I’ve been looking at old shotguns for twenty + years now, and the one thing I still love to see more than ever is original color-case hardening, especially when it has had decades to mellow and age.
This 12 gauge sidelock by James Woodward and Sons has tons of that kind of color. It also has killer engraving and all of Woodward’s signature features — 29″ barrels, arcaded fences (kind of like claw-foot pedestals), and a T-shaped safety.
James Woodward started out in the trade around 1825 with an apprenticeship with the London gunmaker Charles Moore. In 1872, he went into business as James Woodward & Sons with his two boys, James Jr. and Charles. The firm lasted until 1948 when it was sold to James Purdey & Sons.
Up until its sale, Woodward recorded 5,184 serial numbers (they started with #2,000 and ran to #7,184). So they may have made 5,184 guns. (Or, if they assigned serial #s to extra barrels and new sets of barrels, fewer than that.) Of these, I bet fewer than 2,000 are fully refined, hammerless SxSs shotguns like the one here. That’s not a lot guns. Considering they’re all 70+ years old, finding ones in excellent original condition like this are hard to do.
JAMES WOODWARD & SONS BEST SXS 12 GAUGE: THIS IS THE HIGHEST CONDITION WOODWARD WE HAVE EVER HAD #69XX 28″ 004 AND 017 2 3/4 PROOFED DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTORS SPLINTER FOREARM PISTOL GRIP MAKERS CASE EXCELLENT ORIGINAL CONDITION 6LBS 12 OZ X 2 1/4 X 1 7/16 X 15 1/8 Price: $39,500