PT 2: Woodward’s first & second type Over Under shotguns…

James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under, 1923

A few weeks ago, I put up this post about James Woodward & Son’s first type over-under shotgun. Now that my life has slowed down a bit (sorry for being aways for so long), lets talk about how these first-type OUs evolved into the later model.

Woodward patented their OU in 1913. In all, they built around 300 of these guns before the company was bought by James Purdey & Sons in 1948.

Around 1922, James Woodward & Sons completed OU #6640, a lightweight 12 bore noted by them as having their “new type action and ejectors.” Woodward OUs with these new features are what I’m calling the “Type 2” guns.

James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. Pic shows redesigned, type-2 ejectorwork.

A great example of a Type-2 gun is shown here, Woodward OU #6664 from 1923. From what I can see, Woodward two significant changes on these:

  1. The design of the ejectorwork was modified and all the components were moved into the forend.
  2. They altered the flats on the barrels and the corresponding areas in the action.

Why did Woodward made these upgrades? I would say they were done to improve the cocking, ejecting & reliability of these guns.

James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. Updated, type-2 barrel flats
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. Note lack of ejectorwork on sides of bbls.
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. The interior floor of the action is flat to mate with the revised action-flat design. Note the tongue-in-groove fillets on either side of the action. They are one of the unique features of Woodward’s OU design.
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. The silver rod you see sticking out under the top bbl connects the ejectorwork to the shell extractors. Another crucial part of Woodward’s OU design was the split-hook pivot points on either sides of the barrels. This gave the guns their slim-action, low-profile design. Note: Boss OUs do not have these.
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. Interior of forend, showing the revised ejectorwork. Because of the way the mechanics for the ejectors were fitted into the forend, a lot of wood had to be removed. This is why some Woodward OU forends — especially the smallbores–have bulges on their back ends.

A short history of shotguns and shooting…

Breechloader, c1537. Image from The Field magazine.
Breechloader, c1537. Image from The Field magazine.

I love history, and I’m read all sort of books on the history and evolution of shotguns and upland hunting. For a crash course in the subject, check out this piece: History of Shotgunning and Shooting. It’s from The Field magazine and it does a great job of outlining the backstory on doubles and shooting. It reveals a few surprises, too – like the breechloader shown from around 1537. I didn’t know breechloaders were being made that long ago.

History of Shotgunning and Shooting

By Mark Murray-Flutter and Edward Impey

Mark Murray -Flutter is senior curator, firearms at the Royal Armouries and Edward Impey is the director-general and master.

The history of the shotgun and shooting, from the reign of Henry VIII to 1800. How bird shooting went from its infancy to the eve of the sport we know today…
“The early history of the shotgun and shooting, before the invention of the breech-loading shotgun as we know it, was a greatly different business. From around 1500 to the eve of the great technical and sporting developments that made the shotgun what it is today, the history of the shotgun encompasses some fascinating historical pieces….”
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