A nice 16g SxS that doesn’t cost a fortune…

Bargain bird gun: A St. Etienne "Heliobloc" 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors
Bargain bird gun: A St. Etienne “Heliobloc” 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors

When I first got into doubles, I thought every gun with two barrels cost a fortune–especially side by sides. Of course, to a kid just out of college they did.

But as I learned more about nice shotguns, I realized not all doubles are insanely expensive. While you can easily spend $5,000 – $30,000+ on a SxS from a maker like Parker or James Purdey & Sons, you can also spend less and get one that would be an ideal bird gun.

The boxlock you see here looks like that kind of gun. Sure it’s a basic boxlock, but it’s built on one of the most reliable designs ever created (the Anson & Deeley action). With sideplates and a blued finish, it’s a nice looking gun, and because it’s European, it has that “je ne sais quoi” that set it apart from your everyday A.H. Fox or British boxlock. Best of all, it costs less than a brand-new Benelli autoloader.

Bargain bird gun: A St. Etienne "Heliobloc" 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors
Bargain bird gun: A St. Etienne “Heliobloc” 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors

St. Etienne “Heliobloc” 16Ga Boxlock Side-by-Side, 2 ½” chambers, extractors: A nice guild gun on St Etienne preferred boxlock action; the Helicobloc action works on the same principle than the Webley screw grip, but with the thread at the Bottom of the top lever spindle. This one is sideplated, double triggers, manual safety, border engraved with a black finish (90% condition). The stock is semi pistol grip with round knob, 14 ¾” LOP over .800” pad,  1 ¾” and 2 ¾” drop, ¾” cast off with nice skip line checkering and carved borders (90% finish 95% checkering). 27” tubes with dovetail lumps by Jean Breuil barrel maker (very nicely done with brazed ribs, triple-proof and Martens steel). Bores are .669, walls are .031 and chokes at .014 and .022 (mod and imp mod). Blacking is in 90% condition, the bores have light oxidation at the upper mid barrel , that I guess would clean up with a .002 honing. Price: $1,200

Auction alert: 12g Westley Richards droplock with hidden value…

WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN
WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN

There are 4 things I love about this classy, little Best-Quality Westley Richards boxlock ejector droplock shotgun coming to auction May 7, 2018 at Poulin’s Antiques in Fairfield, ME.

1. It’s an Anson & Deeley-style boxlock. This is one of the classic British shotgun designs. Reliable & rugged, it’s been around since 1875 and is still used by Westley Richards today (those guns start at £54,500).

WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN
WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN

2. Droplocks (or”detachable locks,” as the Brits call them). Invented in 1897, droplocks are durable, easy to maintain, and just plain cool. Gunwriter Vice Venters wrote “Westley Richards hand detachable…are nothing short of a stroke of genius.”

3. Newish barrels by Westley Richards in 1954. They’re this gun’s hidden value–and a huge benefit. Even though this gun is 100+ year old, it has modern, 2 3/4″ chambers nitro-proofed for 1 1/4 ounce loads (and perfect upland chokes). That means it can shoot most easy-to-find, modern, 12-gauge ammo (just stick to light loads and lead shot).

4. Its estimate. With a low range of $3,000, it could go cheap. And if it goes anywhere with the $3-5,000 range, it’s a deal.

Lot 1014: WESTLEY RICHARDS DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN: Cal. 12 Ga., 2 3/4″. S# 9004. Bbls. 26″ Fluid steel w/ Nitro proofs for 1 1/4 oz. loads were new from Westley Richards in 1954. “Westley Richards” gold name model. Scalloped drop lock action having Case colored finish w/ blue floorplate & trigger guard. Removable locks have fully jeweled surfaces. Single selective trigger. Auto ejectors. Horn-tipped splinter forearm & straight hand stock of hand checkered fine English walnut w/ silver nameplate in toeline. LOP: 14 5/16″ over Universal solid red pad. DAC: 1 5/8″. DAH: 2 1/4″. Cast off. Bore diameter: right – .729, left – .029. Bore restriction: right – .010, left – .020. Wall thickness: right – .033, left – .030. Weight: 6 lbs. 5.9 oz CONDITION: 70% blue w/ fading along sides. Frame retains 30% lightly visible case colors. Floorplate shows 80% blue. Trigger guard has good blue on bow w/ silvering along grip. Stocks have lightly worn finish w/ scattered scratches & handling marks. Very good bright bores. (17-3919/DS). CURIO. $3,000-5,000.

WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN
WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN

The secrets of the sexy 20 gauge Westley Richards SxS …

20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26" barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26″ barrels, Westley single trigger

On Wednesday, I put up this post  and asked Can you guess this 20 gauge Westley Richards’ secrets?

Right away, few folks spotted this pretty little side-by-side’s special features right: sideclips, a Greener-style top bolt, and, most impressively, droplocks (AKA hand-detachable locks).

Westley Richards patented the Anson & Deeley boxlock action in 1875. Twenty-one year later, they updated it with their iconic hand detachable locks. Hand-detachable locks were to clean up the action’s appearance. After their introduction, a couple major benefits became apparent: If a lock breaks in the field, it can be replaced in a few minutes, and at the end of damp mornings or wet days, you pull the locks out for oiling and give the inside of the gun a good opportunity to dry.

Original WR advertising image for detachable locks
Original WR advertising image for detachable locks

Here a few things I love the 20 gauge droplock you see here:

-The beautiful cut scroll engraving

-The original Westley Richards single selective trigger

-The blushes of genuine color-case hardening

-The untouched, fancy checkering on the stock

-It’s tiny action. I hard to tell in the pictures, but its perfectly scaled to the gauge.

-It’s condition. Other than the extension on the stock (and maybe a bit of oil on the wood), this gun has not been messed with. Sure it has some dings and wear, but every one was put there

BTW: Remember, this gun is for sale. If you would like to know more about it, drop me an email: gregg@dogsanddoubles.com

20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26" barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26″ barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26" barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26″ barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26" barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26″ barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26" barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26″ barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26" barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26″ barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26" barrels, Westley single trigger
20 gauge Westley Richards SxS Double Barrel Shotgun, 26″ barrels, Westley single trigger

Westley Richards’ brilliant Anson & Deeley design …

Westley Richards Anson-Deeley Cutaway, pic from The Explora
Westley Richards Anson-Deeley Cutaway, pic from The Explora

Many of you know Simon Clode,  the Chairman & Managing Director of Westley Richards, passed away last week. In tribute to him, I’m putting up a series of posts dedicated to his great company.

Today’s, we’re covering one of Westley Richard’s huge contributions to the world of double barrel shotguns: The Anson & Deeley action. Patented in 1875, the A & D action was simple, rugged and easy to build. It was also revolutionary and one of the first successful “hammerless” shotgun designs created.

A: Hammer, shown forward in “fired” postion

Key parts of an Anson & Deeley boxlock SxS shotgun, from Finegunmaking.com, Steven Dodd Hughes
Key parts of an Anson & Deeley boxlock SxS shotgun, from Finegunmaking.com, Steven Dodd Hughes

B: Mainspring, drives hammer

C: Cocking level, tips hammer into position when bbls drop

D: The spring with hold the trigger sear (E) in place.

E: Trigger sear, releases hammer when trigger is pulled

In the late 19th and into the 20th century, it was the basis for thousands of side-by-sides made throughout the UK and across Europe. After WW2, it even found its way to Japan, where it was used by companies like Miroku and the Sakaba (SKB) Arms.

Today, a handful of companies still make true Anson & Deeley boxlocks: Westley Richards (of course) a few British and European firms, and Connecticut Shotgun (see their oddly named “Christian Hunter“).

Beautiful shotgun, bargain price: 12g boxlock Gastinne Renette …

12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun

I love the American guns, but I hate the prices you have to pay for good ones. On most Parkers, Foxes, L.C. Smiths — especially the higher grades — you’re paying more for a name and its sentimental connections than you are for true quality.

But when you buy Belgian and French doubles, different dynamics come into play. You can pay relatively little money and get a gun that’s extremely well made. That’s the case with this Gastinne Renette. It’s a fantastic double, very high quality, and it looks like it’s in incredible original condition.

12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun

Gastinne Renette is one of Europe’s most famous gunmakers. They started building guns in the early-to-mid 1800s, and their clients included all sorts of aristocrats and noble types, including Napoleon III. I think they still had a retail shop in Paris up into the 1970s.

This Gastinne is an Anson & Deeley pattern boxlock with ejectors. It looks like it was built in Belgium, probably before WW2, and then retailed in Paris by the “maker”. This was a pretty common practice for a lot of the Parisian gunmakers, and for a lot of the “makers” throughout Europe.

12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun

12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun: A 12 ga shotgun chambered for 2-1/2″ shells. A very classic looking European shotgun with a straight grip stock. Very thin in the wrist area. Very tight engraving on the frame. Heavy deep relief engraved bolsters. The frame has most case color remaining. Typical of European style, the inset panel is in blue as is the trigger guard. Extensive high quality engraving with the classical long pointed lower tang. Bbl blue very nice also. Wood is good overall cond with typical hunting mars and dings. The buttplate on this is not separate but instead sculpted into the stock. Letters in gold are “J L F” towards the heal of the stock. A fine looking shotgun that would make a dandy hunting gun. Price: $ 2,100

12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun
12g Gastinne Renette, Paris, Side-by-Side Shotgun

A Westley Richards droplock: here’s what makes them different…

In 1875, Westley Richards started building side-by-side shotguns on their famous Anson & Deeley boxlock action. Twenty-one year later, the company updated the A & D design with the famous Detachable Lock Action. Check out the pics below to see some of what sets these designs apart.

This first pic shows a regular Westley Richards Anson & Deeley boxlock action. Note the three pins  on the side of the action. Those pins fasten the lockwork in place.

A standard boxlock Westley Richards
A standard boxlock Westley Richards

The next pic shows a Westley Richards droplock. See how the the three pins on those three pins are missing on this gun? That’s because the detachable lockwork on this Westley is fastened on plates housed inside the action.

A droplock Westley Richards
A droplock Westley Richards, pic from Hallowellco.com

Here’s another pic of a standard Westley boxlock. Even though this shotgun is equipped with a hinged floor plate, it’s a fixed-lock gun.

Locks & action on a standard boxlock Westley Richards
Locks & action on a standard boxlock Westley Richards

This is a droplock with the floorplate removed and the left-had lock lifted from the action. See the plate to the back of the lock? That’s what the lockwork is mounted on.

Locks on a Westley Richards Droplock
Locks on a Westley Richards Droplock, pic from Hallowellco.com

In this final pic you can see the set of the locks dropped all the way out of the gun. You can also the plate that entire lock mechanism is mounted on.

Westley Richards Boxlock with Detachable Locks (Droplocks)
Westley Richards Boxlock with Detachable Locks (Droplocks)

Another real nice 12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught…

12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun

I search Gunbroker all the time, and months can go by before I come across anything decent. Most of the time its the same old, overpriced stuff, search after search, week after. But then something nice pops up…

This 12 gauge Westley Richards boxlock is something nice, and it’s on Gunbroker.com right now. This side-by-side Westley is a Connaught model boxlock, and it was built on a standard Anson & Deeley boxlock action.

I think Westley Richards made the Connaught from the early 1970s into the mid 1980s. It was available in a Deluxe and Plain model. According to the seller, the one you see here is a Deluxe model ordered in 1973, delivered in 1975, used once in 1983, and then kept in storage until now. Overall, it looks like a real nice gun.

12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards Connaught Double Barrel Shotgun

 

Gorgeous engraving on a Max Ern O/U double rifle…

Engraving can make or break a shotgun. Done right, it adds to a double’s overall elegance and beauty. Done wrong, its gaudiness screams “look at me” and ruins the entire gun. On this Max Ern O/U double rifle, I would say that the engraver got it right. You can see more examples of Max Ern firearms here.

Max Ern O/U Double Rifle
Max Ern O/U Double Rifle

Good gun alert: a 16g Charles Daly Diamond Quality side by side…

16g Charles Daly Diamond Quality Lindner-made double barrel shotgun
16g Charles Daly Diamond Quality Lindner-made double barrel shotgun

This super nice 16 gauge Charles Daly Diamond Quality side-by-side just popped up today on Gunsinternational.com. It’s is a Lindner-made, pre-war Daly and it looks like it’s in excellent original condition.

Lindner-made, Charles Daly side-by-sides are fantastic shotguns. Diamonds like this  are elegant, extremely well made, and absolute top-quality.

If you’ve ever wanted one of these double shotguns, I would get this one right away. At $7,750, the price is fair. I bet it won’t be around for long.

Awesome Gun Alert: a super 20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond side-by-side…

20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

Wow – check out this 20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond shotgun that just hit the market. it appears to be in excellent original condition. This side-by-side looks like it’s spectacular original condition. While it’s not cheap ($24,000), that price is pretty fair when you consider how rare and well made it is.

Regent Diamonds were the most “deluxe” of deluxe guns that Lindner made for Charles Daly (go to this post to compare it to a regular Diamond). The workmanship on them is absolutely top notch. Just check out how beautifully sculpted the action, fences and toplever are. Even though the gold on this one is a bit over the top, it’s well tastefully executed so that it helps make this a real elegant little gun.

Charles Daly 20 gauge Regent Diamond double barrel shotgun #2390:

20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

Chamber: 2 1/2 “

Length: 26 ”
Chokes: IC/F

Lop: 14 1/2 ”

Pad thickness: 1 ”
Type of butt: Old English Pad
Drop comb: 1 3/4 ”
Drop heel: 2 7/8 ”

20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

Cast amount: 1/8 ”
Cast: On
Weight: 5 lbs, 8 oz

20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

 

 

 

 

 

20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge Charles Daly Regent Diamond Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

Auction Alert: Fantastic Francotte 45Es at Julia’s, 10/2…

12 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

In 1875, Westley Richards introduced the Anson & Deeley double barrel shotgun and revolutionized side by sides. But even though an English firm invented the A&D action, I’ve always thought it was the Belgian and Prussian makers who perfected it .

One of these makers was Francotte. The Anson & Deeley doubles they made are some of the finest boxlock side-by-sides you can buy. Because of the crazy way people value things today, they’re also some of the best deals on the market.

20 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

These three Francotte 45Es coming up at James Julia’s 10/2 auction are a great example of what I mean:

SCARCE FRANCOTTE 45e 28 GAUGE EAGLE GRADE GAME GUN WITH CASE

LIGHTWEIGHT FRANCOTTE 45e 20 GAUGE EAGLE GRADE GAME GUN

FINE FRANCOTTE 45e 12 GAUGE EAGLE GRADE GAME GUN

The 45E, or Eagle Grade, was the king of thebloxlock  Francottes imported by Von Lengerke & Detmold. Their signature features were  highly carved fences covered with game-scene & scroll engraving and a gold-inlaid eagle on the bottom of the action. On top of this, these guns were built with extras like intercepting safety sears, Greener-style crossbolts, replaceable hinge pins, side clips, and nicely figured European walnut. All the work on these side-by-sides was top notch, too.

28 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
28 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

Back when these Francotte 45Es were imported into this country, they were one of the most expensive boxlocks in Von Lengerke & Detmold’s store. Their price easily exceeded just about all the American doubles. The same was true with their quality. In fact, I think these Francottes beat them all. Today, people aren’t willing to pay the say premium for them. Most guys will put down more for a mid grade Parker than they would for any of these Eagles. That’s a shame because they will not be getting a better shotgun.

Training wheels on a pair of Purdeys double barrel shotguns…

12 gauge Purdey Hammer / Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Purdey Hammer / Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun

Traditions die hard, especially in the gun world. When hammerless shotguns like this came on the scene in the 1870s, shooters had already been using hammer guns for hundreds of years. A lot of these people were unwilling to give them up.

Before the hammerless era, shooters used external hammers to cock their guns. They also used them as visual indicators: cocked hammers, cocked gun. External hammers also gave shooters the freedom to decock a gun, so if a shot wasn’t taken the gun could be returned to this “safe” position again. A gun could also be carried in the decocked position and then cocked right before the shot (like when a grouse flushed).

12 gauge Purdey Hammer / Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Purdey Hammer / Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun – no safety

The new sidelocks and boxlocks coming onto the scene had none of these advantages. This made some shooters reluctant to jump into the hammerless shotgun future. So what did some makers do? In one instance, James Purdey & Sons simply combined the best of the old and the new. They made this pair of 12 gauge double barrels around 1879 and they’re part past and part future.

12 gauge Purdey Hammer / Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Purdey Hammer / Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun – added safety

While they’re mostly modern (a barrel-cocking centerfire with internal hammers), the maker kept part of old school by adding “hammers” to the outside of the locks. These “hammers” are really cocked indicators. When the gun is ready to fire, they’ll tip back into the rear position and give the shooter that visual indication he expects.  If the wants to make the gun “safe”, he can drop these “hammer” into their rest position and decock the gun. Interestingly, both of these Purdeys were made without safeties. You can see how a top safety was added to one of the guns at a later date, maybe to make the gun more handy for walk-up/rough shooting.

12 gauge Purdey Hammer / Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Purdey Hammer / Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun

Original Westley Richards case labels….

Westley Richard’s famous Anson & Deeley double barrel shotgun came out in 1875. Since then, it has earned a reputation as one of the most important shotgun patents ever developed. All three of these labels would have appeared in an old Westley case for one of their Anson & Deeley double barrel shotguns, just like you see here. The info on the last label is still sound advice today.

Westley Richards Case Label
Westley Richards Case Label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westley Richards Case Label
Westley Richards Case Label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westley Richards Case Label
Westley Richards Case Label
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