Parker Shotguns, Fox shotguns, L C Smith and Uncle Dan Lefever Shotguns a few of the American Classics


One of the oldest arguments about old American Shotguns is which is the best classic SXS? Believe me I am not the expert who can tell you which of these SXS is mechanically superior, as aesthetics, reliability and handling will mean more to most hunters than knowing what grade steel was used in one model versus another. So right off the top I am giving my opinion from handling and owning many of the models, grades and gauges. I will be glad to post your opinions if you wish to email comments to me, I will only post first name & last initial if you want me to post city or state please add them. Like most people who ask for opinions, I reserve the right to not print articles that are not relevant or are offensive. Since my web sight is PARKER SHOTGUNS, I will start with them.


Parker Shotguns: Parker is one of the oldest shotgun makers in the US and in production from 1868 until 1933, when they sold out to Remington.  When Remington closed down the plant in 1942 that was the end of the Parker production until the 80’s when the reproductions were released. This long history of manufacturing quality SXS gave them many years head start on the other makers and many feel this put them in the lead as far as developing their shotguns. Parker made 10 grades of SXS and 5 grades of single barrel trap guns. The early Parkers came with various types of barrels which they labeled as laminated steel, decarbonized steel, twist and stub twist, Damascus and Bernard Steel (extra high quality Damascus). Parker built their earliest SXS with uplifter opener and hammers. The hammer guns were made until the early 1900’s but the hammerless quickly replaced them when introduced in 1889. Parker shotguns were extremely reliable, and Parker prided themselvesin the quality of all grades of their SXS.

Being the oldest gave them advantages in being able to have some of the finest engravers and mechanics in theUS. Parker always bragged about the quality and their ads always alluded to “The Old Reliable. To this day you do not find many Parkers where it is mechanically unsound. In recent articles in the Double Gun Journal the author Sherman Bell subjected old and abused Parkers to heavy overloads and they held up to these pressure tests. I am not recommending any but highly competent mechanics try this test, but you should find the Double Gun journals from 1999 and read his articles “Finding Out for Myself”.

The one area Parker was at the head of the class was the engravers they employed. These engravers at the turn of the 19th century were the finest in the trade. Many collectors look for Parkers that were engraved by this select group of artisans.

Most of us are more shooters than collectors. To the shooter Parker offered all kinds of options, the problem is you can not order an old Parker so when we pick one up and try it we can not hit the broad side of a barn, some of the early Parkers had a drop at the comb of 2 inches and the heel 3 ½ inches. The modern shooter is used to holding the cheek tight to the stock where the old timers held their head straight up. The later Parkers came in with dimensions that we are used to, so we say boy this really fits.

Parker also offered many frame sizes starting with 000 frame for 410, 00 for the 28, 0 frame for 20’s, you could order for 12 & 16 on a variety of frame sizes and weight. I have a 16 Gauge on a 20 gauge 0 frame and it is lighter and much faster than a 16 on a 1 frame. The same is true with the 12 gauge on a 1 frame, most 12 gauges were manufactured on a number 2 frame. To me these are clubs but a 12 gauge on a 1 frame is much lighter and a joy to carry in the field and shoot. If you find a nice Parker on a smaller frame and have the opportunity to own it count it a blessing that you have a true American quality shotgun. Remember;Damascusand Twist steel barrels need to be checked out first by competent gunsmiths that really know old shotguns before shooting.

 FOX SHOTGUNS:  Fox shotguns was the new kid on the block. Ansley Fox started selling his shotguns inBaltimore then moved toPhiladelphia where around 1904 he developed and sold the the

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