Tag Archives: Side by Side Shotgun

Armas Garbi 28 Gauge

Here is some trivia – the bore diameter of a 12 gauge shotgun is derived by taking a pound of lead, making 12 balls exactly the same size and measuring the diameter of one of those balls.  For a 12 gauge that measures to be about .729 of an inch.  Here is the formula if you want to do the math:

If you make 28 balls out of a pound of lead then the diameter of a single ball measures about .55 of an inch. The 28 gauge, being 3/4 the size of a 12 gauge, yields a petite game gun that is a delight to shoot. I am no 28 gauge expert but so far, if I do what I am supposed to do, this little gun busts targets and kills birds as well as a 12 gauge – given that I shoot at things within range (say 30 yards?).  Of course putting an additional 25% (or more) lead in the air with a 12 gauge gives the shooter more range and a better chance to hit the target!  A lighter gun can be a challenge to shoot well but this little gun is a pleasure to carry in the field.

Here is an Armas Garbi 101 in 28 Gauge.

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Sidelock & Boxlock

With time to kill over the holiday, I worked on some gun photography.  The challenge is managing light and reflection. This shot of a Spanish sidelock came out pretty good.

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Taken with a Nikon D610, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, 1.3 seconds, f/11, ISO 200

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How to Clean Your Double-Barreled Shotgun

It is great fun to introduce new folks to the shotgun shooting sports and many of these new shooters want to know how to properly clean their shotgun. What follows is the procedure that I have religiously followed for as long as I can remember.  This was written with side by side shotguns in mind but it applies to any single or double-barreled break down shotgun. The objective is to clean away all traces of gun powder, plastic wadding residue and fingerprints.

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Turnbull’s Rust Blue

On our last hunting trip, the Armas Garbi was tossed into the truck by a weary (lazy) hunter producing a handsome scratch on the right barrel. In addition to this new scratch, there had been a decade of sweaty hands, random splatters of dove blood and unkind encounters with brush, fences and trucks.  It was time to have the barrels refinished so I sent them to Turnbull Mfg Co. in Bloomfield, NY for rust bluing. These guys are not cheap, maybe the most expensive, but they are well known for their high quality gun finishes. This was one time that the extra expense paid off. They came back as near perfect as I could have hoped for. In fact, this finish looks better than what came on the gun new, in my opinion. Check it out below. I am sorry that I did not take some “before” pictures.

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A Gun Rack for Side by Side Shotguns

The Birdhunter’s sweet wife gave up the spare bedroom so it could be used as a reloading and gun room. A perfect place to display the side by side bird guns, I needed a gun rack that would present the shotguns horizontally. Obviously there is not much of a market for such a thing so I made it myself. It was a fun project and, as the design was kept simple, it turned out pretty good I think.

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Another AyA 4/53

Check out this earlier post on the AyA 4/53. These really are nice guns so here is another one.

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AyA 4/53

The Spanish Aguirre y Aranzabal boxlock model 4/53 has been in production since the 1960s. It is a utilitarian game gun that provides fine handling characteristics without the cost of a luxury finish.  An appealing everyday working gun, this 12 gauge has the right configuration (imho) with double triggers, straight stock, splinter forend and 28″ barrels. It also has  great dimensions with a  1 1/2″ drop at comb, 2 1/4″ drop at heel and a 15″ length of pull. If you try, you can find these for under $3k. A bargain for a quality double gun.

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Der Merkel 1620 EL

Here is a delightful, solid 16 gauge boxlock from Merkel.

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Parker VH

Here is a Parker Bros. 12 gauge VH grade shotgun. Made in 1928, this gun has 2 sets of 28″ barrels and sports decent stock dimensions (14 1/2″ LOP, 1 1/2″ DAC, 2 1/8″ DAH).  Enjoy the clean lines of this American classic.

 

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F.lli Piotti

Here is a freshly minted Fratelli Piotti boxlock from William Larkin Moore. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this.

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Charles Ingram Game Gun

Charles Ingram

A good friend of mine does a fair amount of gun trading. Recently a fellow who sold him some stuff also threw in this wall hanger. It is a Charles Ingram 12 gauge, bar action, underlever hammer gun with replacement James MacNaughten barrels. A little internet research revealed that Chuck was born in 1816 and died in 1885. The firm Charles Ingram Gunmaker of Glasgow, Scotland began business in 1836 and closed their doors in 1945. They were known more for their target rifles than for their shotguns. My guess is that this gun, which has no nitro proof marks, was made in the late 1800’s. It has seen better days; all of the finish is gone, checkering worn smooth and the barrels are pretty rough. It is missing the right hammer and the remaining hammer had it’s spur busted off. Despite its poor condition you can see what it must have been 100 years ago. It has good dimensions and feels sleek and responsive (30″ barrels, 14 1/2 LOP, 1 5/8 DAC, 2 1/8 DAH). The build quality is very good, it seems to lock up tight and must have been a terrific bird gun in its day.

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Quail & Gun

Wild west Texas Bobs and the Garbi shotgun. The title sounds like a magazine I’d like to get.

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Armas Garbi

Armas Garbi 101 Classic side by side shotgun from William Larkin Moore. This gun was new in 2003 and has provided 7 years of flawless service; thousands of rounds in the field and on the clays course and not one malfunction.

New gun in May of 2003 –

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Beretta 470

This Beretta 470 Silver Hawk, new in 1999, was my entry into the world of side by side bird guns. It has been in service for over 11 years and overall has been a very good gun.

This gun has seen a decade of hard use and has had thousands of rounds put through it. In addition to tough days afield (mud, rain, snow, bitter cold, sweaty heat, etc.) it has been run over (literally, by the quail guide’s Chevy that smashed it into soft Texas dirt – cracking the stock and scratching the barrels up pretty good – but it still finished the hunt), the barrels have been reblued, stock cracks at the head have been repaired several times (thanks to Acraglas), it is on its second recoil pad, the triggers were worked on twice (by Todd Ramirez, who was at one time the gunsmith for the Dallas Beretta Gallery), and over time and after much use the locking bolts had to be beef up as the top lever was well to the left of center (also handled by Ramirez).

During its tough life, it has always come through. The gun handles very well, fits well enough and reliably kills birds and smokes clays (Briley chokes don’t hurt). It also handles 3″ shells so there is no worry in running heavy pheasant loads though it.  I do recommend the gun. The 471s are beautiful and with normal use should provide decades of service. If I were to change anything it would be to replace the single trigger mechanism, which has been the source of most of the trouble, with double triggers and maybe offer it in 16 gauge. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the case color version is not my favorite. It looks fake, not the “Xtra-Wood” abomination, but not good . . . imho.

Though it still has some life in it, this 470 has run its course as a primary gun and is now the bad weather / loaner gun.

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