Heritage Guns Update 28th June 2020
I hope you all are weathering the trials of the C19 pandemic safely.
The weather here has been incredibly hot and I have been melting in the workshop. Walking Tilly has not been much fun for either of us but she has LOVED her dive into the stream at the end of each outing! We have had the most amazing ‘fall’ of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies in recent weeks which have turned the bramble patches in ditch and hedge into flickering clouds of orange and red, a real delight.
I have been shielding since my last missive due to the reoccurrence of cancer in the family and have only left the home and workshop for hospital visits and the most essential of shopping. This has been pretty boring but honestly, being safely distanced from the rest of the human race who seem determined to infect and re-infect one another hasn’t been a particularly tough decision.
Although pest control and deer stalking is getting back into the swing (subject to social distancing rules), I can’t risk getting out at all and all our holidays and stalking trips have had to be put on ice until at least November. Even a trip to the sporting clay ground is too much of a risk so all testing is being done at home, thank goodness for understanding neighbours!
However this has not stopped me from continuing with the restoration of several guns. In fact the lock-down has enabled me to focus a little more on my work.
Soon to be completed is a sweet 16 Holland & Holland 1st Type Royal complete with the most spectacular original wood and 2 ¾” x 29” nitro damascus barrels. This gun’s stock had been heavily shortened so we have had a 3” extension fitted in amazingly well matched walnut: it’s not invisible but it is jolly good!
Another 16 is a boxlock by that great Scottish gunmaker Alexander Henry. This also has its original 2 ½” x 30” nitro damascus barrels and lovely wood. This gun’s restoration has been most challenging as it had parted company with its forend: iron, wood and all! After much searching I found a very similar Anson latch forend that could be re-worked to fit and bring this lovely little 16 back to life. My favourite restoration engraver has done a wonderful job of matching the gun’s original engraving and it’s a real peach!
In 12b, I have both hammer and hammerless nearing completion.
A Boss & Co toplever sidelock ejector is fresh back from rib relay and rejoint. Next I need to turn all replacement pins and refinish the wood; the former off to the engraver and the latter on to the oil finish rack. The barrelled action will make its way to the Birmingham Proof house who are just getting back to work as I write for 2 ¾” nitro reproof.
A bit closer to the finishing line is a sidelever hammergun by Stephen Grant. This has 30” TIG sleeved barrels and a vintage replacement stock with fabulous figure! I am just awaiting some final engraving restoration on barrels and triggerguard to finish this lovely gun off.
Last gun in the nearly finished group is a very pretty Blanch BA SLE with its original 2 ½” x 28” damascus barrels and well figured stock. Like the Grant above, I am just waiting on some engraving to finish this one off.
So that is enough of what I have coming through, what about finished guns?
Guns ready to ship include the following:
just finished this wonderful Purdey Hammergun in the last few days:
This is a rather unusual Purdey hammergun, built in 1869 as one of a pair for Lord A St.Maur, it was originally fitted with 31 1/16" (!) barrels and features a bolstered action and 'island' back action locks.
There is also the grip safety commonly found on hammerguns on this time but we are not sure if it is a later conversion (by Purdey) or a re-spec during the build as there are indications that it was not intended as original.
The engraving is fantastically crisp on all the hard metal which is testimony to the high quality of Purdey's hardening. We suspect that the beautiful hammers are vintage replacements as they exhibit rather more case colour than the rest of the gun.
Now don't get the idea that this is a light game gun! On the contrary, it is a serious target or high bird gun and suitable for 'standard' steel: TIG sleeved 2 3/4" nitro, chokes 1/4 & 1/2 (IC/Mod), MWT's in low 40's, weight 7lb 8oz, balance point 1 1/2" in front of hinge. Delicious, original French walnut stock and forend, LOP 14 7/8" including a 3/4" leather covered recoil pad.
Next we have two post-1898 guns and coincidently 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.
A lovely 12b SLE by James Woodward & Sons from 1896. All the Woodward styling details are present and correct from the 29” barrels and Prince of Wales grip to the unique safety slide shape and clipped fences.
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 5241 and 5242 feature great replacement wood, TIG sleeved original 29” barrels with 4 Teague thin-wall chokes each 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. No. 1 of the pair is already with Bob in Virginia and when we ship, No. 2 will join its partner there.
James Woodward & Sons 12b SLE no 5241 (already in Virginia)
James Woodward & Sons 12b SLE no 5242 (following soon)
James Woodward & Sons 12b SLE no 5242 in its double case. (following soon)
Also travelling out to the USA will most probably be the following interesting gun:
An 1893 William Powell & Son SLE with its non-functioning hammers which 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.
And following a bit further back down the restoration road:
Pair of James Purdey & Sons 12b toplever hammerguns with 30”x 2 ¾” TIG sleeved barrels, cased;
16b Lightweight Thomas Turner backaction hammergun, complete with original cut-away stock;
12b Boss & Co RUL hammergun with 30”x 2 ¾” TIG sleeved barrels;
12b James Purdey & Sons self-opening sidelock ejector, 30”x 2 ¾” TIG sleeved barrels with interchangeable Teague chokes;
12b Holland & Holland 1st Type Royal sidelock ejector with 30”x 2 ¾” chopperlump steel barrels, cased.
Bob Nay of MacNab Fine Firearms holds some of my antique stock for immediate
delivery (pre-1899 so no need for an FFL – they can be shipped direct to your
An extremely rare, un-messed-with pair of 1897 James Woodward & Sons 12b SLE’s complete with original barrels and stocks and many accessories.
A classic 1st Type 12g Holland & Holland from
1891 with 28”x 2 ¾” replacement steel barrels and lovely 15” replacement stock.
1st Type 12g H&H Royal SLE no 14145
A very nice baraction hammergun by WR Pape with 30” damascus barrels.
12g 1887 hammergun by William Rochester Pape;
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
I also have some new additions to my guncase inventory:
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.
Well, that is about it for now.
I wish you all the very best of health during the unprecedented challenges that lie ahead and would implore you to consider the risks to yourself and others when considering plans to travel away from your home base.
Very best regards,