Henry Turner, High Street, Marlborough
12 bore Back Action Hammergun
no. 3953

Date of manufacture: 1868-1887

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Heritage Guns' Comment

By the 1870's the centre fire hammergun had become the standard shotgun design for all but the very poorest or most conservative sportsman and even outside the major gunmaking centres, it held sway.
This hammergun retailed by a little know provincial gunmaker and engraver is a typical example of the guns that were produced in their thousands in London and Birmingham for the domestic guntrade. Very rarely do they demonstrate anything other than a slavish adherence to the norms of the period. However, this gun somewhat breaks the mould and possibly represent an unusual customer order for something that he had seen or heard about.
Patented in 1877, the captive forend with its sprung catch is a novel way round the three main existing designs, all of which would have required the payment of a royalty to their inventors. The patentees of this forend catch were none other than EW Wilkinson, the owner of the Charles Osborne & Co name in Birmingham, and CO Ellis who was Charles Osborne's grandson.
Its 29 ½ " 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 traditional back action sidelock design and features:
Rebounding back action locks with high 'C Scroll' hammers, Sprung strikers,
Top lever operating a Purdey Bolt by way of Hall lever work,
Long top strap, Double triggers
and Ellis & Wilkinson captive forend catch.
Gun weight 6lb 11oz
Engraving style Border & Foliate Scroll. Finely carved percussion fences.
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 4 lbs Rear trigger 3 3/4 lbs
The original damascus barrels are 29 ½ " 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 2013.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel

0.021" MWT
(at 7" from muzzle)

0.002" (Skeet)
Left Barrel
0.022" MWT
(at 5" from muzzle)
0.003" (Skeet)

The Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured walnut. The stock is cast-off for a right-handed shot, features a vacant white metal oval and is finished with engraved heel and toe plates. The forend features an engraved steel diamond, forend catch release disc engraved with the patent use number and a carved horn tip. There are two inlets repairs to the forend edges and another behind the release catch disc.

Highly Figured walnut

The 18lines 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 1/4"
14 1/4"
14 3/4"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 9/16"
1 3/4"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/8" (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:
Stanton's rebounding lock patent no. 367 of 1867;
J Hall's bolting patent no. 2396 of 1871;
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
Ellis & Wilkinson's forend fastener patent no. 292 of 1877.