Parker Reproduction Shotguns
By Chuck Hawks
The Parker Reproductions were exact clones of the various grades of original Parker shotguns, with all of the original's good and bad points, but made with modern steels and stocked to modern dimensions. No other improvements were incorporated. Parts were interchangeable with original Parkers. Far fewer Parker Reproductions were manufactured than original Parkers and they are suitable for use with modern shells, so their collector's value is assured.
All Parker Reproduction guns were high grades, the lowest of which was D. Grades offered included DHE, BHE, and A1 Special.
The Parker Reproduction was a very nice shotgun, and it was commercially successful. In fact, the line was being expanded when the blow fell: the Japanese manufacturer had landed a big auto parts contract and was terminating their gun making operation. They were retooling and would build no more Parker Reproduction shotguns. Overnight the dream ended. All that was left to do was sell off the remaining stock of guns, mostly DHE's and a few A1 Specials, and provide warrantee/repair service for the existing guns.
Among the DHE's best features were its comfortable feel in the hand, nice wood, well executed engraving, good balance, and overall fine workmanship. A DHE is a handsome gun, whether made in Japan or the U.S.A.
Make no mistake, the Parker action is a complicated one. It is difficult to clean, adjust, or repair and only journeyman gunsmiths intimately familiar with the Parker action should be entrusted with one. Owners absolutely should not attempt to disassemble their guns themselves. I am certain that the legend of "Old Reliable" is based more on the Parker hammerless double's workmanship than on its design.
I shot my DHE quite a bit, and it often drew envious comments from other shooters. Indeed, my biggest regret is that I did not buy an A1 Special at closeout prices when I had the chance!
Note: A complete review of a Parker Reproduction DHE grade shotgun can be found on the Product Review Page.
Copyright 2004, 2006 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.