James Woodward & Sons, 64 St James's Street, London
12 bore Bar Action Sidelock Ejector 'The Automatic'
no. 4376 (No 3 of a Trio)

Built for the Earl of Craven in 1889.

Click on these images for more detail.

Heritage Guns' Comment

A highly experienced gunsmith to the English guntrade told me once that he rated James Woodward's shotguns over all other 'Makers. When we first saw this gun we were amazed by its original condition, retaining much original hardening colour and crisp engraving over all surfaces. What is more, it has its original barrels and stock, very rare for such an old and presumable well used gun. The probable explanation is that, as the third gun in a trio, it never saw the use that numbers one and two were subjected to.
We have had to do very little to the gun other than replace a few pins, improve the jointing, re-black the barrels, recolour pins and furniture and touch up wood finish and chequering. The O&L case needed a few repairs but we have kept this to a minimum, maintaining the patina of 125 years whilst improving its usability.
This gun's fabulous condition coupled with our light touch restoration makes it a very pretty, safe and highly collectable gun for either game or clays.
Presented in its original baize lined oak & leather case with some accessories and Woodward case labels.



The action is of Southgate & Woodward's 'Automatic' design and features:
Much original hardening colour;
Disc-set, sprung strikers with vented retaining pins;
Arcaded, clipped fences;
Double triggers bolted by an automatic, top tang, Woodward style safety slide;
Bar action sidelocks with bolstered tumbler pivots and gold lined cocking indicators;
Locks cocked by the combined action of lever and barrels;
Interceptor sears operated by the safety slide;
Underlever opening, operating a double bite 'Purdey Bolt';
'Perkes' ejector box and an 'Anson' forend catch.
Engraving style Very best foliate scroll with floral detail. Very probably engraved by Kell or Sumner.
Gold inlaid 'SAFE'. Top rib and top tang gold inlaid and forend iron engraved '3'.
Gun weight 6lb 8oz
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ¼ lbs, Rear trigger 4 ¼ lbs
The original, chopperlump Whitworth fluid steel barrels are 29" in length, chambered for 2 ¾" (70mm) cartridges and are of chopperlump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib is of the smooth, concave game type.
Birmingham reproof for 2 ¾" nitro powder cartridges in 1961.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
0.010" (IC)
Left Barrel
0.020" (Mod)

The original Prince of Wales 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, horn grip cap, a gold oval engraved with two interlocking 'C's and coronet and a leather covered Silver's recoil pad.
The forend has a finely engraved steel tip.

Highly Figured Walnut

The approximately 20 lines per inch chequering has been freshened to its
original bordered sidelock design.
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 3/4"
15 1/4"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 1/2"
1 3/4"
2 1/4"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/16" approx.
1/4" approx.

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:
Southgate & Woodward's 'The Automatic' action patent no. 600 of 1876;
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
Perkes ejector patent no. 12176 of 1887;
Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.