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Joined: Dec 2012
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Boon: Sadly, it looks like it's been badly-misused. Some ham-fisted nitwit has been after it with an ill-fitting screwdriver, so God only knows what else has been done to it. Unless they're giving it away ($650-750), I'd pass. For future reference, the photos that matter are the proof marks on the barrel flats and the condition of the standing breech. Where the top lever settles after it's closed is pretty critical as well.

Last edited by Lloyd3; 07/31/21 04:16 PM.
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Thanks, Lloyd, I appreciate the insight. Good to know. The lever itself is right-of-center, if that's what you mean.

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I concur with the disdain over the screws being mangled, however they are not complete deal killers for a beater gun, it is likely if the gun functions properly now it will continue to do so.

Is it a best gun, no, but neither is the price and the chokes are good for grouse.

It maybe a good starter choice in getting deeper into side by sides.

Early on I purchased some rough guns to include Sterlingworth’s, and Francotte Knockabout’s which served me well until I could afford better later. Oddly I still miss the 20ga Francotte Knockabout BLNE.

If you can afford it go for it, if it means crazy sacrifice, then pass and wait another option down the road


Michael Dittamo
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Mr. Dittamo does have a point here. If bought correctly (i.e. inexpensively), this gun could very well still have some good bird hunts left in it. Early British box locks are usually very well-made and the actions themselves are fairly sturdy. The key is finding out if the gun is truly functional and the barrels are safe. I bought a well-used but very light (6lbs6) Army & Navy BLE in nowhere Minnesota for $800 many years ago that actually was a darn-fine bird gun. It was extremely plain, with a plank for wood and weak ejectors, and it was out of proof (extended chambers) but not dangerously so. It fit me shockingly well and was choked light IC and almost IM(!), so I carried it for a few years and only shot light loads in it. The birds certainly didn't know it wasn't fancy. We all have to start somewhere. As an entry into better side by sides, if this gun's safe and... if it fits you tolerably well (good LOP, proper drop & cast, etc.), it might not be such a bad place to start. It certainly has much better engraving than my 1930s Army & Navy did.

For all the reasons I initially counseled against it, selling it may be something of a challenge for this shop at that asking price. If you can swing it, offer them $600 and see where it goes from there. The average backwoods Pennsylvania hunter (FWIW, I grew up there) doesn't know much about these guns and would be intimidated by it. A more well-heeled doublegun buyer would likely be put-off by it's initial appearance. A dedicated grouse hunter, however, might be able to find a bargain here... if he's cautious and does his homework.

Confirm that the gun has proof marks (hopefully British). Lots of information on the barrel flats helps you know it's really what it purports to be. With the longer barrels, this gun should weigh somewhere north of 6 1/2 lbs (I'd expect 6lbs9 to 6lbs12). Much more or less than that is a clue that something might be awry. Weigh it fully assembled (or even all the components) first, on a digital postal scale (if the shop doesn't have one, they're cheap and available at most Walmarts). Measure the chambers (if opened, hope for only a little), a 3-inch 12-gauge shell can do that job if a proper chamber gauge isn't available (it should not fit at all), ring the barrels (go onto YouTube and find out how) and then put them on a dead-straight surface to look for imperfections (bulges, dents, or deviations), find some snap caps (buy them if necessary, cheap plastic ones will work fine) and check the triggers, they should break cleanly, crisply, and feel good (not gritty or creepy). Check the ejectors for function as well, but even if one is weak or wanky (or both), that won't make the gun useless (and will simply be another negotiating point). Check the safety for proper function. It should be smooth yet firm, both on and off. Look closely for repaired cracks in the wrist (a weak point on these guns, especially the older ones). Look at the standing breach for damage and/or corrosion and see if the firing pin holes look symmetrical. Obviously damaged or oblong-ed holes are a concern. If you need to, use a flashlight (cellphone?) to see if you can determine if the noses on the pins look undamaged (they should be round and mostly-symmetrical as well). Make sure the forend fits properly and that everything locks up tightly when the gun closes. Absolutely nothing should feel loose (any wiggles anywhere and you walk). Look closely for any obvious signs of interior barrel damage or bad pitting (light freckling might be all right, bigger pits are a deal breaker). If the barrels are even a little dirty, have the shop fully clean them so you can properly inspect them by holding them up to a good light source. Also, confirm that they aren't blued Damascus (although unlikely, 1908 isn't too-late for that). Check the chokes using a dime. Skeet and IC should allow it to fully enter each tube, Mod won't. If you simply can't get them measured, weigh the barrels on the digital scale. If they're much under 3 lbs (especially at 30-inches) then they've likely been honed way-out of any safe use. 3 lbs or more? Well, then....maybe.

An obvious need for any repair (besides the ejectors) kills the deal, period. There are likely no competent or affordable options in your part of the world for something like that. Bide your time and wait for another gun to come along.

Good luck!

Last edited by Lloyd3; 08/01/21 11:17 AM.
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$650-750 is way over top value in my reckoning.

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You guys are good. I'm learning a lot. Thank you for taking the time. Yes, for me, this would certainly be a knockabout-in-the-woods grouse gun. It does come to my shoulder nicely and feels right. Well, an acquaintance of mine has gauges to measure thickness & choke, but he's out of town for a couple weeks. If it's still on the shelf when he returns, I'll take a look, and, if all seems right, maybe I'll throw out a lower number & see.

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While a wall thickness gauge to many is the final say in barrel measurement, don't sell short what a good bore gauge can discover. The Skeets bore gauge is once again available. Ebay lists them at $160 plus $15 shipping. At 12.5" long, it can be used to determine if the barrels have been reamed beyond what is considered out of proof by UK standards. While on a 30" gun, 5" in the center would be unmeasurable, but one would get a good indication of whether or not to move on or have measured further with a wall thickness gauge. Gil

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Complements on Lloyd3’s inspection guidance, I could not have written better.

Last edited by old colonel; 08/01/21 01:02 PM.

Michael Dittamo
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I copied it for future reference. Now, what about buying a used Jeep Lloyd? Hints?


Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
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Boon I sent you a PM.

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