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Sidelock
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Eightbore:
I for one am going to side in with you here. The hot topics in years gone by were patterning,penetration and choking as I remember them. items such as barrel length,action type,pistol or straight grip etc. were just personal preferences and usually left at that.
We have gotten to the point where minutae is king of discussions any more and perhaps have lost sight of the main goals which are to enjoy target shooting and hunting with shotguns.
Jim


The 2nd Amendment IS an unalienable right.
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I guess that I own the one 16 gauge SxS that I've always wanted. It's an Ithaca Classic Doubles 4ES with two sets of 16 gauge barrels, the only one ever made.
It's got a Krupp steel barrels, Miller Single Trigger, BTFE, English stock and is drop dead gorgeous with it's Turkish walnut stock and fine Adams & Adams engraving.
Sorry, my photo skills aren't what I would like, but you get the idea.
Did I mention, it's gun #2 of a matched pair the other being a 28 gauge?

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The answer to the original question is obvious. As Ansley said -- "Finest Gun in tha World"

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Yup- and Foxes aren't easily fooled. I owned one until recently, but as I read about my gunning hero Nash Buckingham, as age crept on him the heavier Burt Becker No. 2 at 10 lbs. (my guess) became a tad much and he went to other 12 gauges that were lighter-I also agree with him about banning the pipsqueak .410 for All waterfowling- or perhaps the steel shot legislation took care of that- saw a box of Federal 1 1/8 oz. No. 4 Steel shot at a GM Store a few weeks ago- didn't even know the "bastard gauge" was used much for waterfowling- for grouse and quail, especially in the South- Heck yes- but for pass shooting- "The Acme of All Wingshooting"- nothing less than a 12 bore "cuts it"- IMO. RWTF

Last edited by Run With The Fox; 04/30/09 03:22 PM.

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Originally Posted By: eightbore
I notice that Ed didn't give the poster a clue as to what the prime topic of debate was at the turn of the twentieth century, so I will. He's right, it wasn't sidelocks and boxlocks. As someone who has read at least one percent of what Ed has in nineteenth century shooting periodicals, I am going to say it is "barrels, patterns, and penetration". I too have never seen much discussion, if any, about lockwork. OK, so the penetration business was a red herring, but it was discussed and advertised to death, whether a legitimate item for discussion or not. Of all the thousands of words of wit and knowledge contributed by readers in each weekly issue of the most popular publications, I don't remember ten words in all my reading about a gun that wouldn't go bang when the trigger was pulled. Oh well.


Bill: You have read a great deal more than you are giving yourself credit for, plus you have a wealth of diversified hands-on experience. And you are correct: The ca. 1900 shooter was deep into, of necessity, loading his own shells for pattern and penetration.

At the turn of the last century the team leaders (foremen/contractors) at Parker Brothers made 25- to 35-cents an hour, and factory loads cost 55 cents per box of 25. To think that someone like the barrel-maker Jim Geary had to work about two hours to earn enough to shoot one round of trap at the Parker Gun Club, and Hayes signed a contract to run the entire operation for $1.00 per hour. The gun was a given, a capital item; bank presidents shot the higher grades; tellers and loan officers the lowest grades; lawyers and doctors the middle grades; captains of industry the imported Purdeys and the domestic "vanity grades." And all these people knew exactly what they were getting for their hard-earned or ill-earned $$$. Prestige! The "poor white folk" bought a T. Parker or N. R. Davis for $11.00 at Sears.

The great equalizer was ammo and the relentless testing of loads for pattern and penetration. Only the well-heeled could pop for factory loads, and the average wage earners made it up by maximizing the performance of the gun they had, the gun they could afford. If they could afford a Parker, many specified pattern count with a given size shot and drams of powder.

As to barrels, the advent of fluid steel pretty much put the end to fashion dictated by barrel pattern. Knights of the trigger in the know preferred the cloud-like irregular patterns of English Laminated for objective durability and subjectively anecdotal evidence of "shooting harder." Fashion, however, won out and the more regular patterns of Damascus came to be preferred over the harder-to-make Laminated (which wore out boring bits because of a greater percentage of steel). After "black" fluid steel barrels became the norm, gun makers carried forward the tradition of grading guns by "barrel quality"--Titanic, Acme, Vulcan, Parker Special Steel, Trojan, etc.--even though there was no discernible difference, except possibly in the depth and smoothness of finish. The Whitworth barrels on my AAH Pigeon Gun look different cosmetically than the barrels on my unfired Trojan (sold recently); whether the ca. 1896 Whitworth Steel bbls are "better" than the Trojan Steel bbls--by any objective standard-- or better than Titanic Steel or Vulcan Steel ca.1898, or Trojan Steel after 1912 is problematical. Gunmakers carried on the Trademarking of barrel steel for quite awhile, Parker only putting the practice to rest when Remington moved the operation to Ilion in 1937-38 by omitting a barrel steel ledgend on the rib.

All this is well documented and hashed over in the literature of our sport. As to box-lock versus side-lock, I'm still waiting for anyone to come up with that which I somehow missed. My take on this is that the box-lock was thought to be an advancement in gun making when the Industrial Revolution favored the relentless search for better and more cost effective ways of doing everything. Parker experimented with side-lock but went with the new technology; Ansley Fox came later with a box-lock; Ithaca and Lefever adopted the box-lock for their concealed hammer guns, as did Olin's Mod. 21.

I have never been able to find a rationale for L. C. Smith's sticking with the side-lock except as implied in the LCS 1889 catalog (at p. 13), yet the distinctions made between their new hammerless and "...many of the hammerless guns which have preceded it...[and]...all foreign guns..." are nothing more than sales puffery. And all the well-known foreign guns save the Greener had (and still have) side-locks. Anyway, I think the ongoing and somewhat contrived side-lock versus box-lock debate is all smoke and no fire. The LCS 1889 catalog hype cited various objections to the hammerless guns of other un-named makers:

Ungainly proportions of the frame...

Weakness of the frame...

Short frame...

Numerous springs and small parts liable to break...

Foreign guns without a joint check...

Methinks that a lot of the latter-day lock-type-hype comes from certain people reading the 1889 LCS catalog reprint and taking it as the gospel truth.

Meanwhile, Capt. Bogardus endorsed the LCS in a testimonial letter in the 1889 catalog, as he had endorsed every other gun he had given him, including a Parker. But as to the value of his opinion, let me quote Bogardus himself:

"I could never see any use to a shooter in a long theoretical or practical description of the principals and details of guns as they are made...sportsmen may safely leave such matters to the gunmakers, who are nearly everywhere a very ingenious, painstaking, and trustworthy class of men." A. H. Bogardus in his best selling book, Field, Cover & Trap Shooting (at least 8 printings copyrighted 1874, 1879, 1884, 1891).

I rest my case. EDM


EDM
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Bogardus...

http://books.google.com/books?id=HxRIAAA...ooting#PPA35,M1



1907 - Stength / Reliability


1911 - Pattern / Penetration


Pete

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Some of the most entertaining and, to the writers at least, technical debate in early sporting weeklies was the animated discussion of extension ribs and compensating devices.

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In his 1910 book Askins stated something along the idea that the hammerless sidelock was an evolutionary step from the hammer gun but that the boxlock was the real answer. It does seem that the good Captains tastes ran to boxlocks with Parker Bros., Ansley H. Fox, and Ithaca guns being prominant in his writings. However, he did seem to go verticle with the introduction of the Browning Superposed.

Last edited by Researcher; 04/30/09 03:13 PM.
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Personally, I believe the Boxlock vs sidelock was always more a British thing than American. It was definitely an ongoing subject by the time burrard began his writings on the Shotgun, & a subject to which he devoted considerable space. Personally I don't really consider the 1920's as "Recent". I suspect Greener didn't devote much to the subject as his boxlock preference put him in the definite minority in England, yet he really made no great attempt to extoll it's "Superiorty". I will have to get out my copy of the 1909 "Baker Gunner" but as I recall the Baker Co was extolling the virtues of the Sidelock in it. It doesn't really appear to be a Johnny-come-Lately subject to me, but what do I know, I haven't used up a case of linament from patting myself on the Back over my superior knowledge.


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I Didn't Say Everything I Said, Yogi Berra
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I think Greener put his money where his mouth was-Didn't the G guns sell for as much or more than contemporary hammerless sidelocks of the era?

A pity there were so few gunsmiths that truly understood the design. In profile, from a few feet, they do look a bit like a Fox.

I don't have a dog in that fight, since, my Tobin isn't exactly a sidelock, and my Darne isn't exactly a boxlock (that may be the understatement of the week).

I'd take a G gun over a sidelock any day, however.
Best,
Ted

PS GregSY, you fell strangely silent at the fact that the blue oval guys had a few more wins (second understatement of the week) than the winged Mopar guys did in the era of the aero production cars. I hope I cleared that misunderstanding up a bit for you.

Like I said, I don't smoke anything.

Best,
Ted




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