Robert Roper, Son & Co, 13 Broad St, Park, Sheffield, Yorkshire
12 bore Sidelock Non-Ejector
no. 30540

Date of manufacture: 1878-87

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Heritage Guns' Comment

Robert Roper was in business in Sheffield from around 1878 until the early 1940's, probably killed off by the materials shortage during the 2nd WW. We have seen several guns by him over the years and they are characterised by simple, unostentatious engraving and the use of the very best in trade actions and design. This gun is built on the highly successful Gibbs and Pitt design of lever cocking action, one of the first hammerless designs to be welcomed by the shooting public in the gradual changeover from hammerguns. Use of this action by Roper reflects the high esteem the Gibbs & Pitt action design was held in by the buying public at the time. It was well designed, solidly built and retailed by nearly all gunmakers of the period.
The action cocks on the movement of the sidelever and then this is aided by the dropping of the barrels as the barrel lumps cam the 'Purdey Bolt' rearwards, which in turn works upon the tumblers to bring them to full cock. This makes it quite impossible to reload the gun without recocking the locks and resetting the safety, a useful safety feature.
Unusually for a gun of this age, the full/full chokes of the original gun have survived the attentions of the gunsmith's lapping machine and combined with its super strong, straight grain, replacement stock and thick barrel walls, they make this a serious gun for trap, live pigeon and wildfowling. A further safety feature is that the safety blocks the sear tails as well as the trigger blades. The original English damascus barrels have been re-proofed for 2 3/4" nitro cartridges and this all adds up to a beautiful 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 Gibbs & Pitt design and features:
Much original hardening colour;
Bar-action 'Leg of Mutton' locks;
Disc-set strikers;
Side lever opening with a double bite Purdey Bolt;
Double triggers & sear tails bolted by an automatic top tang safety slide
and a Hackett forend catch.
Gun weight 6lb 10oz
Engraving style Foliate Scroll.
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ½lbs Rear trigger 4 ½ lbs
The original damascus barrels are 30" 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.
Birmingham reproof for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2007.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
18.8mm (0.740")
0.040" (Full)
Left Barrel
18.8mm (0.740")
0.040" (Full)

The replacement straight hand Stock is crafted from lightly figured, straight grain walnut; the original splinter Forend from highly figured walnut.
The stock is lightly cast-off for a right-handed shot, features a vacant white metal oval and an engraved iron butt plate attached with engraved screws.
The forend
features an engraved steel forend tip and diamond. There are inlet repairs to its edge.

Replacement Walnut Stock & Original Forend

The 20 approx lines per inch chequering has been freshened to the original 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 1/2"
14 1/2"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 1/2"
1 3/4"
2 1/8"
Cast-on at Comb
Cast-on at Heel
1/16" 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:
Gibbs & Pitt cocking patent no. 284 of 1873;
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
Hackett forend fastener patent no. 964 of 1878.