J Wells, 6 Bishopsgate Street Without, EC
12 bore Bar-action hammergun
no. 5400

Year of manufacture: 1871-1887

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Heritage Guns' Comment

This hammergun represents a very good example of the provincial sporting hammergun that were sold in substantial numbers in the last quarter of the 19th century. The maker is unknown to any of our records which begs the question whether the name on the rib was the gunmaker, retailer or even the owner! The gun is not of the normal hardware store lowly quality: the 4 pin bridle Stanton rebounding locks are of high quality and the Damascus barrels have a lovely pattern. The wood is of good figure and very nicely finished and this coupled with the sensitive restoration makes it a very pretty and highly 'shootable' gun for either game or clays.


The action is of traditional design and features:
Double triggers;
Stanton rebounding bar-action locks with ornate scrolled hammers;
Percussion fences;
Sprung strikers;
Top lever opening, operating a 'Purdey' type bolt by way of 'Hall' leverwork;
Cross-wedge forend fastening..
Engraving style Fine scroll with traces of original colour and dog & game vignettes on both lockplates. Gun weight 7lb 3oz
Trigger pulls
measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ¾ lbs Rear trigger 4lbs
The re-browned Damascus barrels are 30" in length, chambered for 2 ¾ " (70mm) cartridges and are of brazed 'dovetail' lump construction with soft soldered ribs. There is some isolated pitting to the outside of the tubes due to poor storage conditions in the distant past and the bores exhibit a little vestigial pitting in both tubes just forward of the chambers.
Top rib is of the smooth, concave, game type and both ribs were recently re-laid.
London reproof for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2011.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
18.7mm (0.736")
0.012" (IC)
Left Barrel
18.6mm (0.732")
0.022" (Mod)

The original Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured walnut and the stock is very lightly cast off for a right-handed shot. There are 3 small antique wood inlays to the body of the stock The forend has an ornately inlet horn tip and one small inlet repair to its edge.

Highly figured walnut
The 20 lines per inch chequering has been freshened to its original sidelock design, features a vacant white metal oval, well defined drop points and is finished with a horn butt plate secured by engraved screws. The stock is finished with a traditional linseed oil based preparation as used on best guns by one of the top English makers. This finish uses no grain fillers to achieve its deep, smooth lustre, only many hours of alternate build and flatting off of the surface.

Approximate stock measurements at date of publication:

Pull to Heel
Pull to Bump
Pull to Centre
Pull to Toe
14 1/8"
14 1/4"
14 1/4"
14 3/4"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 11/16"
1 7/8"
2 3/16"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/8" (approximate)

For the purposes of these measurements, 'Drop at Face' is the 'drop' measurement taken on a line perpendicular to the
line joining the trigger and centre of the butt at approximately 8" from the trigger (front trigger on a double trigger gun).

Patents Exhibited include:
Stanton's rebounding lock patent no. 367 of 1867,
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863,
J Hall bolting patent no. 2396 of 1871.