Help with this older Parker Bros. SxS from the Arizona Territory


March 2, 2009, 10:58 AM
We have this older Parker Bros. side by side. Last patent date is 1876, S/N is 53620. It has two barrel, both 12 ga. 32" (different choke diameter) that serial number to the gun, as well as two fore-ends, one for each barrel. Exposed hammers, highly figured damascus steel on the barrels and highly engraved on all receiver surfaces. Fine patina on all steel surfaces obscuring engraving and damascus figuring. Steel butt plate, also highly checkered like the grip and fore ends. Has a later-type fore-end release(s) and receiver hinge pin. Bores are oxidized loosely but not pitted or unserviceable. Nicely checkered and sharp pistol grip stock (not well pictured) It is also in the original leather bound box. The leather is intact though dried, and the interior felt is tattered and mostly gone. The original wood and brass cleaning rod is there, though the rod-end(s) is/are missing.

This has been in the family (hers) since new. Story is it arrived in this box inside a shipping carton from Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the Arizona Territory in the late 19th century to replace the civil war Sharp's that they were still using (got that, too). The family was in AZ from shortly after the civil war until recently. She would have been fourth generation Arizonan if her mother hadn't had the bad sense to travel to New Mexico while eight months pregnant. How sad.

I haven't found a source for the date, though I am guesstimating late 1880s or early 1890s based on others I've seen.

My questions are:

1) Date
2) What to do with it?
3) Who to restore it and cost?

Like our esteemed Saxon Pig, I don't like guns that can't be shot. And this can't be shot in this condition. I'd like to restore it and then maintain it. Also, I would do that as a gift to her Dad, who could enjoy his family piece. He's an engineer, so he'd deeply appreciate the work and take care of it until it is passed on again.

The pictures below mostly hide one of the barrels (behind the wooden divider, my mistake in taking the photo).



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March 4, 2009, 04:16 PM
I was going to refer you the Parker Collectors Association Forum, but after a quick visit I see that they seem to suggest buying the book or sending money to someone to look up the SN.

I suggest posting some pics over there and not asking for any info. Just tease them and see what happens.

I doubt that I have much if any info on Parkers at home, but I'll look this evening when I get home.

I don't think I'd restore it, but then again I might.

Scroll down the page to RESTORATIONS for recommendations. Sit down before you look at the prices. Start with Turnbull, he always seems to get mentioned first when restoration is the topic. There are certainly others.

The Parker SN & ID book for $30 or $40 bucks.

I happened to have this price list handy from Ron's Gun Shop, but note that the prices DO NOT include metal prep and polishing, just the application of the finish.

March 4, 2009, 04:28 PM
It's still going to be Damascus barrels when you get done.

I just don't trust them.


March 4, 2009, 10:01 PM
Duh, there is a list in the back of the Blue Book.

"S/N is 53620"

1886 started with 48,125 and ended at 56,649

March 5, 2009, 10:30 AM
I have a couple Parkers sitting around and a stack of books so I may be able to help you with identifying your gun. Measure the LOP and barrel length. Having a steel but plate (if it's skeletonized with the underlying wood checkered) is a good sign as usually when the stocks were shortened the metal plate would no longer fit so people just added pads. Check the water tables and bottom of barrels for any marks which should give you the frame size. What gauge is it? Turnbull does great work. You may also contact Larry Del Greco. I don't think Larry will touch a damascus gun but he may be able to point you in the direction of who will work on them. There is a liability risk there due to the barrel strength.

March 5, 2009, 11:27 AM

Serial Number Range Year Manufactured
Lower than 1850 Pre-1874
1851 through 4259 1874
4260 through 6748 1875
6749 through 8834 1876
8835 through 11098 1877
11099 through 13731 1878
13732 through 17394 1879
17395 through 20288 1880
20289 through 24304 1881
24305 through 28965 1882
28966 through 38022 1883
38023 through 44687 1884
44688 through 46918 1885
46919 through 49501 1886
49502 through 52743 1887
52744 through 56104 1888

March 6, 2009, 08:47 AM
Thank you all for pointing me in the right direction.

It is labeled with a "3" on the frame - making it the largest receiver size as I can fathom. It is also 12 ga., so it is stronger relative to the gauge than many from what I understand (many 12's were on 1.5 and 2 frames - 3 was usually reserved for 10 ga.). The grade appears to be "D" based on another stamp on the water table.

Boy, I have seen firearms in my time that are confusing to understand the models and options, but Parker seems to really take the cake. I have been reading at the Parker forum for hours the last few days and still feel totally lost. I will keep studying.

I have looked at a zillion of these, but still haven't found another one that came from the factory with two fit barrels and fore-ends. Must have been a fairly unique order. I see now the issues with damascus that rcmodel raised, and it is clearly a problem. Most seem to feel happy shooting reduced power bp loads, so that may be an option - this will require more study.

As far as putting this to "field" use, no, that wasn't my plan. I have a Beretta Silver Pigeon when I need a double gun - this was for historic purposes and a project.

March 6, 2009, 10:17 AM
The frame size is actually on the barrel lug. I have never seen or heard of a #3 frame being used for anything but a 10ga. The 3 on the frame if followed by other numbers is an indication the frame was back at the Parker or Remington plant for work. The grade will be on the water table. Are the barrels marked Damascus or twist?

March 7, 2009, 12:00 AM
Ok, then you are correct, one of the lugs is marked "2." The other one is not marked. I had thought that was to differentiate the barrels and fore-ends (one of them is also marked "2, and it is mated to the barrel with the "2").

The photo is bad, but the barrels are a very intricate Damascus pattern - not like the twist barrels I have seen pictured.

I was hoping to find out how to polish the barrels safely, and a smith to check out the actions (the right action has a broken spring).

March 7, 2009, 07:07 AM
Chances are you're not going to get the barrels to look new again. Might be the best you can hope for is a nice smooth patina with the surface rust gone. Just a good cleaning will make the pattern on the barrels really stand out and look nice. If you look on the rib on top of the barrels it will be marked Damascus or twist. I have had good luck removing surface rust and cleaning old guns using Kroil penetrating oil and the finest STAINLESS steel wool you can find. You need to use stainless as this is softer than standard steel wool. After coating the barrels with a good healthy coat of Kroil and letting it sit a day or two to soften up anything on the surface wipe your oiled steel wool over the barrel in 1 direction. You really want to do this all in 1 direction. Rotate the steel wool to a clean spot (otherwise you're trying to clean with rust) and repeat. It's a slow process but it's the best way I know to clean something like that w/o doing any more damage. When at all possible you want to avoid getting any kind of gun oil on any of the wood. I have seen more guns ruined that way than I care to think about. The oil tends to soften the wood where wood meets metal and the weakened wood while not just rough looking and discolored is prone to cracking and chipping. I would think there should be some qualified gunsmiths closer to you that would be able to fix your spring without much trouble. I f you can't fine anyone let me know and I'll see who is most recommended here on the east coast.

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