William Powell & Son, 13 Carrs Lane, Birmingham
20 bore Bar-in-Wood Bar-action Hammergun no. 5806

Date of manufacture: 1874

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Heritage Guns' Comment

This gun is in lovely condition and is a fine example of the bar-in-wood guns that William Powell were famous for. Furthermore, the stock displays none of the cracks in the bar of the wood that so plague examples of the genre. What makes this gun particularly exciting is that it is a 20b, a very rare bore size to exhibit the complete set of Powell patents including toplever, inlaid strikers, striker extractor mechanism and forend catch.
This represents a very rare opportunity to acquire a small bore English hammergun with all the interesting and innovative features most commonly seen in a 12b.


The action is of William Powell's own design and features:
Double triggers;
Fluted, percussion fences;
Bar action, rebounding locks;
Self-retracting, broad strikers with 'Loaded' indicators;
Lift-up top lever opening
and Powell's lever forend catch.
Gun weight 5lb 12oz.
Engraving style Best Foliate Scroll. Silver inlayed 'LOADED' on strikers. Toplever engraved 'POWELL'S PATENT'. Forend catch and striker retractor engraved 'PATENT'.
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ¾ lbs Rear trigger 4 lbs
The fine Damascus barrels are 29" 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, convex, game type. There are some vestigial pits to both barrels, left in to preserve wall thickness. The MWT measurements are close to the muzzles.
Birmingham re-proof for 70mm nitro cartridges in 2015.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
16.2mm (0.638")
0.006" (IC)
Left Barrel
16.2mm (0.638")

0.006" (IC)

Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured walnut. The stock is lightly cast-off for a right-handed shot, features a vacant white metal oval, well defined drop points and is fitted with an engraved steel butt plate secured with engraved screws. The forend has three inlet repairs to its very fine edge.

Highly Figured Walnut

The 22 lines per inch chequering is freshened to 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 1/4"
14 5/8"
14 1/2"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 5/8"
1 3/4"
2 1/16"
Cast-off at Comb
Cast-off at Heel
1/16" approx
1/8" 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;
Powell's forend fastener patent no. 2193 of 1873;
Powell's inlaid and extracting striker patent no. 1055 of 1869;
Powell's top lever patent no. 1163 of 1864.