What a Woodward! A great gun from a mysterious maker …

James Woodward & Sons, St. James St., Gunmaker case label
James Woodward & Sons, St. James St., Gunmaker case label

Of all the famous London gunmakers, James Woodward & Sons is the most mysterious. Great examples of their doubles are hard to find. So is reliable information about the company.

JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE
JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE

We do know that James Woodward opened his business in 1874 and that his company was bought by James Purdey & Sons in 1948. In its 74 years, Woodward may have built around 4,500 guns or so — no one is sure about the exact number. The company introduced its famous Woodward over & under in 1913.

JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE
JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE

The James Woodward & Sons side-by-side you see here is one of the nicest Woodward SxSs I’ve seen on the market in years. It made around 1930, and according to the seller it’s in minty condition. It’s a big gun, and its weight, broad, file-cut rib, sideclips, and 2 3/4″ chambers make me thing it may have been made with live-pigeon shooting in mind.

The deep cut, arcaded fences on this gun are one of Woodward’s signature features. So is this gun’s T-shaped safety.

JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE
JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE

Read this article from Gray’s Sporting Journal to learn more about James Woodward & Sons: The enduring influence of the gunmaker’s gunmaker.

Go here to see from great OUs: James Woodward & Sons. A pair of 12g over and under guns.

JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE
JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE

JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE: #6952, 30″ BARRELS, CHOKES .008″ AND .027″, CHAMBERS 2 3/4″, DOUBLE TRIGGER, EJECTOR, SPLINTER FOREARM, ENGLISH GRIP, MINT, MAKERS CASE, 7LBS 11 OZ, 2 1/4″ DAH, 1 1/2″ DAC, 14 3/4″ LOP. Price: $39,500

JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE
JAMES WOODWARD BEST SXS 12 GAUGE

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