In a the world of fine shotguns, “Best-gun” seems like a phrase with a pretty obvious definition: The very best shotgun a manufacturer can make. But because these were hand made by different people at different time periods, each one is a bit different. That means some bests are best-er than others.
Ogden Smiths used to be a fishing tackle company in London. In 1923, Walter Sydney Ogden Smith of the Ogden Smith family joined with the gunmaker Henry H. Hussey (son of gunmaker H.J. Hussey’s) to sell guns under the name Ogden Smiths & Hussey, Limited. This partnership lasted until 1933 and produced shotguns and rifles of different styles and qualities, including single-barrel trap guns like this and the best-quality, SxS, Imperial you see here.
The Hussey family Imperial grade sidelock shotguns since old man H.J. started his own operations after being fired from Lang & Hussey in 1898 (in fact, Lang & Hussey’s finest gun was also called the Imperial). Today, these Imperials pop up on the market on a regular basis. They’re nice guns, but none of the I’ve seen have been anywhere near as nice as this one. In fact, it’s this is the best Hussey Imperial I’ve ever seen.
On this one, the engraving on the fences and action, as well as the overall finish on all the metalwork, is a step above any of the others I’ve come across. With it’s high stock, long chambers, tight chokes, heavy proof, and wide, file-cut rib, it sure looks like it was made for live-pigeon shooting. Sure, the buttstock is a bit plain. But it is original and I bet the maker used the blank because of the strength of its straight grain. I’d be looking at the rest of the gun and never notice it.
Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector SxS Shotgun: A fabulous quality and condition pre-war 12 bore double trigger gun retaining nearly all of its original color 90% plus, and a London black. Gold line cocking indicators, exquisite very fine rose and scroll engraving with carved fences. The 30 inch Whitworth steel barrels with a pigeon rib, have the original 3 inch chambers with 1 3/8 ounce proof, choked full and full. The stock measures 14 1/2 to a checkered horn plate with a drop of 1 1/2 by 2 1/8. The gun weight is 7lbs. 7 oz. Articulated front trigger and the guard has 80% of it’s charcoal blue. Locking screws on the first guard and ejector stop screw. Blank gold oval. This gun is as good as it gets from a best maker. Price: $18,500