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Originally Posted By: Stan
Originally Posted By: Ted Schefelbein
There have been PLENTY of cracked "Smiths in there for all the world to see.
Best,
Ted


I've seen quite a few myself, Ted. And, according to Nick, he has seen quite a few English sidelocks crack for the same reason. Don't let that interfere with your personal assessment, though. It's just an English gunmaker's opinion, not mine.

SRH


I know a few English trained gunmakers and some American gunsmiths who won't allow an Elsie in their shop. Their opinion, their shop...not mine.

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Dr. Drew: In reference to your earlier posting of the 1901 competition, your citation identified the English guns as being Cashmores? Not casting aspersions here, but Cashmores were hardly English "best" guns. They were likely to be good, serviceable, but lower-tier boxlocks with 1 1/8-ounce proofs. A better comparison to the American arms at that time would have been Hussey or Greener Pigeon guns, or, comparing the absolute top-tier makers, Holland or even Purdey.

And, when you really think about it, what your citation is so inelegantly inferring is that it was the guns and not the shooters that really mattered. The arrow matters, and not the Indian. Has that been your personal experience?

Last edited by Lloyd3; 04/14/13 11:45 PM.
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Actually,

Cashmore was a pre imminent pigeon gunmaker with first prizes and excellent showings in USA, Australia, and India. Their reputation was always good.

I'd take a Cashmore over a Parker (American contemporary hammergun) any day. Higher quality, exqusite regulation, proven for 2.75" and 3.00" shells in the 1890s.

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Hon. Tom Marshall won the 1897 and 1899 Grand American Handicap at Live Birds using a Cashmore. The English team members are listed here, but the guns they used are not recorded
http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/SportingLife/1901/VOL_37_NO_15/SL3715020.pdf

My 'inelegant' citation simply states the fact that the best American shooters, who were very likely induced to use Parkers (with the exceptions noted including TWO repeating shotguns - oh the shame!) quite handily defeated the best shooters of England and Scotland who one would assume used the most effective English gun available for that shooting discipline. After the competition was prematurely terminated, J.A.R. Elliott and his Winchester went on to the Continent and made a bit of money in the pigeon rings.

The document on DamascusKnowledge and links to the original reports are interesting reading, especially the responses (excuses) by the English sporting press.
Here is the doc again
http://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=185YOyQl7GIB9OYLs9Hr3tnMLHqs4rjEdR4j_E9l4HLw

Last edited by Drew Hause; 04/15/13 12:06 AM.
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Funny, only one Englishman has made comment in this whole thread and he didn't have much to say, in fact he only asked for proof to a statement which was made. The other funny thing is that gun values, which was the topic of the thread has barely been touched. Rather, it's all been about the superiority of American guns as compared to English, which IMHO is the biggest joke of all and I'm an American. I'm guessing a lot of untreated hypertension is manifesting itself as people try to defend the greatness of the American clunker side by side shotgun (just teasing you guys:-)


Socialism is almost the worst.
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Dr. Drew: I have no arguement with the results of those competitions. The American team were better shots, hoo-ray! What I would disagree with is the implication that the guns being used made all of the difference. I'm not trying to call anybody's baby "ugly", I'm just agreeing with Mr. Hadoke's assessment of the state of the gun world in the 1890s, which was the original subject of this thread.

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Interesting, I´d like set up a poll but don´t know how, given the choice of a mint 1910 ish Purdey or H&H Royal, either in virtually unused state (highly unlikely I admit), or any US double in same condition (not including guns owned by famous people e.g Hemingway etc or Roosevelt) what would you choose ? I am assuming the gun is for oneself and to use (otherwise some of you will start coming up with ideas like a Parker bonkers grade just so you could resell it, best, Mike

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Originally Posted By: PeteM
Originally Posted By: trw999
Originally Posted By: PeteM
By 1890 English gun production was on the skids.

Could you kindly validate this statement please Pete?


The only thing better than a well stocked library is the ability to remember what you read:

RE: the British Arms industry
The Birmingham Gun Trade
by David Williams
published 2004
isbn 0-7524-3237-0
page 140

Gun exports to America
1882 $1,169,000
1890 $349,000
1905 $20,000

Pete


Thank you Pete.

I gather what you intended to say was that the import of British guns into America was on the skids by 1890. English gun production was increasing at that time. And I do have the Williams book!

As the lone Englishman referred to here (Edit: Oh good, Mike is here too!), I do not intend to wade in and defend the British shotgun in what would then turn into a rather futile and potentially nationalistic argument about our own ideas of which company makes the best gun.

When it comes down to it, it is the person firing the gun and their own skill that determines how good a shot they are. Although a well fitted and regulated gun helps a good deal, an ace shot, whether game or clay, will more often than not bring more birds down with whatever gun they may be shooting with.

To get back to the original question from Forester, I can only give you some idea of English game gun prices around 1890, taken from a London makers catalogue of the time. Incidentally, I would say that we should attempt to compare like with like in terms of quality. So the cheapest gun 'suitable for use at sea or rough work' is £5/0/0 ($24.3); a good hammer with rebounding locks and Damascus barrels is £10/0/0 ($48.6); a top lever, bar action hammer with rebounding locks and Damascus barrels at £15/0/0 ($72.9); a plain, sound hammerless A&D at £13/10/0 ($65.6); the same but with hard English Damascus barrels and better quality and finish at £22/10/0 ($109.3); fitted with ejectors for £5 ($24.3) extra; very best quality built to order sidelock at £50/0/0 ($243)and extra for fitted case. (Exchange rate in 1890 of £1=$4.86)

I hope those descriptions and figures give you something to go on when some kind soul digs out comparative American gun prices.

Tim

Last edited by trw999; 04/15/13 04:00 AM.
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One reason British exports to this country might have declined during the 1880's-90's could be the growth of the American gun industry. Prior to 1880, Parker and Lefever combined hadn't produced much more than 20,000 guns. 80's and 90's, along came Ithaca and Smith. And of course the tariff, when it came in, gave all the American companies a significant edge. (Sort of like why we don't buy ethanol from Brazil today.) In spite of the bad economy, the 90's were very good years for the American shotgun industry, which was in much more of a "fledgling" state in 1880 than was the British industry. And the Brits had a pretty good export market for their guns even as sales declined here in the States: the Empire. Military officers, colonial officials, colonists etc. Meanwhile, the higher end of the British gun market got a significant boost because the most important man in the UK--the future King Edward--spent a considerable amount of time shooting driven birds (when he wasn't chasing women) during his long wait to take the throne. That gave shooting and the "best gun" trade a huge shot in the arm, for which there was really no equivalent in this country.

As for the guns used by the best competitive shooters, they had their guns furnished by the companies that sponsored them. Eventually, many of those pros switched to pumps to win big shoots. Likely had to do with American gun companies making a lot of pumps and trying to sell them to American shooters because so and so won the Grand (or whatever) shooting one.

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Well, lets lay it to rest with some data.

My 1891 W.C. Scott Premier Ejector was retailed by Read and Son of Boston for $275 in 1890, probably around $400 in 1891 post Mckinley tariff act. It is best quality in every regard. Weight and balance are flawless.

Could anyone provide a equivalent game gun made for the American market that approaches this quality and price?

At that time, America was making dime store guns and some pimped out competition guns for live bird shoots. Nothing near that price range or labor level.

As a non-sequitur, I find all these claims that Americans were the best shots to be bizarre. Annie Oakley laments in her letters that she was an abysmal shot with her LC and other guns when she arrived in England and attempted Brit pigeon shoots. It was only after Charles Lancaster (Thorne) built her a fine pair of guns and mentored her for months that she could do what hundreds of Brit competitors could. She was awestruck by the difficulty of British shoots compared to the American ones she was most familiar.

Hence, these points don't really support the ongoing narrative of this thread very well.

Last edited by Rookhawk; 04/15/13 09:38 AM.
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