The Parker gun was built in Meriden,
for seventy years, and then closed its doors near the end of
1937. Remington Arms Co. Inc purchased Parker in 1934.
Fewer than twenty artisans and craftsman were transferred
to continue the manufacturing as a part of Remington. Then
production finally ceased in 1942 due to Remington’s war effort
and the continued increase in manufacturing cost. Parker serial
number 242,487 may be the last. It signaled the end of an era but
the magic and mystique lives on.
’s Finest Shotgun” by Peter H. Johnson, this exciting world
of Parker is full of admiration, passion and pride of ownership.
It is not uncommon for folks in the field to be asked, “that a
Parker?” “Yep”, is the response, with a tone subtly laced
with a hint of pride?
From the three, highest grade guns ever produced, the “Invincibles”,
to the every day “Trojan” the stories abound, filled with
searches for long lost guns, sentimental journeys of family
ownership, prideful presentations and a thirst never quenched to
covet, hold, point,
shoot and examine one of our great American treasures.
From the coverts of New England where, Burt Spiller, Corey
Ford and William Harnden Foster prowled with their Parkers and
left a legacy of fine writing on grouse and woodcock shooting, to
the duck clubs of the eastern seaboard, the Mississippi watershed
and other storied spots in Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee, to
the flyways of California and the Pacific Northwest, the Parker
gun reigned supreme in American history. Parkers were used by
Wells Fargo messengers and even landed in the hands of the
infamous outlaw, Black Bart.
Parker guns achieved great notoriety having been the
choice of well known celebrities, folks of stature, political
leaders, and even
presidents. From William Henry Harrison our ninth president to
the great author, Earnest Hemmingway to far away Czar Nicholas II
the storied past of Parker comes to life like a good mystery
Nicholas II, the Czar of Russia’s gun became one of the
most fabled and mysterious of all. Parker
records, later enhanced by legend, speculation and fact, fueled a
ninety year treasure hunt. The
search for this gun initially based on a news story in the
Meriden Journal on March 7, 1914, later substantiated by Parker
records listing an order in 1914 by O.R. Dickey. The hunt ended
when it surfaced at Julia Auctions in March 2007. An intriguing
story set down first in “The Parker Story” the bible for
Parker folks, and “remainder of the story” published in 2007,
Volume 14, Issue 7 of “The Parker Pages”, Journal of the
Parker Gun Collector’s Association.
guns were created for Parker family members and valued employees
like Charles A. King, Walter A. King and James P. Hayes but
probably we remember folks in American history like Frank Butler
Annie Oakley (1860-1926). Born Phoebe Ann Moses, she and
travelled the Midwestern vaudeville circuit with a shooting act
and in 1885 she was hired as a feature act for Buffalo Bill’s
Wild West Show. Little Miss Sure Shot owned and used her Parkers.
’s famous composer of “The Stars and Stripes Forever”, band
Philip Sousa (1854-1932) fondly labeled the “March King”
was the proud owner of a 12 gauge hammerless AAH grade and a DHE
grade. Sousa was an avid amateur trap shooter and served as
President of the American Trap shooters Assn in 1918.
The great writer of fifty-four novels, Zane Grey
(1875-1939) who we will never forget from his “The Lone
Ranger” and “Riders of the Purple Sage” was presented a
Parker AAHE by Recreation magazine in 1917.
He later acquired a Parker GH 20.
A list of accomplished prominent amateur and professional
trap shooters of the day shooting Parker guns included Arthur
W. duBray (1848-1928), Adam
Bogardus (1833-1913), Fred
Gilbert (1865-1927, Fred
Kimble (1846-1941), Lester
Stanley German (1869-1934) and Tom
Marshall ( 1856-1922). From 1885 through 1922 Parker
advertising called out the feats of many tournament winners.
is well represented in Parker history. Robert Stack, Gary
Cooper, Fred McMurray, Joan Bennett, Clark
Cable and even Kevin Costner used a Parker lifter-action in
his portrayal of Wyatt Earp in 1994.
Business leaders like Robert W. Woodruff (1889-1985),
president of Coca Cola was an avid sportsman and frequented his
favorite hunting retreat “Ichauway” in South Georgia where he
entertained the likes of Ty Cobb and Dwight Eisenhower. He is
known for his spectacular CHE 410 used to humble many of his
We cannot overlook some of our greatest military leaders
like General John Joseph Pershing 1860-1948), General William
“Billy” Mitchell (1879-1936) and General George S. Patton
(1885-1945), who were proud owners of
’s Finest Shotgun”.
The legend and lore of the Parker Gun, called an Immortal
American Classic by Larry Baer, is kept alive with continued
research and prideful ownership by hunters, shooters and members
of the Parker Gun Collectors Association. “Old Reliable” is
taken to the field with enthusiasm and confidence every season.
Present owners are keepers of the flame destined to pass it on to
the next generation.