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Antique Military Firearms
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This is an antique very fine condition Parker Brothers Quality R Grade, 10 Gauge hammer, side-by-side shotgun with 32” barrels from 1886. 


This particular shotgun was ordered by the Powell & Clement of Cincinnati, Ohio on November 8, 1886, and it was shipped from the factory on November 11, 1886.  This shotgun comes with a Parker Brothers Historical Letter, and it notes that the shotgun’s information is found in the original Parker Brothers Order Book No. 20 and confirms that it was a Quality R, Top Action Hammer Gun in 10 Gauge with 32-inch Damascus Steel Barrels.  The requested chokes in the order were full choke for the right barrel and full choke for the left barrel.  The specifications of the stock as recorded in Parker Brothers Stock Book Number 17 are a capped pistol grip and has a length of pull of 14 3/8”, drop at the heel of 2 7/8”, and it weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces.  The original sales price in 1886 was $85.00, which was a very expensive, high-end shotgun at the time.  That would equate to over $2,500 in today’s dollars.


Charles Parker began as an industrial manufacturer of numerous durable goods, including hardware, lamps, spectacles, steam engines, presses, tooling and even railroad wheels in Meriden, Connecticut beginning in 1828, under the name Meriden Machine Company.  Charles Parker created numerous companies over the years, including the Meriden Curtain Fixture Company, Parker & Whipple Company, which manufactured clocks, and, later, Parker Brothers, manufacturing fine shotguns.



Once the Civil War began, Parker, like many other New England manufacturers, capitalized on the need for firearms and joined by Gamaliel F. Snow and machinist James. S. Brooks, created the Parker, Snow, Brooks & Company in 1860. 

On September 28, 1863, Parker, Snow, Brooks & Company received a US contract

for the production of 15,000 Model 1861 pattern rifle muskets for $19.00 each.  Interestingly, most of the components for Parker, Snow’s contract were manufactured under subcontract by other makers.  Parker, Snow delivered the 15,000 contracted-for rifles in 1863 and 1864. 


In January 1865, the company’s name was changed to the Meriden Manufacturing Company and, under this name, the company produced 5,000 Triplett & Scott magazine firearms for the state of Kentucky.  Shortly after the end of the Civil War, employee William H. Miller developed a cartridge system and the company altered approximately 5,000 Parker, Snow Model 1861 pattern rifles using this system, known as the Miller Alteration.  During the Civil War, Miller designed and manufactured the prototype of what would become the first Parker Brothers shotgun.  Charles Parker made the decision to produce these shotguns after the war and created Parker Brothers in 1868.


As noted, this is a Quality R Grade Parker Shotgun, which used the beautiful Damascus Steel Barrels.  As noted previously, this was a very expensive shotgun when it was manufactured in 1886.  The stocks on Quality guns were often made of more elaborately grained walnut, as this shotgun has.  Dogs and extensive scroll work are also found on Quality R Grade shotguns. 


The stock on this shotgun is beautifully figured Walnut.  This stock exhibits beautiful grain, and there are very minor dings and scratches, but no cracks or chips are noted.  The wrist and pistol grip have very nice original checkering that remains crisp.  The cheeks of the stock remain crisply craved.  The top of the wrist has the original silver plate that is not engraved.  The butt stock wears an original “WHITE LINE” recoil pad that remain in excellent condition.  The pistol grip cap is the original Parker checkered panel with engraved screw. 


Both the Left Hand Trigger and Right Hand Trigger are present and both retain considerable original blued finish.  Both Triggers still release crisply.  Both original Hammers are present, and both have extensive engraving, as do the original Hammer Screws, both of which have unmarred slots.  The checkering on the thumb portion of both hammers remains crisp.  Both Hammers retain the majority of their original color case-hardened finish.  Both Firing Pins are present and the springs in both remain strong.  The Bolsters both have engraved clean-out screws, engraving throughout, and both still retain the majority of their color case-hardened finish.


The receiver exhibits the beautiful and extensive hand engraving that characterizes these shotguns.  The entire sides and the bolsters are engraved.  Both sides still exhibit the vast majority of their bright, beautiful color case-hardened finish.  The right side of the Receiver has the “PARKER BROS” engraving along with two ducks on the wing.  The left side of the Receiver has the “PARKER BROS” engraving along with a large goose.  The Receiver Tang also the vast majority of its original color case-hardened finish, and the “SAFE” engraving is still crisp.   The serrated Safety is present and operates smoothly.  The tang screw is engraved.  The Top Lever also operates smoothly and retains considerable original color case-hardened finish.  The bottom plate is also heavily engraved with three engraved screws and engraved waterfowl, and it retains considerable original color case-hardened finish.  The trigger plate extension retains considerable original finish and has the correct “PATd MAR.23.1875” patent date. 


The Water Table and Breech Face all retain the vast majority of their vivid color case-hardened finish.  The Water Table has the patent information stamps, “PAT’D APR. 11. 1876 / “ SEP. 3. 1872,” on one side and the “2” frame size and serial number “47497” along with the “PATd MAR. 16. 1875” patent date.


The Guard Bow and Plate still retains the majority of its original blued finish with minor scratches and wear noted.  Both are engraved.  The Trigger Plate has the serial number “47497” engraved on the rearmost portion.  The tang screw is engraved. 


The original Damascus barrel set is in antique very fine condition and measures 32” long and it has 2 7/8” chambers.  Both barrels still retain beautiful Damascus patterning throughout.  There is engraving on the rear edge of both barrels.  The original rib is present and is marked, “PARKER BROS. MAKERS. MERIDEN, CONN. DAMASCUS STEEL.”  There is also engraving on the rear of the rib and on the locking latch.  The original brass sighting post is present on the front of the rib.    The bottom of the barrel mount has a “2” stamp, indicating it was a size 2 frame.  There is also a “0” stamp and serif “JS” inspection initials.  The bottom of the mount also has a “4 11” stamp, indicating the barrel assembly weighs 4 pounds 11 ounces.  There is also a “D” grade stamp and a serif “J” stamp.  There is also the correct 1876 and the 1878 patent dates.  The left side of the barrel mount has the matching serial number “47497.”  The rear of the lug has the matching partial serial number “497,” which was found on guns circa 1885 to 1910.  The Extractor is present and works smoothly.  Barrel lockup is as tight as the day this shotgun was manufactured.  The bores of both barrels are very clean with a mirror finish. There are no dings on the barrel.  As noted previously, both barrels are patterned full choke.


This shotgun has its original and matching Splinter Forend.  The Forend Iron exhibits generous original color case-hardened finish and it has the matching serial number “47497.”  The Walnut is in fine condition with no cracks or chips noted and it is deeply checkered with only a few dings.  The Forend Lock exhibits a pewter patina and has the patent stamp “PATD.MAR.26.1878.”  The lock is also extensively engraved as is the forend nose iron, which also exhibits a pewter patina.  The attaching iron spring is still strong, and it secures tightly to the barrel.


This shotgun functions perfectly and would still be a fine duck gun today in its 10-gauge configuration.  This is a beautiful example of one of Parker Brothers’ high-end guns from 1886.