View Full Version : Spanish .20 sxs update

December 20, 2001, 12:04 AM
Thanks for the good info on the win.61....really added to the experience.
As recommended, I did some research on the unidentified Eibar .20 SxS. Perhaps it might help to identfy manufacture or quality of the piece,
encouraged by your comments and suggestions I did the recommended research. Hopefully, it may yield some clues:
Top side, right barrel--"Cig-eibar-spain"..."C" could also be an "E"
Top side, left barrel--"20 gauge magnum"
Foream under markings--"8620", icon that looks like crossed
rifles or cannon barrels (very rough
Underside,left barrel--left section--gauge 14.6/15.8 & "K's" in
small circle.
right section--"F.S. No. 8620"/icon that
has "20-76" in unclosed oblong
circle/"F.S." (?) in small circle Underside, right barrel-- left section--gauge 15.4/15.8 & "1130"
& "Gmos"marked alongside
right section--first icon"X" encircled with
knighthead or birdhead on top; 2nd icon is
crossed rifles or cannon barrels; 3rd icon
is"BP" along with small oblong circle
enclosed in larger circle.
other: sxs w/etching of two pheasants/side.
Effort was worth it as shotgun will be used vs. hung. and I'm worried about poorly-tempered parts.
Hopefully this process will be instructive for those that follow!

James K
December 20, 2001, 02:47 PM
I think your mark is "EIG", which was an importer of generally inexpensive (not high quality) firearms for many years. They are (AFAIK) out of business now. They imported many "Saturday Night Special" handguns as well as some sporting rifles and shotguns.

The 8620 is a serial number. The shields with X and knights helmet are Spanish proof marks, as is the crossed gun mark.

If your gun works, it is a shooter and suitable for any type of hunting for which a 20 gauge is appropriate. It has no collector value. Value/price would be in the $200-300 range, assuming that everything works. Any major parts breakage would problably not be economically repairable.

The "GMOS" may refer to the actual maker, but it is probably an assembled gun with no one willing to actually take credit.


James K
December 20, 2001, 06:09 PM
Hi, Win9er,

Maybe I don't understand the private mail business, or I don't get it. You inquired about a Spanish sxs with no name. I gave it my best shot, with some general answers appropriate to someone I thought was a newbie. Now I get private mail from you seeming to show that you know at least as much or more about Spanish doubles as I do, including the details of proofing, which I didn't think a newbie wanted to get go into.

Was what you sent me something from someone else? If so, why not post it for everyone's benefit? If you were just pulling my chain so you could show off, fine if that is what turns you on.

But I am curious.


December 20, 2001, 06:19 PM
Easy big fella! Just wanted to personally thankyou and share info from another thread, assuming you probably hadn't seen it. Mostly greek to me but thought it might be useful to you. Still intereted in your comments.

James K
December 21, 2001, 10:03 PM
Hi, wine9er,

My apologies. I was just frustrated with the PM thing as I never seem to be able to work it right.

If you don't mind, I will perhaps provide a bit more info.

Maybe things have changed, but not many years ago Spanish shotgun making was a cottage industry. The factory did rough forging or casting of a part (say a hammer). Then they took a basket full of these to good old Pedro, who had a vise, a jig, and a mill bastard file. Pedro, at maybe twenty whole cents a day, made hammers out of those rough parts. He then sent them to the factory and got another basket of rough forgings.

The factory fitters, using more files, assembled Pedro's hammers, and Miguel's sears, and Jose's V-springs into a shotgun. Then they case-hardened the parts, which left a thin hard surface with cheese-soft metal underneath. They polished the outside, put on some wood that often looked great, had the gun proofed (they usually passed OK), and sold it to the Yanquis.

The problem was that nothing was quite as hard as it should be, and and when (not if) the soft parts wore out or broke and your gunsmith ordered a part, he got the rough forging. Then the gunsmith (who made a lot more than Pedro or Miguel or Jose) had to fit the part. The customer who got the bill went ballistic, screaming that a hammer for a Remington 870 only cost a couple of bucks. (Of course, Remington uses automatic machinery, and turns out the things by the bin full for a few dollars.)

Anyway, U.S. importers brought these guns in. Even the top makers used the same system, it was just that they took more time (and maybe paid Pedro 25 cents a day) and had better QC. But those things cost money, even in pesetas.

Most of those guns were made to look good, but to sell at as low a price as possible, and the bulk of the customer's bucks went to the dealer and to the importer.

Having been the gunsmith who had to try to fix those guns, I have, as you see, a rather jaundiced view. If one likes the gun, fine. Buy it and use it until something breaks. If nothing does, you are in luck. But I just don't consider them any bargain.

Are they safe? Sure, at least as far as blowing up. The guns passed proof, and there was rarely any problem with the barrels, except often they failed to stay latched when the latch wore. But having a trigger pull go from 12 pounds to 12 ounces is not exactly safe.


December 21, 2001, 11:25 PM
I made a hammer for a Spanish double......once. There was nothing on the inside that didn't look like Pedro held the part in his toes and shaped it with a coarse file. Larned from that.


James K
December 22, 2001, 01:17 PM
Hi, guys,

Wine9er sent me a mail about my humorous posting. Problem is that it wasn't really intended to be that humorous; what I described is the way things are, or at least were, done in Spain.

Don't get me wrong. I love Spain and have been there several times. I have some Spanish and my wife is a native Spanish speaker (Colombian), so we have few language problems. The people are hard working and very sensible and down to earth, a lot like the Italians. (I have lived in Italy and loved it.)

I like Spain and the Spanish people; I just don't want them building a shotgun for me.


December 22, 2001, 08:43 PM

Your right about one part. Things have changed in Spain from the 50's and 60's when a lot of cheap imports flooded the market. Today, Spanish guns can hold their own with comparably priced guns from Italy. Spanish guns are a lot like Spanish wines. There are some very good ones if you know what you are looking for.

Makers such as AyA, Garbi, Arrieta, Grulla, and Arrizabalaga make fine guns that are considered to be a bargain compared to English and Continental guns. The good ones are not cheap though. Figure $3,000 and up for a sidelock gun but that's compared to high five figures for an English gun.

I own an Arrieta that has had about 2000 rounds through it in the last year with hunting and various clay practice. It's barely broken in and brings the birds down better than anything else I've used.

Things have changed.

James K
December 23, 2001, 11:43 PM
Hi, PJR,

I am glad to hear that, but I wonder if you have ever looked inside. As I said, the better makers had better quality control, but the manufacturing was done the same way, not in a factory as we think of it, with automatic machines and totally interchangeable parts. From what I have seen of the rest of Spanish industry, they are, as you say, catching up fast. Maybe Pedro now programs a CNC machine, but old habits and cultures die hard.

I doubt price makes a difference in some respects. Money may just buy more care and closer fitting, not truly interchangeable parts. After all, the "best" English guns are still practically hand made; the difference is that the basic metallurgy is better and they seldom break.

I have not looked at a Spanish shotgun for a few years (no change at that time) but a few months ago I had a brand new Llama pistol apart to find out why it wouldn't hit a barn. "Pedro" had been there. Nearly every part had been made to fit with a big file, huge gaps were left, and the barrel wiggled fully a quarter inch from side to side in the frame.


December 24, 2001, 12:10 PM

I've looked inside and liked what I saw. I've also been through the shotgun maker's shops in Eibar and Elgoibar where they make guns by hand. Incidentally, these guys consider themselves Basque rather than Spanish. It's a bit like saying people from Georgia are Yankees.

Back in the 80's the Spanish government tried to amalgamate the gun industry in to one large company called Diarm. It was, as most government run industries are, a fiasco. What emerged were several companies comprised of the better workers dedicated to smaller lots of quality guns. The Spanish guns are now slowly gaining credibility and acceptance.

The game gun that Griffin and Howe sells is made by Arrieta in Spain. William Powell of the UK will sell you guns made by Grulla under their name and readily acknowledge the fact. AyA is the top selling sxs gun in the UK and Parker Hale sold a Spanish gun. Weatherby has just announced a new line of sxs that are made in Spain as are the sxs marketed by Charles Daly. This pretty much speaks to the fact their guns are making the grade.

I've seen poorly finished Spanish guns like the Llama you described but among their higher priced shotguns you can find quality and extremely good value.