The Twenty Dollar Field Grade

At twenty dollars some of our more reliable manufacturers will turn out a hammerless gun. 1


have known men worth a half million to shoot them with the settled conviction that no better weapon could be desired either in action or appearance. Such arms are made on exactly the same system as higher priced guns which guarantees mechanical exccllence. Necessarily these arms are turned out with extreme rapidity, and the steel must not be hard enough to entail too much wear and tear on expensive machinery.

The barrels arc of the cheapest quality of steel but are strong enough in the medium weights to withstand ordinary usage. The frames are drop forged and case hardened, but I have sometimes found that I could cut the locks and bolts with an ordinary pocket knife. The stocks, of the plainest description of American walnut, are strong and serviceable, though not a thing of beauty to begin with, and the simple finishing soon wears away, leaving them baldly ugly.

Of course this gun is machine made and while the working parts are strong they grind in a new gun in a way to put your teeth on edge. Despite this, perhaps, too severe criticism of the cheap gun of standard make, it is not to be denied that such arms are good shooters and they will hold together a long time. As a rule, arms of this grade are not built to order but arc turned out after a fixed pattern. They arc sent in quantities to the retail dealer where they are sold to the less discriminating purchaser.

Tiie American Knockabout

At from twenty-five to thirty-five dollars our standard gunbuilders grade their cheapest 01* knockabout arm. These weapons undoubtedly possess strength and superior lasting qualities. The barrels arc tough enough to withstand ordinary or extraordinary usage, being made for the most part of modern compressed steel, plain and sound. The locks do not differ from the higher grade weapons except that they arc a trifle softer and arc not so smoothly ground and polished.. The stocks arc generally of the plain walnut variety, but they will be shaped to order in length and drop while the wood is sufficiently seasoned to retain its grip 011 the iron unimpaired for years. The world has no better gun value for the money than these American knockabout guns. They are of such absolute utility, their merit so positive, that the owner must constantly regret the lack of finish in his weapon. Especially is this true when he grows to the arm with the passing of time and is unwilling to exchange his piece for any other.

Every gunbuilder may have a special feature of excellence which he places in these arms. One will take pride in close jointing and superior fitting; another furnishes a better .quality of stock, finer in finish; some one else may attach barrels of the high-


er grades and great tensile strength: without exception, any of our reputable builders will give splendid value in these knockabout guns.

The principle to be observed by the purchaser of a knockabout is to buy all gun, unadorned. Every dollar which is placed in ornamentation must be subtracted from the fit, balance, and soundness that should alone be considered now. Buy from the manufacturer whose reputation is behind the piece, for, from him you secure, free, reputation, knowledge, system, and principle of construction.

At from twenty-eight to thirty-five dollars the cheapest of American guns can be obtained having self-ejectors. These ejector arms are perfectly reliable though of course very plain. Such weapons are certainly worthy of our admiration when we reflect that the entire gun costs no more than the ejector mechanism of some of the imported arms. Considering their ability* to undergo all kinds of hard service for years these knockabout guns, either plain or self-ejector, must be regarded as nothing short of a triumph for American machinery and methods of building.

This is the most popular of all our shotguns either for trap, field, or wildfowl shooting. It is a balanced weapon, lacking in nothing that a modern fowling lo


piece should possess. The manufacturers pay due attention to every feature of this grade. So strong and lasting arc these arms that they arc practically certain to outlive both their day and their owner, only to be laid aside with the march of time and progress which may finally antiquatc them. I have

The Parker Knockabout; a perfectly fitted gun known a hundred dollar list gun to be used steadily at the trap, in the field, and upon the marsh for ten years without a sign of shakiness or any indication that it had not merely ripened with age like good whiskey.

The barrels, while not of the highest grade, are practically just as good; the stocks have both grain and finish; the frames are drop forged and admirably case hardened; the springs may be everlasting, with the locks, bolts, and all bearings of tempered steel; while the jointing and finishing will bear the most rigid inspection. These guns have all the elegance of balance and outline that the maker can place in any of his output, and even the ornamentation of steel and wood will not be neglected. The main difference between this grade and those higher is in the quality of stocks, the amount of engraving, and the hand finishing. I do not mean to argue that a sportsman should not buy a higher priced piece if he can afford it, but if he cannot there is no reason why he should not take a deal of pride in the ownership of one of these guns, lie can at least say to himself and his friends that a score ol years ago no man could have owned a gun like this one though he exhausted his bank account.

Smith Field and Trap Kjcctor. A good gun in every respect, including appearance

A shotgun at one hundred dollars should have every modern improvement with the possible exception of the single trigger. It is my belief that the time has come when sclf-ejectors ought invariably to replace the plain extractor in this gradeā€”in fact the extractor should only be furnished to order and then at no reduction in price. It has been charged

Baker Paragon Grade, New Model. $85. No Better Gun for the

Money that we arc a conservative people, but the manufacturer can at least be progressive. The single trigger is at present so costly that it would not be advisable to sacrificc to this mechanism any more important feature which might be the case in a weapon at one hundred dollars.

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  • Clorinda
    How to add a piece of wood to a shotgun stock that is too short?
    8 years ago

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