I am looking for information on what was the composition of steel alloy used on the Parker VH and VHE shotguns. Thanks.
And I doubt that you will ever get a straight answer. I have made an exhaustive study of Parker literature (period newspaper articles, advertising, patents, books, available company letters, and a survey of the existing production and order-book records), and there is essentially no specific mention of component metallurgy.
The only specific mention that I have found of a type of steel alloy is in a late-1920s Parker ad (at p.153 in Parker Guns: The "Old Reliable"
), this in the context of "The Parker Bolting System: A combination of straight and tapered bolt and bolt plate of hardened tempered tool steel
accurately fitted...." I believe that this "tool steel" was specifically referred to as vanadium steel
in at least one 1930s Remington-Parker ad or catalog. I have sold my extensive catalog and clipped ads collections so I can't cite the specific item.
As to the vanadium steel component of the Parker Gun, see p.60 in The "Old Reliable."
Vanadium steel came to the USA via Henry Ford in 1904-05, at a time when alloy steels were all secret processes and/or patented, hence the fascination with Krupp and Whitworth (as types of steel), and the fluid-steel-era trademarking of otherwise undifferentiated Parker barrels as Vulcan, Titanic, Acme, etc.
The story of vanadium steel came to me from the engineers at the Smithsonian (at the EAA air show at Oshkosh WI), who were re-creating the Wright Bro's airplane. They explained that prior to the advent of vanadium steel that the hard parts of the engines of the day (crankshaft journals, connecting rods, and piston wrist pins) were difficult to machine hard and accurate and, thus, were over-sized, too soft, short-lived and unreliable. Oversized meant heavy rotating weight, which translated into less H.P. per pound of engine, and the horse-power to engine-weight ratio was limiting the aircraft's control and ability to stay aloft.
Enter Henry Ford, on a trip to France, observing an auto race, and in the garage after a crash watching the mechanics disassemble a wreck and he noticed that the engine design was beyond anything he was familiar with: The hard parts were smaller, better machined, and made of an unknown metal, which proved to be a breakthrough alloy of steel. The Smithsonian guys said that vanadium steel became available in the USA in 1905...and I mentioned the breakthrough 1905 Parker-patent for the seminal wear-resistant bolt plate and tapered bolt and they started taking notes.
Anyway, to my knowledge, Parker never mentioned and component alloy steel of any Parker Gun other than the "tool steel" taper bolt and bolt plate in the 1920s (long after the 1905 introduction), and if the person who has my portfolio of Parker ads is tuned in here, he can look through the Remington-Parker ads of the mid- to late-1930s to verify the reference to Vanadium Steel. Or perhaps it's in the 1937 Spiral-bound catalog. But other than vanadium steel, I do not recall Parker ever dropping any other technical reference to component alloys of steel in the era of fluid steel, circa 1895 (Whitworth compressed fluid steel) et seq. EDM