William Powell & Sons 16b Bar-action, Bar-in-Wood Hammergun
no. 8250

Year of production: 1886-1887

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Heritage Guns' Comment

William Powell & Sons were justly renowned for their Bar-in-Wood hammerguns in the 19th Century and for all its understated border engraving, this is a very pretty example.
Made originally with 29" damascus barrels, we believe than in 1977 a second set of 28" steel barrels were added and the case relined to take both sets. Both sets of barrels have been re-proofed in 2012: the steel to 2 ¾" nitro and the damascus to 2 ½" nitro. We have also relined the case, as it was getting very shabby inside, and fitted the original label.
The 3-part ebony and brass rod was with the gun when we found it and we have no reason to doubt that it was the original rod supplied when the gun was new. One hammer has possible been repaired and the chequered thumb piece re-chequered.
With its lockable Maker's case, two sets of barrels and sensible length stock, it represents a pretty and highly 'shootable' gun for either game or clays.


The action is of traditional bar-in-wood design and features:
Double triggers;
Bar action locks; Stanton patent rebounding, low level hammers; Broad strikers;
Top lever opening, operating a 'Purdey Bolt' by way of 'Scott Spindle';
Passive 'Doll's Head' top extensions;
Anson's pushrod forend catch.
Gun weight 6lb (damascus) 6lb 4oz (steel)
Engraving style Border with scroll detail.
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 1/2lbs Rear trigger 4lb
The damascus barrels are 29" in length, chambered for 2 ½ " (65mm) cartridges; the steel barrels are 28" in length and chambered for 2 ¾" (70mm) cartridges and are both of brazed 'dovetail' lump construction with soft soldered ribs. There is some light, vestigial pitting to the damascus barrels, left in to maintain wall thickness.
Top ribs are of the smooth, concave, game type.
Damascus: London reproof for 65mm nitro powder cartridges:
Steel: Birmingham reproof
for 70mm nitro powder cartridges,
both in 2012.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Steel Right Barrel
16.8mm (0.661)
0.027" Minimum
0.008" (IC)
Left Barrel
16.8mm (0.661)
0.023" Minimum
0.020" (Mod)
Damascus Right Barrel
17.2mm (0.677)
0.022" Minimum
0.002" (Skeet)
Left Barrel
17.2mm (0.677)
0.020+" Minimum
0.002" (Skeet)

Straight hand grip Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from well figured walnut. The forend has 2 inlet edge repairs and the stock carries a vacant white metal oval and is finished with a ¾" leather covered recoil pad. The stock is lightly cast-off for a right-handed shot.

Well figured walnut

The 20 lines per inch chequering has been freshened in a 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 5/8"
14 11/16"
14 11/16"
15 1/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 7/16"
1 5/8"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/4" (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,
'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865,
Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872,
Stanton's rebounding lock patent no. 367 of 1867.