James Woodward & Sons, 64 St James's Street, London
12 bore Bar Action Sidelock Ejector
'The Automatic'
no. 4394 (No. 1 of a Pair)
Date of Manufacture 1890

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Heritage Guns' Comment

I have had the huge privilege to work on several of these early Woodward 'Automatic' sidelock ejectors and have always been tremendously impressed by the unique mechanism and the shear, uncompromising quality of the gunmaking.
The gun we have here was restocked by a highly experienced professional, probably within the last 30 years, and they did a beautiful job, removing only the bare minimum of material from behind lockplates and action to maintain maximum strength. Built originally with a PoW grip, the new straight-hand grip required extension of the original triggerguard which has been sensitively engraved to match. The original chopperlump barrels have survived nearly 130 years of use and I think we can forgive the few small marks on their internal and external surfaces. The gun was most likely built as a non-ejector and was converted using the Perkes ejector box, probably by the Makers, in the 1890's. Engraving remains wonderfully crisp on locks, action and barrels and we have not had to do a great deal to the gun other than reproof for 2 ¾" nitro and improve the finish on barrels, furniture and stock.
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 contemporary oak lined case, lined in new burgundy wool baize and fitted with reproduction case labels and some accessories.




The action is of Southgate & Woodward's 'Automatic' design and features:
Double triggers bolted by an automatic, top tang, Woodward-style safety slide;
Rolled edge trigger guard;
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;
'Anson' forend catch;
Vented strikers;
Arcaded, clipped fences.
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 '1'.
Gun weight 6lb 11oz
Trigger pulls
measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ½ lbs, Rear trigger 4 ½ 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.
Few small marks in bores and on external surfaces.
Top rib is of the smooth, concave game type.
Birmingham reproof for 2 ¾" nitro powder cartridges in 2017.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9"
from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction

Right Barrel

18.8mm (0.740")
0.007" (IC)

Left Barrel

18.8mm (0.740")
0.019" (Mod)

The replacement Straight-hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from well figured walnut and the stock is lightly cast off for a right-handed shot, features well defined drop points, a vacant white metal oval and a 1" leather covered recoil pad.
The forend
has a finely engraved steel tip.

Well Figured walnut

The 20 lines per inch chequering has been refreshed 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 3/4"
15 3/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 7/16"
1 5/8"
2 3/16"
Cast-off at Comb
Cast-off 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:
Southgate & Woodward's Automatic action patent no 600 of 1876;
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
Perkes ejector patent no12176 of 1887;
Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.