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 Post subject: Looking online at used at old East German SxS shotguns ...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2021 11:44 pm 
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Location: Texas, USA
I know the Merkels with the scalloped receivers tend to crack the buttstock but, beyond that, I tend to run out of knowledge.

I see a lot of Simpson, Suhl, and a few Merkels advertised online but, I really don't know how to judge the 'quality' or what a good price is. SimsonLtd has a few Merkels listed from ~$350 to ~$1450. The textual description doesn't suggest that much price difference and many of the pictures look similar so, I'm wondering what I am missing. Sure, a model 8 is not a model 47 but, what is really different?

Then there are all the older Simson and Suhl branded options. I don't want a 'basket case' but, I also realize I probably will need to open up the chokes. How do I ensure the rest of the shotgun is solid and ready for a long service life?

TIA,
Sid



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 Post subject: Re: Looking online at used at old East German SxS shotguns .
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 7:47 am 
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Sid Post wrote:
I see a lot of Simpson, Suhl, and a few Merkels advertised online . . .
Then there are all the older Simson and Suhl branded options. I don't want a 'basket case' but, I also realize I probably will need to open up the chokes. How do I ensure the rest of the shotgun is solid and ready for a long service life?


I'm assuming we're talking about Simpson Ltd. in Galesburg, Illinois. https://simpsonltd.com/whats-new/

A couple things . . .

1.) I've purchased probably a dozen guns from Simpson Ltd over the course of the past six years. All but one met my expectations. The one exception had a bit more damage to the bores than the description indicated. Simpson graciously accepted a return, with no complaints or hassles. They're good people.

If you're tempted by a gun you see on Simpson Ltd's website. Call them. (In fact, the only way to buy it is to call them.) A salesman will go get the gun off the rack and answer any questions you have. There's been a couple of times I've called about a particular gun and the the conversation with the salesman caused me to balk. They were fine with that. Again, they're good people.

2.) Having been a pawnbroker, I've had the opportunity to make snap judgments about many, many guns. One thing I'm convinced about is that in most cases, your initial impression of the exterior of the gun tells you what you need to know. You can tell instantly by looking whether a gun has been abused, neglected or cherished and taken care of. The gun's appearance will tell you the story if you only look.

Honest wear is good, in my opinion, as it's a sign of a gun that someone enjoyed using and probably cared for. Surface rust is a sign of poor storage and isn't necessarily a deal breaker but if it's gone too far, you should pass. Serious rust and corrosion is evidence of extreme neglect. Dings, dents, cracks, etc could be signs of abuse or an owner who simply didn't care. Boogered up screw heads, modifications, mismatched parts, etc. are signs of amateur gunsmithing and may or may not be enough to cause you to pass -- in any case these should raise red flags. They only ones that are truly a mystery are the near perfect, yet old guns. Honestly, I think most guns are harmed more by neglect and poor storage than anything else. It's nearly impossible to "wear out" a good gun.

Simpson Ltd posts photos of every gun they sell. Their photos are pretty decent. They're certainly good enough to give you a fair impression of the overall condition of the gun. You won't see every defect, but you'll see enough to know what you're buying. Like the snap judgment at the pawnshop counter, they'll tell the tale.

You need to understand something though . . . nearly all those old East European, Russian and Swedish shotguns Simpson offers are imported in big batches. Somehow they're buying big lots of guns and sorting them out once they get to Galesburg. There's lots of sleepers in there, and probably few turds. Either way, Simpson isn't trying to cheat anyone. They'll describe them as best they can. Try to price them fairly and move them along. In every case, it's a bit of a gamble, but they give you enough evidence to make an informed decision. Plus, they'll take it back if it's not right. Also, as an aside, there is NOBODY more careful about import stamps. Simpsons spent a lot of money for a laser engraver and they absolutely HIDE their import stamps. You'll never see them unless you take the gun apart.


Last edited by Bladeswitcher on Sun Mar 07, 2021 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking online at used at old East German SxS shotguns .
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 8:03 am 
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Sorry . . . I had another thought . . . (obviously, I'm a fan of Simpson Ltd) . . .

I'm not convinced that Simpson Ltd's online descriptions are 100 percent consistent from day to day. From time to time, I watch their "What's New" listings pretty closely. I've noticed that seemingly similar guns may differ by as much as a couple hundred bucks depending on which day they're listed. I don't know if different people are grading guns on different days or whether the descriptions are dependent on how the grader felt that particular day. They do differ a lot, however. They post dozens of guns every day, with a new guns posted every few minutes. They're clearly going through them fast. I'm sure mistakes get made.

One thing I've noticed is that when they're running a whole bunch of similar guns through at the same time, you're more likely to see these wide variations. When they post a couple dozen Sauer shotguns in the course of a day or two, the prices are all over the map. But if they through in one or two Sauers in the midst of a string of surplus military guns, the prices seem to be closer to the mean. Again, humans are doing the work, and they're doing it fast.

IMO, this is why it's so important to call and ask for an in-hand inspection. The salesmen often don't know what the online description says -- the phone call may be the first time they've seen the gun -- and they'll give you straight answers. I've called them when I was torn between two different guns and the salesman got both and offered a comparison. Seems like at least once, they told me they thought the cheaper gun was in better condition.

BTW, the online "What's New" is the way to get the deals. These guns sell FAST. I can't tell you how many times I've called about a gun that was posted just minutes prior and the gun is already sold. Seriously, if you dither on a bargain, you'll lose. I visited the shop in person once and nearly everything out on the sales floor was pretty rough. I impression was that these were the guns that didn't sell online.


ETA: Buyer beware, though. THere is a certain "You pays your money and you takes your chances" aspect to these guns. If you're not comfortable with buying/selling/flipping guns this may not be the right approach for you. If you think of buying guns sort of like adopting children, you may want to stick to walk-in gun shops.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking online at used at old East German SxS shotguns .
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 8:43 am 
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New legislation limits the number of guns a person can hold in some European countries - Norway, Sweden, Denmark for sure.
When weeding out a gun collection, the guns with "warts" go first. The guns end up at auction, where the flood of guns has depressed prices. Old guns are not prime choices for shooting steel shot, and Europe is expecting a total ban on lead shot.

As Bladeswitcher says, you need to try to ascertain condition by talking to the seller, and take a bit of a leap of faith.
If you get a gun that doesn't meet your standards, return it. You are out the price of shipping.
There is a fair chance that you will get a gun that is much better than the price indicates.

I have an AyA 16 gauge that I like a lot. The AyA came from a Canadian seller of European guns, similar to Simpson's in the US.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking online at used at old East German SxS shotguns .
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 5:48 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:51 pm
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Location: Texas, USA
Thanks! Very helpful replies.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking online at used at old East German SxS shotguns .
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:09 pm
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Location: Coolidge, Arizona
Bladeswitcher,
Thanks for the wise comments!
Dan




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