AJ Russell, 15 Mill Street, Maidstone, Kent, England
12 bore Box Lock Ejector
no. 29701

Date of manufacture: circa-1890


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Heritage Guns' Comment

AJ Russell was more of a sporting goods retailer than a gunmaker, which makes the unique specification of this gun so fascinating.
Grip safeties were a feature of the muzzle loading era and only just made it into the very early beach loading hammerguns so an example on an Anson & Deeley boxlock is extraordinary. Furthermore, this is not a conversion as the gun shows no sign of ever having had a more normal safety catch mechanism.
The second unusual feature is the selective ejector. Used in conjunction with a Deeley ejector box, it is a simple slide that locks the ejector tumblers, albeit set in a rather cute, engraved fitting. Sadly the detent on the catch is not strong enough to remain in 'RETAIN' mode under recoil and invariably returns to 'EJECT' mode.
Lastly, the gun is 'Grouse' choked, i.e. the tighter choke is in the RH barrel, more open in the LH. This is rarely seen and suggests its primary purpose was for driven game.
This otherwise 'normal' A&D boxlock action is profusely covered with fine border, scroll and foliate detail and this coupled with the interceptor sears, excellent barrel measurements and sensitive restoration makes it a pretty and interesting gun for either game or clays.

Fantastic value, reduced to £2690

 

The action is of Anson & Deeley design and features:
Double triggers bolted by grip safety,
Interceptor sears,
Top lever operating a 'Purdey Bolt' by way of a 'Scott Spindle' and a Greener style cross bolt,
Selective Deeley ejectors tripped by slides running from the action knuckle to the main springs,
Anson forend catch.
Gun weight 6lb 8oz
Engraving style Best border and foliate scroll with 'Fluted' fences.
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 4 lbs Rear trigger 4 1/2lbs
The 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 a flat, file cut style.
London reproof for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2012.

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")
0.740"
0.026"
0.018" (Mod)
Left Barrel
18.8mm
(0.740")
0.741"
0.022"
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 and is finished with a horn butt plate secured with engraved screws. The forend is fully chequered with the ejector selector slide mounted centrally.

Highly figured walnut

The 22 lines per inch chequering is to the normal boxlock design with well defined drop points.
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
13 7/8"
14 1/8"
14 1/8"
14 3/4"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 9/16"
1 13/16"
2 5/8"
Cast at Comb (Off)
Cast at Heel (Off)
1/16" (approximate)
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:
Anson & Deeley's boxlock patent no. 1756 of 1875,
Greener's cross bolt top extension patent no. 3090 of 1874,
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863,
'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865,
Anson's interceptor sear patent no. 4089 of 1882,
Deeley's ejectors patent no. 4289 of 1886,
Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.