EM Reilly & Co, 277 Oxford Street, London
12 bore Back Action Sidelock Ejector
no. 35079

Date of manufacture: pre 1896

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Heritage Guns' Comment

Most students of London gunmaking have heard of EM Reilly but few know much, if anything, about the man and his company. It has been said that the business was really a retailer of guns bought in from the trade, much like William Evans and J Blanch in the same period, rather than a gunmaker in the most literate sense. The gun in question here is a product of one of the most celebrated inventors and gunmakers to the trade, Thomas Southgate and is of very high quality. Other than the 'Southgate' ejector, he patented the lockwork and ejector trips on this gun, the famous 'Automatic' action with James Woodward and many others besides. In fact he may even be responsible for the design of the 'Holland & Holland' interceptor sear found on later Holland Royals as it is pictured in his patent drawings.
Its 30" damascus barrels have excellent measurements and with its beautifully figured original wood, this gun is a joy to hold and shoot and it will make a fabulous gun for either targets or game.



The Action is of Southgate's back action sidelock design and features:
Back action 9 pin locks with interceptor sears,
Top lever operating a Mills 3rd bite and a Purdey Bolt by way of a Scott Spindle,
Double triggers bolted by an automatic top tang safety slide,
Southgate ejectors tripped by sprung plates rocking in the bar of action
and Anson's push rod forend catch.
Gun weight 6lb 13 ½ oz
Engraving style Best Foliate Scroll. Webley fences with carved Acanthus leaves. Gold 'SAFE'
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 lbs Rear trigger 4 lbs
The original damascus barrels are 29 7/8" in length, chambered for 2 3/4" (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
0.024" at 9" from muzzle
0.010" (IC)
Left Barrel
0.031" (IM)

The Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured walnut. The stock is 'stocked to the fences', lightly cast-off for a right-handed shot, features a vacant white metal oval, well-defined drop points and is finished with a ¾" leather covered recoil pad. The forend features a finely engraved steel forend tip.

Highly Figured walnut

The 20 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 1/2"
14 5/8"
14 5/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 7/16"
1 5/8"
2 1/8"
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:
Southgate lockwork, ejector and interceptor sear patent no 12314 of 1889;
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865;
Mills 3rd bite patent no 4980 of 1878;
Southgate's ejector trip patent no 8239 of 1893
and Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.