Frank A Bales, Cornhill, Ipswich, Suffolk
20 bore Back Action Sidelock Non-ejector
no. 264

Year of manufacture: 1883-87

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Heritage Guns' Comment

Although this gun bears the name Frank A Bales, the last of a respected East Anglian dynasty of sporting retailers 1814-1897, it was without doubt manufactured by WC Scott & Son. The gun displays Scott patents and features in nearly every mechanism and guns built on the action patent no 716 were supplied extensively by Scott to the whole UK gun trade. Interestingly, although Scott named guns are common in the USA, there are very few seen in the UK which illustrates their business model which was to exploit export markets under their own name but be a major gunmaker 'to the trade' in the UK, rarely selling guns in the UK as Scott's. The use of Scott's patented 'Patent Crystal Indicators' is unusual in a 20g gun as the smaller lock plates make their installation particularly fiddly.
With its Westley Richards made replacement barrels, rounded action, interceptor sears and new stock, this is a very safe and lovely antique gun for either clays or game but particularly appropriate for upland game.



The action is built on the Scott & Baker patented design and features:
Double triggers bolted by an automatic, top tang safety slide;
8 Pin back action locks with gold washed tumblers and 'Patent Crystal Indicators';
'Block Patent Safety' style interceptor sears;
Scott & Baker cocking rods;
Toplever opening, operating a 'Purdey Bolt' by way of a Scott Spindle;
Deeley patent lever forend catch;
Elegant rounded action bar and classic S&B 761 lock shape.
Engraving style Foliate Scroll. Toplever engraved 'PATENT', 'SAFE' engraved on top tang.
Gun weight 5lb 14oz
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ½ lbs, Rear trigger 4 lbs
The Replacement Steel barrels by the Westley Richards in 1962 are 28" in length, chambered for 2 ¾" (70mm) cartridges and are of brazed 'dovetail' lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib is of the smooth, concave game type.
Birmingham reproof for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 1964.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
0.012" (Mod)
Left Barrel
0.030" (Full)

The replacement Straight Hand Stock and Original Splinter Forend are crafted from lightly figured, straight grain walnut and the stock is lightly cast-off for a right-handed shot, features a white metal oval engraved 'KWSW' in scrolling script and is finished with a 7/8" leather covered recoil pad. The forend has a finely engraved lever catch and tip.

Lightly Figured Walnut

The 20 approx lines per inch chequering has been freshened to its original pattern.
The stock is finished with a traditional linseed oil based preparation as used on best guns by one of the top English makers. This finish uses no grain fillers to achieve its deep, smooth lustre, only many hours of alternate build and flatting off of the surface.

Approximate stock measurements at date of publication:

Pull to Heel
Pull to Bump
Pull to Centre
Pull to Toe
14 7/8"
14 15/16"
15 3/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 7/16"
1 5/8"
2 1/8"
Cast-off at Comb
Cast-off at Heel

For the purposes of these measurements, 'Drop at Face' is the 'drop' measurement taken on a line perpendicular to the
line joining the trigger and centre of the butt at approximately 8" from the trigger (front trigger on a double trigger gun).

Patents Exhibited include:
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863,
'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865,
Scott & Baker patent no' 761 of 1878,
Deeley & Edge patent no. 1422 of 1873,
Scott's patent no. 3223 of 1875,
Needham & Hinton patent no. 706 of 1879.