• Advertisement
Kiehberg.in -  Outdoor gear and sports equipment

What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Posts related to shotguns.
Mack The Knife
Posts: 5766
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 6:23 pm
Location: Bangalore, India.

What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby Mack The Knife » Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:45 pm

.....with the emphasis being on double barreled shotguns.

I have a fairish idea but would like to hear from the experienced members.

Thanks.

Mack The Knife



For Advertising mail webmaster
Grumpy
Posts: 2652
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:43 am
Location: UK

Re: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby Grumpy » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:09 pm

O/U or SxS ?
The first thing that you should do is count the barrels......you don`t want to be short changed !

Remove the fore-end and close the gun. Hold the gun firmly at the wrist with one hand and about half way along where the fore-end would have been with the other and firmly try to move the barrels relative to the action - up, down and sideways. There should be no movement. If there is the gun will shoot "off the face" and will need "rejointing". This isn't a hugely expensive process but needs doing properly. A loose barrel/action joint however is an indicator of a very worn gun.

Make sure the barrels aren`t pitted or, if there is any pitting. it should be very light and shallow.

Refit the fore-end and check that is is held positively. The latch should work positively but smoothly.

Check that the top lever works positively and smoothly with very little stray movement. Be very suspicious of a lever that has free play. The top lever should centre - approximately - when the gun is closed. New Italian guns often have the top lever offset to one side when new - they will centre with use.

Examine the forward parts of the action very closely - look for hammer or vice marks which are likely indicators that the action has been tightened by crimping.

The action should open and close positively and smoothly. There should be no grinding or unpleasant noises.

Drop in a couple of snap caps and make sure that the safety works properly and cannot be over-ridden by knocking the gun about. Pull the front trigger ( if a double trigger gun ) and then open the gun to check that the ejector/extractor is working properly. Close the gun and pull the rear trigger and then check for positive ejection/extraction again. Close the gun and pull each trigger one after the other and check again.

If the gun has a single trigger with the second barrel operated by recoil inertia it will not set after the first barrel has been `fired` with snap caps fitted. Hold the gun around the fore-end firmly and give the butt a hefty whack with the heel of the other hand - this should set the trigger for the second shot. Some guns require rather more `thump` than others to set the trigger so might have to be checked with actual cartridges.

Make sure the triggers operate smoothly and positively.

Check the rib to make sure that it is not loose - loose ribs, especially those that have been loose for some time are bad news as they allow for the ingress of damp which can perforate the barrels.

Check the overall condition of the gun. Make sure that the engraving is crisp. Worn engraving indicates a very well used and invariably worn gun.

If an old gun has very black barrels and colour on the action be particularly vigilent in all the above checks - there are a lot of very worn guns that have been re-blacked and re-coloured. You can`t expect barrel blacking and colour case hardening to stay bright - `grey` barrels are not an indication of a worn-out gun.

Check the action - face and flats - and look for hammer marks. Light pitting on the face around the strikers is acceptable. Make sure that the strikers have nicely rounded ends - chips indicate that they will need replacing - not an expensive job but should be taken into account in the purchase price. Check the barrel flats and the ejector rods to make sure all is as it should be.

At this stage I measure the bores and wall thicknesses. This will probably mean that you will have to take the gun to a gunsmith. Any less than 20 thou wall thickness 9" forward of the breech is an overly worn gun.

Finally take the gun somewhere that it can be shot and put a box of cartridges though it. If the action has been tightened by bodging this should shoot it loose again. I`m not going to explain the process of effecting a temporary bodge to tighten a gun that is shooting off the face for obvious reasons.

Hope this is of some assistance.
Last edited by Grumpy on Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.



User avatar
mundaire
Posts: 4986
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:53 pm
Location: New Delhi, India
Contact:

Postby mundaire » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:30 pm

Grumpy,

Excellent post! Very informative

Cheers!
Abhijeet


Like & share IndiansForGuns Facebook Page
Follow IndiansForGuns on Twitter

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS - JOIN NAGRI NOW!

www.gunowners.in

"Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." -- Robert Heinlein

User avatar
HSharief
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 6:11 pm
Location: Misriganj

Re: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby HSharief » Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:46 am

Grumpy put it together very well. I wanted to mention to check the breech face for wear around the firing pin holes. The primer ignition scars the breech face too I think from some of the used guns I've seen. Also, I've heard of the "ring" test for the barrels. Hang the barrels by the fore-end latch by your index finger and "ping" it, it should "ring" like a tuning fork, and not sound like something is out of sync. I heard it sounds weird if the rib and barrells are out of shape. I've done it to all my shotguns and they sound pretty solid.



Grumpy
Posts: 2652
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:43 am
Location: UK

Re: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby Grumpy » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:26 am

`Wear` around the striker holes can promote misfires if the strikers can move around. It can be repaired by welding - a very delicate job as it is likely to warp the action unless extreme care is taken. The `wear` - along with pitting on the face of the action - is actually erosion caused by punctured primers - usually with the assistance of damp. For this reason disk set strikers were introduced. Early discs were held in place by a screw at the back of the face and replacement necessitated removing the stock. In a few guns the screws were located at the top or sides of the fences. Most striker disks however have two recessed holes on their front surface which allow their removal with the use of a wrench. Not only do disc set strikers allow their replacement if worn but also ( their primary purpose ) the easy replacement of broken strikers `in the field`.
Disc set strikers are always an indication of quality.
By the way, I suppose that I ought to explain that the `striker` is the British gunmaking term for the firing pin.
`Ringing` the barrels can indicate a loose rib - but not always. If the loose part of the rib is free of the barrels the barrels will still `ring`. I`ve been referring the `the` rib in the singular but there are, of course, two ribs - the upper and the lower.



User avatar
Mark
Posts: 1147
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:37 am
Location: Middle USA

Re: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby Mark » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:36 am

Grumpy, thank you for taking the time to write such an informative post!


"What if he had no knife? In that case he would not be a good bushman so there is no need to consider the possibility." H.A. Lindsay, 1947

Grumpy
Posts: 2652
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:43 am
Location: UK

Re: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby Grumpy » Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:31 am

You`re welcome Mark. I have a feeling that this topic might run and run as I think of other things......and members ask questions.



ngrewal
Posts: 2928
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 7:28 pm
Location: US

Postby ngrewal » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:22 am

Great article Grumpy Thanks



Mack The Knife
Posts: 5766
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 6:23 pm
Location: Bangalore, India.

Postby Mack The Knife » Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:46 am

Grumpy,

Thanks a ton for that - some points I knew and some I did not, so I am glad I asked.

I have some questions though:

1) How does one check the rib for looseness?

2) What instrument is used to measure wall thickness 9 inches forward of the breech? There is probably a specific instrument to do this but considering most guns in India are old (not necessarily over shot but still....) and good gunsmiths aren't exactly a dime a dozen, is there any commonly available instrument that the prospective buyer could use to measure wall thickness?

3) I have a mental picture of the disc set strikers you mentioned, (infact something along these lines jumped into my mind before reading your second post) but would you have a picture of this?

Thanks once again.

Mack The Knife



mehulkamdar

Re: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby mehulkamdar » Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:02 pm

Grumpy is the right person to advise on this topic - as a dealer in fine guns who sells some beautiful stuff all over the world, he knows more about fine shotguns than most people could learn in a lifetime. A fantastic post - thanks to Mack The Knife for posting the question and to Grumpy for patiently explaining the intricacies of buying used shotguns in so much detail!



Grumpy
Posts: 2652
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:43 am
Location: UK

Re: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby Grumpy » Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:45 pm

HShariefs` ring test is a fair starting point when looking for a loose rib. Look very closely along the rib/barrel joint for any gaps. If you see a rust patch at any point along the joint be very wary. I don`t want to tell you a load of horror stories but here`s one that I`ll always remember: I had a nice Chas Osborne Sidelock Ejector brought in to have a slightly loose rib repaired. The gun appeared to be in very good order with nothing noticeably wrong with it apart from the loose rib. I happened to be looking down the left bore when I changed my grip on the barrels and suddenly saw a small `shadow` appear in the barrel. Thought I must be seeing things so started to press on the rib just in case something was amiss.....and saw something intrude into the barrel. The barrel had rusted right through from where the rib had separated and was plugged with scale which was completely unseeable unless the rib was moved.
To check the barrel wall thickness you need a Wall Thickness Gauge - and they aren`t cheap. Years ago I made up an `X` caliper with each arm exactly nine inches long - two pieces of steel just over 18" long each joined with a compression screw in the middle and with a slightly raised `hook` at each end so that when one `arm` was inserted into the barrel it entered exactly 9 inches. The other arm is then pushed down onto the exterior of the barrel and the gap produced at the opposite ends of the `arms` is exactly the same as the wall thickness. The gap was then measured with a spark plug feeler gauge. Tooks hours and hours of fine `tuning` but was accurate to within 2 thou. The steel needs to be thick enough so that it doesn`t bend when the two arms are compressed together and the lengths have to be exactly equal so that if reversed the same measurement is obtained. It`s still around here somewhere.
I`ll look around for pictures of disc set strikers but if I can`t find any I`ll photograph one of the guns here and will then email you the picture so that you can post it in this thread - can`t be arsed to mess about with Photo Bucket !



Mack The Knife
Posts: 5766
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 6:23 pm
Location: Bangalore, India.

Postby Mack The Knife » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:56 pm

Thanks a lot Grumpy.

Be happy to post that pic here.

Mack The Knife



monty3006
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:57 am
Location: Mumbai

Postby monty3006 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:38 pm

Grumpy,
thats a great article. Now I have a few questions too.
1) Can one install poly chokes on a sxs english double?
2) will the tubes protude in front of the muzzle or will they sit flush?
3) How does one know a shotgun has been reblued or recoloured?


Monish

Grumpy
Posts: 2652
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:43 am
Location: UK

Re: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby Grumpy » Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:23 pm

Do you mean a Polychoke or Multichokes Monty ? The Polychoke is a variable choke device that screws into the barrel and protrudes forwards. Not suitable for a SxS or O/U because of the large diameter of the device which means that the other barrel is partially blocked. Multichokes can be fitted to a SxS or O/U - English or otherwise - providing there is enough wall thickness at the muzzles. Nigel Teague can retrofit multichokes to any suitable gun. His normal type chokes fit flush but if you wanted extended chokes he could fit those as well.
Multichokes are a good toy but 95% of all shooters eventually settle on a pair that they use most often and leave them in the gun. Something else to remember is that Multichokes add weight to the muzzles which can easily upset the balance of a good handling game gun.
People invariably start shooting with chokes that are too tight - you`ll kill more with a barrel choked Cylinder than you`ll ever do with Full choke.
Telling whether or not a gun has been re-coloured and/or re-blued is easy - just look at the condition of the rest of the gun. Is the chequering crisp and deep ? ( Of course it`s possible that the stock and fore-end have been refinished as well. ) Is there any pitting on the action face ? Is there wear around the ejectors - especially around the ejector rods. It`s pretty easy to tell as any gun acquires marks and scars with age. About six months ago I saw a gun being offered at auction which had the barrels newly blacked and the action re-coloured. The gun was so worn that some of the engraving had almost disappeared - looked ridiculous.
There`s nothing wrong with refurbishing a gun as a restoration project providing that it is honestly described. Some of the crap that I`ve seen being offered on the US market beggers belief - knackered old English SLEs with out-of-proof barrels totally tarted up with re-finished wood, blacked barrels and newly colour hardened. Look pretty but are just pretty rubbish - dangerous rubbish in many cases.



User avatar
Mark
Posts: 1147
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:37 am
Location: Middle USA

Re: What should one look for when buying a used shotgun.....

Postby Mark » Fri Sep 29, 2006 4:25 am

What an informative thread here!

A couple of additiional things- most cold blues have a slightly stinky sulphur type odor. Refinished pistols it is usually easier to smell it than long arms, but if you smell a refinished arm sometime you'll know what to look out for.

It is not always present but worth knowing about.

Regarding chokes, here in the US one barrel is usually tighter than the other one. You can consider only having one barrel choked. That may not work with single trigger shotguns but double triggered guns it works well enough.


"What if he had no knife? In that case he would not be a good bushman so there is no need to consider the possibility." H.A. Lindsay, 1947


Return to “Shotguns”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests