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1906 William Read & Sons Catalogue

"Highest Quality" Wesley Richards with single trigger - $595
W.W. Greener "Imperial" - $500
W&C Scott "Premier" - $375
W&C Scott "Imperial Premier" - price on application
Purdey - 89 pounds 5 shillings sterling
"Highest Quality" sidelock ejector Joseph Lang & Son - 65 guineas
Parker Bros. AAHE - net price of $318.75
Lefever Optimus - $280
Remington Special - $750

Not listed but in 1908 the maker's suggested retail price
Parker A1 Special $525
Smith A3 $740
Smith A2 $400

These guns stand TOGETHER at the pinnacle of gunmaker's artistry, engineering, and function. Arguing superiority of one over another is entirely subjective, entertaining, occasionally nationalistically unpleasant AND SILLY.

Our current row started (again) because an occasional correspondent to this forum, who peddles English guns to Americans, thought it clever to issue a global put down of one American gunmaker.

Dr Jim and I have prepared an article which will appear in DGJ, the 'Farm Implement Grade Smiths', the gist of which is that no, an 00 Smith is no Purdey, had/has a stock design flaw, but did it's job on a farm in Neb. at the turn of the century, and can still be used and enjoyed long after the other farm implements have either worn out or been replaced by better tools.

No one made more effective tools for breaking clay targets at the traps than American makers 1895-1915. Times changed and as Larry said, many of the top guns went to Single Barrel Traps. And no one is in the GAH shoot off today using a Knick.

The most effective tool for harvesting waterfowl is probably an A5 or M11 with an extended magazine. That does not make it a best gun. Nor is a punt gun.

The most effective tool for rough shooting may be a British game gun.

The most effective tool at the pigeon ring today is likely an Italian OU.

Everyone has an opinion...which is just that...and should be supported by facts. But arrogance is hard to take.


Last edited by Drew Hause; 04/15/13 10:43 AM.
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Drew:
Would you please double check the Smith prices posted above. They seem on the high side to me.
Jim


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Those are the maker's SRP Jim.

Found the 1895 list prices
Parker Bros. AAHE “Pigeon Model” $400
Smith A2 $365
A3 $740


Last edited by Drew Hause; 04/15/13 10:46 AM.
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BTW: the Remington pump is the best gun of all time because the American team used it to take the Gold at the 1912 Olympics smile


Last edited by Drew Hause; 04/15/13 11:09 AM.
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Quote:
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.


Brit shoots were different from what she was used to. New, expensive, custom, purpose-built guns, a qualified mentor, and lots of practice improved her performance. Shocking! I sometimes hunt with guys who regularly run 100 straight at skeet, but who can't match me in the dove fields. I don't shoot much skeet and they don't hunt very often. It's all about what you are used to and what you practice.

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Quote:
the Remington pump is the best gun of all time


If you were referring to the 870, I'd have to agree with you.

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I was confusing Grades 1,2,3 etc with the A grades.
Jim


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As Brother Drew had posted about the high grade L.C. Smiths, in 1895 when the A3 came out it was the most expensive gun made anywhere, including any English gun.


David


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Yes indeed, American makers did make their versions of "best" guns. But not very many, and not very many of those were used like "tools". Going by the Blue Book: Smith, 17 A-3's, 210 A-2's, 152 Monograms. Parker: 80 A-1 Special, 240 AAH, 300 AH.

Meanwhile, back in Old Blightly . . . the Brits were turning out far more "bests" (Boss, Purdey, Woodward, H&H, Churchill, Scott, etc). Boss ("makers of Best Guns only"), in contrast to the above numbers, turned out almost 5,000 guns between 1900-1970. And His Lordship and his loader(s) were regularly putting them through their paces on driven shoots. Not a lot of rough usage in terms of banging those guns around (although doubtful if the American owners of the above-named high $ guns banged them around much either), but maybe more shooting in one long weekend than the Yanks over the Pond would see in an entire season of hunting waterfowl and upland birds. None of those high $ guns from either place, I'd submit, were meant to be used like a farm tool. But in the UK, they were much more likely to be shot a whole bunch. And there are, relatively speaking, still a lot of them around, some of them still being shot a lot at driven birds. Likely being shot a good bit more than their rare (and collectible because they're rare) American cousins.

And on the other end of the price spectrum, your basic Brummie boxlock could stand up to a fair amount of use as well. And many of them are still being shot. In both cases--American and British--those that aren't being shot any more likely died more as a result of out and out abuse rather than overuse.

Last edited by L. Brown; 04/15/13 05:23 PM.
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Larry it is true that his Lordship/s did shoot thousands of birds, but not the ordinary people/peasants did. We did not have this here, what we did have is Trap and pigeon shooters who shot thousands and thousands of rounds through these American guns, and some of them are still around also.
The difference is, most of the English had the good sense at the end of the season to have the gun looked at by the maker, where as we just kept on shooting them.

I also don't believe that the shooting in England in the 1890's was for everyone, only the very wealthy could afford to shoot unless you were a guest. I believe most of the shotguns made were shipped elsewhere in Europe for other dignitaries.

Last edited by JDW; 04/15/13 06:16 PM.

David


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