James Woodward & Sons, 64 St James's Street, London
12 bore Bar Action Sidelock Ejector
no. 4381 (No 1 of a Pair)

Year of manufacture: 1886-91

Click on these images for more detail.

Heritage Guns' Comment

An highly experienced gunsmith to the English guntrade told me once that he rated James Woodward's shotguns over all other 'Makers. A short while later, when he saw this example, he reminded me of his comment and said it was guns like this that were the reason as it exhibited Best design and finish in every respect.
Very likely built as a non-ejector, it was converted using the 'Thomas Perkes' ejector box: a direct competitor to Westley Richard's Deeley system. In fact the two mechanisms where so similar, the two companies fought a court action over it which Richards lost. Perkes may have won the battle but he lost the war: the court costs bankrupted him. Given this history, we can be fairly certain that the conversion was done before his bankruptcy in 1898. Based on the extremely high quality of the work, we believe that the conversion was probably done in-house by Woodward or another top-flight gunmaker. Although it appears to be original, it should be noted that this gun does not have the traditionally shaped Woodward safety slide.
This gun has been recently TIG sleeved to a very high standard and this coupled with the sensitive restoration makes it a very pretty, safe and highly 'shootable' gun for either game or clays.

Presented in its burgundy felt lined, leather case with some accessories and an original Woodward case label.



The action is of traditional design and features:
Double triggers bolted by an automatic, top tang, safety slide;
Bar action sidelocks with bolstered tumbler pivots;
Gold lined cocking indicators; 'Robertson' style interceptor sears;
Disc-set strikers with vented retaining pins;
'Rogers' style cocking levers with anti-friction rollers;
Side lever opening, operating a 'Purdey Bolt';
'Perkes' ejector box;
'Anson' forend catch;
Arcaded, clipped fences.

Engraving style Very Best Foliate Scroll with Floral Detail.
Very probably engraved by Kell or Sumner.

Gun weight
6lb 9oz
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ¾ lbs Rear trigger 4 lbs
The TIG sleeved barrels are 30" in length, chambered for 2 ¾" (70mm) cartridges and are of brazed 'dovetail' lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib
is of the smooth, concave game type..
London reproof for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2014.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
18.5mm (0.728")
0.033" Minimum
0.010" (IC)
Left Barrel
18.5mm (0.728")
0.036" Minimum
0.030" (IM)

The original Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured walnut and the stock is lightly cast off for a right-handed shot, features well defined drop points, a white metal oval engraved with a 'H.J.T' (?) and a ½" ebonite butt plate secured with engraved screws.
The forend
has a small walnut inlay near the knuckle to accommodate the ejector box spring and a finely engraved steel tip.

Highly figured walnut

The 20 lines per inch chequering has been freshened to its original 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 5/8"
14 3/4"
14 13/16"
15 3/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 5/8"
1 7/8"
2 5/8"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
3/16" (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:
Roger's cocking levers patent no 397 of 1882,
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863,
Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.