J Blanch & Son, 29 Gracechurch Street, London
12 bore Back action Hammergun
no. 4884

Date of manufacture: pre-1887

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Heritage Guns' Comment

This lovely hammergun made by one of London's most respected gunmakers is in quite amazing condition for its age. Not only are the internals in fine condition but also the action still retains much of its original hardening colour and the engraving is crisp and clear. Even those areas where the colour has worn away, is still mirror bright and not corroded, as is the case with most well handled guns of this age.
There are two unusual and very interesting features of this gun. The first is the use of retaining screws at the lock tails which is very unusual in a gun of this quality and the second is the use of a locking bolt that is a variation on the 'Purdey Bolt' theme, featuring a single bite into the rear lump. Although this does not compromise the strength of the action, it does mean that an alternative method of 'draw' is required, whereby the closing barrels cam back the bolt until it can engage with the rear bite. This is achieved by a downward extension of the rear lump that picks up the bolt earlier than it would otherwise and comes to lie flush with the belly of the action bar.
All in all this is a most attractive gun with its bold foliate engraving and areas of original finish and with its fine barrel dimensions and 'Purdey Thumb Lever' it would make an excellent gun for game or clays.



The action is of traditional design and features:
Considerable original hardening colour;
Double triggers;
'Percussion' fences; Facetted, high level hammers;
Rebounding back action locks;
Single bite 'Purdey Bolt' operated by the 2nd patent Purdey Thumb Lever;
Modified Hollis forend lever catch.
Gun weight 7lb
Engraving style Bold Foliate Scroll,
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 lbs Rear trigger 4 lbs
The Damascus barrels are 30" in length, chambered for 2 3/4" (70mm) cartridges and are of brazed 'dovetail' lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib
is of the smooth, concave type.
London reproof for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2013.


Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
18.7mm (0.736")
0.028" Minimum
0.009" (IC)
Left Barrel
18.7mm (0.736")
0.027" Minimum
0.009" (IC)

Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend
are crafted from highly figured walnut. We believe that the stock and forend wood is the original. The stock is lightly cast-off for a right-handed shot, features a vacant white metal oval and engraved heel and toe plates, the heel plate of unusual round design.

Highly figured walnut

The 18 lines per inch chequering is to the normal sidelock 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"
15 3/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 9/16"
1 3/4"
2 1/4"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/8" (approximate)

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;
Stanton's rebounding lock patent no. 367 of 1867;
Hollis's forend catchpatent no 953 of 1873.