James Woodward & Sons, 64 St James's Street, London
12 bore Bar Action Sidelock Ejector
'The Automatic'
no. 4989
(No. 2 of a Pair)
Date of Manufacture: 1896

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Heritage Guns' Comment

I have had the huge privilege to work on several of these Woodward ‘Automatic’ sidelock ejectors and have always been impressed by the shear, uncompromising quality of the gunmaking. Gun no 4989 displays all the classic Woodward styling features including the bolstered tumbler pivots, engraving style, unique safety slide, breech side-clips and is built on a ‘flat back’ action, almost unheard of by this time in Best London sidelocks.
The original highly figured stock has undergone several different grip styles since its creation: built originally as a straight-hand, it was converted to a very full pistol grip and we have taken it back to a classic ‘Prince of Wales’ in keeping with Woodward tradition. The original Whitworth steel barrels were replaced in 1954 by a steel, dovetail lump Birmingham made set although the top rib bears the Woodward name and address so we really have no idea who did the work. We have had them reproofed for 2 ” nitro. Engraving remains wonderfully crisp on locks, action and furniture so the main focus of our restoration has been to get the gun into a sound serviceable condition.
This gun’s fabulous condition coupled with our light-touch restoration makes it a very useable, safe and highly collectable gun for either game or clays.


The action is of traditional sidelock design and features:
Toplever opening, operating a double bite ‘Purdey Bolt’ via a ‘Scott Spindle’;
Double triggers bolted by an automatic, top tang, Woodward-style safety slide;
Articulated front trigger;
Bar action, 9 pin sidelocks with bolstered tumbler pivots;
Robertson style interceptor sears;
Gold lined cocking indicators;
Vented, disc-set strikers;
‘Perkes’ ejector box;
‘Anson’ forend catch;
Arcaded, clipped fences.
Engraving style Very best foliate scroll. Breech face stamped ‘THE AUTOMATIC’ TRADE MARK’ and ‘JAMES WOODWARD & SONS’. Gold inlaid ‘SAFE’. Toplever and forend tip gold inlaid ‘2’.
Gun weight
6lb 12oz        
Trigger pulls
measure approximately: Front trigger 3 lbs, Rear trigger 4 lbs.
The replacement steel barrels are 29" in length, chambered for 2 " (70mm) cartridges and are of dovetail lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top ribs are of the smooth, concave game type.
Birmingham reproof for 2 ” nitro powder cartridges in 2018.

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")
0.002" (Skeet)

Left Barrel

18.5mm (0.728")
0.020" (Mod)

The originally Straight-hand Stock (since converted to PoW grip) and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured walnut and the stock has neutral cast, features well defined drop points, horn grip cap secured by an engraved screw, two white metal, engraved ovals and a leather covered 1” recoil pad. The forend has a finely engraved steel tip.

Highly Figured Walnut and below,
Two Engraved Ovals.

The approx. 18 lines per inch chequering has been recut 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
15 1/8"
15 3/4"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 1/2"
1 5/8"
2 5/16"
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:
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
 'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865;

Perkes ejector patent no. 12176 of 1887;
Anson forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.