This week’s 5 doubles you don’t want to miss….

 

E.J. CHURCHILL PREMIER QUALITY OVER UNDER DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUNS PAIR
E.J. CHURCHILL PREMIER QUALITY OVER UNDER DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUNS PAIR

E.J. CHURCHILL PREMIER QUALITY OVER UNDER DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUNS PAIR: BOTH GUNS ARE THE SAME DIMENSIONS, 28″ SOLID RIB, CHOKED .007″ AND .014″ with 2 3/4″ CHAMBERS, DOUBLE TRIGGERS, EJECTORS, FIELD FOREARM, PISTOL GRIP, CHECKERED BUTT MINT CONDITION MAKERS CASE, 7 LBS 4 0Z, DIMENSIONS: 2″ DAH,1 9/16″ DAC, 14 1/8″ LOP. Matched pair E.J. Churchill O/U The Premier Quality.  12 Bore game guns.  Gun I made in 1926, Gun II Made in 1929. Serial Nr. 4220 was made for Abercrombie & Fitch and 3173 for a Mr. Wilson in San Francisco. They were both originally pigeon guns with 32” barrels. They were matched up as a pair and re-barreled to 28” through Churchill, Atkin, Grant & Lang, and Don Masters chocked IC/M and probably restocked by the maker, work which was done for a Danish nobleman whose coat of arms are on the escutcheon.  Both guns have a full London proof.  The actions of these guns are exact copies of the Woodward O&U actions, and were made by the firm of Hills, who also made the actions for Woodward. It was said at the time that Woodward built the Over & Under guns for Bob Churchill. This may be indeed true, but it is not likely, I believe Hill did all the actioning and in addition, they both used the same outworkers. A marked difference is the ejector system, which differs from Woodward and shows the Churchill input, as Bob Churchill felt it needed improvement. In total only 15 Over & Under guns were built by Churchill before WWII, of which this pair is believed to be in the best condition of those remaining.  One of these guns is pictured in the book “The House of Churchill” by Don Masters. Price: $46,500

F.LLI PIOTTI Model BSEE, Boxlock, SxS, 16ga 29" Upgraded wood, Upgraded action shaping, 6#3oz Near Perfect condition
F.LLI PIOTTI Model BSEE, Boxlock, SxS, 16ga 29″ Upgraded wood, Upgraded action shaping, 6#3oz Near Perfect condition

F.LLI PIOTTI Model BSEE, Boxlock, SxS, 16ga 29″ Upgraded wood, Upgraded action shaping, 6#3oz Near Perfect condition: Serial #  A03. Barrel Length (in Inches):  29″,  Choked R  SKT(.005) Choked L  IM(.020), Trigger  DT (Double), Straight Grip, Splinter Forearm, English-style Smooth Concave Rib, Fine Scroll & Rosette Engraving, Upgraded wood, Upgraded action shaping, Checkered butt, Original box. Near PERFECT Condition. Weight  6#3oz. Dimensions  1 3/8 x 2 1/4 x 14 3/4 with 1/4 cast off. Mfg 2007, The ideal upland bird gun. Price: $14,900

Stephen Grant Classic Hammer Sidelever SxS with original Nitro Proofed Damascus Barrels
Stephen Grant Classic Hammer Sidelever SxS with original Nitro Proofed Damascus Barrels

Stephen Grant Classic Hammer Sidelever SxS with original Nitro Proofed Damascus Barrels Serial Number: 3822, Ejectors: No, Barrels: 30″, Barrel Type: Damascus, Action: back-action side lever with rebounding hammers, Gauge: 12 gauge, Stock Comb: 1 7/16″, Stock Heel: 2 1/4″, Stock Cast: 1/8″, LOP: 14 1/2″, Weight: 6 lbs. 14 oz., Choke Left: .003 Near Cyl., Choke Right: .003 Near Cyl.
Proof:Nitro: 2 1/2″, Minimum Wall Thickness Left: .030″, Minimum Wall Thickness Right: .028″. Price: $6,900

Webley and Scott 16 gauge SxS Boxlock Shotgun
Webley and Scott 16 gauge SxS Boxlock Shotgun

Webley & Scott 16 gauge SxS Boxlock Shotgun: Nice old prewar Webley & Scott 16 ga. Choked imp and full 29” barrels, DT, AE, LOP is 14 3/4”, leather pad, this piece has a third fastener, really nice old shotgun. Price: $3,895

Ithaca Model 280 is a side by side 20 Ga. shotgun
Ithaca Model 280 is a side by side 20 Ga. shotgun

Ithaca ~ 280 ~ 20 Ga. ~ Side-by-Side ~ Boxlock Shotgun: This Ithaca Model 280 is a side by side 20 Ga. shotgun. It has 25 inch barrels with a solid rib and 3 inch chambers. A checkered grip walnut straight grip stock and beavertail forearm. Has a very nicely engraved receiver with birds in flight. In over all good condition it comes as is.Ithaca-SKB checkered black plate. Weighs 6 lbs. 3 oz. Shows a little use and wear. Price: $1,699.99

For the heart: My affair with shotguns, from Project Upland …

PROJECT UPLAND – THE BIRD HUNTING ANTHOLOGY – VOLUME NO. 1
PROJECT UPLAND – THE BIRD HUNTING ANTHOLOGY – VOLUME NO. 1

Why do we love what we love? Why are we drawn to certain things, even if those things make little sense in our lives?

Good questions, and ones I ask myself often.

Last fall, Project Upland’s A.J. DeRosa asked me to put pen to paper and write about my passion for fine shotguns. My piece is published below. It one of the essays featured in PROJECT UPLAND – THE BIRD HUNTING ANTHOLOGY – VOLUME NO. 1.

For the Heart

LOVE CAN BE HARD TO UNDERSTAND, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S for anything other than babies, puppies, and ice cream. Of all the things I love about upland hunting—my pointers flashing through the woods, the whirl of a flushing woodcock, the cidery smell of old apple trees—my lifelong affair with shotguns is the most difficult for me to comprehend.

I’m not from a family of hunters or shooters. My grandfather never killed a bird in his life. While my dad was a fisherman, he never owned a gun or fired a rifle. And I didn’t grow up on a farm with cornfields or stands of aspen outside my door. I grew up in Connecticut, down the street from a 7-Eleven and a strip mall anchored by a bar called the Amber Light Lounge & Cafe. But despite all this, bird hunting, and especially shotguns, have always been my thing.

When I was a kid, I pestered my father to take me to gun shops. I didn’t care about the rifles, and I didn’t stare at glass cases lined with revolvers and pistols. I wanted to see the shotguns. Most of the ones I came across were autoloaders and pumps: Remington 1100s, Winchester Model 12s. Sometimes there would be an O/U, usually a Browning Superposed. Those always commanded my attention. When I was thirteen, my family moved to northern New Hampshire. Now there were woods behind our house and, I would discover, grouse.

Me & a Westley Richards I owned, from PROJECT UPLAND – THE BIRD HUNTING ANTHOLOGY – VOLUME NO. 1
Me & a Westley Richards I owned, from PROJECT UPLAND – THE BIRD HUNTING ANTHOLOGY – VOLUME NO. 1

Our first bird season there my father borrowed two shotguns. The one for me was a 16-gauge Savage Fox Model B. I was fascinated with it. I had seen side-by-sides in a little newspaper I received called the Orvis News, but this was the first one I had held in my hands. With its two barrels aligned next to each other and double triggers, it looked awkward and outdated. But it also seemed more refined and purpose-built than any other shotgun I had come across. It suggested something . . . different? better? I wasn’t sure, but I was reluctant to give it back at the end of the season.

My father and I hunted grouse throughout my high school years, but he had little passion for it. I tugged us out the door early Saturday mornings and insisted we hunt every weekend. Fortunately, my father obliged. When I was fifteen, he indulged me again by taking me to buy my first shotgun: a 20-gauge Remington pump with a twenty-one-inch barrel and a straight stock. I hunted with it into my twenties.

I went to college near one of the largest gun shops in the country. The sales floor was crowded with racks of firearms, hundreds in all, and there were always dozens of shotguns for me to look at. I spent many Sunday afternoons there looking at the Rugers, Berettas, Parkers, and Foxes—shouldering one, then another, and another, flipping over the price tags, trying to find anything I could afford.

Collectors and hoarders have a lot in common; the first group is just more discriminating than the other. In my first ten years or so of chasing doubles, I was a hoarder. If a gun had two barrels, I wanted it. My first double was an A. H. Fox Sterlingworth. Then there was a Parker VHE. Both were 12s and both weighed around seven pounds. The bluing on the barrels had been worn to gray, and the checkering on both had been rubbed smooth. Neither fit me well. But I didn’t care. They were the classic American shotguns, they killed birds, and they were mine. I was proud to own them, and when I bought them, I swore I would never part with either one. Of course, when other doubles came along, my resolve faded, and I sold both.

Over the next decade I owned Ithaca NIDs, a run of 16-gauge L.C. Smith No. 2s, a SuperFox, and more Parkers, including a 12-gauge DHE pigeon gun with thirty-two-inch barrels. There were Francottes, W & C Scott Premiers, and Charles Daly Diamond grades. Boxlocks and sidelocks. A Purdey hammergun from the 1860s and a Merkel double rifle from the 1950s. Guns, guns, and more guns. Some I shot; most I didn’t. Regardless of whether or not I fired them, I studied every one and noted their mechanics, styling, and workmanship.

Along with guns, I also hoarded information: The Double Gun Journal and Shooting Sportsman, old catalogs from gunmakers like Boss & Co. and retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, books by Michael McIntosh, Stephen Bodio, Donald Dallas, and Major Burrard. I loved learning the obscure language and knowledge of doubles as much as I enjoyed the history of the classic American and British makers. All this was the sun and water that grew my fondness for shotguns into a full obsession. Losing money is an excellent way to learn a lesson, and my hoarding period was an expensive education in buying and selling guns.

Me & a lock from a Westley Richards I owned, from PROJECT UPLAND – THE BIRD HUNTING ANTHOLOGY – VOLUME NO. 1
Me & a lock from a Westley Richards I owned, from PROJECT UPLAND – THE BIRD HUNTING ANTHOLOGY – VOLUME NO. 1

I learned how to spot reblued barrels, the right questions to ask a seller, and what dealers mean when they say a gun is “as new” (it’s totally redone). I learned how to measure up a set of barrels and the arcane language of shotgun proof marks. I also learned the value of original condition and, more importantly, how to spot it.

The most important thing my hoarding period taught me was what I thought was important. Like most people who get into guns, I started with an interest in what everyone else said was special: Parkers, Winchester Model 21s, Purdeys. After a while, I learned what was special to me: vintage British doubles (especially ones in their original cases), German O/Us made before World War II, and, above all, high-quality shotguns in original condition. When I concentrated on what I thought mattered, I became a collector. I learned to discriminate, and this taught me more about what moved me and who I am.

Why do we love the things we do? Perhaps it’s a search for wholeness or inspiration. Perhaps we’re looking to bring some type of beauty into our lives or connect with deep, profound currents running through all people for all time. Regardless, I know I can’t decide what I’ll love. My heart makes these decisions, and most make little sense to me. But if I want to feel satisfied and make my hours and days feel worthwhile, I need to follow its commands.

The first step to shooting a shotgun well…

Smooth and Consistent Shotgun Mount Video
Smooth and Consistent Shotgun Mount Video

Being an American, I grew up thinking there were some things I just knew how to do: skip a rock across a pond, spit, shoot a shotgun.

Of course, I wasn’t born knowing how to do any of these things. And when it came to shotguns, it took me a while to realize I didn’t know the first thing about shooting them.

Even though this video is called Smooth and Consistent Shotgun Mount – Sporting Clays Tip it’s really about picking up targets and getting in front of them, and breaking more clays (or dropping more birds). It takes a bit to get going, but the animation in the middle is worth checking out.

Must read NatGeo article about grouse moors…

Grouse shooting in Scotland, from the BASC web site
Grouse shooting in Scotland, from the BASC web site

I’ve never been to Scotland and I’ve never shot a red grouse. But visiting the first to do the second is at the top of my bucket list. According to this article from National Geographic, I might want to cross it off soon.

The article’s well written and worth checking out if you’ve ever dreamed of traveling to the UK for the the Glorious Twelfth (simply August, 12, here) or if you just want to look at some gorgeous photographs.

Buy this gun! 20 gauge Beretta 686 Onyx OU, 2-bbl set …

Beretta 686 Onyx 20 gauge Over Under 2 Barrel Set
Beretta 686 Onyx 20 gauge Over Under 2 Barrel Set

Here’s one of the finest double-barrel shotguns you’re going to find. These Beretta 686s handle like OUs costing many times more. They’re also reliable, easy to fix, and with this kind of Onyx finish, just plain sexy. For grouse, woodcock, and quail, they’re just about ideal.

With two set of barrels, 26.5″ and 29.5″, and a price tag of just $1699.99, this one is extra special. That’s why I’m saying someone needs to buy this gun. If someone else doesn’t snatch it up soon, I just might be the one to do it.

Beretta 686 Onyx 20 Gauge Over Under 2 Barrel SetThis is a very nice Beretta 686 Onyx 2 barrel set. The pictured barrels are 26.5 inch matte black and the second set are 29.5 inch blue, both have vent ribs. The walnut stock and matching forearm are a nice grade of wood with a small hairline crack on the left side of the forearm. All in all a very nice shotgun at a very nice price.  Price: $1699.99
Caliber: 20 Gauge.

Beretta 686 Onyx 20 gauge Over Under 2 Barrel Set
Beretta 686 Onyx 20 gauge Over Under 2 Barrel Set

Chambers: 2 3/4 and 3 inch Over/Under with ejectors.
Metal Condition: Excellent.
Wood Condition: Very good with a small crack on the left side of the forearm.
Bore Condition: All are bright and shiny.
Barrels: 26.5 inch matte black and the second set are 29.5 inch blue.
Triggers: Single silver color.
Stock: Nice mid-grade walut with a checkered pistol grip.
Stock Dimensions:
15 inch LOP
Fore End: Matching checkered walnut with finger grooves.
Butt Pad: Replacement black rubber butt pad.
Weight: 6 Lbs 3 Oz with the 26.5 inch barrels.
Sights: Vent ribs with single front beads.
Chokes: Screw in, comes with 9 total chokes.
Extras: Comes with the second barrel and extra chokes.

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

Parker GH 8 Gauge SxS Shotgun
Parker GH 8 Gauge SxS Shotgun

Parker GH 8 Gauge SxS Shotgun36” Damascus Steel Barrels. 1 of only 16 made in this configuration. Year 1911. 13lbs, 2oz. Serial Number:  156790 Price: $14,000
Chokes: Full and Full, .048” Left and .054” Right
Bores: Very Good with very minor pitting (frosting) near the chambers.
Bore Diameter: 0.845” Left and 0.846” Right
Minimum Barrel Wall Thickness: 0.059” Left and 0.056” Right
Chambers: 3.25”
Ribs: Tight
Frame Size: #6
Extractors
Screws: Perfect
Engraving: Sharp
Trigger Type: Double
Type: Capped pistol grip with splinter forend, figured
LOP: 14.25”
DAC: 1.5”
DAH: 2.5”
Cast: 0
Checkering Condition: Excellent, Factory
Butt: Parker Dog’s Head Buttplate (DHBT)

ITHACA -20 GAUGE FLUES MODEL GRADE 4E - 28 INCH BARRELS CHOKED IC/M
ITHACA -20 GAUGE FLUES MODEL GRADE 4E – 28 INCH BARRELS CHOKED IC/M

ITHACA -20 GAUGE FLUES MODEL GRADE 4E – 28 INCH BARRELS CHOKED IC/MPISTOL GRIP WITH LOGO BUTTPLATE -EXCELLENT WOOD FIGURE -LOP 14″ DROPS 1 11/16″  X 2 3/4″ – WT. 5 LBS. 13 OZS. – GOLD PLATED DOUBLE TRIGGERS – AUTO SAFTEY – BARRLE BLUE 99% – CASE COLROS 90% – TOP LEVER RIGHT OF CENTER – SER.# 224XXX – IT WOULD HARD TO FIND ANOTHER 20 GA. 4E  WITH 28″ BLS. AS NICE AS THIS GUN .  APPEARS TO BE ALL ORIGINAL CONDIITON. Price: $9,000

BROWNING B25 GRADE 1 TRADITIONAL SUPERPOSED 20 GAUGEMADE 2002 30″ MOD AND FULL SOLID RIB 3″ CHAMBERS SINGLE SELECT TRIGGER EJECTORS FIELD FOREARM PISTOL GRIP EXCELLENT CONDITION 6LBS 9 OZ X 2 1/8″ X 1 1/2″ X 15 1/4″. Price: $7,500

BROWNING B25 GRADE 1 TRADITIONAL SUPERPOSED 20 GAUGE
BROWNING B25 GRADE 1 TRADITIONAL SUPERPOSED 20 GAUGE
ANSLEY FOX 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN C GRADE
ANSLEY FOX 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN C GRADE

ANSLEY FOX 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN C GRADE: THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL ANSLEY FOX C GRADE 12 GAUGE DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUN WITH ENGRAVING.  THIS GUN HAS SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOOD I HAVE SEEN ON A GUN .  THIS GUN IS EQUIPPED WITH 30″ KRUPP BARRELS AND A 14″ LENGTH OF PULL.  THIS GUN WAS MANUFACTURED IN 1909. THIS GUN IS ALL ORIGINAL!!!!!!!!!!  Price: $6,300

BERETTA – RARE – S55  OU- 28ga – 28″ M / FVery Hard to Find in 28ga! 1976 – Beretta S55 – 28ga, 28″ M / F (.015 / .024) – LOP 14-1/4″, Drop 1-1/2″ to 2-3/8″, Weight 5 lbs. 13 oz. Condition is “Like New.” The S55 is the same gun as the BL3 – except for the engraving. Price: $1950

ERETTA - RARE - S55 OU- 28ga - 28" M / F:
ERETTA – RARE – S55 OU- 28ga – 28″ M / F:

Uplander. A quick video about what it’s all about…

Pheasant o2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakotapener in South Dakota
2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakota
A breeder I used to know was a blunt SOB. Within 30 minutes of our first meeting he cut me off mid sentence and said this: “Someday you’ll grow up and be done with that.”

We had been talking about pheasant hunting in South Dakota, and I had mentioned the numbers of birds we were killing out there. This was back in ’03, when we were seeing 4-500 pheasants a day on the ground we hunted. Limiting out wasn’t the problem. Limiting out before noon was.

But this arrogant breeder wasn’t impressed. He looked down on anyone who gauged success by the number of bird killed — especially if the birds were wild.

Back then, his attitude pissed me off. I get it now, though.

These days, even though I love to upland hunt, killing birds is far from my top priority. Feathers in hand are nice, and a dead bird every now and then does a lot to keep a bird dog interested in the game. but there’s a lot more that

Auction alert: 20 gauge Webley & Scott M700, 28″ bbls, nearly new…

WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28" bbls
WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28″ bbls

Here’s a chance to get a great SxS at a great price. This 20 gauge Webley & Scott Model 700 SxS is on Gunbroker.com now, and it’s being sold without a reserve. The listing ends on 7/26/2016 @ 5:16 PM.

Scott M700s are the Timex watches of SxS, and this one is ready to take whatever licking you can give it. It’s built on Anson & Deeley-style boxlock actions, one of the finest shotgun designs ever created, and it looks unused and all original.

WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28" bbls
WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28″ bbls

WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28″ bbls: Up for auction is a beautiful Webley & Scott model 700 side x side shotgun. This is a 20 gauge with 28″ inch ejector barrels that are choked IC and Mod. The LOP is 14 3/4 and the DAH is 1 3/4. This gun is very light and has fantastic balance. The gun is in excellent condition with all original finish. This is a 1960’s vintage gun that is very high quality and very hard to find. You will not be disappointed with this fine shotgun.

WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28" bbls
WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28″ bbls

Pointers aren’t supposed to do this….

You hear all sorts of “truths” about Pointers: They’re not personable; they make lousy house dogs; they don’t retrieve (not naturally, anyway). Sky is my third pointer, and just like my first two, she has shown me that all these “truths” are total BS. Watch this video to see her dispel the third.

Bargain bird gun: A 12g Bernardelli Gamecock boxlock…

ernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28" Straight Grip
Bernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28″ Straight Grip

A lot of people think you have spend thousands of dollars to get decent SxS shotgun. While you certainly can do that, you can also spend a lot less. Just take a look at this Bernardelli Gamecock. It’s just $800 and an absolute steal.

I think twelve-gauge game guns like this are the most versatile shotguns you can guy. You can load them up to take pheasants or down to hunt grouse or quail. Typically, they run around 6.5lbs — so not too heavy to carry all day and not too light to shoot well or soak up recoil.

This one is on an Anson &  Deeley action, so you know it’s tough and reliable. I’m pretty sure it has ejectors, too. Overall, it look like a real nice gun at an insanely low price.

ernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28" Straight Grip
Bernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28″ Straight Grip

Bernardelli Gamecock 12g SxS 28″ Straight Grip: DT, SS, SF, 12 gauge. This shotgun seems to have spent its life in a closet. Other than normal handling wear throughout its life, she is immaculate. All numbers match, checkering, blueing, bores are gorgeous. She still opens and closes like new. I had Mike Orlen hone the chokes to IC and Mod. Mike did his normal mirror finish and perfect regulation. Documentation included. Serial # is 97596. Excellent birdgun to last a lifetime and gorgeous, original case coloring. Price: $800

 

 

Auction alert: 28g Ruger Red Label, 28″ bbls, No Reserve….

Ruger Red Label 28g, 28" bbls, Straigh English Grip, 1997
Ruger Red Label 28g, 28″ bbls, Straigh English Grip, 1997

Here’s another one of these awesome OUs. These doubles are magic wands in the grouse woods. Most of the ones I see have pretty poor wood — but not this one. The 28″ barrels and straight grip are also hard to find.

This over-under is on Gunbroker.com now with No Reserve. The listing ends 7/24/2016 @ 9:18 PM.

Ruger Red Label 28g, 28″ bbls, Straigh English Grip, 1997: This is an early gRed Label in a hard to find configuration. It comes with an english stock, 28″ barrels, 2 1/2″ drop and a 14 1/4″ LOP. Gun is about as nice as it gets. It comes with a very nice leather case with accessories and wooden cleaning rod as seen. Comes with 5 choke tubes.

Ruger Red Label 28g, 28" bbls, Straigh English Grip, 1997
Ruger Red Label 28g, 28″ bbls, Straigh English Grip, 1997
Ruger Red Label 28g, 28" bbls, Straigh English Grip, 1997
Ruger Red Label 28g, 28″ bbls, Straigh English Grip, 1997

Good gun alert: 20g Browning Citori OU, early model…

Browning Citori Superlight 20ga Over Under Shotgun
Browning Citori Superlight 20ga Over Under Shotgun

Here’s a deal on a great, all around upland shotgun. Browning introduced the Citori in 1973. Made in Japan, it was a simplified version of Browning’s already famous Superposed shotguns (which were made for them in Belgium).

Browning Citori Superlight 20ga Over Under ShotgunThis gun is an early Browning  Citori Superlight 20 ga with 26″ barrels choked improved cyl and modified fixed chokes. It is equipped with single selective trigger, ejectors, and 3″ chambers.  The gun comes as a straight gripped gun with Schnable forend. Price: $950

Browning Citori Superlight 20ga Over Under Shotgun
Browning Citori Superlight 20ga Over Under Shotgun

Wow – what a quail gun: 28 gauge Joseph Manton / Purdey SXS …

Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28" barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels

Joseph Manton was one of the finest gunmakers of the 19th century and one of the most influential gunmakers in British history. His work set the standard and the course for the 180+ years of Best quality gunmaking that came after him.

A handful of men who worked for Manton– including James Purdey, Thomas Boss and William Greener–followed his standards and founded some of the most important makers in the British gun trade.

Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28" barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels

Joseph Manton work was so good that  Colonel Peter Hawker, the 19th century sportsman and writer, is said to have called Manton ‘The greatest artist in firearms that ever the world produced.”

Unfortunately, other than its name and the traditions it carries on, the double you see here has no connection Joseph Manton or to the Manton family. Instead, it was made in the 1980s by a team of British craftsmen, one of whom owned the rights to the name Joseph Manton.

Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28" barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels

Regardless, it’s not the name on the gun that matters, but rather skill that went into building it. And from what I can see, a tremendous amount of skill went into building this side-by-side.

(BTW: Since this gun was made, the name Joseph Manton name passed to other owners. You can find out more about the guns they’re building here.)

Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels: 2-3/4″ chambers, auto-ejectors, choked tight improved cylinder and modified (.009/.016).  London proof 1986.  Narrow tapered raised game rib.  Built on a finely scaled Purdey-type self-opening action.  Extensively engraved with a bold foliate scroll and vibrant case color hardened finish.  Single trigger, auto-safe.  Straight hand stock of classic French walnut with contrasting grain and black and gold fiddleback measures 14-1/8″ to a checkered butt, splinter forend.  The diminutive size is reflected as this little gun tips the scale at a mere 5 lbs, 3 oz.  The 28″ barrels give this gun a forward bias and truly lively feel in the hand! Simply outstanding!  Cased in lightweight leather trunk case. Price: $57,000

Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28" barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28" barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28" barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28" barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28" barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28" barrels
Joseph Manton London 28 gauge, Sidelock, Shotgun, Purdey Action, 28″ barrels

Good gun alert: 12g Charles Hellis boxlock SxS…

CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side

Here’s a real nice boxlock ejector that just popped up on the market. It’s a Charles Hellis with awesome damascus barrels, and if I didn’t already have enough doubles, I would be on the phone to the seller trying work out a deal for it.

Charles Hellis, gunmakers, was founded by its namesake in 1884, and by the 20th century it was another of London’s prosperous gunmakers. Hellis made many different grades and types of guns, from modestly-priced boxlocks to Best-quality sidelocks. The company also specialized in lightweight boxlocks and sidelocks tagged “The Featherweight” and usually engraved with images of feathers on the actions or lockplates. The inlayed side panels on this Hellis boxlock are another of the company’s signature styles.

Gunmaker Charles Hellis outside his shop on Edgware Road, London
Gunmaker Charles Hellis outside his shop on Edgware Road, London

Something to note: Check out the proof marks on this gun. The barrels were originally proofed at two different bore sizes: 13 and 13/1 (.710″ & .719″) and the reproofed at .719″ and .729″ (13/1 & 12). While it’s unusual to see a set of barrels with two different bore sizes at proofing, it’s not unheard or wrong in anyway. What’s important is that both tubes are in proof with good wall thicknesses (which is the case with this SxS).

CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side

CHARLES HELLIS 12GA  Boxlock Ejector Side-by-SideA very nice London, ejector, damascus, nitro proofed, game gun. Tight lockup and ribs. Excellent bores. In proof. No dents. No cracks. Price: $3275
Serial Number: 1239
Bore: R.720 L.729
Chambers: 2 1/2in
Ejectors: YES
Condition: EXCELENT
Metal Condition: EXCELLENT
Wood Condition: EXCELLENT
Bore Condition: EXCELLENT
Barrels: 30IN
Barrel Type: DAMASCUS

CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side

Gauge: 12GA
Stock Comb: 1 1/2IN
Stock Heel: 2 1/4IN
Butt Pad: HARD RUBBER?HORN?
LOP: 14 3/4IN
Weight: 6LBS 12OZ
Manufacture Date: 1900-1905
Choke Left: SKT II .015
Choke Right: SKT .005
Proof:Nitro: YES
Minimum Wall Thickness Left: .028
Minimum Wall Thickness Right: .030

CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side. Nice forend tip — unusual for a boxlock.
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side
CHARLES HELLIS 12GA Boxlock Ejector Side-by-Side

Short films grouse & woodcock hunter are sure to like…

Like grouse hunting? Then you’ll really like these short films. They’re part of the Project Upland Film: Bird Hunting Film Series a ” film initiative to help promote the future of upland bird hunting and the non-profit The Ruffed Grouse Society.” Check them out now.

The Experience: Follow veteran Grouse hunter and New Hampshire native Harry Rowell into the Grouse woods. While Hunting New Hampshire, Harry reflects on his passion for Grouse hunting and the experience as a whole. A humbling short film that will inspire future and current bird hunters alike.

Because They’re Wild: Follow Northeast Regional Director of The Ruffed Grouse Society, Tripp Way into the Grouse Woods. Tripp reflects on his enjoyment of the woods, his passion for the Ruffed Grouse and the precious time spent afield with friends. As a dedicated conservationist and experienced upland hunter Tripp delivers the powerful line of “Its our responsibility to get these folks in the woods”.

The Untold Story: Driven Grouse Shooting…

The amount of money and effort that goes into driven grouse shooting is fascinating. This video gives you a bit of an idea of what it entails and results in. It’s a bit long, but it’s very well done and worth watching. It was produced for the Angus Glens Moorland Group, a collection of rural estates throughout Angus, Scotland.

You can find out more about shooting in that part of the UK in this arcticle from FieldsportsUK: Grouse at Glenogil

A fair price for great OU: 20g Beretta BL-5, 28″ barrels…

20 gauge Beretta BL-5 O/U Shotgun, 28" barrels
20 gauge Beretta BL-5 O/U Shotgun, 28″ barrels

I wasn’t going to put up a post about this OU. “No Reserve” auctions with high starting bids annoy me, and I most of the time I don’t like drawing attention to them.

But after I looked around, I realized the opening bid on this Beretta BL-5 — $1,950.00 — is a pretty fair price for a shotgun like this. Cabela’s has this 20g 687 Silver Pigeon listed for $2799 and this Caesar Guerini Summit 20 GA for $3,099.99.

20 gauge Beretta BL-5 O/U Shotgun, 28" barrels
20 gauge Beretta BL-5 O/U Shotgun, 28″ barrels

I think the Beretta BL-5 is better than both of them, and it has nicer wood, too. It’s on Gunbroker.com now, and the listing ends on 12/30/2015 @ 2:56:53 PM ET.

BERETTA BL-5 20 GA. OU SHOTGUNBEAUTIFUL AND RARE BERETTA O/U 20 GA. SHOTGUN. CUSTOM WALNUT STOCK, 28″ F/M BARRELS, ST, VR, WITH A THIN PAD. A VERY HIGH QUALITY BOX LOCK FROM ONE OF THE FINEST ITALIAN MAKERS.

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

Journey to the Northwoods: A great look at grouse hunting …

There’s killing and there’s hunting: One takes a life, the other makes our lives more  meaningful, while giving us the opportunity to show respect and admiration for the game we pursue and the world we all inhabit.

This video does a nice job of capturing hunting and what makes it so special.

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