Auction alert: Great H&H Royal hammerless double rifle …

RARE EARLY HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS SIDELOCK TOP-LEVER DOUBLE RIFLE
RARE EARLY HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS SIDELOCK TOP-LEVER DOUBLE RIFLE

The Holland & Holland Royal is one of the most iconic doubles every made. Introduced in 1885, the Royal’s design was based on a 1883 patent filed by Henry Holland and John Robertson. Throughout the 1880s, the Royal’s look & design was tweaked and refined until it evolved into the kind of gun we see here.

This Royal, coming up in James D. Julia’s Fall sale, was finished in 1894. At that time, the shooting world was transitioning from black powders to smokeless powders, and rifle makers were starting to introduced new “nitro express” loads to replace their black-powder express (BPE) cartridges.

The .450 BPE  3 1/4″ was one of the most popular cartridges of the black-powder era, and today it’s still a great round for anything you can hunt in North America. Because the 450BPE generates far less energy than the .450 Nitro Express, guns made for .450 BPE tend to be on the light side for double rifles. They ‘re also tend to be much more comfortable to shoot.

RARE EARLY HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS SIDELOCK TOP-LEVER DOUBLE RIFLE
RARE EARLY HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS SIDELOCK TOP-LEVER DOUBLE RIFLE

RARE EARLY HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS SIDELOCK TOP-LEVER DOUBLE RIFLE WITH CASESN 17818. Cal. 450 BPE. 28″ Dovetailed bbls are fitted with full length file cut rib, central portion swamped, and not file cut, forming long, low ramp for white bead front sight. Rear portion of rib is fitted with one standing, two folding leaf express rear sight. Tops of bbls are engraved “Holland & Holland. 98. New Bond Street, London.” and “Winners of All the “Field” Rifle Trials, London.” Bbl flats are stamped with London black powder proofs for 450 express. Bottoms of bbls are stamped with SN. H&H Royal sidelock action with top tang extending over comb, features automatic safety with “SAFE and BOLTED” inlaid in gold. Action also has gold band tumbler end cocking indicators and dbl triggers. Action is engraved in early Holland “Royal” style with near full coverage well cut, varying sized, shaded scroll, surrounding “Holland & Holland” within broad scroll bordered device on front portion of each lockplate. Bottom of action is engraved “Charge 4 Drams” “Case 3-1/4 Inches”. Fences are engraved with exceptionally fine scallop shell central motifs, flanked by scroll and floral highlights. Trigger guard with scroll on bow has SN at grip, which extends to engraved steel cap. Lovely fiddle figured and lightly marbled European walnut capped pistol grip buttstock measures 14-1/4″ over ribbed horn buttplate. Stock is finished in classic H&H style with drop points, and point pattern checkering at grip, with mullered borders and inward curving rear line. A gold oval on toe line is engraved “W. H. C. Ll” “FROM R. W. & H. A. Ll.” “Nov 1st, 1904″. Matching splinter forend has Anson release. Drop at heel: approx 2-13/16″, drop at comb: approx 1-3/4″. Weight: 8 lbs 7 oz. LOP: 14-1/4″. What appears to be orig makers leather case with brass corners is embossed “Walter Lloyd” (matching engraving on gold oval on toe line) on top. Case is lined in royal blue cloth, and has large paper H&H label in lid, along with instruction label. The maker’s have kindly confirmed that the rifle was finished in 1894, and that in 1904 was sold 2nd hand to R. W. Llewelyn.

RARE EARLY HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS SIDELOCK TOP-LEVER DOUBLE RIFLE
RARE EARLY HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS SIDELOCK TOP-LEVER DOUBLE RIFLE

CONDITION: Very fine, original, as found. Bbls retain approx 60% orig blue, thinning overall, with some minor flecking. Action retains 50 – 60% orig case hardening color, strong where protected. Locks retain 60 – 70% orig color, right lock somewhat stronger. Top lever retains 80 – 90% of its orig blue, silvered on thumbpiece. Trigger guard retains perhaps 30% of its blue on bow, grip completely silvered. All engraving remains sharp and clear, no noted pitting. Stocks retain most of their fine orig hand rubbed oil finish, with some light marks and scratches, checkering lightly worn. Bores are excellent with bright sharp rifling throughout. A bit of looseness can be felt in action with forend removed, feels tight with forend in place. Bbls are very slightly off face. Case leather is darkening and has many light marks and scuffs. Straps and handle are good. Interior cloth is fine, with a bit of insect damage, and some blocks and partitions loose, with the butt block replaced and lined in green cloth. An exceptionally fine, elegant and rare, early top-lever Holland Royal rifle in a caliber suitable for almost any game with proper loads and bullets. Estimate: $27,500-$37,500

RARE EARLY HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS SIDELOCK TOP-LEVER DOUBLE RIFLE
RARE EARLY HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS SIDELOCK TOP-LEVER DOUBLE RIFLE

What the heck? A James Woodward SxS with a Purdey thumbhole?

12g James Woodward & Son SxS Shotgun with a Purdey-patent thumbhole underlver
12g James Woodward & Son SxS Shotgun with a Purdey-patent thumbhole snap action

Here’s something unsual: A hammerless 12g James Woodward & Sons side-by-side shotgun with a second-pattern James Purdey & Sons thumbhole lever. Very odd.

This Woodward looks like it’s right around the turn of the 19th century. In it’s day, the action was pretty current technology. But the mechanism that opens it — the Purdey thumbhole lever — is from an earlier generation of gunmaking.

James Purdey & Sons introduced it’s second-pattern thumbhole in the late 1860s. It was a refined version of the company’s first patent thumbhole, introduced in 1863 to go along with Purdey’s new double-bite bolt. By the mid 1870s, Purdey started transitioning to the toplever/Scott spindle setup on its hammerguns, and then it went to that system on almost all it’s shotguns by the the 1880s.

So what is this old fashion design doing with younger Woodward? I guess whoever ordered the gun wanted it there. Perhaps they were familiar with the system and wanted to stick with it on their new shotgun. And if that’s what the customer wanted (and could pay for) that’s what Woodward would have done.

12g James Woodward & Son SxS Shotgun with a  Purdey-patent thumbhole underlver
12g James Woodward & Son SxS Shotgun with a Purdey-patent thumbhole snapaction

 

Merry Christmas…..

Santa taking a break from his duties
Santa taking a break from his duties

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from Dogs & Doubles. Lexi and I hope you having a wonderful day with your loved ones, family and friends.

Here are a couple doubles I wish Santa had left me under the tree. I guess he couldn’t fit them down the chimney – or maybe he decided to keep them for himself

This first one America’s original magnum shotgun – a. Ithaca 3 1/2″ 10 gauge SxS. It’s the perfect double for pass-shooting your Christmas goose – especially from a flying sleigh.

The hammerless Alex Henry double rifle looks fabulous — especially for a SxS that’s 100+ years old. It would be a great deer rifle. Of course, you shouldn’t  mention this to Rudolph, Dancer, and the rest of Santa’s string.

 

Ithaca Gun Co, Year 1939, 10 Gauge, 10lbs 7oz, Side by Side:
Ithaca Gun Co, Year 1939, 10 Gauge, 10lbs 7oz, Side by Side:

Ithaca Gun Co, Year 1939, 10 Gauge, 10lbs 7oz, Side by Side: Serial Number: 500683. In the world of vintage American double big bore shotguns, this gun is a legend.  Only Parker and Ithaca made a true 10ga. magnum, both rarely seen for sale.  Of course, if a Parker comes up it is priced sky high, as they made precious few and Parkers rein King in the way of price.  The Ithaca Mag 10 came about in 1932 when Spencer Olin came up with the cannon sized shotgun shell, the 3 1/2″ magnum 10ga. with 2 ounces or more of shot.  He approached Ithaca and the boys there came up with the 10 1/2lb. Ithaca 10 Mag.

Ithaca Gun Co, Year 1939, 10 Gauge, 10lbs 7oz, Side by Side:
Ithaca Gun Co, Year 1939, 10 Gauge, 10lbs 7oz, Side by Side:

Ithaca guns are great guns, and eminently more affordable than the Parker.  Total production in all grades of the Ithaca 10 Mag was 887 guns.  Only 156 were made in Grade 2, making this a truly rare gun.  Unaltered and well cared for since it left the factory, this gun, sn500683 made in 1939, is raw power for your long range shooting.  Whether it be geese, turkey, or blocking corn fields for pheasants, the 3 1/2″ 10ga. magnum is the hardest hitting double shotgun allowed in the USA.  Still carrying lots of factory condition, this is a rare, investment grade shotgun that will continue to grow in value as you enjoy its use.  No closet queen, this gun is ready to hunt.  It is not beat up, but has enough wear on it that you will not hesitate to take it afield.  You will not have this opportunity again for a very long time with production numbers so low.  There cannot be 150 Grade 2 Magnums left on the planet, and few as nice and original as this one.  Price: $6,950

Alexander Henry Double Rifle, Edinburgh & London- .360 caliber:
Alexander Henry Double Rifle, Edinburgh & London- .360 caliber

Alexander Henry Double Rifle, Edinburgh & London- .360 caliber: Charge 2 1/4″ Drs, 26” barrels, full sidelock. A finest construction available as it was Built for the Maharaj Rana of Dholpur. This outstanding small frame gun is a double rifle almost in miniature, has virtually 100% of the case color, blue, Damascus finish on the barrels, and wood finish. Leather pad, French fitted case with every conceivable accessory, flip up sights, double trigger, large gold escutcheon in stock with the Maharaj’s stamp, there is no finer gun available in finer condition, one of best guns ever made, superb unaltered condition, the gun is virtually unused. Comes with original Oak and crocodile presentation case and with some correspondence to the NRA. A wonderful item. 6lb. 7oz. 13 7/8” x 1 7/8” x 2 7/8”. Price: $32,500

Rare: a a 12g Sneider side-by-side hammerless shotgun…

12 gauge Sneider Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Sneider Hammerless Double Barrel Shotgun

It seems odd now, but 150 years ago the “hammerless” centerfire shotgun was a novel design. London’s Theophilus Murcott patented one in 1871, followed by Westley Richards in 1875.

Over here in the US, Daniel Myron Lefever patented his lever-cocking, hammerless design in 1878. Soon after him,  Charles Sneider came out with the design you see here.

12 gauge Sneider double barrel hammerless shotgun
12 gauge Sneider double barrel hammerless shotgun

Sneider was a gunmaker in Baltimore. He started out making hammer guns and then later in his career and introduced hammerless models like this one around 1879-1880. I’m not sure how many guns he made in all, but I’m sure the number is number a fewer than a thousand, and I bet the total number of hammerless models is no more than 200.

I’ve seen a couple hammerless Sneiders, and their quality and elegance impressed me. Take a look at the pics posted here to see what I mean.

12 gauge Sneider double barrel hammerless shotgun
12 gauge Sneider double barrel hammerless shotgun

 

On Gunbroker.com now: a real early 16 gauge Lefever double barrel shotgun…

16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun

Daniel Myron Lefever was one of the geniuses of American gunmaking. Born in 1835, he started making firearms under his own name in 1857. Fifteen years later he was working with machinist Francis Dangerfield. Together they patented a doll’s head, thumb lift locking mechanism for breechloading shotguns.

In 1883, Lefever used part of this design on his new barrel-cocking hammerless shotgun, the first of its kind created in the US. The 16 gauge Lefever Arms Co. E grade you see here is built on those two patents. Made around 1886, it’s one of the first sixteens that the Lefever Arms Co. produced. From what I can see, it looks like it’s in pretty original condition. The only issue I can see with it is with the bbls: They’re short (26″) and possibly cut. Other than that, this125+ years old side-by-side looks like it in excellent shape.

16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter Shotgun
16 gauge Lefever E-grade Thumb Lifter 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

Good guns at Julia’s: a 12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal…

A big problem with old shotguns is that they’re…well..old. This has given people lots of time to mess with them. And while I love double barrels, I hate ones that have been messed with.

12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal Shotgun at Julia's Spring 2012 Auction
12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal Shotgun at Julia's Spring 2012 Auction

That’s why this 12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal at Julia’s caught my eye. They’re calling it “An exceptional original solid gun.” That’s what I like to see.

I like honest wear. As long as a gun has been looked after mechanically, there’s nothing wrong with a worn, original finish. The Brits disagree. They love to refinish their barrels and buffing the actions. They call this “brushed bright and reblacked.” I call it ruined, and I hate how flashy these guns end up looking.

There’s nothing flashy about this old H&H Royal. Instead, it still has the quiet elegance that makes best-quality London guns so appealing.

Here’s the full write up from Julia’s website:

Lot 1155: HEAVY PROOF HOLLAND & HOLLAND ROYAL HAMMERLESS EJECTOR PIGEON/ WATERFOWL GUN.

SN 30509. (ca 1923) Cal. 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 30″ Chopper lump bbls with slightly raised, concave, matted rib, are engraved “Holland & Holland.” and “98. New Bond Street, London.” on tops. Bbl flats are stamped with London nitro proofs for 1-1/4 oz of shot. Bottoms of bbls are stamped with SNs.

Unusual robust H & H Royal action is fitted with Purdey type third fastener as well as side clips and double triggers with front articulated. It also features typical H & H patent detachable sidelocks and gold band tumbler end cocking indicators. Action and locks are engraved in H & H house style with large shaded acanthus scroll. “Holland & Holland” is in acanthus device on each lockplate. Bottom of action is engraved “Royal Hammerless Ejector”.

Single beaded trigger guard is scroll engraved with SN at grip. Nicely streaked and fiddle figured European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14-5/8″ over 3/4″ ribbed wood extension fitted to orig curve of butt. Stock features drop points, standard 24 LPI flat top checkering with mullered borders and a vacant gold oval on toe line. Matching splinter ejector forend has Anson release.

Bore diameter: left-.733, right -.734. Bore restrictions: left -.040, right -.040. Wall thickness: left -.030, right -.030. Drop at heel: 2-5/8″, drop at comb: 1-9/16″. Weight: 7 lbs. 5.8 oz. LOP: 14-5/8″.

CONDITION: Fine. Bbls retain most of their orig blue, considerably silvered and grayed. Action and lockplates retain traces of orig case hardening color in protected areas, but are mostly silver, browning somewhat. Trigger guard has traces of orig blue. Stocks retain most of their orig oil finish with numerous minor marks. Checkering has slight wear, and is missing a number of diamonds. Wood of extension matches well, and surface is somewhat below buttstock. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout, with no visible imperfections. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are in time.

An exceptional original solid gun. Hollands in this configuration with side clips are considerably rarer than those of other makes. 4-45109 MGM202 (13,500-18,500)

Vintage double of the week – 8g Westley Richards…

Any hammerless 8g double barrel is hard to come by, and when you throw in “rifle” you have a side by side that is almost unheard of. That’s what makes this 8 gauge Westley Richards double rifle so amazing. Factor in it’s condition and you have an incredible rare double – probably one of a kind. You can see more pics of it here.

WESTLEY RICHARDS 8-BORE DOUBLE RIFLE
WESTLEY RICHARDS 8-BORE DOUBLE RIFLE

This rifle pushed a 1,200 grain bullet. While the FPS probably wasn’t too high, I’m sure that much lead still hit with a big thud. I’m not sure what the original owner hunted with it — may the last remaining pocket of T Rexes.

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