Heritage Guns Update 30th January 2020

Welcome to another Update from the workshop of Heritage Guns in Suffolk, England and (although it is very late) may I wish you a very happy New Year!

As I write, the UK shooting seasons are finishing with only foreshore wildfowling continuing on into February. I have had a rather sparse season with a couple of small, walk round days and just two ‘proper’ days, all courtesy of the estate that surrounds our home and where I pick-up on their main, driven days. Certainly the highlight was the last day on 25th January which as usual presented us with some really testing shooting as the wily pheasant and partridge that had avoided the Guns by flying high and wide were unceremoniously surrounded by our established shoot team who knew all their tricks!

Tilly the labrador has had a wonderful time not doing as she should: running in has largely been avoided by way of lead and immovable object but she is still a hunter not a retriever by choice and I still have to ‘rugby tackle’ runners that are often deposited some 2’ from my two feet! She obviously believes that I should have to work for my dinner! Worst instance was a very lively cock pheasant that she retrieved some 5 times before I managed to get a hand to it, in full view of the shooting team of course, much to their amusement.

November saw the open season start for all our female deer species (and the end of our Roe buck season) and I had a few days chasing the Red hinds in the Lake District.  Yes, it was wet (very wet) and nothing died but I enjoyed the experience and the company of the stalker a great deal. I have already booked for next November when I hope I be luckier! I then moved on to Northumberland in search of Roe does, actually achieving my first double cull from a high seat: a brace of yearling does.

The weather here has been grey and wet all winter: fields remain unplanted as the farmers cannot get their machinery on to them and apparently there is going to be a shortfall in the availability of spring seed so this year looks like being a grim one for the farming community. In our area, we have had only one serious frost so unless we get some really cold weather in the next couple of months it doesn’t look good for crop disease & pests: carrot fly, flea beetle and slugs will have a field day.

Anyway, enough of me: how about some gun news?

We are only two weeks away from the British Shooting Show at the NEC, Birmingham (14th – 16th February) where I am sharing a double stand with my good friend J-P Daeschler of John Dickson & Son. This is the most remarkable event, rather like the US Shot Show or Germany’s IWA, but aimed at the shooting public rather than trade. Last year I had a single stand and it was really difficult for people to get on and view my stock so this time we have bitten the bullet financially to get the space to really display the guns and cases at their best. Hopefully we will do well. On display will be all my stock currently in the UK including a couple of guns that due to the lack of antiquity I cannot easily exhibit in the USA. As it happens they are both by J Blanch & Son: a lovely SLE from 1912 built on William Baker’s ‘12/20’ patent and an equally pretty Anson & Deeley BLE from around 1900.


J Blanch & Son 12b SLE no 6782 and in its case below


J Blanch & Son 12b BLE no 6135


Then only a fortnight later, I will be exhibiting at the Beinfeld show in Las Vegas (28th February to 1st March). Sadly I was forced by circumstances beyond my control to miss it in 2019 so I am back this year with a large proportion of my UK & US stock. This includes:

A very high condition Scott & Baker 716 patent ‘Climax’ by Holland & Holland, original 30” damascus barrels and original highly figured wood, 2 ¾” nitro reproof.

Holland & Holland 12b SLNE ‘Climax’ no 7737


A lovely 12b SLE by James Woodward & Sons from 1896. All the Woodward style details are present and correct from the 29” barrels and Prince of Wales grip to the unique safety slide shape and clipped fences.

James Woodward & Sons 12b SLE no 4989


On the subject of James Woodward & Sons, we next have a fine, true pair of 12b SLE’s from 1898, cased and available separately or as a pair. Both feature great replacement wood, TIG sleeved original 29” barrels with 4 Teague thin-wall chokes and 2nd set of 28” barrels by Chaplin, all reproofed for 2 ¾” nitro. These are real ‘shooters’ in the best sense of the word, the interchangeable chokes and extra barrels make them extremely versatile and their long, new stocks give plenty of room for adjustment to fit.

James Woodward & Sons 12b SLE no 5241


James Woodward & Sons 12b SLE no 5242


Fabulous 1892 12b SLE by Boss & Co, gorgeous original stock and sidelever; presented in its oak & leather Maker’s case.

Boss & Co 12b Sidelever SLE no 4217


A very pretty sidelever 12b hammergun retailed by Army & Navy. This gun has 30” damascus barrels with good MWT’s and a well figured 14 ½” original stock. 2 ½” nitro reproof.

Army & Navy 12b Sidelever Hammergun no 2688

Next is another hammergun, this time by that illustrious maker Boss & Co. This is a most unusual gun that uses bolting and forend catch mechanisms patented by established Birmingham gunmakers, rather than the ubiquitous Purdey Bolt and Scott Spindle. 30” TIG sleeved barrels and a fantastic, highly figured stock make this a truly wonderful gun that combines a quality name, an unusual (possibly unique for this maker) mechanism and beauty all in one package.

Boss & Co 12b Toplever Hammergun no. 3374


Then we have a cased 1889 1st Type Royal by Holland & Holland: 12b x 28” x 2 ¾” nitro. Replacement barrels and wood so good for another 130 years!

Holland & Holland 12b 1st Type Royal no 12536

This is the very interesting Holland & Holland 2nd Type Royal from 1892. Filling the gap between the 1st type Royal and the later No.2 Royal, it has features from both which makes it a very rare beast.

Holland & Holland 12b No 2 Royal no 14495 in its relined leather and brass case.

Holland & Holland 12b No 2 Royal no 14495




And this 1893 William Powell & Son SLE with its non-functioning hammers is probably a completely unique gun, certainly by this highly respected gunmaker, and having the records confirm its original specification puts the icing on the cake.

Unique William Powell & Son 12b SLE with non-functioning hammers no 9622


Bringing up the rear are two guns by that doyen of the London guntrade, James Purdey & Sons. The first is a classic self-opening SLE from 1884, cased in oak & leather.

James Purdey 12b Self-opening SLE no 11368



The other is a James Purdey 12b Thumblever Hammergun no 7953: 31” TIG sleeved barrels and a lovely original stock. This gun is very much a ‘Pigeon’ weight gun although it was built as one of a pair of game guns and I suspect that the original owner was aiming for a dual purpose tool when he specified the build.  Photos will follow soon.

As usual I have a few other guns with MacNab Fine Firearms in Virginia. Don’t forget, these are all pre-1899 so can be shipped direct to your address with no FFL involvement.

Fabulous, true pair of 1897 James Woodward & Sons 12b SLE’s, cased, original 29” barrels and stocks;
1st Type 12g H&H Royal SLE from 1891: 28” x 2 ¾” replacement steel barrels and 15” replacement stock;
12g 1887 hammergun by William Rochester Pape;
A lovely 12g 1890 Underlever SLE by James Woodward and Sons, the ‘Automatic’ model, cased;

I look forward to seeing you all at the British Shooting Show, in Las Vegas or April 2020 at the Southern Spring S/S Classic.

Keep safe and enjoy your guns!

Post Script

I apologise but I forgot to mention the guncases that I have recently uploaded to our case stock page.

There are five new additions and you can view full details and prices here.

A quick rundown is as follows:

Ref. 011468 Leather and brass case, blocked for 12b, relined in burgundy baize with a modern James Purdey & Sons black and gold leather trade label (possibly a reproduction). (Some loose blocking to allow for adjustments)


Ref. 051528 Leather double case for 12b, original ‘Rifle Green’ lining with black & gold leather Maker’s trade label.


Ref. 071676 Oak & leather Boss & Co single guncase, recently relined with red baize and fitted with an apparently original Maker’s paper trade label.


Ref. 101754 Oak & leather James Woodward & Sons single guncase, recently relined with red baize and fitted with an original Woodward paper trade label.


Ref. 371200 Canvas and leather single guncase, lined with red baize and fitted with a reproduction Boss & Co paper label.


All the above cases will be on view at the British Shooting Show but whether they are going to Las Vegas is undecided as it will depend of room available in my flight cases. However, if you have a strong interest in one, let me know and I will try to fit it in.