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#619785 09/25/22 05:20 PM
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Vol423 Offline OP
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I just bought another Darne, this time a 16 gauge, because I keep hoping I'll find one that I can shoot. I like the design. Regarding safety mechanisms, I have seen the ones with a side safety that turns, and safeties that act like cross bolt safeties. This gun has a turn lever type safety with the actuator on the left side. As a left handed shooter, I believe that I would prefer the actuator on the right side of the action. Can these safeties be reversed and converted from cross bolt to lever safety and back? I know about cast in a Darne and this one is pretty neutral.

I'm sure that Ted can shed some light on this issue. Are there others? Is there a gunsmith with expertise on Darne shotguns?

Vol423 #619789 09/25/22 06:02 PM
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I’m a southpaw and I prefer the toggle safety on the left side. In my opinion….it’s definitely not a type of safety that you flick off on the rise no matter what side of the block it’s mounted on. It’s more like a flick it off as you’re walking in, at least that’s how I’ve done it for 20+ yrs.

1 member likes this: Ted Schefelbein
Vol423 #619790 09/25/22 07:12 PM
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You cannot convert the push button safety to the rotating lever type. You can have the rotating lever put on the other side of the breech block, but, it isn’t always as simple as just turning it around. Sometimes there is some fitting involved. The push button safety cannot be switched from side to side, at least not the version produced for James Wayne when he was importing.

I was a lefty for 50 years, and the rotating lever on the left side would be my first choice on an R model Darne. I found it easy to point the lever down, keep my index finger near it, if not on it, and get it off at the flush. Pointy dogs help. So does 30 or so seasons of use.

The sliding safety on the left, that is used on V and P model Darne guns, is slick for a Southpaw. You have to remember to slide it back, instead of forward, but, I don’t feel it gets any better than that on a Darne. I was told that if a customer specified it, he could have the V type safety installed so you pushed it forward to get the safety off, but, it couldn’t be converted after it was built the other way. If you find a Darne V that is off safe when the safety is moved forward, THAT was custom ordered, and a rare, rare bird. For a right handed V user, the smaller frame guns, 20 gauge and down, are a little easier to get the thumb around to the left side and get the safety off. 12 gauge frames are big, 16s are a bit smaller, and 20 on down are pretty petite compared to the other two. I never could get a 12 gauge V gun safety off with my right hand.

The opening lever can be used as a safety, but, not on all guns. Some of the newer guns, say, post war, will fire with the lever not completely closed, recoil closing the lever against your thumb. The only way to know for sure is to test whatever gun you are using to see if you can get it to fire with the lever not completely closed. I know it sounds weird, but, just open the gun up and pull on the trigger, with no ammunition in it as you get the breech block closer to the barrels. In a perfect circumstance, lever up is a gun that won’t trip the firing pins.

If you have a Charlin, the gun was specifically designed not to fire unless it was completely closed, so the lever is a natural safety. Nothing to check on those.

When I was importing these guns, Kirk Merrington handled repair and warranty work. I have heard he might be working less or actually retired, but, his website is still up. Dewey Vicknair can certainly put a Darne right, but, I think he is buried, or was, last I talked to him.

Good luck.

Best,
Ted

Vol423 #620348 10/07/22 02:40 PM
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Vol423 Offline OP
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I have found that Ted's approach feels very natural to me. A left side safety lever pointing down is very natural for me to flick off with my trigger finger. I was looking for a nice 16 and I found a treble proofed R13 from the 1970s. It may just be it!

Vol423 #620363 10/07/22 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Vol423
I have found that Ted's approach feels very natural to me. A left side safety lever pointing down is very natural for me to flick off with my trigger finger. I was looking for a nice 16 and I found a treble proofed R13 from the 1970s. It may just be it!

Lefty guy only points, here.

Have you tried playing with a V Darne? Being a lefty, that is about the high water mark for a convenient safety on a Darne. Keep your eyes open for a V Darne you can at least handle. By the way, if you are a buyer “BMW”- Bring Money With. More money than an R.

Another option for a lefty is the 1894 patent Darne action, with a rocker style safety in the bottom metal, on the left side. A Charlin also has the safety over there, but, they have a very robust V spring that tensions the safety lever, similar in power to a top lever spring in a conventional double, and the damn things are almost impossible to get off or on. I used the lever as a safety on my Charlin.
Then, I sold it. Not my type of slidy breech gun, I guess.


Best,
Ted

Vol423 #620374 10/08/22 10:21 AM
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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

As a left hander, I have always welcomed the fact that the traditional top tang safety is entirely ambidextrous and intuitive (apart from the B.S.A. Patent 28,834 of 1897 - fitted to some Lee-Speed and de luxe .410 bolt actions - which is pull BACK to fire).

I am looking forward to finding out how I get on with this one, a Needham built by Greener, with its side safe in a somewhat similar position to the Darne.

Vol423 #620376 10/08/22 11:42 AM
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I’ve never owned a Greener patent gun with the side safety, but, as a lefty, the guns I handled felt wonderful!

I figured if I got a 16 gauge Greener with the left safety, I’d have a gun nobody asked to shoot, with ammunition nobody wanted to bum off me.

Never got the chance, but, would have loved to try.

Best,
Ted

1 member likes this: Parabola
Vol423 #620377 10/08/22 12:01 PM
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Vol423 Offline OP
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You'll hate that Greener safety. I do and I'm a lefty. The Germans adopted them for drillings. The Swedes hated them so much on drillings that the Germans had to make top tang safeties and they called them Swedish safeties. I have only one drilling with a Greener safety. It has a bar mounted on the safety. It protrudes upward so that I can flick it off with my thumb.

Vol423 #620378 10/08/22 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Vol423
You'll hate that Greener safety. I do and I'm a lefty. The Germans adopted them for drillings. The Swedes hated them so much on drillings that the Germans had to make top tang safeties and they called them Swedish safeties. I have only one drilling with a Greener safety. It has a bar mounted on the safety. It protrudes upward so that I can flick it off with my thumb.


Well. I’m a southpaw and I absolutely LOVE the Greener side safety. Works well for me. I own both a G-gun and FH25, working the side safety on a Greener has never been an issue for me or for the few other southpaws that I know who use Greener guns equipped with that safety.

1 member likes this: Ted Schefelbein

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