Heritage Guns Update 14th October 2018

It is now just over 2 week since my return to the UK from Virginia USA, having exhibited at the Vintage Gunners Cup in Maryland a week earlier.

The show was a great success for me, selling a surprising number of guns including the pair of Holland & Holland 1st Type Royals in their double case with additional single case. I was SO pleased to find a buyer for this pair, hating to split a true pair that have remained together for nearly 130 years. Tony & Anne became the new custodians of these lovely guns and left the show on Sunday morning with huge smiles on their faces! I have since received great reports of sporting success and couldn’t be more pleased.

The weather was very kind to us on Friday and Saturday but the sting in the tail was Sunday’s downpour! Bob of MacNab Fine Firearms and I were the last to finish packing as the rain pelted down but of course as we loaded the cars and headed out, the clouds cleared and the sun shone. It was as if the weather was saying ‘Just don’t take liberties with me’!

I was very fortunate to stay on for a few days after the show with Bob & Barbara in Virginia and had a great day shooting clays at the Homestead in Hot Springs and fishing the Cascades trout stream courtesy of David J and Bob. A huge thanks to them both.

The hot, dry summer in the UK is now a distant memory as we head into autumn but we are still experiencing ridiculously high temperatures for this time of year, it has reached 24C several days this past week and no sign of any frost yet. We have rain today and the grass in the meadows has largely recovered from the dust-bowl of August but the farmers are certainly going to be challenged by the need to buy in foodstuff for the stock having had to feed them through the summer on precious feed destined for the winter.

The garden is very quiet now with the swallows and pied wagtails et al gone south and the leaves from the maple, hawthorn and walnut are littering the lawn and patio and blocking our gutters. A month full of leaf raking and gutter clearance beckons, oh joy!

Following our visit in the summer, the news from Isle of Mull is not brilliant. Graham, the new estate manager and stalker, tells me that very few older stags have returned to the estate for the rut. There are plenty of youngsters around apparently but very few mature animals. Mind you they have been busy culling the free-range pigs that have gone off to breed in the bracken beds away from the areas where they are meant to reside. One cannot help but wonder if the surfeit of pigs is connected to the dearth of stags.

After my abortive stalking attempts in August, I have booked a couple of sessions in early November on the BACS managed area at Hockwold in Thetford Forest. 1st November is the beginning of the doe/hind season in England & Wales and sees all our deer species in season except for Roe bucks who finish on 31st October. As this is commercial forestry the management plan is pretty drastic so I hope to see all our woodland species and maybe get a shot or two.

Tilly is her same old self, starting to show a little grey round the muzzle but behaving like a youngster! The local estate starts its shooting season in a week or two and I am really looking forward to getting out with her to pick up on the driven days. All of us helpers get invited to the odd day’s shooting which is low key and great fun: a half dozen shots, lunch taken in the garden with an odd tipple of sloe gin or a can of beer thrown in.

Anyway, to business:

Quite a few of these guns are in the USA with my colleague Bob Nay of MacNab Fine Firearms and these are priced in US$’s and have a link on their page and stock list to Bob’s email.

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 make 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.




An 1889 12g H&H Royal SLE, replacement wood and 28” x 2 ¾” steel barrels, beautiful gun;



12g Leech SLE, 28” x 2 ¾” rebarrelled by the makers with highly figured replacement stock.




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 on No 1, original damascus on No 2, 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.