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NIGHT OWL'S - Original Restorations & Custom Shotguns

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How do you define the best shotgun or even a great shotgun? John M. Taylor wrote a wonderful description on his thoughts of great shotguns in one issue of "Outdoor Life" magazine.

    

Parker Brothers VH Grade
Many shotguns were produced in the golden age—1880 to 1930—but few had a Parker’s quality.
 Parker Brothers started business after the Civil War, and instead of making each part by hand, as gunmakers in London did, Parker’s gunsmiths meticulously hand-assembled their guns from machine-made parts. 

    

A.H. Fox HE Grade
Advertised as “The World’s Finest Shotgun,” the shotgun’s features back up this boast. The locks on Fox shotguns have three parts: the hammer with integral firing pin, the sear, and a heavy coil spring that drives the hammer. Made in many grades and weights, perhaps the most intriguing is the HE Grade Super Fox. 

    

L.C. Smith Field Grade
Lyman C. Smith sold his gun company to Hunter Arms to chase a newfangled gadget called the typewriter. Hunter Arms then produced many thousands of the only sidelock-­style shotgun made in America until Anthony Galazan began making them in the 1990s. 

    

Winchester Model 1897/97
Although Christopher Spencer marketed a pump-action shotgun a decade earlier, the John Moses Browning–designed Model 1897 proved to be a better shotgun in nearly every respect. Sleek in handling and appearance despite its exposed hammer, the stronger 97 replaced the earlier blackpowder-designed Model 93. Nearly one million 97s were produced through 1957.

    

Remington Model 31
Production of the Model 31 began in that year and ended with World War II. Following the war, Remington sought to simplify its production methods, and using the 31 as inspiration, the Remington 870 Wingmaster was born. 

    

Browning Automatic-5
“Five shots under your finger,” read the advertisement when John Browning introduced his recoil-operated semi-automatic Auto-5 in 1903. Few products can boast a near century of production with so little change to the original design as the Auto-5, which was discontinued in 1997 after more than 2 million had been produced. 

    

Remington 3200
Made from 1973 until 1983, the 3200 incorporated the unique hood-style top latch and separated barrels of its forerunner, the Model 32. The 3200 is a tough but quite heavy over/under that found great acceptance with clay-target shooters. The 3200 Magnum enjoys a distinct status as the first double gun to be made specifically to shoot steel shot. 

    

Browning Superposed
The first modern over/unders were made by Woodward, followed by Boss & Co. in London, but John Browning sought to make one that was affordable to the common man. Introduced in 1931 and still made as a custom item, the Superposed was originally built with twin-selective triggers but was quickly redesigned with a reliable single-selective trigger. 

    

Winchester Model 21
When the Olin family purchased bankrupt Winchester Arms Co. in 1926, the Model 21 had already been designed but not produced. That didn’t happen until 1931. A tough, yet graceful double gun, its toughness was proven when John Olin had it and competitors’ doubles fired with proof loads until they failed. Only the 21 survived—after 2,000 proof loads, it was still in fine working order. 

    

Remington 1100
Following World War II, new firearms took advantage of such wartime technology as gas operation. By siphoning off some of the propellant gasses to work the action, these guns spread out recoil and provided reliable cycling of various types of shells. 

 

    

 

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