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Sidelock
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In my opinion a best gun is the gun you favor not the gun you seek approval of from the so called experts.

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Sidelock

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My 'best' gun is a CSMC M21-6. It will do for me.


PULL!
Hal M. Hare
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I didn't include the Remington Hammerless Model of 1894 "Special" in the price comparisons. This is from Dave's 1902 catalog. $750 would be about $23,000 today



Interestingly, it is listed with "nickel-steel" rather than Ordnance Steel barrels and I have no idea if Remington produced the billets or sourced them from one of Winchester's suppliers

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Most folks don’t consider it possible for a boxlock to be considered a ‘Best’, but W. & C. Scott must have thought it possible as I used to own ( and foolishly sold) a Scott ‘ Premier’ boxlock 12 gauge double that was probably finished better than any of the sidelock Premiers I own or have seen. It had all the trademark Premier features such as the Premier barrel address and the gold shield in the hand , diamond grip, 14 animals and full scroll, etc. The front lump also did not go through the floorplate , which is a sure sign of a best vs. second quality. John Crawford said he told Pat Whatley, the Mgr. of Scott in the late 1980’s, about this gun and Mr. Whatley told him Scott had never built anything like that, but I can assure anyone, it was entirely correct. Regards, Sandlapper

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Can a SXS with the hinge pin machined from the solid, (as found in some boxlocks), be considered best?

Machining from the solid leaves no front support for the hinge pin (cross pin in English terminology). If the barrels come off face a solid pin cannot be replaced.

From an engineering point of view, the answer is no. But several makers offered "best" guns with solid cross pins. Which tends to show that best is not a matter of individual features, it was a marketing term more than a technical one.

Last edited by Shotgunlover; 07/04/20 04:35 AM.
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Originally Posted By: Shotgunlover
Can a SXS with the hinge pin machined from the solid, (as found in some boxlocks), be considered best?

Machining from the solid leaves no front support for the hinge pin (cross pin in English terminology). If the barrels come off face a solid pin cannot be replaced.

From an engineering point of view, the answer is no. But several makers offered "best" guns with solid cross pins. Which tends to show that best is not a matter of individual features, it was a marketing term more than a technical one.


As Stan enunciated, there is a generally agreed upon definition of a "best" gun. The fact that some makers applied that label to some guns that, whether by design or by workmanship, don't measure up doesn't relegate the term entirely to mere marketing. I would suggest that from a marketing perspective the word "London" had as much or greater impact on price realized by the maker than the word "best". Now THAT is marketing.

Last edited by canvasback; 07/04/20 08:46 AM.

The world cries out for such: he is needed & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia
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Objective engineering offers a way out of the "best" impasse. Using that yardstick many boxlocks come out on top of many sidelocks.

A BSA boxlock is demonstrably better engineered than most, but I do not know anyone who would call it best. Which for those of us without the "best" bug is good, it keeps BSA prices affordable.

Renato Zanotti improved sidelock engineering by strengthening the rear bite, and by making the lock rebounding. Faced with a comparison between an Italian Zanotti pattern sidelock and a celebrated English non-rebounding most would opt for the second considering it "best". Doing a favor to those value good engineering at affordable prices.

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I think more has been read into the term than was originally intended, and the industry itself has relished that.

Thus 'best work' has morphed to 'best gun'.

The order sheet would say 'best', and since this originally started in London, with orders for sidelock guns, the idea spread that it only applied to these types.

Much ado about nothing.


"The price of good shotgunnery is constant practice" - Fred Kimble
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It really seems to be important that the word 'gun' is actually used or implied. There is an assumption that the gun configuration has a classic appearance. I believe there can also be a best bolt action sporter, or a best rook rifle, but not a best pump or lever action that's generally acknowledged.

Enginnering differences seem to turn to descriptive terms and other academic discussions, but "best" seems to be related to execution. It's only opinion, but there are some AR and bench rifle builders easily doing best work.

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Look at a Shiloh rifle sometime.

The wood to metal fit cannot be improved.

Perfect is perfect.


"The price of good shotgunnery is constant practice" - Fred Kimble
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