Beautiful wood/works of art -- Do you hunt with them?

WebleyGreene455

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Have a look at this antique Sharps-Borchardt for sale: https://www.collectorsfirearms.com/products/3121-sharps-borchardt-model-1878-45-70-al4900.html

It's not exactly a work of art, that rifle. The Borchardt action isn't quite as elegant to my eye as the '74 Sharps or some of the British falling blocks. The wood may not be terribly high grade, then or now. Overall it's a plain working rifle, not a showcase of a 19th Century custom-gunmaker's skill and attention to detail, really. I couldn't tell you if it was used for hunting or for combat or for both or for neither.

But think about it for a moment. Take a look at the dings and dents on the side of the forearm. I'd be almost certain those came from the rifle resting against a saddle and bumping into the horn/pommel over and over with each step of the horse. How much riding did he have to do for all that denting? What was he riding for? Where was he going? Why'd he need that big long rifle over his saddle? What stories could that gun tell if it could speak? Those dents don't make the rifle any less pretty to me; they just add character to it. One of the coolest things about vintage guns is seeing the dents from a saddle, the marks where the butt of a revolver was used as a hammer for nails or tacks, the knock from where it was used as a club in the heat of battle. Every one has a little bit of that gun's history in it, even the bad ones we may be ashamed of and wish had never happened.

Hunt with your lovely wood, your engraving, your vivid color-case hardening, your fire-blued steel. It's what your gun was made for. Then maybe in another hundred years someone will look at it and say "What stories could that gun tell?" too.
 

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Nevada Mike

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Life is too short to hunt with an ugly gun. I have been hunting my custom stocked rifles for over 40 years... on a saddle horse, in a 4X4, and hiking in some nasty bush. A scratch is a badge of honor.

If they get too beat up, I send them back to the stocker to be refinished.

If you start out with a fine rifle with a beautiful stock and it gets 'experienced', in 30 years it will still look like a fine rifle that has been used. I you start out with a plastic or laminated stock, what will it look like in 30 years? Right. It will look like a POS.

What the F are you saving it for? Do what you like, but life is short.
 
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Kevin Peacocke

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Care and be careful, your fine rifle or shotgun deserves it. Accidents happen, all can be remedied.
 

C.W. Richter

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Africa was made for fine wood. Also in fair weather elsewhere. I simply use spray furniture polish which is actually a wax formulation. I try my best not to mess up the finish to preserve the beauty and value. We can look on the wall or at photos for stories. For everything else there's a fine HS precision synthetic stock and stainless steel, which my son and I have also used extensively in Africa!
 

xausa

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For me the shape of the stock is more important than the quality of the wood, or, for that matter, the condition of the wood. When I first saw this rifle, I knew I had to have it because its shape was exactly what I wanted. The fact that it was built around a single square bridge Magnum Mauser action in .416 Rigby caliber merely made it more desirable.
erheart-416-full-right.jpg
 

JPmbogo

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Always wonder how many $250k H&H double rifles are actually hunted?
 

MS 9x56

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My guess not many. I won’t buy a gun I don't plan to hunt with. If your not displaying it what good is it sitting in a safe where no one gets to enjoy its utility or beauty.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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I have no idea how much the Westley Richards Forrest Double Rifle cost or what it is worth now, but I bet it has appreciated enormously. It was commissioned to commemorate a large hunt in the African jungle somewhere and is decorated with engravings of the animals there. In my opinion this is one of the most beautiful rifles ever. Would I hunt with it? You bet I would, very carefully and with much respect, but it would get use.

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JPmbogo

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I would, too. But like you say, be damn careful. I think it also boils down to what you are going to hunt and where. Like another commentator mentioned about hunting bear in coastal Alaska (I live in coastal Washington) - there I think a synthetic stocked rifle is definitely the way to go. It's wet here - we get 60-80 inches of rain annually, and up to 200 annually in our rain forests!
 

MS 9x56

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My guess not many. I won’t buy a gun I don't plan to hunt with. If your not displaying it what good is it sitting in a safe where no one gets to enjoy its utility or beauty
 

Tom Leoni

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I very much hunt with the nicest rifle I have--which is both vintage and (when I got it) pristine. So nice, in fact, that it is mentioned by serial number in the Holland & Holland volume in the British Gunmaker's book series. Life is too short for safe queens. I've taken it everywhere I hunted, from stalking the tangled mess of the East Coast whitetail woods, to dragging it for days through the knitting-needles of African acacia thorns.

Here it is in action, dirty and bloodied as God intended:
1632944659125.png


Yes, over the few years I've owned it, it got a couple scratches on it, and the odd point in the checkering may have gotten a bit flatter. But so what? These rifles only have a soul when they are used. When I take it out of the case, these small imperfections remind me of the wonderful hunting adventures that my rifle has accompanied me on. They are like small new wrinkles on a lovely woman's smile. And there's always the option of getting the stock refreshed by the factory (which personally doesn't interest me, but YMMV).

Full disclosure: I don't hunt in extreme conditions, so drenching-wet days, snow- or hail-storms, or any other situation that I wouldn't willingly put myself in, I won't put my rifle either.

Bottom line: unless you are just buying to resell (in which case keeping the rifle pristine is kind of the point!), or unless you make an annual hunting trek to Umnak Island to get beat up by wind and rain, bring it along, bring it along, and bring it along some more.
 
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Justin.

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I very much hunt with the nicest rifle I have--which is both vintage and (when I got it) pristine. So nice, in fact, that it is mentioned by serial number in the Holland & Holland volume in the British Gunmaker's book series. Life is too short for safe queens. I've taken it everywhere I hunted, from stalking the tangled mess of the East Coast whitetail woods, to dragging it for days through the knitting-needles of African acacia thorns.

Here it is in action, dirty and bloodied as God intended:View attachment 427726

Yes, over the few years I've owned it, it got a couple scratches on it, and the odd point in the checkering may have gotten a bit flatter. But so what? These rifles only have a soul when they are used. When I take it out of the case, these small imperfections remind me of the wonderful hunting adventures that my rifle has accompanied me on. They are like small new wrinkles on a lovely woman's smile. And there's always the option of getting the stock refreshed by the factory (which personally doesn't interest me, but YMMV).

Full disclosure: I don't hunt in extreme conditions, so drenching-wet days, snow- or hail-storms, or any other situation that I wouldn't willingly put myself in, I won't put my rifle either.

Bottom line: unless you are just buying to resell (in which case keeping the rifle pristine is kind of the point!), or unless you make an annual hunting trek to Umnak Island to get beat up by wind and rain, bring it along, bring it along, and bring it along some more.
Any chance you’d post some more photos of the rifle in here? Looks absolutely stunning from what I can see!
 

Red Leg

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Thanks, buddy--I have been known to sing it to sleep some nights... ;-)

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I am with you completely. I actually have more fine SxS shotguns than truly fine rifles, and each and every one sees extensive use. I take very good care of them, but I do not baby them. They include names like Cashmore, Stephen Grant, MacNaughton, Galand, and others. They travel with me.

And should you not have any heirs, keep me in mind.
 

Justin.

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@Tom Leoni What a beautiful rifle! Awesome to see it being used as intended and not a safe queen!

@Red Leg Any chance of seeing a few pics of your guns out and about hunting with you? I’ve seen photos of some of your guns on here and always ready to see more of your collection!
 

Red Leg

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@Tom Leoni What a beautiful rifle! Awesome to see it being used as intended and not a safe queen!

@Red Leg Any chance of seeing a few pics of your guns out and about hunting with you? I’ve seen photos of some of your guns on here and always ready to see more of your collection!
That is an interesting question. I have documented most of my big game hunting over the last couple of decades, but I don't think I have any digital photography of quail, doves, pheasants, box birds whatever. I probably should fix that!

My son and I and an old friend after a good morning with specklebelly geese in Saskatchewan several years ago. The gun is my primary waterfowl gun - Connecticut Shotgun RBL with 32" barrels and 3" chambers. Not exactly a London best, but I sure prefer it to the soulless Benelli next to it.

I should note, that gun has been used on waterfowl pretty extensively since 2004. That is not exactly a 2x4 for a stock and the case coloring has held up beautifully.

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Waterfowl Gun
 

Tom Leoni

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That is an interesting question. I have documented most of my big game hunting over the last couple of decades, but I don't think I have any digital photography of quail, doves, pheasants, box birds whatever. I probably should fix that!

My son and I and an old friend after a good morning with specklebelly geese in Saskatchewan several years ago. The gun is my primary waterfowl gun - Connecticut Shotgun RBL with 32" barrels and 3" chambers. Not exactly a London best, but I sure prefer it to the soulless Benelli next to it.

I should note, that gun has been used on waterfowl pretty extensively since 2004. That is not exactly a 2x4 for a stock and the case coloring has held up beautifully.

View attachment 427733

Waterfowl Gun

Well, then I'll have to show off my William Evans 16ga... ;-)

1632953666403.png
 

crs

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Glad someone mentioned shotguns as I have one to show. This Parker was made in the year 1900 ( I have the Parker letter) and hunted hard in southeast OK by the better half of a serious bird hunting couple that my dad knew. When the gun came available, Dad drove to Hugo and bought for his 3 boys. It was my good luck that both my brothers were way too big to shoot it and I ended up with it; it even went to University of Texas with me. As time passed, I became able to buy the new Parker Reproductions and neglected this one. One day a very gun savvy friend was examining it and found that it was off face and offered to fix that and a few other things. When he was about to leave for several days at the shop of a well known gunmaker, he asked me if he could fix all the dents and scratches - my reply was that those were hard earned dents and scratches and should stay on the gun. Only if they interfered with the gun function should they be addressed. Here is the gun after he finished with it.
53474_600x400.jpg

And a new Parker 20 gauge that has taken ofer the job of the circa 1900 Parker.
[
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Justin.

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That is an interesting question. I have documented most of my big game hunting over the last couple of decades, but I don't think I have any digital photography of quail, doves, pheasants, box birds whatever. I probably should fix that!

My son and I and an old friend after a good morning with specklebelly geese in Saskatchewan several years ago. The gun is my primary waterfowl gun - Connecticut Shotgun RBL with 32" barrels and 3" chambers. Not exactly a London best, but I sure prefer it to the soulless Benelli next to it.

I should note, that gun has been used on waterfowl pretty extensively since 2004. That is not exactly a 2x4 for a stock and the case coloring has held up beautifully.

View attachment 427733

Waterfowl Gun
What an awesome picture of a great day making memories and that is one heck of a firearm!!! Thank you for sharing it! Also sounds like you need to get out there and do some more wing shooting to share more pics with us LOL!
 

MS 9x56

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I love seeing old classics being used as they were built for. Bravo to all you gentleman.
 

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