Charles Boswell, 126 Strand, London WC
12 bore Back Action Hammergun
No. 11301

Date of manufacture: 1883-87

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Heritage Guns' Comment

Charles Boswell started making guns under his own name in about 1869 and became a very successful live pigeon shooter, which in turn helped him to establish himself as one of the premier makers of live pigeon guns. His business flourished up until the 1st WW when the combined effect of that conflict and the banning of competitive live pigeon shooting conspired to bring about the decline in many of the great gunmakers of the period.
It is difficult without the detailed records to categorise gun no. 11301: it carries many of the styling pointers for a live pigeon gun, eg. side clips, but also some that are more unusual, eg. a smooth, concave rib. Also one can see from the lack of the ‘NOT FOR BALL’ proof mark on the right barrel that it was not heavily choked in both tubes. However, irrespective of the above, it certainly feels like a serious target gun rather than a light game gun and may have been ordered as a compromise for someone who shot both disciplines and Boswell was certainly the man to speak to for such a weapon.
The bolting is of the classic top lever, Scott spindle and Purdey bolt and this combined with the side clips gives a very solid lockup. The original highly figured wood is simply spectacular and the chequering is quite bold, giving a very positive grip in the hand. The damascus barrels have survived the effects of black powder and corrosive primers to be in remarkably good shape today and they appear to have their approximately original choke of about & , or in US parlance IC & Full. The 30" barrels have been reproofed for 2 ” nitro cartridges and this all adds up to a strong gun that is a joy to shoot and should give many years of service on game or clays with normal maintenance.
Presented in a relined leather and brass case with some accessories and a reproduction label.



The Action is of back action, barlock design and features:
Finely chiselled percussion fences;
Low level hammers;
Rebounding back action locks;
Side clips; Double triggers;
Toplever operating a Purdey Bolt via a Scott Spindle;
Top rib ‘Doll’s Head’ extension giving a third bite;
Anson pushrod forend fastener.
Balance point is about ” in front of the knuckle.
Gun Weight 6lb 11oz  
Engraving Style Best Bouquet & Scroll.
Locks signed ‘CHAS BOSWELL’.
Action and barrel flats stamped ‘C BOSWELL’.
Trigger Pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 lbs Rear trigger 4 lbs
The Rebrowned Damascus Steel Barrels are 30 1/8" in length, chambered for 2 " (65mm) cartridges and are of brazed dovetail construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top Rib
is of the smooth, concave game type.
London Reproof for 65mm nitro powder cartridges in 1986.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
0.013" (IC)
Left Barrel
0.035" (Full)
The Original Half Pistol Grip Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured walnut. The stock is lightly cast off for a right-handed shot and features well defined drop points, a vacant white metal oval and a horn butt plate secured with engraved screws. The forend has a finely engraved steel tip.
Delicately Figured Stock

The approximately 16 lines per inch chequering is freshened to its normal baraction 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 1/8"
14 3/8"
14 1/4"
14 3/4"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 1/2"
1 11/16"
2 1/8"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/4" approx.

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:
Stanton's rebounding lock patent no. 367 of 1867;
 'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865;
Scott's top extension patent no. 1902 of 1875;
 Anson’s forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.