to consider functionality and resale value at some point. I can't afford to buy high and sell low.
Assuming I can find one of each with similar configurations, which would you choose and most importantly WHY?
Posted By: SKB Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 02:36 PM
Easy choice for me, I see them taken to bits all the time. Give me the Brummy gun. Why? Fit, Finish, metalurgy(no soft parts on a Brit gun) etc, etc, etc.
Posted By: gjw Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 02:47 PM
Hi, quite the question, I'm sure you'll get plenty of responses. Just my 2C worth. The Spanish gun market at this time is a bit weak in the resale area, but with that, who knows what the future will hold. Perhaps in a couple or more years the market will take an upswing. One of those things that no one can predict. An advantage with modern Spanish guns is if they come from a good maker, they will for the most part be a good pick up and go gun. Regardless of what some will say, Spanish guns can be gems, sure there are dogs out there, but overall the guns will be decent hunting guns if you don't abuse them and treat them kindly.

With vintage Brit guns, there is a whole set of issues if you will. Are the bbls good, is the gun in proof,any problems with the stock (old cracks, repairs oil soaked wood etc), has the gun been monkeyed with over the years and a host of other issues. A good Brit gun can be a joy to hold and use, the resale maybe an issue also. Most of the times a Brit gun will hold it's value, but if your looking at a good shooter, your not going to make a ton of money on resale. Right now there are a lot of Brit guns on the market and there will be for quite a while. You should get your investment back I would think. As I said, with a Brit gun, do your homework first, it will payoff. The one downside to Brit guns is you'll have to shoot low pressure loads in it. With Spanish guns, any off the shelf loads will be just fine.

As I said, just my 2c worth.

Good luck! Most of the fun is in the looking!

Greg
Posted By: Lloyd3 Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 05:25 PM
Both the British Brummies and the better Spanish guns are hand-made (no through-bolts and mono-block tubes). Both should do the job quite nicely (good weight & balance, and good fit & finish). For roughly the same money, the Spanards might be a bit more decorous. GJW summed it up nicely above.
Posted By: Small Bore Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 05:34 PM
Spanish guns are made by chimps out of cheese. Buy a British gun. You will not regret it.
Posted By: Joe Wood Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 05:35 PM
The Burmy for the tradition and heritage......the Spanish gun carefully chosen for utility. If the Spanish market is soft right now you may be in a good negotiating position. No off brands and no guns from the DIARM period though.
Posted By: SKB Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 06:03 PM
Chimps out cheese! I'll remember that one......
Posted By: Mr W martin Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 06:22 PM
hello muchtrucha,
some british guns can become bottomless moneypits if you are not careful or are unlucky.i do prefer a british gun for feel, tradition, looks etc but for ease and cost of repair the spanish must be considered.just something else to consider.
some spanish guns are very well made and appealing in looks.my opinion.

cheers
mrwmartin.
Posted By: canvasback Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 06:23 PM
Originally Posted By: Small Bore
Spanish guns are made by chimps out of cheese.


Quit beating around the bush Dig, tell us what you really think!
Posted By: Daryl Hallquist Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 07:02 PM
There are lots of Spanish guns sold in England and several English marked guns that originate in Spain. Buy the gun's quality, not the name or country as is often said.
Posted By: Patriot USA Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 07:17 PM
Smallbore......Showing your bias are you?

There are probably more new Spanish guns sold in England than English guns.
Posted By: Buzz Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 07:54 PM
If you can afford it I would recommend finding a sound English or Belgian sidelock. Many Italian sidelock guns are cost prohibitive (but very nice) and I believe resale is easier with English as opposed to Spanish. Some of the Belgian guns are top shelf and pretty reasonable. I think Old Colonel it was who just had a Belgian double rifle posted on this web site. He bought it pretty reasonably and it appeared to be a very fine bar action sidelock with intercepting safety sears, Holland and Holland style locks, and fabulous engraving. Kinda wish I would have seen that one first before the colonel ;-).
Posted By: muchatrucha Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/20/13 10:13 PM
Well as expect there are lots of opinions but that' s what I asked for.
" made out of cheese" eh..... Well Dig has often opined that non-English are all just rubbish.

What I'm finding is that at this price point, many Brit guns are either sleeved or have short barrels, neither of which I am interested in.

The reasonable quality (AyA, Arrieta, Grulla, etc.) Spanish guns I am looking at appear to have stamped, or chased engraving, a plus point for English guns. Most have short barrels too.

I have found two English third-tier candidates but both have had their chambers lengthened and not were not reproofed. Okay as a shooter but if I were to resell it later, I can already hear the buyer calling fowl and trying to nock off another $1k. Funny how sellers can overlook this point until they become buyers. The same would be for sleeved barrels.

Another observation I've made is that there are lots of guns in this range with 26, 27, or 28" barrels. Not many with my requisit 29-30" barrels.

Also, I'm hesitant to go with Belgian, French or German guns. I have seen their prices stagnant for years, even though they produced a quality product. I had to nearly give away a Francotte Grade 45 (Eagle) with 30" barrels, so I'm not going down that road again.
Posted By: Replacement Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 01:10 AM
You might look at Brit hammer guns. Fun and affordable.
Posted By: ejsxs Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 02:17 AM
Small Bore,

chimps? Maybe the ETA guys, but the Basque gun artisans aren't. They work at a level that may not be of your liking (not me either), but they have their well earned share of the custom market, including Britain.

Muchatrucha,

Any of the three mid-high Spanish gunmakers will do in my opinion (Grulla, AYA & Arrieta), keeping in mind that second resale will be at a loss, but less that first resale. As to barrels in the 29-30" bracket, maybe is too soon for them to appear in the 2nd. hand market yet.

Regards,

EJSXS
Posted By: Lloyd3 Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 02:34 AM
I'm going to have to disagree with Mr. Hadoke on this one. I've shot an Arrieta for a dozen years now, on all kinds of game and in all sorts of places, and I have zero complaints. Most barrels are 28-inch on Spanish guns, but longer isn't impossible to find. If you're worried about resale, buy a good used gun and take good care of it. You shouldn't see much of a loss on it, if any, when you are done with it. With all of the problems in the EU these days, new versions of these guns won't be getting any cheaper.
Posted By: old colonel Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 05:55 AM
consider belgian SLE's. While Francottes tend to be priced high the most of the pack is not necesaarily so and many good values can be found.

You have to be wary on all old gun buys regardless of where and from who, but that said there are many good options out there.
Posted By: Small Bore Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 11:03 AM
You put your price point at an upper limit of $6,000.

That gives you the ability to buy a very fine English boxlock ejector with original steel barrels of whatever length you can find. It will be a better gun than any Spanish gun in both material quality and workmanship.

Buy the right gun. don't worry about resale now - that will take care of itself. You are not doing this to make a profit - if you buy the right gun, you won't want to sell it anyway.

Sure I have a bias. It is based on my experience - no different to anyone else here. My experience is that I have never compared a Spanish gun to an English one without the Spanish one being objectively inferior. Perhaps the fact that I handle English guns all day every day makes me more sensitive to quality. If that is bias - I am indeed biased. My advise, which is all I am giving, bias included, still stands. You don't have to take it wink
Posted By: King Brown Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 12:07 PM
Bias is a good thing, nothing to apologize for. Critical judgement can't be developed without it.
Posted By: King Brown Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 12:19 PM
Yes, old colonel, $800 got me a beautiful Francotte with distinguished provenance. I sent it off to member newf to refreshen checkering and do his magic on almost imperceptible crack left side of wrist. Good guns are showing up every day for those with the patience to wait for them, as you do.
Posted By: gunman Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 12:34 PM
Price is not always the best guide , prices asked by some dealers are to be blunt laughable .Ask yourself this , do you want a gun that just looks good or do you want a gun that will do good service over the net 30 years ? I see many older and very pretty English side locks that are way past there best like a classic car that has had a cheap rebuild ,fine to take out for a spin on nice afternoon but that's about all .
Hate to say it but if you had come into my shop and asked the same question I would have said that you should consider an AyA No 1 or 2 , reasonable build quality 2&3/4" chamber that is always an advantage ,spares should they be needed are readily available and I see AyA's that were made in the early 60's still in regular use . There are better finished guns but in my experience they all fall short of the AyA mechanically , some Spanish made side locks are notorious for having uneven and thin walls .
As much as I would like you to buy a fine English side lock and there are many out there to be bought,but due to age and poor maintenance many are just not up to the job .
Posted By: oldmanriver Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 12:47 PM
1.) Always buy the gun, not the name, 2.)make sure you give as much thought to how you're going to sell the gun as you do to why you want to buy it.
Posted By: Small Bore Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 02:09 PM
'There are lots of Spanish guns sold in England and several English marked guns that originate in Spain'.


There are lots of cats that lick their own buttholes - that doesn't mean it is not disgusting.
Posted By: Anonymous Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 02:30 PM
muchatrucha, Who'd you give the 30" Eagle Grade to? I want to call him. blush

I have both an AYA and an Arrieta as well as several English sidelocks. They are fine guns with good workmanship and modern steel. Are they equivalent to Holland & Holland or Purdey? - No. Do they cost an arm & a leg? - Also No.
They are solid serviceable guns, that on the used gun market are a steal, if you put in the time to look around. I also have seen many 29"-30" versions over the last year.
Given that your considering some clays shooting, I might lean towards the Arrieta, which to me anyway, seems to have a little more weight to it.
Posted By: Patriot USA Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 02:42 PM
Quote
"Sure I have a bias. It is based on my experience - no different to anyone else here. My experience is that I have never compared a Spanish gun to an English one without the Spanish one being objectively inferior. Perhaps the fact that I handle English guns all day every day makes me more sensitive to quality. If that is bias - I am indeed biased. My advise, which is all I am giving, bias included, still stands. You don't have to take it.

I too have handled both and own two English and four Spanish. For a NEW gun today, a 8,000 to $80,000 Spanish is a much better value with equal or better workmanship than a British costing the same.
_________________________
Posted By: Small Bore Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 02:52 PM
Then we agree to disagree.
Posted By: muchatrucha Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 02:56 PM
Smallbore
There are lots of cats that lick their own buttholes - that doesn't mean it is not disgusting.[/quote]
Well what can I say to that reply.........

I do own several nice box locks ( Charles Lancasters) and several nice hammerguns (Harcoms) and a number of Damascus-barreled centenarians, but this time I'm looking for a classic sidelock.

I know that Spanish guns have had their problems in the past but somehow I believe in the new millenium that has been rectified at least by the better builders.

I'm starting to lean toward a recently built Spanish gun in my price range and looking for anyone's actual personal experience with them. Thanks to those who have replied.

I've seen too many loose rib, honed out bores, wide open chokes, repaired wrist, sleeved-barreled problem children to want to go that route again. I do love the English guns that I have, but this time I'm not looking for another continuing $$$ project. I've supported many fine classically trained gunsmiths over the years.

I have found two Third-tier English guns that meet my simple requirements, but both are out of proof, an issue that the reputable businesses fail to mention in their advertisements. Not an easy nor inexpensive issue to rectify living here in the USA.

Still on the hunt....
Posted By: Rookhawk Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 02:57 PM
Originally Posted By: Small Bore
'There are lots of Spanish guns sold in England and several English marked guns that originate in Spain'.


There are lots of cats that lick their own buttholes - that doesn't mean it is not disgusting.


What Digs said. Put another way, I find it ultimate ignorance when someone tells me to buy a Ferrari kit car (a knock off) for the same price as a Ferrari.

The Ferrari of guns is English and the Belgians, Spaniards and Italians are making copies.

$3600 for a Spanish boxlock? No thanks, I'll take a Westley Richards. $12,000 for a Spanish best sidelock? I'll take a best Lang or other second tier Brit maker for that money.

Only time Spanish guns or Belgian guns catch my interest is at fire sales. I own a Spanish gun MSRP of $14,000 that I'm into for $2250...about what it's worth to me. It's like holding a fat chick by the canckles. Pig wrists. Gummy wood deserving of pier one imports bistro set. Engraving worthy of an A- at some regional high school art fair. From 10' it really looks like something. Up close, it's just another trailer trash nuveau riche junker.

For me, I'll take the real Ferrari even if has a couple dents....enjoy your fakes.
Posted By: Run With The Fox Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 03:12 PM
Originally Posted By: canvasback
Originally Posted By: Small Bore
Spanish guns are made by chimps out of cheese.


Quit beating around the bush Dig, tell us what you really think!

Escopates hechan de queso?? Quien sabes, ey? Or, buy a good post 1913 12 LC Smith with TWO triggers- ejectors optional, send it to Buck Hamlin in MO- have him glas-bed it and give it a tune-up--and shoot it for the next 45 years with RST shells- Can you "Dig" it- Limeys and Limey guns-- recalls the late casrus Jack O'Connor's pithy words- (another wise Mick indeed)--=-= "Until you've been conned by a Limey gun fitter or seller (aka- huckster)you have never really truly been conned"_ Words of Irish wisdom--
Posted By: muchatrucha Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 03:15 PM
Rookhawk
Please remember in my initial post that I'm looking to spend $4-$6k for a 29-30" barreled sidelock. Not many English guns out there in that price range without issues.
Posted By: Small Bore Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 03:28 PM
Well, if you have to have a sidelock and your upper limit is $6,000 I do admit you have chosen a sticky pond from which to get out unscathed. You WILL struggle to find a decent English one at that price.

My advice would be save a bit more and get something good rather than spend what you have on something second rate.

BTW Run with the Fox - my father was born a citizen of the Irish Republic and his father in Kilkea Castle- and his mother, Lady Alice FitzGerald would be turning in her grave at the thought of her descendents being called Limeys by the American born offspring of some exiled bog trotter.
Posted By: muchatrucha Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 03:36 PM
[quote=Small Bore]Well, if you have to have a sidelock and your upper limit is $6,000 I do admit you have chosen a sticky pond from which to get out unscathed. You WILL struggle to find a decent English one at price.

That seems to be the case.
Posted By: KY Jon Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 03:42 PM
Part of the problem is that you are looking at two different things that only have appearance in common. The British sidelocks you are looking at has four to six decades plus more use than the Spanish sidelock. Normal wear and tear will make the pool of desirable British candidates much smaller to buy from. Then you are looking a a much later Spanish made gun with little or no major long term use. Apples to oranges instead of comparable items. And it is the equivalent of a reproduction to a classic gun comparison.

It would be like trying to find a Parker 28 ga. and comparing an original Parker to the later Japanese made Parker 28's. Both the same, but vastly different. Find a high condition original Parker 28 and you expect to pay a a lot more for it than the later reproductions. Has to be the same with the British gun as well.

Dig is right if you are looking for the most gun for your buck think box lock ejector for the money you are talking about. They are still some great values in them for the money. Otherwise just buy your Spanish gun and enjoy. It comes cheaper for a reason and the resale value, which you are judging it by reflects the lower price. The Spanish gun will handle your shooting needs as described with a wider range of ammo.

I shoot these old doubles because I like a link to the past and the history they bring to mind. It if vastly more efficient to buy a camo auto, screw in a choke tube, load three and go bang, bang, bang. I rather spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about which fixed choke two shot option to use for a shooting opportunity. Enjoy the ride and half the fun of buying a new gun is looking at all the different options out there. Who knows one of them might just talk to you. More than one gun I own was bought while I was looking for something else. Half the fun as I said.
Posted By: Gnomon Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 04:27 PM
As KY Jon said above: "Enjoy the ride and half the fun of buying a new gun is looking at all the different options out there. Who knows one of them might just talk to you. More than one gun I own was bought while I was looking for something else. Half the fun as I said."

Many years ago I was just browsing in a good gun shop and picked up a Pedro Arrizabalaga and mounted it. I was so astounded at the handling of that gun that I bought it on the spot, writing a check for the asking price. That gun had been made by PA for J Roberts of London and I have never been sorry I bought it. The handling and feel is truly remarkable and the fit and finish is excellent.

Since then I've had as many as seven Spanish shotguns; now I'm down to five where I most likely will stay. The worst handling felt like a 21 but cost me only about 600 bucks whereas the best are the PA and an Aya.

The legend about soft Spanish steel these days appears to nothing more than a legend - apparently decades ago some Spanish guns were made to a very low price point and imported. By and large these guns no longer exist (if they ever did) and newer Spanish guns are very high quality.

If you have your heart set on an English gun save up for a sound one. If you will be satisfied with a shotgun that has excellent handling qualities and is mechanically and aesthetically sound then a Spanish gun might satisfy you.

Resale value? Just a personal observation - My guns are bought with discretionary money and they are nothing more than nice toys and I don't care what my toys sell for after I'm done playing with them. But that's just a personal view - judging from many posters' comments resale value can be a real issue.

Of course, if it not being an English gun would annoy you each time you use it, then by all means don't buy a Spaniard!

But otherwise they're worth shouldering and, if possible, shooting.
Posted By: Mr W martin Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 04:55 PM
muchtrucha,
Gough thomas spoke very highly of his aya.He did have vast knowledge and experience of side by side shotguns.his opinions are held with regard by most in the gun empire.
cheers
mr w martin
Posted By: WildCattle Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 04:56 PM
Originally Posted By: old colonel
consider belgian SLE's. While Francottes tend to be priced high the most of the pack is not necesaarily so and many good values can be found.

You have to be wary on all old gun buys regardless of where and from who, but that said there are many good options out there.

I totally agree. The Belgian sidelocks are usually well built and under-priced. Without being as rough as Dig, I am very unimpressed with the quality of the Spanish ones. It seems that their lower cost is funded by a much higher speed of execution (i.e lower attention to details), as well as easier steels to work with (i.e. softer).
A good friend master gunsmith of mine in Belgium complains that the top Belgian firms spend all the effort time and money on the innards, and there is not much left for the outside, while the Italians do the reverse. (Of course, he is biased.)
Francotte and Lebeau are usually great, but there are many other great ones out there such as Lajot, Wilmart and Thonon. There are really too many to name them all. Usually those can be obtained well within your budget.
I would strongly advise that a competent gunsmith be hired to inspect anything you have in mind. The one I used has saved me a lot of frustration.
Best regards,
WC-

Posted By: Small Bore Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 05:47 PM
Gough Thomas Garwood was paid to advertise AYAs but his gun of choice was an Atkin self opener.

Try getting the disc set strikers out of an AYA - I find they have invariably been hammer welded into the action face because the steel is soft.

I will admit the AYA n02 shoots nicely for the price - it is just that looking at it makes me feel ill.
Posted By: Mr W martin Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 06:09 PM
hello,
thomas said in his later years he used his aya almost exclusively, unless of course he was lying.
there are very few british sidelocks in the price bracket of an aya no 2 that will provide as many more years trouble free shooting.i think the aya no 2 is a good looking gun although it may not have the "feel" of british.
a 2nd hand aya no 4 for a few hundred or a webley 700 for a few thou, only one winner in the value stakes.
i am a british fan but not blinkered or bigoted enough to claim exclusiveness in all things re gun quality,appearance,value etc.
cheers
mr w martin
Posted By: JohnfromUK Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 06:15 PM
Originally Posted By: Small Bore
Gough Thomas Garwood was paid to advertise AYAs but his gun of choice was an Atkin self opener.


Speaking as an owner both of an Atkin spring opener and two AyAs - of course the Atkin is a finer gun (in fact one of the finest guns available in my view), but the AyAs are very good value for money. The Atkin would have (if they were the same age) a price tag perhaps equivalent to 10 AyA No. 2 guns.
Posted By: gunman Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 06:19 PM
AyA discs ? No problem ,had as much getting discs out of Webley's and Purdey's .
As to old Gough Thomas ,well lets just say he was'nt the only one to profit from his "reputation".
Posted By: Small Bore Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 06:27 PM
Oh, I love it when you get personal.
Posted By: gjw Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 06:37 PM
Hi, some very interesting and diverse opinions here, fun to read that's for sure. Again, my 2c worth. I agree with Dig that for the $$ you want to spend a good Brit BLE might be the route to go. SLE are nice, good triggers as a rule,racy looking and a bit of a prestige gun, but mechanically they can be a problem, especially with a vintage gun. BLE's are for the most part bomb proof and are easily fixed by any good Smith. The price range you stated should get you a good decent BLE by a good maker. Something to consider.

Buy the gun and not the name is often said, but lets be honest, name does play a big part in reselling a gun or buying for that matter. A name does mean something. Sure you can find a gun that was made by John Doe that is just as good or better than a H&H Royal, but what one are you going to buy? You will pay for the name regardless of quality. For those who know doubles well, it may not be a huge issue, but for your average guy, he'll take the name before anything else.

One other thing to consider, you may want to check into a 16ga. There are plenty of 29" bbl 16ga guns out there. You can do a search on any of the auction/selling sites and find a lightly used AyA, Arreta or Grullla for your price range. I like 16ga guns and have killed a lot of wild pheasants with them. The difference between a 12ga and 16ga for your average hunter is slight. You can get loads from 1oz up to 1 1/4oz. And if you reload, plenty more.

Fun post!

Good Luck!

Greg
Posted By: muchatrucha Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 06:45 PM
Without divulging too much I have a number of well made boxlocks and a few hammerguns to boot. I even own one over/under. YIKES!
I am just looking for a nice 12 gauge, sidelock in my price range.
Posted By: gjw Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 06:48 PM
Originally Posted By: muchatrucha
Without divulging too much I have a number of well made boxlocks and a few hammerguns to boot. I even own one over/under. YIKES!
I am just looking for a nice 12 gauge, sidelock in my price range.


Understand. Looks like some of us are not seeing the forest thru the trees.

That said, good luck again!

Greg
Posted By: Run With The Fox Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 08:27 PM
Originally Posted By: Small Bore
Well, if you have to have a sidelock and your upper limit is $6,000 I do admit you have chosen a sticky pond from which to get out unscathed. You WILL struggle to find a decent English one at that price.

My advice would be save a bit more and get something good rather than spend what you have on something second rate.

BTW Run with the Fox - my father was born a citizen of the Irish Republic and his father in Kilkea Castle- and his mother, Lady Alice FitzGerald would be turning in her grave at the thought of her descendents being called Limeys by the American born offspring of some exiled bog trotter.
Not exiled bog trotters--at least you don't have Lord Boycott in your past peerage-- I'll respect the Limeys when you pull out of Belfast- where my late maternal Great-Grandfather worked as a ship's millwright for Harlan & Wolff from 1890 until 1909, when he came to America-- not too may bogs for him to trot on in that great shipbuilding town and port in the Emerald Isle--He left of his own free will, not exiled as the Limeys did with their "undesirables" and Australia. Your laddy-bucks do crank out a few fine guns, but the best period for Limey craftsmanship ended with the "Guns of August" in 1914- your Country lost many fine trade and craftsmen from 1914 to 1919- thanks in part to your Sandhurstian numbnutted Generals like Haig- and the butcher's bill he caused at the Somme in 1916- My thesis is, and always will be, if you live and earn your living in America, buy an American made gun, and have a qualified master smith (like my friend Buck Hamlin) go over it, and shoot proper light loads if you prefer (as I do- ditto the late Captain Paul A. Curtis) a sidelock over a boxlock--I have 4 LC Smith 12 bores- three are pre-1913 graded guns, one is a 1932 graded gun, all have double triggers, two have selective ejectors, two have manual extractors (or "luggers" as you Limeys like to call them) and they perform for me- on live birds and occasional clays- like a Steinway under the fingers of the late Dave Brubeck-- However, I am not that hard of heart that I would NOT offer my condolences to the Limeys for the recent passing of the late Iron Maiden, Ms. Maggie Thatcher- one tough old broad con cojones hechan de laton, no es verdad?--Not attractive, but neither was the late Eleanor Roosevelt, nor Sir Winston Churchill's Frau either- but in the ball-busting world of international politics, looks don't count- it's performance, and Maggie was a first rate performer in the political arena usually reserved for the Herrenvolk-- Ta ta--
Posted By: Small Bore Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 08:59 PM
I meant Mr O'Connor.

But a good reposte all the same !
Posted By: Franc Otte Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 10:16 PM
Manch', Good luck in your search.
Have you considered a fine Belgian Gun, not one of the spurious knock offs, but a real nice old one from one of the quality makers?...you might get more Gun for the $$
Question for my fellow country man Diggory-:

Were fine guns ever made in Belgium?
If so , what species made them, & more importantly...from what food source?
Franc
PS
If the Chimps were using an aged Dorset Blue Vinny (sic) that had been lightly soaked in a nice old port or sherry,with a a nice crust on it, I might get one smile
Franc
Posted By: Doverham Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/21/13 10:55 PM
There are a couple of used AyA No. 1s on the market right now in your price range. Materially better gun than the No. 2s and not a gun that would make anyone sensible feel ill to look at.
Posted By: GJZ Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/22/13 12:04 AM
I have shot several 28- and 20-gauge sidelocks made by Garbi. They are outstanding guns by anyone's measure.
Posted By: Gnomon Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/22/13 01:09 PM
Mike Yardley writes, in my opinion, very good gun reviews. He has reviewed a number of AyAs:

http://www.thefield.co.uk/search?q=Yardley+AyA&submit=

and it might be interesting to those thinking of getting an AyA to look at these reviews.

Hope this helps.
Posted By: old colonel Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/22/13 07:39 PM
Originally Posted By: muchatrucha
I am considering purchasing a used 12 gauge sidelock in the $4k to $6k range preferably with 29"-30" barrels.I intend to use in the field, at vintage events and informal clay shooting. It would be nice if it had "decent" engraving and wood.
After an extensive search of online resources and advertisements, it appears that I might purchase either an old Birmingham (non-London) gun or a lightly used AyA or Arrieta Spanish entry-level gun. Both options would suffice.
I have to consider functionality and resale value at some point. I can't afford to buy high and sell low.
Assuming I can find one of each with similar configurations, which would you choose and most importantly WHY?


Focusing on the original question; while the LC Smith is an option as an American SLE, like other varieties of Brit, Belgian, German, and Spanish SLEs, it is an acquired taste. I have owned good LC Smith's in the past to include a pre-13 20ga 5E. They are good guns. That said to get to the higher grade LCs it can get expensive fast and given the original poster's price range of $4-6k, it would be difficult to achieve that.

Further the original poster seems to state he is looking primarily to Birmingham and Spanish SLEs. The challenge in his objective is a desire to sustain resale value. The reality has been stated on this website before; "you make the money on the purchase price." Experience has taught me that unless something unusual happens I have made profits on guns only when I brought them below and not at their actual value. I have not seen gun values truly grow past inflation or even necessarily stay even with inflation.

Because resale is important to the buyer in this case (as a significant factor) In terms of configurations and what is important as a rule of thumb stay with mainstream features. Southgate/Baker Ejectors (because they are standard have fewer issues and are widely accepted) Stay with Double triggers (while many types of single triggers are good, on old guns they can be a nightmare and many buyers in the future will not look at your gun with single triggers) Stay away from sleeved barrels (because while many of us like them and do not mind them a bit, I would say the majority do not and selling a sleeved gun is harder than a non-sleeved gun). Make sure the barrels are of a more than acceptable thickness (thin tubes or borderline tubes are all over the place out there) Weight toward Holland and Holland style locks (other types are good, but the H&H style has great acceptance and thus easier resale). Lastly and most importantly, weight the price against the actual value (if resale in the near future -- I define near in this case as next five years -- then you must find a bargain price gun from a motivated seller)

Now that I have said all that, I can say I have not followed the criteria above because my main criteria over the years has been when I mount the gun does it feel right. Does it fit me in that it points to where I am looking? My second criteria is it mechanically sound gun. Lastly does it look good to me. If it meets those three criteria and it meets my final "can I afford it" criteria I buy. I do not buy to speculate, I buy to shoot and more than one member of this website has benefited from a discounted price from me so I can go do it again.
Posted By: Lloyd3 Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/22/13 07:53 PM
Colonel: You're buying with your head, but also with your heart. I like that! I tend to do it too. Like you, I don't mind paying (a little bit) for my pleasure.
Posted By: Joe Wood Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/22/13 08:17 PM
Amen, Colonel......I buy a gun almost exactly as you do. Sometimes I find a "bargain" but more often than not by the time I've made them "perfect" I've got more in them than I could possibly hope to recover. So, on purchase I assume I'm 30% underwater on day one and that amount is what I relegate to my "fun fund". Having few other expensive vices this is one I allow myself without any remorse. Actually, over time I believe many of my purchases actually will make an heir of mine a tidy sum, though at that point I really won't give a damn.
Posted By: Run With The Fox Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/22/13 08:41 PM
Originally Posted By: old colonel
Originally Posted By: muchatrucha
I am considering purchasing a used 12 gauge sidelock in the $4k to $6k range preferably with 29"-30" barrels.I intend to use in the field, at vintage events and informal clay shooting. It would be nice if it had "decent" engraving and wood.
After an extensive search of online resources and advertisements, it appears that I might purchase either an old Birmingham (non-London) gun or a lightly used AyA or Arrieta Spanish entry-level gun. Both options would suffice.
I have to consider functionality and resale value at some point. I can't afford to buy high and sell low.
Assuming I can find one of each with similar configurations, which would you choose and most importantly WHY?


Focusing on the original question; while the LC Smith is an option as an American SLE, like other varieties of Brit, Belgian, German, and Spanish SLEs, it is an acquired taste. I have owned good LC Smith's in the past to include a pre-13 20ga 5E. They are good guns. That said to get to the higher grade LCs it can get expensive fast and given the original poster's price range of $4-6k, it would be difficult to achieve that.

Further the original poster seems to state he is looking primarily to Birmingham and Spanish SLEs. The challenge in his objective is a desire to sustain resale value. The reality has been stated on this website before; "you make the money on the purchase price." Experience has taught me that unless something unusual happens I have made profits on guns only when I brought them below and not at their actual value. I have not seen gun values truly grow past inflation or even necessarily stay even with inflation.

Because resale is important to the buyer in this case (as a significant factor) In terms of configurations and what is important as a rule of thumb stay with mainstream features. Southgate/Baker Ejectors (because they are standard have fewer issues and are widely accepted) Stay with Double triggers (while many types of single triggers are good, on old guns they can be a nightmare and many buyers in the future will not look at your gun with single triggers) Stay away from sleeved barrels (because while many of us like them and do not mind them a bit, I would say the majority do not and selling a sleeved gun is harder than a non-sleeved gun). Make sure the barrels are of a more than acceptable thickness (thin tubes or borderline tubes are all over the place out there) Weight toward Holland and Holland style locks (other types are good, but the H&H style has great acceptance and thus easier resale). Lastly and most importantly, weight the price against the actual value (if resale in the near future -- I define near in this case as next five years -- then you must find a bargain price gun from a motivated seller)

Now that I have said all that, I can say I have not followed the criteria above because my main criteria over the years has been when I mount the gun does it feel right. Does it fit me in that it points to where I am looking? My second criteria is it mechanically sound gun. Lastly does it look good to me. If it meets those three criteria and it meets my final "can I afford it" criteria I buy. I do not buy to speculate, I buy to shoot and more than one member of this website has benefited from a discounted price from me so I can go do it again.
Well said indeed Sir-- I seem to recall in reading the late Dr. Charles Norris's book- that he first started with LC Smiths, then later, as his "Old Main Line- Ob-Gyn" practice flourished and he was more "in the chips" he bought Purdey's. I treasure my 4 LC Smiths, they were made by a company that grew from the great "Robber Baron" capitalism and Industrial Age spirit (as did Ithaca, Parker, and possibly Baker and LeFever and Fox as well) that made America once the great gunmaking center of the free market world-- Any fine sidelock, no matter if it should be in bar action or back action design, with or without intercepting sears, is a graceful shotgun- if the stock lines, barrel length and all else that pleases the eyes- to me a fine sidelock is like an elegant woman-- much as Duke Ellington may have had in mind when he composed "Sophisticated Lady"-- Boxlocks, whether AAHE Parkers or Custom Shop Model 21 Winchesters- are more like the Belgian draft horses used to pull beer wagons- functional and solid- built for the long haul, but as elegant as Eleanor Roosevelt in a bikini--
Posted By: patrickwall Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/22/13 11:08 PM
Muchatrucha,

I realize I'm a bit off of your criteria, but what about a Miroku Sidelock? I recently purchased the below Miroku Model FE Sidelock.

The pro's are: Japanese construction is solid and reliable. They may not think out of the box too much, but the Japanese culture is to do one thing very, very well. They generally copy proven designs - like the Spanish have done, but the Japanese do not suffer from quality problems. Since Japanese guns are not as appreciated in the U.S. as Amerian, English, and European guns, a nice gun can be obtained for a good price.

The biggest con is of course resale. Since Japanese guns are not so appreciated, resale is still not great - but in time that may change.

Again, I realize you've put some thought into your search and question, so I hope I'm not too out of line.

Posted By: muchatrucha Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/23/13 02:50 AM
Thanks Old Colonel for actually understanding my initial post, much appreciated.
I'm looking for a sidelock because I don't own one. Yes, price is an issue since I'm a working stiff. I've lost money on every gun I've sold. Sometimes a significant amount. I can chalk some of this up to the learning curve.
But now I'd like to follow another course, and at least not lose too much. I understand that purchasing a quality SxS is not a wise investment strategy. I buy them because I like to shoot targets and birds with them. The same reason I fish with cane rods. I just want to make a wise choice. I too buy emotionally and surround myself with facts to support the decision I already made. So if I may repeat, I'm looking for a quality sidelock within a price range that has a reasonable chance of not devaluing too much. Something with nice engraving and wood, with 29-30 inch barrels and double triggers. No more project guns. I'll keep looking and the search IS part of the fun.
Posted By: keith Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/23/13 03:45 AM
Originally Posted By: Gnomon
Mike Yardley writes, in my opinion, very good gun reviews. He has reviewed a number of AyAs:

http://www.thefield.co.uk/search?q=Yardley+AyA&submit=

and it might be interesting to those thinking of getting an AyA to look at these reviews.

Hope this helps.


If your views on AyA's are as informed and intelligent as your views that president Obama was no threat to individual gun ownership rights, I'd be afraid to be in the same county as an AyA. Seriously!
Posted By: old colonel Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/23/13 01:17 PM
[quote=muchatrucha]Yes, price is an issue since I'm a working stiff. I've lost money on every gun I've sold. Sometimes a significant amount. I can chalk some of this up to the learning curve. But now I'd like to follow another course, and at least not lose too much. I understand that purchasing a quality SxS is not a wise investment strategy. /quote]

Except for an exceptional few, guns are not a wise investment strategy.

Books can be written reference the loss of money on gun trading; and I have done it alot. This maybe a small comfort, but I have come to look at the loss on a sale as the rent for owning it it. The accepatability of the loss is measured in relation to how much I enjoyed it (purely subjective) and how badly I want the next thing I am getting (again subjective). In selling guns recently I took a bath (more than $1.5k), I compare it to the $3,000 I will spend on my son's college graduation weekend from William & Mary on plane tickets and hotels and it does not seem as much. Lord knows I got more pleasure out of the six guns than I will the graduation weekend, and the pleasure I have already gotten just beginning to learn about double rifles and reloading for them is worth the $1.5k rent. That does not include the pleasure of shooting them.

Approaching the potential loss as rent on the purchasing will help you focus on the gun itself, the feel of it, the use of it. I realize there are collectors who enjoy the pleasure of having nice or unusual stuff and I have my retriever club pins, other dog club pins, and quail plantation pins addiction; but on guns I try to keep a utility factor in what I buy and what I hold onto. Utility as a consideration helps keep me from extremes.

I once was building a 16ga collection in which I was trying to purchase one of each type of action and samples of all the major makers in the US and some English. I woke up one day and realized there was only one or two guns that ever left my safe for other than show and tell. I was being weighted down by all the stuff while not getting enough pleasure back for the cost of the pile. Most of the stuff was owned just to have one and not something I wanted to shoot. All was a big mistake. We go through cycles in our lives and most of us will learn through our own mistakes instead of those of others.

The hunt for the right gun is an adventure and pleasure in itself. It should include learning as much as possible about the gun, its mechanics, and its history. It should include a great deal of internet exploring to look at comparable guns (note the prices on the internet are often the asking and not what they sell or sold for). The hunt will help you learn what to value so the rent is well spent.

When going to buy the SLE do not buy it online without a physical inspection. Feel is personal and when spending big dollars the price of a mistake is too high. Going to a major event (gun show, vintage shoot) is a good technique, but you have to go with clear purpose, specifications, and limits. The most important limit is that if the deal is not the exact right one, you leave with no gun at all. The greatest skill to master in gun buying is the ability to pass on a purchase.
Posted By: Adam Stinson Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/24/13 12:14 PM
Originally Posted By: patrickwall
Muchatrucha,


The biggest con is of course resale.


The biggest con, in my opinion, is availability. They are very rare state-side. You'd be better off hunting down a Browning BSS sidelock.

Which would be fit the criteria perefectly.
Posted By: patrickwall Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/24/13 11:29 PM
Adam,

You may have a point. Since I'm in Japan, i'm not too aware of the availability in the US. But, I think Miroku's (any Japanese) are very solid and reliable guns at a disproportionately low price when compared with US, English, and European guns.
Posted By: treblig1958 Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/25/13 12:33 PM
My advice is donít make the same mistake I did and pick up and shoulder an English made sidelock if you donít have the money to buy it. Just look at it and leave it sit. Then go buy an American, Spanish, Japanese or whatever.
Posted By: old colonel Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/25/13 12:49 PM
I believe that all English, American, Spanish, Japanese, and Belgian make some good and affordable guns. They all also make guns that are not very good or actually affordable.

The English gun is the standard for many today in terms of the weight, balance, mechanics, etc. It is also valued in terms of higher price. That said all those I listed after English make examples of guns that match or exceed them for the money.

A while back I decided to give up on the name English guns not because they were not good, they are good, but because I could get a much better gun for my money chasing after Belgian SLE's.

I believe the same choice could have been made for Spanish or Japanese guns and even some selected German guns.

As many have noted in this thread, the most important factor is how the gun performs with the individual buyer. It is a matter of taste.
Posted By: Chuck H Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/25/13 10:18 PM
Anyone know anything about the Renato Gamba SLE spaggetti guns?
Posted By: Franc Otte Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/26/13 02:02 PM
Old Colonel,
Good man!
I am a big fan of Belgian Best..I really like some of their engraving ,their version of Rose n scroll, but different, with longish ribbons weaved through it.Dunno what you'd call it.
cheers
Franc
Posted By: old colonel Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/26/13 05:02 PM
Originally Posted By: Franc Otte
Old Colonel,
Good man!
I am a big fan of Belgian Best..I really like some of their engraving ,their version of Rose n scroll, but different, with longish ribbons weaved through it.Dunno what you'd call it.
cheers
Franc


I have heard it referred to as Banner and Scroll, but I am unsure if that appelation is correct.




1924 16ga Louis Christophe by Jules Bury engragraved by Jules E. Schoffeniels



1924 16ga Louis Christophe by Jules Bury engragraved by Jules E. Schoffeniels



1925 12ga Louis Christophe by Jules Bury engragraved by Jules E. Schoffeniels
Posted By: Doverham Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/26/13 06:28 PM
Here are two Spanish interpretations of that style - very nice designs but not quite in the same league as M. Schoffeniels' work:





I believe this engraving style shows up on some older Beretta SOs as well.
Posted By: old colonel Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/26/13 07:06 PM
Doverham you reference "M. Schoffeniels" I know Jules Eugene Schoffeniels'(B.1892, D.1982) father was also a noted engraver, but to date I have not seen any work by him that I can be sure is attributed to him. I believe his father was Jules Mathieu Schoffeniels B.1857, D.?)

I have been lucky enough to have some picture of Jules Eugene Schoffeniels emailed from his grandson Michel.

His grandson held that his great grandfather Jules Mathieu Schoffeniels was a more famous engraver than Jules Eugene Schoffeniels, but could not say much more.

Do you have anything on Jules Mathieu Schoffeniels?
Posted By: Doverham Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/26/13 07:36 PM
No, I know of him only from your reference (M. was meant to reference Monsieur)

Clearly JES was an engraver of unusual skill - if his father was better, I would love to see his work.
Posted By: Run With The Fox Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/26/13 11:17 PM
Originally Posted By: old colonel
Originally Posted By: Franc Otte
Old Colonel,
Good man!
I am a big fan of Belgian Best..I really like some of their engraving ,their version of Rose n scroll, but different, with longish ribbons weaved through it.Dunno what you'd call it.
cheers
Franc


I have heard it referred to as Banner and Scroll, but I am unsure if that appelation is correct.




1924 16ga Louis Christophe by Jules Bury engragraved by Jules E. Schoffeniels



1924 16ga Louis Christophe by Jules Bury engragraved by Jules E. Schoffeniels



1925 12ga Louis Christophe by Jules Bury engragraved by Jules E. Schoffeniels
Outstanding banner and scroll by a true Master- do those guns shoot as well as they look? I'll bet they do--
Posted By: old colonel Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/27/13 11:12 PM
Doverham, I failed to say those guns are quite nice.

In answer to the last posted question I regularly use both guns. The 16 SLE is my primary gun at 6lbs and change with 27in barrels, the 12 SLE is my heavy gun at 7lbs 3oz with 30inch Barrels and Briley tubes.

They by chance and luck are nearly identically stocked.

I feel guilty that I have diverted the focus of this thread. While the discussion of good Belgian guns adds to the information on candidates for a good SLE which would hold resale value. They are examples of quality lesser known makers that do not draw the same price level as their British cousins. However the reality is that if I were interested in selling them I would not draw the money I paid and would lose money on them.
Posted By: muchatrucha Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/28/13 02:09 AM
Old colonel:
I like your notion of of looking at the cost of a gun as "a rent payment".
I've been looking at guns online and found 30" barreled sidelocks, English, Spanish and Belgian, are scares as proverbial hens teeth, especially those with original barrels. Any number of sleeved guns out there, but I'll stay away from them. Some nice stuff out there. Most above my price range. Oh we'll, it's an
interesting search though.
Posted By: Buzz Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 04/28/13 02:37 AM
Mucharaka: You mean to tell us with the length of this thread you still can't find a gun?? Holy cow. Quit wasting our time. Go buy a New Purdey or Holland. Gee whIz. Want to steal one or what??? A joke this thread is IMHO.
Posted By: jim bode Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 05/04/13 11:33 PM
...requires a bit of $$ negotiating, but in the ballpark & look to be in good condition; Beretta's _50 series H&H guns are really nice.

http://www.armiusate.it/catalogo/233/Fuc...ollandHoll.html

http://www.armiusate.it/catalogo/233/Fucili-a-canna-liscia/id/242967/Beretta-doppietta-451-E-12-71-****.html
Posted By: Edwardian Re: Considering a sidelock gun - 05/05/13 06:15 PM
I would commend to you vintage W & C Scott sidelock guns, which, in my opinion, best fit within your price and 'desires' parameters. They produced many 'private label' guns for a number of London bespoke makers, such as Holland & Holland, for just one amongst several other examples, due to the excellence and quality of their timeless design and production, and thus should possess the attributes you seek: excellent wood and metal fit and finish, both on the exterior and interior-wise, the mid- to upper-range models evince good coverage of quality engraving, and they exhibit acceptable to outstanding wood, with respect to the examples I have handled, owned and perused on-line. Handled, they have good balance, in my experience; and if the stock dimensions are right-on or approximately right for you, they can even seem lithe and quite biddable when engaged. The personal experience of others may differ, but the W & C Scott guns I have handled and seen sport 30-inch barrels, in the main, or otherwise appear in 28-inch configuration, are most often 12-bore, and usually employ the era's 2-1/2 inch chambering. Late nineteenth and early twentieth century guns by this maker imported into the U.S. will have that chambering, too, unless ordered by the importer or individual buyer from the maker in our 2-5/8, 2-9/16 or 2-3/4 inch (or by later having had the chamber lengthened) chambering.

By the way, the same comments above can be made for Army & Navy marked sidelock guns, some of which were made by W & C Scott or by its amalgamated successor, Webley & Scott, yet another commendable firm that you might also consider. As well, their vintage status, quality standard and pricing are well within your specifications.

I prefer retaining the original 2-1/2 inch chambering, firstly because I am a traditionalist and conservator and dislike making material, irredeemable changes to a vintage gun, but equally because it does good service afield on feather or fur in our native environs, just as it has done abroad for more than one hundred years. Ammunition in 2-1/2 inch is not very difficult to find on the shelf (Cabela's, Bass Pro Shop, etc.), to order on-line, or produce at the reloading bench. In addition to domestic availability of the excellent British "Gamebore" cartridge brand that is rationally tailored for respectful use with elderly side-by-side game guns, producing between some 6500 to 7600 psi, depending on choice of paper or plastic hull, the wad, propellant, crimp type, and payload used, the 2-1/2 inch extra-low pressure cartridges (RST, Polywad, etc.) available in the U.S., in various bores, also do not unnecessarily stress or harm antique materials, wood and constituent parts, and may sometimes improve our shooting.

If I were looking for a medium-priced, vintage sidelock, I would carefully review what is on offer with Holt's Auctioneers, Bonhams or Gavin Gardiner in the U.K. (their prices seem far better to me), or the Rock Island Auction Company's and James Julia Auctioneer's offerings in the U.S. Of course, there are any number of vendors on-line to be considered, both domestic and foreign. I trust you will find a gun to your liking that is a match to your needs.

Regards,

Edwardian


His Time Viewed from a Distance:
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