Sunday, March 9, 2008

Nice old guns and hard lessons

I have occasionally acquired what I think are nice old guns. Some would call them classics - A.H. Fox, Lindner-made Charles Daly, John Dickson, Winchester model 21, etc. The design and workmanship is old school, the quality seamless, and they are fine tools for bird hunting.

I have only owned one LeFever, a sidelock 20 gauge in Optimus grade that was GIVEN to me by a friend about 1975. It had belonged to his aunt in Philadelphia. I didn't know much about shotguns in those days, but I recognized that it was a quality gun, and I happily shot it at birds. One day I showed it to the gunsmith at the local gunshop for some reason (unremembered) and he exclaimed that I could not shoot the gun, since despite a nice blue job, it had Damascus (laminated steel) barrels!

Imagine my ignorance. I GAVE the gun away as a wall hanger.

Imagine my chagrin today. I now know that the gun is safe to shoot with the correct loads, and it is worth five figures. 

This is how we learn about old classic guns, and some of the lessons are hard ones.


Steve Bodio said...


Somebody wants to give me a Damascus Purdey or Dickson, I'll shoot it (;-))

Mike Spies said...

As I said in the post, I have learned quite a bit since then. Some of it from books you have written ;-)

I will do a write up on my Dickson in the next week or so, soon as I get time to deploy my camera.