Heritage Guns Update 18th November 2018
Just a quick note to say that the J Harkom 20g Hammergun has
been relisted after a little bit of TLC.
This gun is a fabulously finished and specified example of the small bore hammerguns often purchased for children or wives by indulgent patriarchs and represent a very rare opportunity to acquire such a fine small bore gun from this highly respected maker. Although provisionally dated to the 1875-1887 period by the original proof marks, because of their faintness, we can only definitively date the gun by the top rib address which was pre-1894.
The action is profusely covered with best fine foliate scroll, with some Celtic robe border and this coupled with our sensitive restoration makes it a very pretty and 'shootable' gun for either game or clays.
The shooting season is well under way here in the UK. I was incredibly fortunate to be invited to shoot on an all-hammergun day in Norfolk recently. My Facebook post says it all:
had an amazing day out shooting on a wonderful private estate near Swaffham in
Norfolk last Saturday. In fact I was so overwhelmed by the experience it has taken me a week to organise my thoughts enough to put
keyboard to screen!
This was a privately organised day shooting mainly partridges with C19th hammerguns. There were 10 Guns, numbering 8 in the main line with two back Guns on each drive.
Many of the Guns were significant members of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers who are responsible for overseeing the London Proof House.
The good company and excellent refreshment would have 'made' the day even without the shooting.
The drives were brilliantly orchestrated with the birds flying well in the brisk breeze but not flushing in large numbers, just trickling over mainly in groups of 2-5 with lots of singletons to catch you out!
Using C19th hammerguns was hugely challenging: none of those new-fangled safeties to put off, two hammers to keep cocked and only an exclusive few had ejectors. I have shot clays with hammerguns many times but shooting driven game was a whole new experience and surprisingly challenging.
Safety was never an issue as all the Guns were experienced and a loaded gun is a loaded gun, regardless of the mechanism, and anybody who doubts the efficacy of guns made around 150 years ago only had to watch as challenging birds were accounted for.
There simply was no need for a modern configuration, long chambers, automatic ejectors and tight chokes.
My huge thanks go out to Richard H who invited me, Richard G who organised it, Will G who tidied up behind me on several drives, the other 6 Guns who filled the line, the excellent beating line and pickers-up, Under-keeper Martin (?) and Head-keeper Tom.
Tilly also had a wonderful time, giving a running commentary on my shooting, cheering my successes, sighing loudly when I failed and collecting the fallen.’
I was having so much fun I didn’t take any photos of the day but the two guns I used (pictured below) are my J Blanch and Sons hammerguns. I started the day with my latest project: 12g backaction, sidelever, sleeved 30” x 2 ¾”, choked 0.010” & 0.020”, restocked with some lovely wood from Cecil Fredi in Las Vegas and finished off with one of my longest owned Blanch’s: a 12g baraction, sidelever, original Whitworth steel 28” x 2 ¾”, also chokes 0.010” & 0.020”. Here are some photos:
Well, back to reality!
New US stock items include:
A lovely 16g James Purdey, damascus barrelled 1872 BiW Hammergun. Quite amazing condition for its age with a very pretty antique replacement stock.
Another BiW hammergun, this time a damascus Westley Richards 12g from before 1887. A ‘Plain Jane’, she gives nothing away in terms of build and finish and with her lovely wood (forend a replacement) would make someone a very classy tool for game or clays.
Also added to the guns on consignment with MacNab since the Vintage Gunners Cup is a lovely 1st Type 12g H&H Royal: 2 ¾” x 28” replacement steel barrels and 15” replacement stock make this a very ‘useable’ gun. Great for doves and upland game.
Other guns held on consignment in the USA include:
Carrying the tightest bored Damascus barrels we have ever seen, this 12g hammergun by William Rochester Pape is one of the nicest examples of his work that we have had through the workshops in a long time. The dog & game vignettes on trigger guard and lockplates will make you smile and seriously ‘weight forward’ barrels will help you shoot well!
A lovely 12g 1890’s Underlever SLE by James Woodward and Sons, the ‘Automatic’ model. Complete with its original 29” chopperlump barrels and replacement 15” stock, this gun has been reproofed for 2 ¾” ammunition and is a real joy to handle, cased in an oak lined case with some accessories.
An 1893 12g roundaction ejector by John Dickson & Son TIG sleeved 28” with beautiful, original French walnut stock. 2 ¾” reproofed.
With my return to the workshop I am
now commencing the final refurbishment of several guns that have recently
passed nitro reproof:
J Lyell & Co 12g 30” damascus hammergun, Scottish gun with gorgeous engraving;
Transitional H&H 12g Royal (1st to 2nd Type) with original 30” steel barrels and fine original wood;
E&G Higham 28g BLNE with 28” damascus barrels (non-antique);
Joseph Lang 16g hammergun, 30” TIG sleeved barrels, highly figured original semi-pistol stock;
William Powell 12g SLE WITH HAMMERS as original!
And through reproof but still requiring specialist work before I can start work on them:
Woodward 12g toplever, SLE, original wood, 29” replacement steel barrels;
Frederick Beesley 12g SLE, 28” replacement steel barrels, highly figured replacement wood.
And lastly, guns slowly finding their way to proof or other major work:
Boss 12g sidelever SLE, original highly figured wood, 28” laser sleeved barrels;
Pair of Woodward 12g SLE’s, original wood, 29” TIG sleeved barrels with Teague Interchangeable chokes and spare 28” barrels;
Another pair of Woodward 12g SLE’s, original 29” Whitworth chopperlump barrels and lovely wood;
Thumblever Purdey 12g Hammergun, 31” TIG sleeved barrels, lovely original wood, island locks;
Purdey ‘B Grade’ 12g self-opening SLE, 30” TIG sleeved;
Stephen Grant 12g sidelever hammergun, 30” TIG sleeved, very highly figured original wood;
H&H 12g Scott & Baker patent SLNE, 30” damascus barrels, all original wood in great shape, Scott Premier style game scene engraving, fresh nitro reproof;
H&H 16g damascus Royal 1st Type;
Boss toplever 12g hammergun, 30” TIG sleeved barrels, great wood;
Boss RUL 12g hammergun, 30” TIG sleeved barrels, also great wood;
Pair 12g Purdey toplever hammergun, 30” TIG sleeved barrels, cased in oak & leather;
Thumblever 12g Purdey hammergun with original 29” damascus barrels, beautifully figured and feathered wood.
That little lot is going to keep me busy!
All the above (unless otherwise noted) are pre-1899 and can be shipped direct to most US postal addresses.
Enjoy the upcoming shooting/hunting seasons and above all, keep safe.