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Joined: Oct 2006
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Thanks for these posts, Drew. It's off-topic, but, as a Lefever lover, I can't help pointing out that Drew's post on the 1895 Madison Square Garden Sportsmen's Show has a wonderful description of Uncle Dan himself holding forth at the Lefever Arms booth, proud not only of his "automatic hammerless" shotgun, but of the blue ribbons for best American hammer gun that his Nichols & Lefever guns had won 17 years earlier in St. Louis.


Rich
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Also do not fail to realise that many gunmakers from both the USA & the UK, sourced their barrel tubes from Belgium. This was particularly true prior to WWI.
These makers must not have felt their barrels were entirely Junk as they put them on some fine guns indeed.
Belgian makers did turn out a lot of low priced/Cheap guns for the "Hardware & Mail-order" trade. I have over the years seen a good number of these which had seen some fairly heavy use with loads well beyond what they were proofed for, as in modern off the shelf, SAAMI spec shells. Some of these were in rough condition with pitted bore & off face/loose as a goose.
I am unaware of any of these which "Disintegrated" or "Maimed" anyone. They just sorta seemed like a Timex Watch, took a licking & kept on ticking.
Understand I am not recommending or encouraging anyone to shoot a gun of this type, just saying I have seen it done time & again.


Miller/TN
I Didn't Say Everything I Said, Yogi Berra
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It is far better to concentrate on understanding what quality grades a given maker made mostly than try to sum his wares up in one quality grade. Like the Brit trade, any maker could get out a best work gun. The trick was getting an order (commission) for a high grade gun. I found in my market research that Belgian guns fit to the market pattern of Brand Value level + Original Quality grade + Current Condition level = Value.

DDA

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Originally Posted By: canvasback
Larry, you pay less now to buy and sell for less in the future. What's the difference? Not all guns are collector guns. Some are meant to be used.

Because I know enough to trust my judgement of the gun itself, rather than depend on the branding, I'd rather pay $900 now and sell it in 10 years for $800 than pay $9000 now and sell it in 10 years for $8000.

Just means I didn't have $8000 tied up.

Please note, prices are exaggerated for emphasis and to help clearly explain the arithmetic.


That's a fair comment, Canvasback. I always take "more gun for the money" as meaning you pay less but get more--but that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to make money on the deal because you paid less to start with. Per Rocketman's post, you still need to know the "brand value" of the Belgian gun you're buying--and there are a bunch of not very well-known Belgian makers, even though some of them made pretty high quality guns. The Brit guns, in contrast: people are more likely to know the best makers, as well as the ones that made a lot of guns (like Webley & Scott). But I agree that you can certainly make good buys in Belgian guns if your main interest is not so much whether you'll make money on it at sometime down the line, or at least not lose much. But rather how reliable it is and will serve you for your hunting/shooting needs.

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Rocketman's tables perfectly capture, based on real world examples, the value of branding. Learn how to judge the underlying gun, its original quality and current condition, and you can get to own and shoot fantastic guns for a fraction of the cost of London guns.

Where is it written that we do or should make money on every gun? We do our best....some work in our favour, some don't. But as rocketman's tables make clear, the same opportunity to make money exists for Belgian boxlocks as it does for London Bests

Larry, not to be picky but I don't need to know the brand value of a particular obscure Belgian maker. I just need to be able to judge the quality of the gun and have a sense of the brand value of all Belgian guns . Which is not much when compared to English guns.

Last edited by canvasback; 07/24/17 11:47 PM.

The world cries out for such: he is needed & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia
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Well Owen you hit the nail. Longtime we not had contacts after the dead of my wife. I blaim myself that I not contacted you sooner.About our Belgian (Liège) artisans. Most of Americans are looking for the usual names like Francotte or Defourny. Of course these guns are good I have no negativ comments on these makers.For me high ranking gunmakers are in the first place Wilmart, not often seen but unsurpassed quality. Then there is Thirifays, Galand and H. Dumoulin and there are so many sidelocks with no makers name who are as good as the the well knowing names. Cheers, greetings from Belgium, Marc.

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Hello Marc, good to see you posting.

I'll agree that Doumoulin guns are very good; I have two, a sidelock and a boxlock also a Byard 24 bore hammer gun. There are some superb Belgian guns available from little known makers. I'm always trying to prise a nice sidelock game gun out of a friend's collection. It just needs someone to produce a detailed book listing something of the history of various Belgian gun makers and illustrate examples in order to raise the profile. Lagopus.....

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Well, I forgot to mention Fernand Thonon and Lajot.
Cheers, Marc.

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Other than reading the fine posts, discussions, and threads on this forum in regards to Belgian double manufacturers, I have been trying looking for other locations to glean as much information as I can on this country's gunmakers. I have also attempted to use littlegun.be as a resource, but it is sometimes challenging to find good information on that site.

You not find any website that carries all that info. It is too massive. That has been my experience anyways. I know there is a lot of debate in regards to the Belgian makers. Some generalize and say they are all dangerous junk and yet others cite specific makers as fine artisans and craftsman. So, in an attempt to source additional information I have a few specific questions.

You will not like my answer.... Learn to read French, most of the info is in French and never gets mention here. Sure, we play with a couple of dozen names. But there were 100's. Even most Belgians can not begin a broad discussion. No one teaches this.

1. Is there any good books out there to help me identify the various makers and give me a general idea of their relative quality in build? I'm looking for something in English preferably. There are, but they are all in French...
2. I've previously read that Belgians made prior to 1924 should be avoided. Is this a fact? I know most guns should be evaluated based on their individual merits, but lets say in general terms, are Belgian guns made after 1924 safer? How was the general Belgian build in say the 40s, 50s, and 60s?

That old bug-a-boo is about damascus. I shoot damascus guns on a regular basis, as many here.[/color]
[color:#993399]

3. This is a longshot, but would anyone know of a source for some Belgian parts? I'm currently looking for what appears to be the standard Belgian A&D-type push button forend for a 16 gauge field gun I have. I'm also looking for a butt stock for an FN Anson gun in 12. I considered buying some parts guns from Simpsons and attempting to fit the parts myself, but perhaps this is a fools errand.

I hope no one takes my questions as offensive. There's a lot of good information, as well as a lot of opinion based disinformation on the internet and I would like to have a reputable reference to lean upon when making gun buying decisions. My interests are not just in best gun makers, but also the more affordable field guns. Thanks for any help you can offer. Again, I have been reading this forum for years and there is a wealth of knowledge here.

[color:#993300]You asking the right questions in the right forum. Keep seeking and you will gain the knowledge you seek.


Pete

Last edited by PeteM; 07/26/17 11:50 AM.
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This has been an excellent discussion thus far. I know that most guns should be judged by the quality of the arm and not specifically by the maker...however, sometimes searching by makers helps narrow the field a bit. I also understand that there are high quality 'no name' guns and guild made guns out there. My problem is I live in an area where if you're looking for Stevens or Savage-Fox model Bs, there are guns a plenty. But if you are looking for European doubles, it is scant pickings. Most of my gun buying and searches occur over the internet and pictures are RARELY good enough to put too much faith in the quality of the gun. This is all part of a lifelong learning process for me and my knowledge up to this point is amateurish at best. So I thank you for the wealth of knowledge you gentlemen put into this forum and a special thanks to Marc for providing information from the home source of Belgium.

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