Update 31st March 2016
Welcome to my March 2016 Update.
Since getting back from Las Vegas in January, I have been working continuously on the stock for the upcoming Southern Side by Side Championship held at Deep River Sporting Clays, Sanford NC, which kicks off in exactly three weeks’ time, 22nd – 24th April. I am delighted with what I have managed to get done, a record number of guns to ship out, over 20 in total, a few of which are real gems! More information later.
Since I have been back, Moss the Delinquent Labrador’s infection of his ‘water works’ has been finally diagnosed as untreatable prostate cancer complicated by reoccurring infections so he is now on palliative care until the disease runs its course and he goes to the great driven shoot in the sky.
Tilly, the Pocket Rocket, is still as mad as a box of frogs from time to time, interspersed with periods as a charming, obedient shooting partner. Problem is, you never quite know which of her two personas you are going to get! She seems to get particularly pent up with excitement if kept under strict control for any length of time and when let off just explodes! Very amusing for onlookers but frustrating if you are trying to get something done.
Weather here has been typically unpredictable, Monday we had extreme storm conditions across most of southern England and today it has been warm and sunny with a massive hail and rain storm mid-afternoon. That’s an English spring for you!
guns. All being well, I will have all those listed below on display at the
Southern. Find me in the Sponsors tent closest to the clubhouse.
Sorry there are no photos as yet on the latest additions, I am working on all these right up to the wire, but I will post photos as soon as I can along with details and prices.
Latest Additions to the Stock List
John Dickson & Son 12g RA Ejector
with 30” Damascus barrels.
I am crossing everything in the hope that I will be able to display this lovely gun as ‘work in progress’. It is still currently with my engraver so will not be hardened and ready for sale in time but I am so pleased with the new stock, fine damascus and the progressing engraving that I am going to try and tack it back together to display.
Holland & Holland 12g SL with 30”
original steel barrels.
Later Royal style gun with baraction locks. Unusual, silver presentation plaque on side of stock.
Holland & Holland 20g SLE with TIG
sleeved 26” barrels.
Lovely, early Royal gun with baraction locks. This gun has had an eventful life and now sports a well figured replacement stock and completely new forend equipped with Southgate ejectors.
James Woodward & Sons 12g Hammergun with 29” Damascus barrels.
Snap underlever with backaction locks and probably unique variant on the Purdey Bolt concept. Rather than a bolt that slides back and forth, this gun has a pair of scissor type bolts, hinged at the front that snap into a long bite in the side of the lumps. A very rare beast. Beautifully figured stock and lots of original hardening colour.
John Blanch & Son 12g Backaction, Sidelever Hammergun with 28” sleeved barrels.
With its unusual ‘Creeping Vine’ bold foliate engraving and boldly figured stock, this gun is a beauty. Sidelevers are always popular and Blanch ones particularly so.
Henry Clarke & Son 16g Backaction SLE with 30” TIG sleeved barrels. One of our ‘Accipiter’ series.
Originally built as a 12g, this has been my very own ‘go-to’ gun for game and clays over the last 12 months while I explored the proposition of having my late father’s Blanch SLE rebarrelled as a 16b. I have to say I have been won over by the delightful, steady handling of this gun and my clay scores and game shooting averages have been a revelation. There is no doubt now that I will get the work done on the Blanch to mimic the Clarke.
And lastly a James Purdey 12g ‘Island Lock’ Hammergun.
30” TIG sleeved barrels.
This gun has several interesting features that I have not seen in Purdeys of this era: a central lock pin and an unidentified actioner’s trademark. However, if also has all the lovely features of a Purdey hammergun: very fine foliate scroll engraving, fine proportion and balance and well figured wood.
Guns that didn’t quite make it to Las Vegas in January
The story of this project is amazing: it came to us from a retiring gunsmith’s workshop as a box of parts, black painted barrels and no forend. When I stripped the paint off the barrels I found a very beautiful Damascus pattern, the replacement wood cleaned up well and all the parts were found to be present and correct, except the forend.
Move on 2 years and a chance visit to another gunsmith had me rummaging through a box of orphaned forends when I found what looked to be one from a Grant and, yes, it was the original one from my Triggerplate Grant, complete with serial number!
This gun features the much loved ‘mutton chop’ locks and assisted opening features that Lancaster made their trademark. However what is more unusual is the use of Southgate ejectors as original which is a blessing for anybody familiar with the ‘snail on acid’ Perkes system so often used on these guns and the horrors of regulating same. This gun is in really tremendous condition with crisp engraving and new wood. Not to be missed.
A lovely little gun, engraved with fine foliate scroll and beautifully restocked. We have just had this gun reproofed for 2 ¾” nitro as it was very close to its upper proof limit.
Other lovely guns that will be on display
For 16g aficionados, we have a lovely 30” x 2 ¾” Damascus barrelled Murcott ‘Mousetrap’. The old French walnut on this gun carries a beautiful smoky figure from its 140 odd years and the barrels’ Damascus pattern has been lovingly rebrowned.
T Murcott ‘Mousetrap’ 16g SLNE no 2446
And so on to some more 12g’s.
We will have three 12g hammerguns for you, a Boss RUL baraction with 30” x 2 ¾” TIG sleeved barrels. Fantastic original wood and lovely engraving as you would expect.
Boss & Co 12g RUL Hammergun no 2717
Next a new and very exciting stock item:
A seemingly ‘ordinary’ RUL backaction hammergun, from the little known gunmaker Maloch of Stirling but beneath the crisp bold foliate engraving, considerable remaining CCH, lovely wood and beautiful Damascus there lies a VERY rare Stanton patent rebounding mechanism. Designed solely to facilitate rebounding conversions on backaction guns, it uses a fabulous mainspring and uniquely shaped tumbler, as pictured below. It also has ‘Loaded Indicators’ mounted in the fences, yellow metal pins that protrude when a cartridge is loaded. We have never seen another example of these unique mechanisms and combined with the fabulous condition of this gun, it is a must for any serious collector of British hammerguns.
The lock internals from Maloch RUL 12g Hammergun, no 12244.
Left cocked, right fired.
Maloch of Stirling RUL 12g Hammergun no 12244
Another lovely but more mainstream hammergun is an example by T Murcott. A 12g backaction gun with 30” Damascus barrels, it was almost certainly built by Scott and exhibits all the quality that the name personifies.
T Murcott 12g Hammergun no 7032
And to finish up with we have eight more sidelocks:
have three guns by Henry Atkin, all from the period shortly after he left
Purdey to set up on his own. All built in the Boss/Grant style, probably by
John Robertson of Boss fame, no. 397 is a classic toplever, SLE with Robertson
style interceptor sears and the most beautiful fluted fences, best foliate
engraving and 28” x 2 ¾” TIG sleeved barrels.
No. 434 is cased in its original Leather and Brass and is fitted with 28” x 2 ¾” replacement steel barrels by the Maker and later fitted, Southgate ejectors.
no. 573 is actually stamped JR on the back of the action so was at least
actioned by the great man. It features a sidelever and the most unusual
interceptor sears: operating like an H&H but actually blocking the main
sears as well as the tumblers. No one I have met has seen anything like it and
they may well be unique.
The barrels on this gun are 30” x 2 ¾” TIG sleeved.
Henry Atkin (From Purdey’s) 12g SLE no 397
Henry Atkin (From Purdey’s) 12g SLE no 434
Henry Atkin (From Purdey’s) 12g SLE no 573
No inventory would be complete without a Purdey and this 1884 gun is a real treat. TIG sleeved with 28” x 2 ¾” barrels, oak & leather case, original stock and crisp engraving, it shows the tremendous skill of the Purdey craftsmen that produced a shotgun that has no doubt seen considerable use but is ready to give several more generations of service. It was built as a non-ejector but converted probably in the first few years of the new century and the quality of the conversion is quite remarkable.
James Purdey & Sons 12g SLE no 11368
Next we have
two further Holland & Holland Sidelocks.
No. 8787 is another gun in our ‘Accipiter’ series. Built as a 12g, we sleeved it to 16g to make a truly exceptional game gun.
No. 14908 is a 12g Number 2 model backaction SLE with replacement barrels by the Maker and new stock and forend wood. This is a real shooter with panache and would be ideal for serious game and clay shooting.
Holland & Holland 16g SLNE no 8787
Holland & Holland
12g SLE no 14908
The next gun by FT Baker is a real sleeper, apparently part of a deceased estate in Germany, it came into the UK via an auction house and we managed to acquire it for stock. I really couldn’t believe the incredible condition of this gun. It appears to be all original and we have done little but clean and service it. Accompanied by its contemporary leg of mutton case, this gun has to be seen to be believed.
FT Baker Needham Patent 12g SLE no 6778
Last but certainly not least is a really delightful Gibbs & Pitt patent SLNE retailer by R Roper & Son of Sheffield. The amazing thing about this gun is that it still retains the original Full/Full chokes and really good wall thicknesses in its 30” Damascus barrels. With its sidelever opening and loads of original CCH it is a real gem of a gun and ready and waiting for a chance to be used on wildfowl or long pheasants with soft shot.
R Roper, Son & Co Gibbs & Pitt patent 12g SLNE no 30540
Most of the guns mentioned above are nitro proofed for a minimum of 2 3/4" cartridges and all are pre-1897.
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Enjoy your guns and shooting wherever you are!
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