Wow – what a Woodward. A Round Body 12 gauge Over-Under…

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

James Woodward & S0ns is a mysterious maker. Even though they made some of the finest double barrel SxSs and O/Us to come out of the UK, not a lot is known about the company.

In business from 1874 to 1948, Woodward created several influential designs, like the Woodward Automatic, a hammerless sidelock shotgun that cocked “autmatically” when you opened the shotgun, and in 1913 the Woodward-style over-under shotgun. Somewhere in the history of the Woodward O/U, the round-body action was introduced.

No one know why Woodward added this option to their O/Us. The London gun trade was brutally competitive. Makers were always looking for novel ways to set their guns apart. I suspect this is why Woodward introduced the round-body styling to their O/U shotguns. But like a things Woodward, we’ll never know if that’s the truth.

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

What we do know for certain is that this is an exceptional shotgun. It’s also exceptionally rare. I bet Woodward made fewer than 20 round-body over unders. I’ve seen 6-7 of them, and the one below is the finest one, by far. It’s coming up at Julia’s Auction next week. So if you like what you see, get your bids in today.

RARE AND FINE WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN WITH CASE. SN 7173. Cal. 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 29-1/8″ Demi-bloc bbls with solid, file cut rib are engraved “James Woodward & Sons. 29. Bury Street. St. James’s. London. England.” on left side of top bbl. Right side of top bbl and bottom of bottom bbl are stamped with London nitro proofs for 2-3/4″ chambers. Case hardened, round body, low profile, OU action features automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), gold band tumbler end cocking indicators, and non-selective single trigger. Action is engraved with well cut, classic, small, shaded scroll with rose bouquet highlights. “J Woodward & Sons” is in parchment scrolled device at front of each lockplate. Bottom of action is engraved “Woodward’s” and “Under & Over” in arches around recess cut for forend iron, which is engraved “Patent”. SN is on tang of scroll engraved small bowed trigger guard. Fully marbled and lightly figured European walnut straight grip

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

buttstock measures 14-1/2″ over leather faced, thin, red pad. Standard point pattern checkering with mullered borders is at grip. Toe line with gold oval engraved “G.P.” is shaped with about 3/16″ negative camber giving racy swept look. One piece matching ejector forend has Anson release. Bore diameter: top -.729, bottom -.729. Bore restrictions: top -.036 (Full), bottom -.037 (Full). Wall thickness: top-.024, bottom -.025. Drop at heel: 2-1/8″, drop at comb: 1-1/4″. Weight: 7 lbs. 12 oz. LOP: 14-1/2″. Makers oak and leather case with brass corners and leather trimmed canvas outer cover, is embossed with an early owner’s name on rectangular inset leather label on top. Leather is additionally embellished with embossed line borders with fleur-di-lis highlights. Interior is lined in scarlet cloth with gold embossed black leather Woodward label in lid. Case contains pair of A & F marked snap caps, red morocco wallet with cleaning brushes inside, 2-pc rosewood and brass cleaning rod with mop, Turk’s head and jag. There are also an A & F marked square oil bottle, hard rubber striker block, and the key.

PROVENANCE: Abercrombie & Fitch hang tags with specifications and known information.

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

CONDITION: Excellent. Action retains 90 – 95% of its orig bright case hardening color, silvered on sharp edges. Lockplates retain nearly all of their color. Top lever and forend iron show only slight silvering to their orig bright blue. Trigger guard re-blued, and retains essentially all of that blue, engraving still sharp. Stocks retain nearly all of a factory quality oil finish with some light marks and a small scuff in forend checkering. Pad added after making, as cut off piece of buttstock with checkered butt is in case. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout. Action is tight. Bbls are on

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

face. Ejectors are in time. Trigger works, but is a bit sticky (probably needs cleaning). Case leather is very fine with some slight darkening and rubs. Straps and handle are fine. Canvas outer cover has rubs and discoloration, leather trim also rubbed, with some slight tatters. Straps are good. Interior cloth is fine with some areas patched, lightly soiled, and marked by gun and accessories. Accessories are good. By SN, one of the last guns to leave Woodward’s after being taken over by Purdey’s. Records indicate it was delivered in 1949, so was most likely finished by Purdey’s. Round body Woodward O/Us are very rare. This may be one of the finest extant. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000

Genuine Woodward gun cases – perfect for your vintage O/U…

Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case

Old gun cases fascinate me as much as old firearms. The dings in the leather, the name embossed on the lid, the oil and powder stains in the baize lining, and the musty smell when you first lift the lid — that’s the tease before you get to the main show of the gun itself.

The two cases you see here are from James Woodward & Sons. Ones all leather and the other is an oak & leather. Both were made for O/Us, and they contain a mix of accessories. They’ve never been recovered or relined, and the labels are 100% original.

Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case

Woodward opened his shop in 1874, and he made all sorts of guns until his name and designs to Purdey in 1948. In 1913, Woodward introduced his most beautiful shotguns – the Woodward-patent Under & Over gun. You can see on the labels that these cases you see here were made to hold two of those famous shotguns.

Both of these cases are for sale. If you’re interested in them, drop me a note for full details & prices.

Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case

 

Great shotgun alert: an early 12 gauge James Woodward & Sons side by side…

James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:
James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:

Of all the London “Best” shotgun makers, nice doubles by James Woodward are some of the toughest guns to find.  Woodward was in business from 1874 to 1948. In that time, the company made fewer than 4500 guns, and that includes double rifles, sidelock and boxlock side-by-sides of all grades, and the company’s famous Under & Overs.

So if this best-quality, sidelock Woodward is legit and original, it’s a tough side-by-side to find and maybe a great deal:

James Woodward & Sons,  12 Gauge Double Barrel Shotgun: 12-3/4″ 12 Guage Side by Side Shotgun. Best Quality AE Sidelock, Number 1 of 2. 28″ Cyl. & Mod.  1-1/8 ounce Nitro Proof. Pistol Grip, 14-1/2″ Lenght of Pull to Checkered Butt. 6 Pounds 8 ounces. 90% Case Color. In origonal Leather Case.  Price: $17,700.00

James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:
James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:
James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:
James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:

This week’s good guns: Powered by Gunsinternational.com

JULES GERVAIS BEST SIDELOCK SXS 12 GAUGE
JULES GERVAIS BEST SIDELOCK SXS 12 GAUGE

JULES GERVAIS BEST SIDELOCK SXS 12 GAUGE: 29 3/4 ” 012 AND 049 2 3/4 DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTOR SPLINTER FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP EXCELLENT CONDITION WITH LIGHT HANDLING MARKS 7LB 4 OZ X 2 1/2 X 1 1/2 X 14. Price: $7,500.00

Parker Reproduction – DHE – 28ga 26″ IC / M – – Beavertail Forearm – – As New – Cased: 2-3/4″, IC / M (.006 / .018), Pistol Grip, Single Selective Trigger, Beavertail Forearm, LOP 14-3/8″ with Drop 1-3/8″ to 21/8″, Weight 5 lbs. 9 oz. Gun is like new! The slightest hint of high edge color loss on the frame. A few very hard to see marks on the wood. A 99% gun by anyone’s measure. Lever is well right of center – clearly hasn’t been fired much – if at all. Includes: Gun, Case, and Snap Caps. Price: $4,950.00

Parker Reproduction - DHE - 28ga 26" IC / M - - Beavertail Forearm - - As New - Cased:
Parker Reproduction – DHE – 28ga 26″ IC / M – – Beavertail Forearm – – As New – Cased:
AUG. FRANCOTTE 20 GA. GRADE 20E, Double barrel shotgun
AUG. FRANCOTTE 20 GA. GRADE 20E, Double barrel shotgun

AUG. FRANCOTTE 20 GA. GRADE 20E: BLS. 27 3/4″ – CYL/FULL – 2 1/2″ CHAMBERS, SIDEPLATED BOXLOCK, CC 75%, ROUND KNOB SEMI-PISTOL GRIP, LOP 14″ OVER SOLID LEATHERFACED PAD, DOUBLE TRIGGERS, WEIGHS 5 LBS. 7 OZS., OVERBORED , MIN. WALL L.028/ R .022., LOCK UP BY DOUBLE UNDERBITES AND GREENER STYLE CROSSBOLT. SIDECLIPS. Price: $4,900.

Winchester Classic 28g. Side-By-Side Model 23 Shotgun With Case
Winchester Classic 28g. Side-By-Side Model 23 Shotgun With Case

Winchester Classic 28g. Side-By-Side Model 23 Shotgun With Case: Serial # CL28-2xxE. This is a beautiful Winchester Model 23 Side-By-Side in .28 gauge. The shotgun has 26’ barrels with a vent rib, length of pull is 14 ½”. Chokes are IC and M, it chambers 2 ¾” shells. The shotgun has a deeply polished factory blue finish and deluxe checkered wooden stocks, it has really classic lines, and it’s a beautiful shotgun to behold! The shotgun easily rates 95% overall condition inside and out, the bores are shiny. The gun comes in a canvas-covered Winchester case (no accessories).  Price: $4,000.00

1969 Browning Superposed Superlight Solid Rib: This is a Browning superposed 12 gauge with 26 inch improved cylinder and modified choke solid rib barrels. This gun is 99% in the case. Very little to no use as the action will not open on it’s own. Serial # is 99xxxS9. DAC 1 1/2 DAH 2 3/8 LOP 14 1/4 Wt 6lb 9oz. Price: $3,000

1969 Browning Superposed Superlight Solid Rib
1969 Browning Superposed Superlight Solid Rib

 

A master’s work: Lucas scroll on an early Purdey shotgun…

Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun
Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun. Click for a closer look.

Engraving on top-quality doubles is unusual. While it’s one of the least functional features, it’s also one of the most important. Done right, engraving can make a gun (and a gunmaker); done wrong it can ruin both. London’s top firms realized this early only. To ensure that their best-quality guns featured equally impressive engraving, gunmakers paid their best engravers top wages.

James Lucas was one of these top engravers, and at the peak of his career he was earning one of the highest salaries in London gunmaking trade. He was worth it, too. From 1855 to 1915, Lucas was Purdey’s head engraver, and during that time worked with another Purdey engraver named J. Mace, Sr. to develop the fine, tight scroll work that went on to be come the “rose & scroll”  pattern that defined Purdey’s doubles.

The shotgun you see here is one of James Purdey & Sons first breechloading centerfire shotguns. Made in 1867,  You can see how the engraver (proably Mr Lucas himself) was working out the tight, densely-packed scrollwork that would become Purdey’s famous house style.

Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun
Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun. Click for a closer look.
Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun
Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun. Click for a closer look.
Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun
Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun. Click for a closer look.
Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun
Lucas scroll on an early J. Purdey & Son, Double Barrel, Centerfire shotgun. Click for a closer look.

Auction alert: exceptional 12 gauge Stephen Grant side by side…

12 gauge Stephen Grant & Sons Best Quality London Sidelock, double barrel SxS shotgun
12 gauge Stephen Grant & Sons Best Quality London Sidelock, double barrel SxS shotgun

Stephen Grant was one of the 19th century’s finest gunmakers. Today, he may be one of the under appreciated. Born in 1821 in Tipperary, Ireland, he started his apprenticeship in Dublin and then moved to London where he worked with Charles Lancaster and Thomas Boss.

In 1867, Grant went out on his own. He quickly became one of England’s top gunmakers with warrants from cream-of-the-crop royals like the Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth, and the King of Spain, as well as orders from Aristos and rich people from around the world. By the time of his death in 1898, Stephen Grant was one of London’s most respected gunmakers. If you take a good look at the wonderful 12 gauge Stephen Grant pictured here, you’ll see why – and why his shotguns are as nice as anything turned out by Purdey, Holland & Holland, or Boss.

12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897
12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897

This Grant is coming up in Little John’s annual May antique and sporting guns auction which starts today. It was made around 1897. The tight, scroll engraving, fluted fences, and sidelever-action are all signature styles of Grant doubles. I’m 99.9% certain that it was re-barrelled by Atkin, Grant & Lang in the 1950s, and the new, fluid-steel bbls look like they’re close to untouched since then. Here’s more about it from the auctioneer:

12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897
12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897

Lot 545: 12 gauge Stephen Grant & Sons Best Quality London Sidelock, double barrel SxS shotgun: Serial # 6957. Originally one of a pair. The gun is cased in and leather covered oak case. 28” barrels, double triggers, auto-ejectors. Nitro proved for 2 ½” shells, 3 ton proof on each barrel. Choke IC/Mod. Barrels show 90% to 95% original blue with good sharp markings and edges with wall thickness measuring .35 right and .38 left. The action and lock plates retain 50% to 70% original case hardening. The stocks are very good plus with excellent wood to metal fit and crisp checkering. 14 ¼” LOP, 2 1/4” drop at the heel and 2” drop at the comb with slight cast off approximately ¼” at the toe and 5/8” at heel . The bore is bright. The case shows a red felt interior with some slight repairs in areas where rubbed but is in overall at least good to very good condition. Est.: $5000-$10,000

12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897
12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897
12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897
12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897
12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897
12 gauge Stephen Grant Double Barrel Shotgun with Sidelever, 1897

This week’s good guns: powered by Gunsinternational.com…

12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal Ejector Double Barrel Side by Side Shotgun
12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal Ejector Double Barrel Side by Side Shotgun

Holland & Holland Royal SXS 12 GAUGE: Made 1952. #339XX, 26″ bbls, Chokes 009 and 016, 2 3/4″ chambers, self opener, leather covered pad, excellent original condition with light handling marks. 6lbs 11oz . 14 3/4 LOP. Price: $37,500.00

Army Navy .470 Nitro Express Side-by-Side Double Rifle
Army Navy .470 Nitro Express Side-by-Side Double Rifle

Army-Navy Side-by-Side Double Rifle .470 Nitro Express: No. 45921, 25″ barrels. Built on the Webley Long Bar action, perhaps the strongest double rifle action ever made. Double triggers, ejectors and intercepting sears. Bores are good to very good with rifling square and tall. Wt.- 11 lbs. Pull- 14 1/2″ from front trigger. A super classic hunting rifle! Price: $29,500.00

F.W. Heym 20 gauge Boxlock Ejector Double Barrel Side by Side Shotgun
F.W. Heym 20 gauge Boxlock Ejector Double Barrel Side by Side Shotgun

Fr. Wilh. Heym Side Plate 20ga: 28” barrels, IMP CYL/MOD, SG/DT Leather pad, matt rib, cocking indicators, splinter for end, AE, doll’s head extension, 2 ¾”, Krupp steel barrels, pre-war. Extreme high quality gun. In its original compact leather case. The highest grade, side plate gun with magnificent semi-relief game scenes, of pointers, setters, fox and duck scene. Balance of receiver covered in semi-relief ornamental scroll, with deep chisel breeches. Retaining most all case color, barrel blue and wood finish. We have owned 12’s and 16’s but never had the opportunity of handling a 20 ga. This gun is of superior quality over most other guns. With perfect dimensions, light weight and fast, all of the best options and configuration, side clips, third fastener. The very best pre-war quality. 14 5/8” x 1 ½” x 2 3/8” 5lbs 13oz. Price: $14,500.00

12 gauge Dumoulin Sidelock Double Barrel Side by Side Shotgun
12 gauge Dumoulin Sidelock Double Barrel Side by Side Shotgun

12 gauge Dumoulin Sidelock Ejector Side-by-Side Shotgun: 2 3/4″ chambers, 27 1/2″ bbls, F & IM chokes, straight grip, double triggers, 14 5/8 inches to a checkered butt, color-case hardened action, full rose & scroll engraving. Excellent overall condition. 6lb., 6oz. Price: $8999

12 gauge A.H. Fox CE Grade Double Barrel Side by Side Shotgun
12 gauge A.H. Fox CE Grade Double Barrel Side by Side Shotgun

A. H. Fox CE 12 Ga: Ser. No. 33915 12 Ga.- 2 3/4″ chambers- 30″ Chromox barrels choked M/F. DT, EJ, SF, Semi PG stock to hard butt. 14″ X 1 1/2″ X 2 1/2″. 60% CC, 95% blue and finish. A nice old Fox. Price: $6,500.00

A great looking 20 gauge by James Purdey & Sons…

20 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
20 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun

When it comes to high-end side-by-sides, Purdey is the name most people know. The one you see here is a 20 gauge, built on the company’s famous Beesley-patent action. It’s a modern gun, built in the early ’90s, and it’s in fantastic original condition. A friend of mine was kind enough to show me see this shotgun yesterday. It’s a fantastic piece. Take a look at the pics to see why James Purdey & Sons is so famous for making fine doubles.

BTW: this Purdey is for sale. You can find out more about it here.

Comparing double rifles by Holland & Holland & James Purdey…

A .303 side-by-side double rifle by James Purdey & Sons
A .303 side-by-side double rifle by James Purdey & Sons
Side-by-side double rifles by James Purdey &  Holland & Holland
Side-by-side double rifles by James Purdey & Holland & Holland
Side-by-side double rifle Holland & Holland
Side-by-side double rifle Holland & Holland
Side-by-side double rifles by James Purdey & Holland & Holland
Side-by-side double rifles by James Purdey & Holland & Holland
Extension on a James Purdey & Sons .303 Side by Side Double Rifle
Extension on a James Purdey & Sons .303 Side by Side Double Rifle
Holland & Holland case label, circa 1895
Holland & Holland case label, circa 1895
H&H ammo on left, .303 Purdey ammo on right
H&H ammo on left, .303 Purdey ammo on right
James Purdey & Sons case label, circa 1895
James Purdey & Sons case label, circa 1895

Last week I put up this post about shooting a James Purdey & Sons .303 double rifle. I had a lot of questions about that rifle, and I wanted to share some more pictures of it with you.

I also snapped some pics of a Holland & Holland double rifle that I saw the same day. The H&H was made for a larger cartridge. But because the cartridge was a black-powder load that generated lower pressures, H&H made this rifle much smaller and trimmer.

 

The King of Pigeon Guns: a 12 gauge Woodward O/U…

12 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun

Yesterday I wrote about the 20 gauge Woodward coming up in Julia’s fall 2012 auction. Today we’re going to talk about the 12 gauge Woodward that’s in the same sale.

This 12 gauge is an killer double, and in capable hands, it would be an absolute hammer in the pigeon rings. Made in 1927 for Florida real estate mogul Wade Harley, this O/U must have won its owner plenty money. One of its coolest features is unusual forend. It features a series of finger grooves, original to the gun and added by Woodward in London, designed to keep a shooter’s fore hand in a consistent position, shot after shot.

Check out all that original color case harding, too. From muzzle to butt, it’s just a plain awesome O/U.

EXCEPTIONALLY FINE AND RARE WOODWARD BEST SIDELOCK OVER-UNDER PIGEON GUN.

Finger grooves in the forend of the 12 gauge Woodward O/U
Finger grooves in the forend of the 12 gauge Woodward O/U

SN 6798. (1927) Cal. 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 30″ Demi-bloc bbls mounted with matted, flat, ventilated rib fitted with two red target beads, are engraved “James Woodward & Sons. 64. St. James’s Street. London. England.” on left side of top bbl. Right side of top bbl and bottom bbl flat are stamped with SN and London nitro proofs for 2-3/4″ chambers and the 1 1/4oz load. Bottom bbl is fitted with an extra loop, uncut for latch, to aid in recoil absorption. Robust, case hardened, deeply filed detonating, low profile action features automatic “T-safety” (SAFE inlaid in gold), double triggers, and gold line tumbler end cocking indicators. Action and lockplates are engraved in superb Woodward style with very finely cut small scrollwork with rose bouquet highlights. “J. Woodward & Sons” is roll scroll flanked at front of each lockplate. “Woodward’s” “Patent” “Under & Over” is on bottom. Scroll engraved trigger guard extends to grip cap with SN at grip. Robust, nicely marbled, and lightly figured Circassian walnut full capped pistol grip buttstock measures 14-7/8″ over leather-faced rounded Silver type pad, and features hard rubber grip cap, drop points, point pattern checkering with mullered borders, and a gold oval on bottom engraved “P”. Matching, one piece, 11″ long, semi-beavertail, ejector forend has finger grooves carved into sides to match the shooter’s hand with cutout areas stippled. (This feature is specified in factory records.)

12 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun

Bore diameter: top -.730, bottom -.730. Bore restrictions: top -.033, bottom -.023. Wall thickness: top -.023, bottom -.024. Drop at heel: 2-3/8″, drop at comb: 1-7/16″. Weight: 8 lbs. 6 oz, LOP 14-7/8″. Included with gun are Abercrombie & Fitch hang tag and white bag containing A & F marked envelope with case keys, and wax paper wrapped pair of strikers, automatic safety slide and spring, and action rod. Woodward’s are well known for best quality guns and produced the O/U from 1913-1948, when Charles Woodward retired and sold the firm to Tom Purdey. From this point onwards, the Woodward gun replaced the old Edwinson Green based Purdey O/U and has been the gun offered by the firm from 1950 to the present. If you can’t beat ’em… buy ’em!

PROVENANCE: Factory records indicate that the gun was made in 1927 for Mr. Wade Harley. Wade was a prominent real estate developer who made a “fortune” in Florida’s real estate boom of the late 1920’s.

CONDITION: Excellent. Bbls retain essentially all of what appears to be orig blue, but is possibly an old London quality re-black. Action retains 50 – 60% orig case hardening color, fading on bottom, and silvered on beads and bolsters. Lockplates retain nearly all of their orig vivid color. Top lever and trigger guard retain 85 – 90% of their orig charcoal blue. Thumbpiece is slightly silvered, blue on trigger guard is thinning on grip. Buttstock retains nearly all of a glossy oil finish, most likely redone.  Edges are slightly rounded, some finish in checkering, wood well above metal. There is an incipient 3/8″ crack behind left lockplate, and a minor stress crack behind right. These hairlines are typical and should pose no repair problems. Forend finish appears to be original, with slight wear to checkering. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout, with no visible imperfections. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Bottom ejector will not trip (broken spring). Tag is good. Safety parts are fine.Some minor repairs will make this rare Pigeon gun the “Lord of the Ring”. 4-46136 MGM156 (30,000-45,000)

 

 

The Purdey side-by-side, perfected…

Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun
Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun

Henry Atkin, Sr, used to be one of the big boys of the London shotgun trade. Coming from a family of gunmakers, he learned his trade at Purdeys. In 1875 he went out on his own and by 1890 he was doing so well that he moved to Jermyn Street–a prestigious part of town . He passed away in 1906, 1 year before his firm (being run by his nephews, C.F and F.W Hinton) developed the side-by-side which some people claim bested Purdey and created the finest self-opening double barrel in the world.

Henry Atkin's shotguns, fom Best Guns by Michael McIntosh
Henry Atkin’s shotguns, fom Best Guns by Michael McIntosh

From the AG&L website:

Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun
Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun

“In 1907, Atkin produced the first of the guns which were to become the firm’s trademark ‘1909 model’; the spring opening side-lock ejector. The gun is essentially the Beesley/Purdey 1880 patent spring-cocking mechanism, with alterations to the ejector system and cocking pads to make the gun easier to close. Many aficionados believe this the very best of the self-opening side-locks; giving the advantages of the self-opener without the stiffness associated with the Beesley design upon closing.”

Among the 1909’s fans was Gough Thomas Garwood, the engineer/gun writer who penned many articles and books on shotguns and shooting. G.T. had  Atkin’s make him a Spring Opener in 1947, spelling out that the company needed to “guarantee that in respect of material, workmanship, finish and shooting qualities, the gun will conform to your highest pre-war standards.” Apparently they succeeded (although I’ve read that after delivery the gun went back  to the maker for some tweaks). Thomas went on to rave about the gun for the rest of his shooting & writing career.

Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun
Beesley/Purdey-style action on Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun

Atkin made a number of Model 1909 “Spring Openers” and today they come on the market from time to time. Right now there’s this one at Fieldsport in MI. There’s also this one. It just popped up at Cabela’s and from what I can tell, it looks like a pretty good deal. It’s a later gun (1959 or so) so it has the typical so-so engraving of the period, but the overall quality of the shotgun looks excellent. And where else can you find a double barrel that’s better than a Purdey, and in excellent original shape, for just $13,500?

Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun
Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun
Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun
Henry Atkin Spring Opener Model 1909 Double Barrel Shotgun

 

Boss & Co. Over & Under Double Rifle: Pt. II

The story continues on the Boss & Co. Over & Under Double Rifle. It turns out that’s a 2-bbl set. It also has a Boss-style rising bite on the barrels and action. Check it out.

Boss & Co. Over & Under Double Rifle
Boss & Co. Over & Under Double Rifle
Boss & Co. Over & Under Double Rifle
Boss & Co. Over & Under Double Rifle
Boss & Co. Over & Under Double Rifle
Boss & Co. Over & Under Double Rifle

W. & C. Scott Premier on Gunbroker.com….

From about 1870 to the late 1880s, “The Premier Gun” was W. & C. Scott’s finest double barrel shotgun. Offered first as a hammer gun, and then in hammerless models, The Premier Gun was made right up until World War II.

12 gauge W. & C. Scott The Premier Gun double barrel shotgun
12 gauge W. & C. Scott The Premier Gun double barrel shotgun

Today, these side-by-side shotguns pop up on the market on a regular basis. This Premier was just on Gunbroker.com. I’m surprised by how much this one brought. While it’ looking pretty original, it does look like it as cracked through the hand at one time. But I guess at least a couple guys didn’t consider this a problem.

This Scott did come with some interesting accessories – including a mainspring compressor (pic #15) and a replacement set of mainsprings (pic #16). The paper shells an custom case were pretty cool, too.

BTW: I’m interested in purchasing any W. & C. Scott shotguns. If you have one for sale, please let me know.

Boss’s Vertical Gun…

Over and Under double barrel shotguns don’t seem innovative to us. But back in the 1920s, shotguns with stacked barrels were still a new idea to most shooter. This old add from Boss shows how they sold these new-fangled things.

I like the “Vertical Gun” description, as well as the claims of “Perfect and quicker alignment, better balance, less recoil.” I’m not sure these claims are true (less recoil definitely isn’t), but that’s salesmanship for you.

Advertisement for Boss's Over and Under double barrel shotgun
Advertisement for Boss's Over and Under double barrel shotgun

A quick trip to London in 1956….

So it’s 1956 and you’re in London’s West End, looking to purchase a top-end sidelock double barrel shotgun. Here’s a quick look at how it would go. Check out the try gun used for the fitting, as well as the tools behind the stocker’s vise. I love the stern looks on everyone’s face. Very serious work.

BTW: I think this is Wilkes’s old shop, or maybe Watson’s. Does anyone know for sure?

GUN MAKING

Part one of Purdey double barrel shotgun…

If you’re the handy type and you would like to make your own double barrel shotgun, here’s a great way to get started. Buy this Purdey-style action forging. It’s on Ebay right now for $500. Of course, it still needs a lot of time, work and money to become a gun.

Forging for a Purdey Double Barrel Shotgun
Forging for a Purdey Double Barrel Shotgun

 

Pet peeve-lousy metal-to-metal fit…

Here’s are an example of something that drives me nuts: crappy metal-to-metal fit. You see this on all kinds of guns, from the cheapest to the most expensive. Sometimes it’s because of age, sometimes it’s because of a poor repair, and other times it ‘s from plain shitty craftsmanship.

First, lets start with how things are supposed to look on a top-quality double barrel shotgun. Here’s a look at the fit of a lockplate into the action of a Boss side-by-side from around 1925. See the seem? That’s pretty much perfect.

Excellent metal-to-metal fit on a 1925 Boss
Excellent metal-to-metal fit on a 1925 Boss

 

 

Now take a look at this J. Purdey sidelock. This is off an early Beesley-action double, probably from around 1885. Here you can see a gap. In fact, the fit on this lockplate is gappy at the front and at the back, behind the fences. Now, I don’t this these gaps are Purdey’s fault. Use and wear can lead to poorly fitting locks, as can rehardening an action. And my gut tells me that the colors on that Purdey may not be very original.

Poor metal-to-metal fit on a 19th century Purdey
Poor metal-to-metal fit on a 19th century Purdey

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: