With so many different brands and models on the maket, finding a gun at the right price is tough. So, we’ve given Mike George the hard task of listing his top 20 new and used guns for under a grand
Country of origin: Japan
Price: £650 second-hand
In 1963 Winchester launched a series of O/Us which set a standard on how such guns should handle. It was the famous 101 series which, although production ceased in the late 1980s, is still famed for its handling. In fact, the guns nowadays have something close to a cult following, despite the fact that spares are as rare as the proverbial hens’ teeth.
Of the many variations on the 101 theme, two stand out. The 6500 fixed-choke sporter, made specifically for the European market, and one of the best medium-priced O/U field guns of all time, the 101 Super Grade Game. The gun has 2¾in chambers, and the 28in barrels do not have steel shot proof, so you can’t shoot magnum loads and, if you want to shoot ducks, or shoot anywhere where shot is likely to fall in water, you are limited to the mildest of steel loads or one of the softer lead substitutes.
Because of these limitations, the gun is not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you want great handling it is well worthy – but maybe not as a first or only gun.
Country of origin: Italy
Price: £750 second-hand
Fausti makes some extremely elegant guns, and those guns near the top of the tree command prices of over £10,000. But the company makes guns to cater for all pockets, and when I reviewed the Falcon nine years ago a new one cost £899. In that era a good second-hand example cost £700, so I reckon my estimate of £750 for a good second-hand gun can’t be far off.
One thing to watch out for when buying a Falcon second-hand is that the gun I evaluated, and presumably many like it, had a plastic skin over the woodwork, intended to give the impression of a superior grain pattern. Some time later, when following up a reader’s query, a stocker told me that this treatment made alterations very difficult to carry out. It is also important that this finish is not chipped or otherwise damaged.
That warning apart, it seems that the gun is well made and reliable, with a simple but robust mechanism.