The first that comes to mind is a truly superb between-the-wars Boss & Co. 20g Hammerless Side-by-Side Game Gun.
Completed in 1932, the gun remains in remarkably high, original condition and is complete in its original “violin” case. With a scaled action for a 20g the size of most maker’s 28g guns and 26” barrels with original 2 ¾” London proof chambers, there may be no finer “walk-up” gun ever made, only different ones.
John Robertson developed two versions of his hammerless sidelock: a traditional square body shape with beaded edges and a bit later, a round body shape with no bead. The gun featured here is of the former shape and my personal favorite. The beautiful proportions along with how expertly the guns were crafted make, in my opinion, the Boss & Co. side-by-side the most elegant of all the London sidelocks.
Robertson’s sidelock has unique intercepting sears, disk set strikers, gold-lined cocking indicators, and a patented automatic safety with the word "SAFE" inlaid gold. Of course, this gun features the incomparable engraving of Jack Sumner. Boss & Co’s house Rose & Scroll as showcased on this gun leaves no doubt why it is so revered.
The gun also features Boss & Co.’s landmark non-selective single trigger, patent no. 22894 of 1894. The trigger is swept and the guard bow rolled for the right hand shooter. The swept trigger shape was also a Robertson development, provisional patent 11400 of 1905. This trigger shape was based on the theory that the trigger is pulled to the back and side rather than straight back, therefore the swept shape, as on the Boss single trigger, is swept and pulled obliquely. This is a feature that is now adopted by most makers of high quality shotguns.
I can usually find something to like about every gun I see, but there are few guns that have ever enchanted me like this 20g Boss side-by-side. One of the finest vintage guns I have ever handled.
The Westley Richards U.S. Agency has handled its fair share of guns by the great Italian gunmaker Ivo Fabbri and all of them have been wonderfully made and superbly engraved. This 28g Over/Under engraved by Angelo Galeazzi is another fine example of a gun by Italy’s premier maker of over-and-under shotguns.
Based on Fabbri’s sidelock ejector action loosely based on the Woodward o/u design incorporating Fabbri’s Single non-selective trigger and a manual safety. The sub-gauge action body features extremely well executed and incredibly realistic scenes of Ringneck pheasants on the right lock plate, Bobwhite quail on the left lock plate, a brace of Ruffed grouse on the bottom of the action, and a single woodcock on the guard bow. The balance of the action is engraved in a small scroll with floral accents and bouquets. Engraving doneby the Italian master, Angelo Galeazzi, the left-side lockplate bearing his signature “A. Galeazzi”. The action has a brushed finish, highlighting the engraving detail.
The demi-block 26” Vacuum Arc Remelting Steel barrels have a vented top rib, a straight hand grip, stock and a leather covered pad and is complete in a French fitted Oak & Leather case by Huey with a factory provided Fabbri trade label.
Overall, the gun remains in excellent condition.
Originally made as a .410 bore VH grade on a “000” frame ca. 1931-1932, this is one of only 567 guns made in .410 bore by Parker Bros. The "000" frame was Parker’s smallest action and only used for the .410 and has a dished water table, or “lightening” flutes, to reduce weight in the action. According to the Parker letter this gun was made with various options and upgrades such as ejectors, single selective trigger, large forearm (beavertail) and a straight grip. According to The Parker Story, Less than 50 were made in this configuration.
A great gun on its own, already in a rare configuration, the original Grade "0" VHE gun was upgraded to a Grade 7 “AAH” by the DelGrego Family.
The action has double beaded fences filed into it and the water table is marked with an “AAH” and a “7” by the lightening flutes along with the “Parker Bros.” stamp and serial number. The action has a case color finish. There is a full coverage small scroll engraving pattern on the action and furniture and engraved scroll wedges on the breach ends of the barrels. The Maker’s name is engraved on the sides of the action, just under the edge of the water table. The serial number is inlaid in gold on the long guard tang. There is a large “S” inlaid in gold as well at the safety.
The gun was restocked with same shape grip and forend as originally ordered but in an appropriately figured piece of walnut with an AAH style checkered side panels, grip, and forend with elaborate Fleur-de-Lis checkering and fancy carved borders and an ebony wedge on the forend tip.
According to "The Parker Story", just 337 Grade 7 guns made by Parker in all bore sizes. While one was offered in the firm's literature, it appears a Grade 7 "AAH" was never produced by Parker Bros. in a .410 bore.
In a letter dated 2013, from Lawrence DelGrego III, it states that this gun was upgraded to its present state by the DelGrego family, referring to it as “one of our upgraders”. The letter says the gun was engraved by Robert Runge Jr.
Robert Runge Jr. started at Remington in the Parker Bros. gun works, as an apprentice engraver in 1934, the year RAC acquired Parker Bros. He stayed on and worked for the Remington Arms Co. after the end of the Parker production and retired from Remington in 1979 as a Master Engraver. Runge Jr. is also credited with most of the engraving found on DelGrego upgrades.
The same letter from Mr. Del Grego goes on to say, “the balance of the work was carried out by my grandfather and father”, referring to Lawrence DelGrego Sr. and Lawrence “Babe” DelGrego, Jr.
The workmanship and quality of the DelGrego family is legendary and, in many ways, considered the continuation of the original Parker tradition. Considering the DelGrego shop was able to make original Parker guns into configurations that were never made by the Parker Bros firm, with workers who actually worked for Parker Bros., this gun offers today’s collector the closest opportunity to getting an “original” AAHE .410 from America’s premier shotgun maker.
These guns are currently available on our pre-owned gun and rifle site or call L.D. McCaa at the U.S. Agency for more information: (850) 677-3688