Sunday, August 13, 2017

16 Gauge Shells & No Gun To Shoot Them - Resolved

Somewhere among my ammo cache are 9 rounds of 16 gauge shotgun shells. I definitely don't remember exactly when or where I got them. If I had to guess, I'd say I got them at a Hessney auction years ago and that they were included in a lot of something else I purchased but that would only be a guess and I truly have no clue from where or when they came to be mine. Thus, I also most definitely cannot say why I got them because I did not own a shotgun in that gauge whenever it was that I acquired them. You will notice that I just said I did not own a shotgun in that gauge - or in other words used the past tense in that regard.

Yesterday, I attended my 12th Hessney auction (either Rod & Gun auctions or Early - Modern Gun & Military auctions). I have been going to them since 2012, at first once per year (although I may have missed 2013 as I cannot find a receipt from then) and then later to multiple of their auctions per year. Last year I attended five of them and so far this year I have been to four of them. That all said, I imagine that by now you have guessed, that as of yesterday's auction, I now own a Remington Model 31 in 16 gauge. I suppose I always knew I'd get some use out of those 16 gauge shells sooner or later!

My Remington Model 31 - click on image to enlarge.
The Model 31 is a pump action shotgun. It was manufactured between 1931 and 1949; so mine is a pretty old fella just like me; although thankfully, I am many years its junior. As I understand it, the discontinuance of the 31 caused a lot of consternation among Remington enthusiasts back in the day as it was and remains considered one of the best pump action shotguns ever produced (more on that point here). In 1961, the by then discontinued Model 31 was in essence replaced by the Remington Model 870 which was in part based on the 31. Its manufacture was supposed to be less expensive than would have been resurrecting the Model 31.

Now, I am very familiar with the 870, I have owned at least four or has it been five of them and can say it is an excellent shotgun as far as shooting it and maintenance of it goes. I just watched a video on YouTube, relative to the disassembly and re-assembly of the Model 31, and will say that the process with the 31 is much more complicated than with the 870. The simplicity of taking down and putting back together the 870 is most certainly one of the reasons, and there are many others, that have made the Remington 870 the bestselling shotgun in history. (Remington 870 sales surpassed the 10 million mark way back in 2009.) Nonetheless, the 31 is touted as one of the all-time best pump action shotguns because of the quality that went into its production. I hope that mine proves that point to me.
While some hold the Winchester Model 12 as the pinnacle of workhorse pump action shotguns, others say that the Remington Model 31 is by far the better made and smoother operating of the two. Me, I think the reputation of most Winchester firearms are overblown and that they are thus overpriced. As for the price of my newly acquired Remington Model 31, let me just say that I got it at what I think was a very good price. Why I think it was a very good price is twofold: 1) It was below the prices in both 2017 Standard Catalog of Firearms and the current online listing in the Blue Book of Gun values for a gun in its condition. 2) Back on June 21, 1932, it (the standard variation) had a recommended retail price of $47.90. In today's money (and we all know the bang for the buck is less today), I paid less than three times that old-time MSRP for it. That my friends was a pretty good deal considering it seems to be in excellent mechanical condition and that it has at least 80% to 85% of the metal finish remaining with only two small freckles of rust on the bottom of the barrel (no other rust anywhere) and only has very few and very small minor dings on the wood.
I cannot wait to get a chance to shoot it but since I am going to be working all week I most likely will not get a chance to bring it to the range at least until next weekend. Since the closest range open to the public, that allows one to shoot shotgun shells containing shot as opposed to ball or slugs, is about an hour's drive from my house, I might not get a chance to go next weekend either. One can hope though and that is when I am hoping to go test one of my latest acquisitions. Yes, I said one of my latest acquisitions but just as I would not tell you the exact price for which I got the model 31, I am not about to tell you about the other gun I acquired either. That will be done at a later date for reasons of a personal nature and I'll explain all that when I do tell you about the other one I got yesterday. The thing is, it probably will be several months before I blab about that one.
So, I am now the owner of yet another gun older than me, my particular Remington Model 31 has a date code of XSS which signifies manufacture in December 1947 and thus will be 70 years old later this year. (As a side note, when looking at the barrel I saw it has a matching serial number to that on the receiver meaning it likely is all original - another plus.) Why have I been buying some older guns lately? I guess in part because it is a way to make myself feel younger than I am by surrounding myself with things older than me and from a time when America was greater in many, albeit not all, regards than it is today. It’s also, at least in part, that they don't make em today the way they used to back then. 
All the best,
Glenn B

1 comment:

Bob Tamewitz said...

With the corncob forend it almost looks like my 16 ga Ithaca model 37 except for the side eject. My dad bought us a pair back in 1967 when I was 13 years old. Really surprised me since he was very frugal trying to raise 3 kids, but they were on sale at Monkey Ward for a really good price at the time. Everyone was buying 12 gauges and I guess they wanted to unload the 16s. Out of all the guns that I have that one is the one that I cherish the most.........