Theophilus Murcott, 68 Haymarket, London
'Mousetrap' 16 bore Bar Action Sidelock
no. 2446

Year of manufacture: 1861-78

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Heritage Guns' Comment

This gun is a fine and rare example of an historic design which looks so normal today but in its time was truly ground breaking. It was the first commercially successful hammerless shotgun and many of the features that we see in modern double-barrelled guns are present here. Theophilus Murcott was well known in his day for innovation and the quality of his work and his gun's success was helped by copious advertising in the sporting periodicals of the period and much editorial copy.
What particularly stands out with this example is not only the amazing condition of the gun both internally and externally but also the production modifications that were made to the original forgings. Close examination will show that not only have the lockplates have been extended at their upper front edge but the top tang, presumably a 'fish tail' in the original, has been also extended to give a long top tang.
This is a very rare opportunity to acquire such a fascinating gun, not only in an unusual gauge size but also with fantastic shootable dimensions.



The action is of Murcott's own design and features:
Double triggers;
Non-auto 'Swing' safety;
Bar action locks;
Long top strap;
Lever cocking;
Snap under-lever, operating a modified 'Purdey' type bolt;
Cross bolt/Wedge forend fastening.

Engraving style Border and Bold Foliate Scroll. Gold 'LOCK'D' inlaid on top of action. Action flats stamped with Murcott's 'Hammerless' trade mark and patent Use No.
Gun weight
6lb 9 ½ oz
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ½ lbs Rear trigger 3 ¾ lbs
The re-browned, fine Damascus barrels are 30" 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.
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
Left Barrel
(@ 8" from muzzle)

The Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured walnut and the stock-cast is very nearly neutral, features a vacant white metal oval, well defined drop points and an engraved iron butt plate secured with engraved screws. There is a small inlet repair to the front of the comb.
The forend is fitted with a horn tip.

Highly Figured walnut

The 16 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 3/8"
14 3/4"
14 3/4"
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

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:
Murcott's hammerless patent no 103 of 1871.