Originally Posted by JLibourel
Finding a new London best O/U for $10,000 would be about as likely as finding Edward Greens on sale at Target for $35 a pair! Purdey current ask GBP 55,000 for an O/U on the Woodward action. Even this pales in comparison to Boss' price of GBP 75,000 (pre VAT)!
Let's look at the shotgun analogy in another way. The Remington 870 is a marvelous piece of machinery, but it has no pretensions to elegance. A few years ago I blew some inheritance money on a Spanish Grulla side by side. Had I paid full retail, it would have cost about $6,000 or $7,000. In terms of functionality, elegance of line, etc., it is pretty much indistinguishable from a Purdey costing GBP 46,500. The engraving on the Purdey would be more delicate and refined. The wood would have somewhat nicer figure, and that's about it for a price differential of $77,000--just not worth it to me (even if I had that kind of money to blow)! Or, I could have spent $15,000 or so for a top of the line Grulla, such as the King of Spain shoots. And what would justify the $68,000 price differential between that gun and the Purdey? Probably nothing more than the name "Purdey" on the barrels! In other words, I am not averse to paying a premium for elegance--or I would have stuck with my 870 that I paid $80 for back when--but I like to get good value at whatever level I make my purchases. If I were solely concerned with functionality, I could probably content myself with the $25 specials at DSW and be damned to Allen-Edmonds!
I used to think that way--way back when I started out in shooting, hunting, and handloading. Actually, rather than Remington, I started out with Browning (rifles), but once I had laid my hands on a Champlin via George Caswell (JLibourel, you probably know him), it was all over. One could say that the differences between my Browning refined-Mauser, FN-actioned rifle and my first Champlin didn't amount to much functionally, and, in truth, they both went bang when I pulled the trigger, but the intense enjoyment I got from carrying that Champlin 7 RM on one trip after another--soaking up the incredible blends of fiery color and swirling figure in the English walnut stock, Maurice Ottmar's wonderful shaping (the analogy would be the EG 888 last, sleek and slim) and checkering, the super-slick action with none of the side-to-side slop of any Mauser derivative, the short lock time, the superbly-accurate barrel, the subtle rust-blued metalwork, the wonderful balance--made that expenditure worth much more than I actually paid. I was hooked, and it sure didn't stop with that first one. Perazzis for trap and Beretta sidelocks weren't far behind. The phenomenon is identical--as far as I can tell--with fine shoes. My first A-Es looked pretty decent to me, but once I saw and handled EGs, there was just no going back. So I think that this thread has seen posts from people at the poles of a continuum running from what Sartorially Challenged has labeled "value orientation" to the opposite pole, which we might label "refinement" or "esthetic" orientation. I suspect that most SFers are somewhere more towards the middle of the normal distribution that describes this continuum. There's certainly no denying, however, that participating in these forums seems to have shifted the mean of the distribution upwards somewhat towards the "esthetic orientation" pole. BTW, JLibourel, why Grulla? Is Aya no longer producing side-by-side H&H-type sidelocks?