Fancy Walking Stick

Dear Technoid,

I am looking for a 20 gauge sxs for $2500 or less. What’s your thoughts on Parker Repro’s. New or Old SKB’s, Browning SxS, the L “new” Daly’s, etc. ? I will do a little quail,, dove, and preserve pheasant hunting. No sporting games. The gun will be handled more than shot. If you will a “fancy walkin” stick.


Dear R,

As far as a fancy walking stick goes, I don’t think that you can beat the Parker Repro. I had a two barrel 28 gauge set. With its baize lined leather case, chrome oil bottle and snap caps and rose wood and brass cleaning rod, it was as fancy as I am every going to have.

Of course I sold it because of its dwarf-sized stock, unreliable single trigger, malfunctioning ejectors and misaligned barrels, but as far just walking around with it, it was sure fancy enough. If you want to shoot it, that’s something different.

Though I have never owned one, I have always been impressed with the Browning Sidelock SxS, discontinued in the US these past ten or 15 years. I find the BSS boxlock to be just a bit clunky, but not that H&H pattern sidelock. I saw a couple of Browning Sidelocks for sale at the Vintager’s SxS exposition last weekend for around $2600 in 99+% condition.

I never felt that the boxlock SKB or BSS SxS guns had much soul. They are fine working guns and seem to be reliable. I trust them a little more than the low end Merkel SxS. Perhaps my “soul detector” is sub-par, because the SKB, BSS and Merkels have pleased may hunters for years.

There are plenty of other SxS guns in the $2500 area, many of them Spanish. Frankly, there are so many that it is hard to keep track. Over the years, the Spanish guns have seemed to me to be of uneven quality. Some are surprisingly good. Some aren’t. It’s almost as though you have to evaluate them on a gun by gun basis and ignore the brand names. It’s for sure that there are bargains in the Spanish guns if you know what you are doing. But there is also some real junk. Make sure to completely disassemble any gun you are considering purchasing. You might be surprised at what you find inside. I sure have been.

Generally, the Italian SxS guns are strongly built, but they also have a different feel. It just depends on what you want. You might look at Bernadelli.

If I had dedicated $2500 to a nice “Sunday” gun, I think that I would look for something used and English. With a bit of poking around and some luck, $2500 might find you a nice English boxlock. The brand almost doesn’t matter as just about all of them are Webley and Scotts with Anson and Deeley actions from Birmingham. The older English guns, even the modest box locks, seem to have a certain life to them which I don’t always find in other guns.

Let me know what you select. Unlike O/Us and gas guns, SxS guns seem to be so very personal that what suits one person may not be right for another. SxS shooters generally value aesthetics very highly, whereas many O/U and gas gun users consider performance foremost. Performance is easier to rate than aesthetics.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC

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