James Woodward & Sons,
64 St James’s Street, London
12 bore Bar Action Sidelock Ejector
‘The Automatic’
No. 5166

Date of Manufacture: 1897

Gun No. 5166
Click on image for more detail

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. 5166 displays most of the classic styling features of this marque such as the breech side-clips, bolstered tumbler pivots, classic Woodward engraving style and unique safety slide but have moved into the ‘modern’ era with wood ‘stocked to the fences’ and beautifully finished 9 pin, bar action sidelocks cocked by Rogers’ leverwork. A very unusual feature for hammerless guns are the ‘rebounding’ tumblers on the Stanton principle which ensure that the disc-set firing pins do not hang up.
The original Whitworth Fluid Pressed Steel barrels have survived the 120 years extremely well as has the original oak & leather case and stock and forend woods. Engraving remains wonderfully crisp on locks, action and barrels, with around 50-70% of original hardening colour, and the main focus of our restoration has been to reproof the original 29” barrels for 2 ” cartridges, replace pins where necessary and refinish the wood.
Presented in its original oak & leather double case, with its original trade labels and many accessories, 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 automatic, top tang, Woodward-style safety slide;
Bar action, 9 pin sidelocks with bolstered tumbler pivots and rebounding tumblers;
Robertson style interceptor sears;
Gold lined cocking indicators;
Vented disc-set strikers;
‘Perkes’ ejector box;
‘Anson’ forend catch;
Much original hardening colour;
Rounded action bar;
Arcaded fences with side-clips.
Engraving style Very best foliate scroll.
Breech face stamped ‘THE AUTOMATIC’ TRADE MARK’
and ‘JAMES WOODWARD & SONS’. Gold inlaid ‘SAFE’.
Top rib, toplever and forend tip with gold inlaid ‘1’.
Gun weight  
6lb 15oz      
Trigger pulls
measure approximately: Front 3 lb Rear 4 lb
The original Whitworth steel chopperlump barrels are 29" in length and are chambered for 2 ” (70mm) cartridges with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib
is of the smooth, concave game type.
London reproof for 2 ” nitro powder cartridges in 2019.
Proof marks
are etched into the barrels beside the forend loop.

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” (Sk)

Left Barrel

18.5mm (0.728")
0.013” (IC)

The original Prince of Wales Stock and Splinter Forend is crafted from highly figured walnut, the stock is lightly cast-off for a right-handed shot and features well defined drop points, vacant white metal oval, horn grip cap and a 1” leather covered recoil pad. The forend has a finely engraved steel tip.

Highly Figured Walnut

The approx. 24 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 1/2"
14 1/2"
14 1/2"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 7/16"
1 3/4"
2 5/8"
Cast-off at Comb
Cast-off at Heel
 1/8" (approximate)
1/4" (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:
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
 'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865;

Stanton rebounding lock patent no. 367 of 1867;
Perkes ejector patent no. 12176 of 1887;
Anson forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.