We must not always jump to the conclusion too quickly that a gun is only good for Parts. This 20g. Parker Trojan would have been considered just that by many people. It came to me as just a complete action with trigger guard and a set of barrels. It had no wood at all and the forend iron was completely missing. The metal finish was all plumb patina and many of the action screws were messed up. The gun had the advantage of having uncut 28″ barrels with good bores and being a 20g Parker.
A NOS Parker forend iron had to be fitted to the frame and barrels. A lot of the action screws needed replaced. All new wood was made, finished and checkered. Barrels re blued and action re case color hardened.
It was a lot of work, but this “Parts Gun” was restored back to like new condition and waits to be carried in the field for many more years to come.
The Summer 2013 issue of The Double Gun Journal has been released containing an article I wrote on Parker Brothers’ design engineer James P. Hayes. The article profiles Hayes’ career and his work on the Parker Gun and his hand in its design evolution. The primary purpose is to highlight a prototype Parker Trojan that Hayes built in 1928 that had until now remained undocumented. If you are not a DGJ subscriber, and you are a Parker Gun enthusiast, I would recommend purchasing a copy of this issue and giving it a read.
On any fine gun, the details count the most. It is what sets them apart from others when it comes to the level of quality put into hand finished guns. Incorrectly timed or buggered up screw slots on a gun can be a major negative when it comes to value and also the overall condition of a vintage firearm.
This Parker VH 20g is a good example of poor screws that have had incorrect tools used on them as well as being out of allignment. This is all too common of a problem on such guns. Two of the Three screws are needing to be replaced. When they were removed, it was found that the two front screws had been switched. The screws are marked from the factory as to where they belong on the gun. When I put the one good screw (upper left in photo) back into its correct location, it timed as it should to point North/South.
New screws were then installed, timed and finished down to the other two locations.
Finally the addition of some artificial patina and finishing dulls the screw heads down enough to blend into the surrounding metal on the frame. The result is an again attractive and clean trigger plate. Just as the craftsman at Parker Brothers intended.
As with any restoration; be it art, cars, furnature or guns. Attention to details are very important and can make or break the outcome. A very important feature on all Parker Brothers shotguns is a border which surrounds the checkering pattern. It is called a “mullered” border and it is unique to Parker guns when compared to other American manufacturers. It is sometimes also seen on European guns. This type of border is a dished (concave) cut as opposed to the typical bead (convex) or single line border that is seen on all other American manufactured guns. For the sake of trying to represent a cross section of this border, it would kind of look like the following text: /U\
This type of border is found on all grades of Parker guns and the only variation between grades can be some differences in the width of the border. Cutting of these borders today can be accomplished by using a combination of commercially available tools. Or one custom made tool could be fashioned if need be.
Below are photos of a DH grade Parker that had previously had its checkering recut. The one side lacked any border and had a lot of over-runs. The other side had a very deep single line border. The spacing of the checkering was also too large for the grade of the gun and it was fully pointed which is also not correct. The spacing of the lines cannot be corrected, but all other issues can.
Below are photos of the checkering after correction of these issues. A proper Mullered border was able to be added to the side that lacked a border. This also covered up the over-runs. The incorrect border on the other side was able to be converted to a proper mullered border. The point pattern was cleaned up in areas that needed attention and the sharp points were burnished down to make them more correct in appearance. The end result is a checkering pattern that is much more correct for a Parker gun.