Wilkinson & Son, Pall Mall, London.
.410 Back-action Hammergun
No. 7107
Year of manufacture: 1879

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Heritage Guns' Comment

James Wilkinson was trained under Henry Nock, a highly respected gunmaker of the muzzle loading era. He then became a partner to Henry in 1785, setting up on his own at the same address in 1805. James's son was acknowledged in the business name in 1818 and James died in 1848.
The firm was known for high quality guns and cutlery and the name survives to this day in the famous Wilkinson Sword razor blades although they ceased to sell guns in 1939 with the outbreak of the 2nd WW.
This lovely .410 hammergun was made originally as a double rifle and although the precise calibre of ammunition is unknown, from its light weight it can be assumed it was chambered for one of the lighter recoiling, black powder rounds. With the change in UK certificate rules over recent decades, many small double rifles were bored out to become smooth bore .410's or 28's so that the gun could be kept in the family without the need for a firearm licence. This made for many heavy and ungainly small bore shotguns and we generally avoid them. However, at only 5lb 5oz and with a good balanced feel, we thought this very pretty gun was worth restoring.
With the engraving still crisp on the locks and action, a nicely figured replacement stock and original steel barrels, this gun would make a very handy little gun for clays or game.


The action is of traditional design and features:
Double triggers;
Stanton's patent, back-action, rebounding locks;
Medium level hammers;
Sprung strikers;
Percussion fences;
Jones rotary underlever;
Long top strap;
Cross bolt/wedge forend fastener.
Engraving style: Full coverage of fine foliate scroll. Breech ends with a flash of scroll engraving.
Gun weight 5lb 5oz
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 lbs Rear trigger 3 ½ lbs
The steel barrels are 27" in length, chambered for 3" (76mm) cartridges and are of brazed 'dovetail' lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib
is of a flat, file cut style with an inlet where the rear sight would have been. The original front rifle sight is still fitted.
There are a few vestigial pits in the otherwise bright, clean bores.
Birmingham reproof for 76mm nitro powder cartridges in 2016.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
11.0mm (0.433")
0.002" (Skeet)
Left Barrel
11.0mm (0.433")
0.003" (IC)

The replacement Pistol Grip Stock and original Splinter Forend are crafted from well figured walnut. The stock carries no detectable cast, a horn grip cap and is finished with an engraved iron butt plate secured by engraved screws.
The forend features a horn tip which has been repaired and refitted.

Well Figured walnut

The 20 lines per inch chequering has been refreshed to a normal sidelock pattern.
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 7/8"
15 1/8"
15 1/16"
15 3/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 3/8"
1 5/8"
Cast-off at Comb
Cast-off at Heel

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:
Jones rotary underlever patent no. 2040 of 1859;
Stanton's rebounding lock patent no. 367 of 1867.