J Blanch and Son,
29 Gracechurch Street, London
12 bore Back action, Sidelock Non-ejector
no. 5494
pproximate date of manufacture: pre-1887

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Heritage Guns' Comment

Blanch had a great affinity for back-actions, the vast majority of their sidelocks being such, right up to the early days of the C20th and their engraving was also most distinctive. At this time their engraving can be divided into three distinct styles: areas of ‘Creeping Vine’ with foliate scroll, an open pattern with around 70% coverage; classic bouquet & scroll, about 85% coverage, used mainly on their Grant style sidelever hammerguns and, more rarely, 100% coverage bold foliate scroll on their most ornate guns, as is the case here.
Gun no. 5494 is a outstanding example of what Blanch did best: buying in the very best designs from the trade and finishing them to a very high standard indeed. It exhibits loads of original hardening colour, beautifully crisp bold engraving and, given its fine balance, interceptor sears and highly figured stock, it compares favourably with any gun from the better known ‘Makers. Presented in its relined ‘Maker leather case with original label and some accessories.


The action is of WM Scott & T Baker’s design and features:
Cocking rods running from hooks located on the barrel flats to the tumblers;
Breech face ‘Gas Check’ slots;
Bolstered action bar;
Nine pin, back-action sidelocks;
Double triggers bolted by an automatic top tang safety slide;
‘Block Patent Safety’ interceptor sears;
Gold lined cocking indicators;
Top lever operating a ‘Purdey Bolt’ by way of a ‘Scott Spindle’;
Modified Hollis forend lever catch.
The gun balances perfectly on the action knuckle.
 Engraving style Very best bold foliate scroll with bouquet detail.
Locks signed ‘J BLANCH & SON’. Beaded fences with fluted Acanthus leaf detail.
Gold inlayed SAFE. Breech face stamped ‘PAT.GAS CHECK 2835’.
Action flats stamped ‘PATENT ACTION’ and ‘No 761 PATENT 2557’ in a diamond.
Forend lever engraved ‘J BLANCH & SON’S IMPROVED SNAP BOLT’.
Much original hardening colour.
Gun weight 6lb 6oz      
Trigger pulls
measure approximately: Front trigger 3 lbs Rear trigger 4 lbs
The rebrowned damascus barrels are 28" in length, chambered for 2 ” (65mm) cartridges and are of brazed 'dovetail' lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib
is of sunken, concave, game type.
London reproof
for 2 ” nitro powder cartridges between 1925-54.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9"
from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction

Right Barrel

12 (0.729")
0.016" (Mod)

Left Barrel

12 (0.729")
0.025" (IM)

The Original Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured, dark walnut. The stock has neutral cast at heel and light cast-off at toe, features a vacant white metal oval on the heel (Blanch’s traditional location) and a 1/4” chequered, horn butt plate secured with engraved screws.

Highly Figured Walnut

The 20 lines per inch chequering is refreshed to the normal J Blanch design of fully chequered forend with a narrow unadorned border and a stock pattern that closely follows the outline of the lock plate.
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 1/2 - "
14 1/2 +"
14 1/2"
14 7/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 1/2"
1 5/8"
Cast-off at Comb
Cast-off at Heel
Negligible (3/16" approx.@ Toe)

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:
Scott & Baker patent no. 761 of 1878;

Scott's gas check patent no. 617 of 1882;
 'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
 'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865;
 Needham & Hinton interceptor sear patent no. 706 of 1879;
Hollis's forend catch patent no 953 of 1873.