Stephen Grant, 67a St James's Street, London
12 bore Back Action Hammergun
No. 3271, No 1 of pair

Date of manufacture: 1872

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Heritage Guns' Comment

This is a superb example of a Best London sidelever hammergun from this highly respected gunmaker, made when hammerguns were heading for their zenith in terms of design and aesthetics. This gun exhibits two interesting transitional features rarely seen in later guns of this type. The first are the very obvious large hammers that protrude into the line of site even when cocked. Many game shots of the time preferred this design feature as they felt that it aided them in perceiving forward allowance, while others favoured the 'low, out of sight when cocked' feature of later guns. The second feature is less obvious and is the Hodges bolting patent which uses two free floating bolts to engage with the side projections on the rear lump as well a single Purdey-like bite. However, even here the patent specification is partially ignored, as the single Purdey bite should be in the front lump not the rear. This can be considered as the success of practicality over specification as a rear bite is mechanically far superior. The gun was undoubtedly actioned by EC Hodges himself as shown by the trademark stampings on breech face and action flats, he being the premier actioner of early centre fire breechloaders to the London trade.
It is significant to note that although this gun was bought as one of a pair of primarily sporting guns, the overall weight and broad flat top rib give the gun a very 'Live Pigeon' feel. The 30" barrels have been TIG sleeved and reproofed for 2 ¾" 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.


The action is of traditional back action sidelock design and features:
Side lever operating a Hodge patent bolt which engages the rear lump by way of lateral projections and single bite;
Long top strap;
Double triggers;
Grant's extractor mechanism;
Rebounding back action locks with high level Dolphin hammers;
Finely chiselled 'Percussion' fences
and Anson forend catch.
Gun weight 7lb 3oz
Engraving style Best foliate scroll. 'S. GRANT'S PATENT' engraved under the action bar 'EC HODGES PATENT 69' stamped on breech face. '1' is engraved on forend, trigger guard and top rib. EC Hodges trade mark stamped on both action flats. 'GRANT & HODGES PATENT 69' is formed on a white metal plaque inlaid to action bridge.
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ½ lbs Rear trigger 4 ½ lbs
The TIG sleeved steel to damascus barrels are 30" in length, chambered for 2 3/4" (70mm) cartridges and are of brazed 'through' lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib
is of the broad, flat 'Live Pigeon' type.
Birmingham proof for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2017.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
18.4mm (0.724")
0.012" (IC)
Left Barrel
18.3mm (0.720")
0.015" (Mod)

The Replacement Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from lightly figured walnut. The stock is cast off for a right-handed shot and features a white metal oval engraved with stylised eagle and finely engraved (original) heel and toe plates. The forend has a finely engraved steel tip.

Figured Walnut Stock & Forend

The fine 22 lines per inch chequering is freshened to normal semi-borderless, 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 1/2"
14 7/8"
14 3/4"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 5/8"
1 3/4"
2 1/4"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/8" approx.
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;
James Purdey's patent no. 1104 of 1863;
EC Hodges patent no. 251 of 1871;
Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.