A dream almost comes true …

12g W. & C. Scott Premier hammergun, bar in wood
12g W. & C. Scott Premier hammergun, bar in wood

I love old W. & C. Scotts, especially Premiers. They’re one of the apexes of gunmaking, and in their day, they were one of the finest guns made (and extremely expensive). Scott sold a lot of them to American shooters, and most of the ones you see on the market today are hammerless models like this one, and, occasionally, bar-action hammerguns like this.

But here’s a W & C Scott Premier hammergun unlike any others I’ve ever seen. It’s a 12g Premier hammergun built on a bar-in-wood style action. A few years ago, a dealer called Mid South advertised one of these. I wonder if it’s the same gun? Actually, I hope it’s not.

12g W. & C. Scott Premier hammergun, bar in wood
12g W. & C. Scott Premier hammergun, bar in wood

On this one, some knucklehead F-up the bbls. They’re cut, and the chambers have been lengthened. Other than that, it’s a stunning shotgun, and it looks like it’s in great shape. When I first saw it, I was on the phone right away. I had 1/2 the dealer’s number punched in before I read the part about the barrels. Then I hung up. That kind of shit is a deal killer for me.

BTW: A gunsmith friend of mine told me that a lot of the English bar-in-wood shotguns he has seen came out of the same shop in Birmingham – at least in the early stages. This includes bar-in-woods with famous names like James Purdey on them.

This guns looks like the some of the Purdey bar-in-woods I’ve seen. I wonder if it originated in this same place.

12g W. & C. Scott Premier hammergun, bar in wood
12g W. & C. Scott Premier hammergun, bar in wood

Rare double alert: a Thomas Horsley .450 bar-in-wood double rifle…

Thomas Horsley, Gunmaker, York, Trade Label
Thomas Horsley, Gunmaker, York, Trade Label

When you think of “British” doubles, London and Birmingham are the cities that usually come to mind. Many of the UK’s top gunmakers worked in and around those cities for over two-hundred years. But top gunmakers were also located in other parts of the country for almost as long.

John Dickson & Son built their famous Round Action shotguns way up in Edinburgh, Scotland, while W.R. Pape built his doubles across the border in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. South of Pape’s shop was another top British gunmaker — Thomas Horsley of York.

Thomas Horsley started his business around 1830 and his firm continued on until 1959. In 1862 & 1863, as breechloading guns were appearing on the the UK’s shooting scene, Horsley patented a unique pull-back, snap action. He also came up with a patent for retractable firing pins. The bar-in-wood double rifle you see here uses these patents.

Thomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double rifle
Thomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double rifle

Rifle generate far more pressure than shotguns, and this pressure stresses the gun’s action in extreme ways. This is why it’s unusual to see one built as a bar-in-wood. Compared to a standard bar-action shotgun, the actions on bar-in-woods are fairly slim. This means there’s less metal to take up the twisting and flexing that happens every time the gun is fired. Judging by the condition this one is in, I don’t think it was fired very much.

Thomas Horsley .450BPE Bar-in-Wood Hammer Double Rifle: Through innovation and superior craftsmanship, Thomas Horsley earned the name the “Purdey of York,” and this remarkable example demonstrates why. Incorporating his famous pull-back top lever locking system (patent 2410 of 1863) and distinctive retracting firing pins (patent 1138 of 1867). It is in all original exc-plus condition w/ bores As New. Difficult to come by from a most esteemed provincial maker. 27 3/4″ Bbls, 13 7/8″ London proof-marks. Including 20 rnds Bell brass. Price: $9,000

Thomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double rifle
Thomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double rifle
Thomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double rifle
Thomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double rifle
Thomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double rifle
Thomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double rifle
Thomas HorThomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double riflesley, Gunmaker, York, Trade Label
Thomas Horsley, York, .450BPE bar-in-wood double rifle

http://www.gunsinternational.com/Thomas-Horsley-450-3-1-4-BPex.cfm?gun_id=100424939

The world’s sexiest shotgun? The Edinburgh Gun by J. MacNaughton…

James MacNaughton Edinburgh Gun - 20 gauge, lever cocker
James MacNaughton Edinburgh Gun – 20 gauge, lever cocker

What do you get when you cross the sleekness of a Scottish round-action with the elegance of bar-in-wood design? The shotgun you see here: The Edinburgh Gun by James MacNaughton & Sons.

James MacNaughton opened his gunmaking business in 1864 and in 1879 he introduced his Edinburgh Patent Hammerless Ejector – the world’s first “round-action” shotgun. The first MacNaughton round actions were lever cockers, and the locks cocked when you operated the gun’s top lever to open the breech. Later models, like the on you see here, switched over to a barrel-cocking design.

BTW: if you would like to have a new one, Dickson/MacNaughton will be happy to build one for you. Prices start at £38,775.

12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun

12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun: This is the “Edinburgh Gun”. A Superb Conditioned and Very Elegant Hammerless Round Action Triggerplate Bar-In-Wood (Skeleton-Action) Double 12 Bore Nitro Made about 1933; This very gun, #3558, is the last recorded gun of the original MacNaughton business and their records, The record of this gun is undated and it is believed to have been delivered either during or shortly after WWII, The current owners have confirmed this fact, It has 28″ Ejector dovetail lump barrels with hidden third bite at .733″ .007 & .027″ (Open Imp.Cyl. & Imp.Mod.), 2 3/4″ chambers, Wall thickness on the right and left at .0275″; Original London Nitro Proved at 1 1/8 ounce and then London proved to 3 1/4 tons when the chambers were lengthened to 2 3/4″ from 2 1/2″ & marked with the proper reproof, The safety is a turning top lever on the top strap, Double triggers, The receiver top tang with the MacNaughton trap door, Splinter forend with an Anson release, Straight hand stock at 14 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 1 7/8″ over a 5/8″ removable leather pad with plugs, It will go 15 3/16″ with a 1″ pad, Cast-off for the right hand, Great game gun weight at 6 lbs. 11 oz., Very nice wood with excellent black/brown contrast, Good bite remains, 95% coverage of classic scroll engraving, 40% original case colors, 98% case colors remain inside the forend, 60% original case colors on the breech face, A professional reblack on the barrels and now remain at 97%, The stock & forend are at 95%, The checkering is at 98%, The bores are 100% bright and shiny and remain like new.

12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun

This is special stuff from one of the most famous Edinburgh Gunmakers of the 19th century. It is estimated that about 100 bar-in-wood MacNaughton actions were made and roughly about 200 solid bar actions. James MacNaughton was the patentee of the first round action similar to Dickson’s own later design. His round action triggerplate lockwork was patent #2848 of 1879 which included a falling block as well as this SxS. This patent is certainly the forerunner of all the round actions that are still made to this day. This classic MacNaughton system also carried a U. S. patent #264,723 of 1882. The firm became James MacNaughton & Sons at 36 Hanover in 1905 and remained there until 1940. In 1999 the owners of James MacNaughton bought John Dickson & Son Ltd and formed the company trading under the name of Dickson & MacNaughton to this day. Price: $27,750.00

12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun

The finest James Purdey & Son bar-in-wood SxS shotgun in America?

12 gauge James Purdey & Son Bar-in-Wood Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun
12 gauge James Purdey & Son Bar-in-Wood Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun

Is this the finest Purdey bar-in-wood side-by-side hammergun in America? The seller thinks so, and he might be right.

Many people who collect vintage doubles think Purdey’s bar-in-wood hammerguns are the most elegant side-by-sides ever made. I don’t know about the “most” elegant — I prefer lift-up models by William Powell & Son – but Purdey’s bar-in-woods are right at the top.

The one you see here is #11090, and it was made in 1881, and it looks like it’s in excellent original condition. Purdey built their first centerfire shotgun in 1865, and by 1868 (gun #7744), or maybe even earlier, they were making centerfires with bar-in-wood style locks & actions.

12 gauge James Purdey & Son Bar-in-Wood Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun
12 gauge James Purdey & Son Bar-in-Wood Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun

Many other makers made them, too, including Westley Richards, William Powell & Son, Stephen Grant, Army & Navy. A few companiess even built them with hammerless actions, including Purdey and Edinburgh’s McNaughton.

Here’s more about #11090 from the seller:

12 gauge James Purdey & Son Bar-in-Wood Double Barrel SxS Shotgun: You are looking at the best documented and best preserved 12 bore Purdey Bar in Wood Hammer shotgun available. Built in 1881, This gun is featured in the premier book on Purdey’s by Donald Dallas published in 2000 with three photos and a copy of the “Dimension Book” page with all specifications for Purdey # 11090 ( see photos ). It is almost unbelievable that the gun and the original case is in the pristine condition as found after 133 years.

12 gauge James Purdey & Son Bar-in-Wood Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun
12 gauge James Purdey & Son Bar-in-Wood Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun

This Purdey was made for Paul Fitter and his initials are still in the silver oval in buttstock and on the outside of case. The gun remains in perfect shooting condition and I have used it quite well in Vintage Sporting Clays events with lite Winchester AA target loads. The Damascus barrels are perfect…30″ with original CYL / F chokes, 2 5/8″ chambers , Bores are .735, hidden third bite, and not a rub, scratch or dent to be found. The action is tight as new and at 6lbs 15 oz. the gun balances beautifully.

The dimensions are shown on the work sheet and remain as is. The wood has been freshened a bit to remove old oil, etc. and the original horn buttplate is in excellent condition. The original case colors are strong and the fine Purdey rose and scroll engraving is vivid.

12 gauge James Purdey & Son Bar-in-Wood Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun
12 gauge James Purdey & Son Bar-in-Wood Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun

I am interested in finding a collector / Vintage shooter who is willing to continue to preserve this fantastic piece of Purdey’s history. You will not find a better example anywhere in the U.S.A. Price: POR

Victorian England in your hands: A William Powell & Son bar-in-wood double……

12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun

I like the old and impractical: bamboo fly rods…wooden decoys…books…and, of course, double-barrel shotguns — especially hammer guns with damascus barrels.

From about 1866-1875, centerfire hammer guns were the latest-and-greatest thing in the shooting world. Once they were introduced, hunters from the moors of Scotland to the Susquehanna flats tossed aside their slow-to-load percussion guns for the newest thing in double barrels.
William Powell & Son  was one of the first British gunmakers to produce breachloading centerfire shotguns. Their side-by-sides were built on Powell’s “No. 1 patent” of 1864 and featured a snap-action, lift-up toplever design. The shotgun you see here is one of those doubles.
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
According to Steve Helsey at PowellsPatent.com, this one was ordered in 1869 by a Captain Cave.  At that time, Powell had five hammer gun grades – Superior, Very Best, Best, Plain and Second. This shotgun is a “best”, or middle-grade gun.

12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun
12g William Powell & Son, Double Barrel, Bar-in-Wood, Double Barrel Shotgun

Worth a closer look: More nice shotguns coming up at Julia’s…

THEATE FRERES 28 GA. DOUBLE BARREL HAMMER SHOTGUN
THEATE FRERES 28 GA. DOUBLE BARREL HAMMER SHOTGUN

Nice hammerguns are to find. So when I saw these three on Saturday at the preview for James D. Julia’s 3/12 auction, I stopped and gave each one a closer look. They’re nice shotguns, and all three –a 28 gauge, a 20 gauge, and a lightweight 20 gauge — are very hard to find.

LOT: 2202. THEATE FRERES 28 GA. HAMMER GUN. SN 2135. Cal. 28 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 29-1/2″ Dovetailed steel bbls are gold inlaid “Acier Extra” (Extra steel) and “Para Polvora Sem Fumaca” (For smokeless powder) on tops, which are also stamped “Theate Freres” and “Liege”. Raised, matted game rib is gold inlaid “Casa Laport”, breech end “28”. Bbl flats are stamped with Belgian nitro proofs for 28 ga 2-3/4″ chambers. Coin finished back sidelock hammer action features square crossbolt third fastener, side clips, and double triggers. Locks have rebounding hammers. Action is engraved with rudimentary scroll, and dog pointing flushing duck on each side. Nicely figured European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14-7/8″ over red open sided pad. Matching forend has Anson release. Bore diameter: left-.555, right -.550. Bore restrictions: left -.030 (extra full), right -.020 (full). Wall thickness: left -.024, right -.026. Drop at heel: 2-3/8″, drop at comb: 1-1/4″. Weight: 5 lbs. 4 oz. LOP: 14-7/8″.

CONDITION: Excellent, retaining nearly all of its orig finish on wood and metal, bottom of action browned somewhat. Pad is petrified. Wood has some minor marks. Sling eyes have been removed from bbl and butt (replaced by Phillips screw). Bores are excellent, bright and shiny. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Locks are crisp. Hammers are a bit loose on tumblers. Twenty-eight gauge hammer guns in this kind of condition are hard to find, especially with long bbls and stock. This sleek little gun should be a lot of fun to shoot.

Estimate: $1,500-$2,500

WILLIAM POWELL BAR IN WOOD 20 Gauge Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun
WILLIAM POWELL BAR IN WOOD 20 Gauge Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun

LOT: 2183. WILLIAM POWELL BAR IN WOOD 20 BORE HAMMER GUN. SN 6920. Cal. 20 ga. 2-1/2″ Chambers. 29″ Blued Damascus bbls are engraved “William Powell & Son, 13, Carrs Lane, Birmingham” on broad, concave game rib. Bottoms of bbls are stamped with Birmingham black powder proofs for 20 bore and 22 muzzle, and “Not for Ball”. Bar in wood action is stamped “Powell’s Patent” on water table, referring to locking system, which in this case uses a pivoting top lever and mid mounted crossbolt instead of the usual Powell push-up lever. Rebounding sidelocks have high spurred, round bodied, serpentine hammers. Action and locks are engraved with nicely cut medium scroll. “William Powell & Son” is on each lockplate. Trigger plate has double ball finial with SN on tang. Trigger guard is scroll engraved on bow. Nicely marbled European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14-1/16″ over leather faced Silver type pad with white line spacer. Flat top point pattern checkering is at grip and a vacant silver oval is on toe line. Matching, but fully checkered, splinter forend has Anson release with Anson patent marking on iron. Bore diameter: left-.622, right -.623. Bore restrictions: left -.015 (mod), right -.014 (mod). Wall thickness: left -.033, right -.035. Drop at heel: 2-7/16″, drop at comb: 1-1/2″. Weight: 5 lbs. 13 oz. LOP: 14-1/16″.

CONDITION: Good. Bbls retain most of an old matte re-black, no Damascus pattern showing. Action and lockplates mostly cleaned to pewter gray, with scant traces of orig color hardening visible where protected by hammers. Stock retains most of an old oil finish over visible sanding marks. Checkering re-run long ago on buttstock. Forend checkering is considerably worn. Action is slightly loose even though punch marks, from “blacksmith” tightening, are visible at hook and locking lug. Locks are crisp. Left hammer screw is a modern replacement. Bores are bright and shiny with some scattered pits. A rare, high grade small bore hammer gun that’s certainly worth restoring to its former glory.

Estimate: $1,500-$2,500

12 gauge W. & C. Scott Zephyr Lightweight Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun
12 gauge W. & C. Scott Zephyr Lightweight Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun

LOT: 2181. W. & C. SCOTT “THE ZEPHYR” HAMMER GUN. SN 46949. (ca 1893) Cal. 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. This unusual lightweight gun has 28-3/16″ two stripe Damascus bbls with concave, matted game rib engraved “W & C Scott & Son Makers & Patentees London.” on unmatted portion. Top of left bbl is engraved “The Zephyr”. Bbl flats are stamped with Birmingham black powder proofs, “Choke”, and “England”. Special lightweight action with tiny bar mounting rebounding hammer back action sidelocks derives extra strength from dolls head extension. Action is engraved with about 50% coverage medium scroll. Sidelocks are engraved with semi-relief shaded oak leaves. Locks are engraved “W & C Scott & Son”. Scroll engraved trigger guard has SN at grip. Broadly striped and nicely figured European walnut Prince of Wales grip buttstock measures 13-7/8″ over Silver pad, and features flat top point pattern checkering with mullered borders, and a vacant silver oval on toe line. Fully checkered splinter forend has engraved metal tip and pluck-off tension spring release. Bore diameter: left-.734, right -.734. Bore restrictions: left -.030 (full), right -.010 (IC). Wall thickness: left -.029, right -.032. Drop at heel: 3-1/4″, drop at comb: 1-7/8″. Weight: 5 lbs. 9 oz. LOP: 13-7/8″.

CONDITION: Fine. Bbls retain nearly all of a very fine re-brown with good definition to pattern, over some scattered pitting. Action retains approx 30% orig case hardening color where protected, but is mostly pewter gray. Stocks retain most of an old rubbed oil finish with a few subsequent minor marks, checkering competently re-cut. All restoration work appears to have been done quite a long while ago. Action is tight. Bbls are somewhat off face. Dolls head shows some peaning. Locks are crisp. Left hammer is an unengraved replacement, but is of the correct style. Bores are very fine, shiny throughout, with some light frosting. Overall, a very unique and classic shotgun.

Estimate $1,000-$1,500

 

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