I’ve been shopping for a used double of decent quality for some time. I am familiar with different companies and gun models, and have recently come across what I think is a very good opportunity on an old Browning Superposed Skeet gun. Serial # is in the 82000 range, and it shows a lot of wear, on both wood and metal. It is fairly loose upon opening the action, but seems to lock securely upon closing the action, with little looseness noticeable when the action is closed. It fires well, it seems to fit well, and I shoot it pretty good too.
When is an old Superposed not a good deal, relative to wear and tear?. I can get into this for less than $500 and my inclination is to buy. I want to use it as a grouse gun, with some skeet/SC’s mixed in.
When is an old Superposed not a good deal, relative to wear and tear?
When it is worn and torn too much.
It’s like telling your vet that your dog doesn’t “feel good”. The vet needs more to work on. So do I. One of the best ways to test Belgian guns for looseness is to put the gun together and then open the forend latch so that it hangs down. Then hold the gun by the stock, muzzle down, and shake it a little bit. If the action is loose, this will show it. A little looseness means that you are just that much closer to having to replace the locking tongue and/or roll/replace the hinge pin.
One thing that you also want to check for is how far to the left of center the opening lever is when the gun is closed. This is often (but not always) an indication of wear. When the lever gets too far past dead center, it will often disengage the trigger and the gun will occasionally not fire. When this starts happening regularly, you know it is time to tighten the gun up.
I had one Belgian Browning skeet gun go for 105,000 logged and recorded rounds before I sold it. And- I had bought the gun third hand to begin with. When I parted with it, the gun did need a visit to the tightener, but it still functioned properly. You can’t ask for more than that. To be honest, I have also had Belgian Brownings that loosened up a bit at around 50,000, so it may be more of a gun to gun thing.
Also, Belgian Brownings have soft soldered ribs. Make sure to very carefully inspect the ribs for separation. The first place that they go is usually at the rear of the top rib. If you spray a little WD-40 or other light oil on the area and then squeeze down on the rib, any looseness will show up right away.
A Belgian 12 gauge in the 82000 serial area was made in 1961. As Belgian Brownings go, that really isn’t so old. Of course, it all depends on the use and abuse that the gun has had during its 37 years of life. I can’t really tell that without seeing it. Don’t be concerned with “salt wood” as that didn’t start for another half dozen years after your gun was made.
If your gun is loose, the Belgian Browning, like all the others that came after it and copied it, is quite easy to tighten up. Art’s Gun Shop, Hillsboro, MO (314-944-3630) is recommended by the Browning Collector’s Society and does a great deal of factory repair work. They will definitely know what to do with your gun and can advise you on costs.
Technoid (Often in error, never in doubt.)