I had a low priced french gun made around WWI for a while. I bought it in Maine in well used condition. Refinished it and used it quite a bit for 3-4 years. I began malfunctioning ( broke a mainspring, had sear problems...) Had it repaired and moved it on...
Vintage Doubles has several French w 2-1/2" chambers. Kirby Hoyt is a very responsible dealer.
No, none in particular. I found a Boucher about a year ago or so. At the time, it wasn't exactly what I wanted so I pointed it out to a friend that bought and now I lust after it. But I have thought that there seems to be a lot more gun for the dollar in French guns than the English guns that I have, and love. So, in the interest of increasing the diversity of my safe's population, French are interesting. But so would the right English gun, or even an American.
Features I look for, but do not absolutely require are 2.75" chambers, some choke, pistol grip. 26-28" barrels. 30" in a pinch. Probably no hammers. Light.
But again, it all depends. I want to keep an open mind and not pass another gun like that Boucher.
I suppose I should add something about grade or quality I'm looking for but $2500-$3500, maybe. That might be pushing the upper end a bit. Is that a fancy gun or a mediocre gun? Sort of depends what your perspective is, but that represents the high end of where my shotgunning I guess. I dont know if that's any help.
If you're looking for French (or Belgian) and 2 3/4 inch chambers, you're going to be looking for a long, long time. 16 ga French guns (and Belgian - built to the same designs) are almost uniformly built to 65 mm chambers and then the barrels are struck with that dimension in mind. This yields the fine handling characteristics, usual light weight and sleek lines of those guns. But it also makes opening out the chambers into a dubious business. You'll risk compromising wall thickness in a critical place. Moreover, you're likely to be tempted into shooting high-pressure, high-recoil factory loads, which will not sit well with the gun.
To meet that, 2.5 inch, 65mm and similar length shells are routinely available in Europe. They are available here, too. Thanks to the low-pressure group here there are plenty of short-chamber loads in 16 available.
I have a French 16 boxlock and a Belgian 16ga hammergun, both of which I feed RST and Gamebore 2.5 inch shells (and my 2.5 inch handloads) exclusively. They do the job.
If you're insistent on a 2 3/4 inch chambers, you may want to go the whole way into French guns and go for a Darne or similar gun. Ted Schefelbein, a commenter on this site (and other sites), knows more about them than pretty much anyone else here in the US. All I know is they're hell for strong and they either fit you or they don't, and if they don't, their stocks are not amenable to bending, etc.
_________________ ďA manís rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.Ē
Frederick Douglass, November 15, 1867, speech in Williamsport, Pa.
You are leaping to a few conclusions that are unwarranted. Indeed, I might wait a long time for a 2.75" gun, and maybe I WILL wait that long, but maybe not. I've owned a 2.5" 16g Evans, and no, I did not even consider punching it out to 2.75". And NO, I did not, for one second, consider any factory rounds whatsoever. As I said, "2.75" chambers and pistol grips are pluses, but not requirements."
As for Darnes, I sold mine this week. It arrived at its new home today, as a matter of fact. At one time Ted Schefelbein owned that very gun before I did.
So, now back to the quest for a light, sleek, maybe french, maybe 2.75", maybe pistol gripped, maybe 6lbs or less, 16 bore double. And let's leave the leaping for the 6 lords.
No, it didn't work out, but it was fun and worthwhile. I don't regret it. The only way to learn about these things is to buy one. It's not like one will ever appear on the range that I could try or even look at. No one here had ever seen anything like it and only a few knew what it was, but had never seen one live and in person.
I'd try some other oddballs too, like a Manufrance, if things were just right. But we will see what comes next. I am convinced that I've ignored French guns to my detriment however. That has changed.
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