Edmund Woods, 46 Waterloo Road, London
12 bore Bar Action Hammergun
No. 1084

Date of manufacture: pre-1880

Very likely made as a Live Pigeon Gun.

Click on these images for more detail.

Heritage Guns' Comment

Edmund Woods was in business in the centre of London from 1864 until 1891 and gauging by the unmistakable quality of this example, his customer had money to spend..
This lovely Rotary Underlever hammergun was made in the period of much change in the gunmaking world. Centrefire guns had only recently started to replaced pinfire guns and percussion before them. Gun number 1084 was built with old-fashioned non-rebounding locks, converted in the 1880's to the modern rebounding mechanism and it also features an early type of snap action bolting. However, many of the aesthetic and design features that would become the norm can be seen in this early gun. The engraving is a very striking bold foliate pattern and not in the usual symmetrical form, in itself a high end feature.
The 30" barrels have been re-proofed for 3" nitro cartridges and this all adds up to a very strong gun that is a joy to shoot and should give many years of service on game or clays with normal maintenance.
When we started restoration on this gun, we thought it to be a most unusual wildfowler with its fine wood and lovely engraving but we dared not declare it anything but. We have since come to believe that it was made as a Live Pigeon Gun. These were often beautifully engraved as befitted their high profile while guns intended for the foreshore tended to the plain and 'workmanlike'. Furthermore, guns for the foreshore were more likely to be 8 and 10 bore in this era rather than a heavy 12b. Conversely, Live Pigeon shooting was run with strict rules of competition and a heavy, long chambered 12b would have been of great advantage.
The last piece of the puzzle is supplied by the location of Edward Woods' premises. Waterloo Road lies just south of the river Thames and to a large extent the river marks the boundary between the Victorian wealthy to the north and the poor to the south.
Many Live Pigeon shooters of that time were drawn from the working classes and the south of London was a fertile breeding ground for gambling and 'blood sports'.



The action is of traditional bar action sidelock design and features:
Percussion fences and Bold Foliate Scroll engraving;
Jones Rotary Underlever with Webley patent spring assistance;
Double triggers;
Rebounding bar action locks with high, faceted hammers;
Sprung strikers;
Cross wedge forend fastening.
Gun weight 8lb 1oz
Engraving style Bold Foliate scroll.
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ½ lbs Rear trigger 4lbs
The Damascus barrels are 30 ¼ " in length, chambered for 3" (76mm) cartridges and are of brazed dovetail lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib is of the smooth, concave game type. The RH barrel has a few light vestigial pits and there is evidence of some pitting at the front of the chambers.
London reproof for 76mm nitro powder cartridges in 2013.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
18.4mm (0.724")
0.023" (Mod)
Left Barrel
18.4mm (0.724")
0.021" (Mod)

Pistol Grip Stock and Splinter Forend
are crafted from figured walnut. The stock is cast-off for a right-handed shot and features a vacant white metal oval and engraved heel & toe plates. There is an antique inlet repair to a shake near the butt, one inlet repair to the forend's edge and the stock appears to have been converted from semi- to full-pistol grip. The forend has a horn tip.

Figured walnut

The approximately 18 lines per inch chequering is freshened to normal bar action sidelock, pistol-grip 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 1/2"
14 3/4"
14 1/2"
14 7/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 1/2"
1 15/16"
2 5/8"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/4 (approximate)
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,
Jones rotary underlever patent no. 2040 of 1859,
Webley's spring assisted bolting patent no. 3022 of 1866.