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When does a shotgun become style over substance?


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To add to this I would think the changeover point would be from going to a gun shop and buying a gun whatever grade or make 

to going to a gunmaker and having the full experience of a made to measure gun 

I believe all the major manufacturers  offer this service 

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2 hours ago, oldypigeonpopper said:

there's no question that a best English or high end O/U is nice to own but a £100 Baikal can do just as well

I take your point, but having owned a Baikal I can't quite agree. They may be rugged and reliable and fine for rough shooting etc., but Baikals just aren't good enough for serious clay shooting. I fully accept that a decent mid range sporter is all the gun anyone really needs and for sure the law of diminishing returns applies to shotguns as much as anything else, but the budget guns just don't perform as well as the next level up in cost.

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3 hours ago, ditchman said:

mate has a Holland&Holland Babmington.............it is plain wood (nice and strong)....has no engraving on ...at all and on the side plates it just has Holland&Holland....there is no blueing apart from the barrels.....it is soo understated it looks the bee,s knees...

And understated is exactly how I like my guns. 👍
My most elaborately engraved gun is a Grand European, the Perazzi is plain black apart from the name and model in small gold script, and my high grade Gamba is simply plain silver. My 8500 has a thin gold line around the border of the action, otherwise is plain black, and most importantly of all, not a gold trigger on any of them. 🙂 

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2 hours ago, Westward said:

They may be rugged and reliable and fine for rough shooting etc., but Baikals just aren't good enough for serious clay shooting.

Does that relate to quality, or to design?    On the very few occasions when I have handled Baikals, they seemed shorter and lighter than my ideal, and

didn't fit me very well, but they did function correctly.

If the rugged and reliable Baikal O/U had 32” barrels, stock dimensions more like those of an MK38 sporter, and weighed around 8lb, would it still not be good enough for serious clay shooting?    

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25 minutes ago, McSpredder said:

Does that relate to quality, or to design?    On the very few occasions when I have handled Baikals, they seemed shorter and lighter than my ideal, and

 

didn't fit me very well, but they did function correctly.

If the rugged and reliable Baikal O/U had 32” barrels, stock dimensions more like those of an MK38 sporter, and weighed around 8lb, would it still not be good enough for serious clay shooting?    

 

It would be great 

however increasing the weight altering the barrel length and alternating the stock dimensions to fit and suit you then makes it bespoke and obviously there’s a price premium to pay 

far cheaper to buy a mk38 and engrave Bakil on it 

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37 minutes ago, McSpredder said:

On the very few occasions when I have handled Baikals, they seemed shorter and lighter 

On the very few occasions when I have handled Baikals I have had the opposite reaction as they have all seemed ridiculously heavy and clumsy.

37 minutes ago, McSpredder said:

 

 

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To me, having a gun made/altered/selected to fit is an essential .......... and unrelated to style or 'substance'.

As I understood the question - the 'substance' part is the general design, mechanics, construction - and the style part is the degree of finish, fancy work, being figured stock wood, fancy engraving, gold inlay, fancy edged chequering etc.

It is quite possible to have a very 'workmanlike grade' beautifully made and finished boxlock, plain, perfectly jointed,  best quality materials, well fitted wood, no engraving other than perhaps the word "safe" and the makers name.  Such a gun would be highly reliable, tough, wear resistant and expected to last for generations with ordinary good practice maintenance.  Makers such as Powells used to make just such guns and called them (if I remember right) - "plain quality soundly made in Birmingham".

Equally - we have all seen some very fancy spec Spanish and other sidelocks, with all the bells and whistles like hand detachable locks, hinged triggers, decent wood, but a bit ragged around the edges - but basically made from very budget materials, not actually well finished, and will likely suffer from wear and need attention - and it may even wear an "English sounding" name.  Some of them were made of very soft metals and shot loose quickly - and the engraving - whilst looking nice from a distance, was very poor when looked at closely.

The two example above probably cost about the same back in the 60s and 70s.

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3 minutes ago, London Best said:

Could the answer be, ‘when it is one you cannot personally afford.’

No, I don't think that is the answer.

I could (if I wished) afford a fancy foreign gold embellished 'top grade' - which would certainly claim to have style -even have (probably only one of) Scully's hated gold triggers!  Maybe cost mid 4 figures?

I could not afford (say for example) a Westley Richards 'gold name' boxlock.  Very plain, but the finest 'substance' hand made in Westley Richards Birmingham factory - and probably costing nearer 6 figures than 5 (I have never asked as I know I can't afford it!)

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2 minutes ago, JohnfromUK said:

No, I don't think that is the answer.

I could (if I wished) afford a fancy foreign gold embellished 'top grade' - which would certainly claim to have style -even have (probably only one of) Scully's hated gold triggers!  Maybe cost mid 4 figures

Yes, style.........but no substance.

Scully is not the only one to hate gold triggers. I would not have one on a gun as a gift.

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Just now, London Best said:

I would not have one on a gun as a gift.

That therefore makes three of us!  In fact - I would not even have two ....... though (unusually for something so undesirable), two might actually be better than one!

I don't think I have ever seen a double triggered gun with gold triggers.

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12 minutes ago, JohnfromUK said:

 

I don't think I have ever seen a double triggered gun with gold triggers.

I would think the top makers may have sent some to the U.S.

Most likely with raised ventilated ribs. (Pukes on computer.)

Edited by London Best
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Just now, London Best said:

I would think the top makers may have sent some to the U.S.

Possibly.  There are some beautiful 'coffee table' books on gun engraving - maybe spot one in there! 

Fantastic skill and imagination featured - but I wouldn't want to own one.  I can however - admire the skill and workmanship.

Incidentally, I see the current WR drop lock (the boxlocks they make) are "from £65K".

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9 minutes ago, JohnfromUK said:

Possibly.  There are some beautiful 'coffee table' books on gun engraving - maybe spot one in there! 

Fantastic skill and imagination featured - but I wouldn't want to own one.  I can however - admire the skill and workmanship.

 

I agree. Despite the fact that my regular game gun has the ‘standard house’ acanthus scroll engraving, and very nice too, I actually prefer and would specify if I were in a position to be specifying the finer traditional ‘standard house’ rose and scroll from the competitor. Less is more.

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4 minutes ago, London Best said:

I agree. Despite the fact that my regular game gun has the ‘standard house’ acanthus scroll engraving, and very nice too, I actually prefer and would specify if I were in a position to be specifying the finer traditional ‘standard house’ rose and scroll from the competitor. Less is more.

I agree; both my Atkin and AyA Senior have "best tight rose and scroll" (the AyA No 1 is nice, but much less 'fine').  My Merkels have a 'sort of' H&H acanthus.

My late godfather used to say that the engraving should be so fine you can't see it without glasses!  He always maintained (tongue firmly in cheek) it was really there to stop reflections.

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5 hours ago, Westward said:

I take your point, but having owned a Baikal I can't quite agree. They may be rugged and reliable and fine for rough shooting etc., but Baikals just aren't good enough for serious clay shooting. I fully accept that a decent mid range sporter is all the gun anyone really needs and for sure the law of diminishing returns applies to shotguns as much as anything else, but the budget guns just don't perform as well as the next level up in cost.

Hello, I was just making a point but agree , although I had a Brno O/U when I shot clays in the 1980s , now Baikal cartridges 🤔😁

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1 hour ago, oldypigeonpopper said:

Hello, I was just making a point but agree , although I had a Brno O/U when I shot clays in the 1980s , now Baikal cartridges 🤔😁

There is no comparison in quality between the BRNO O/U and the Baikal guns commonly seen in the U.K.

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