Here’s a cool video from one of the UK’s best-quality, boutique gunmakers: Smith & Torok. Check it out to see some classic, old-school gunmaking technques.
Here are some items I just listed on Ebay. All have $1 starts, no reserves.
Made in the 1990s for a 20g Boss OU shotgun, possibly by Vincent Rickards.
Genuine “Lightweight Flat V.C Canvas Case”, superb original condition, made for a 12-gauge side-by-side shotgun, 28” barrel compartment.
Holds up to 500 12-gauge shotgun shells. Made for a British aristocrat.
The sidelock, double-barrel over-under shotgun you see here is one of the holy grails of British shotguns — and one of the mysteries of British gunmaking. It’s coming up to auction tomorrow, 10/17, and it has an estimated hammer of $25,000.00 – $50,000.
Boss & Co. patented their OU action in 1909. According to the company’s website:
“Robertson did not invent the O/U shotgun, but he created an Over and Under gun that was elegant, shapely, strong and far lighter than any other on the market. Until that time Over and Under guns often hailed from Germany but were heavy and ungainly. But Robertson’s OUs were strong, lively, light and slender, marking the Boss & Co Over and Under as the best on the market as soon as it was introduced. Immediately it set the standard and became the benchmark, a celebrated design that remains unsurpassed.”
Since 1909, Boss & Co. has built around 600 over-under shotguns. Very, very few of them were built with a feature that’s on the gun being auctioned off tomorrow: A Boss-style rising-bite action.
No one knows how many OUs Boss built with its rising-bite style action. The feature appears around 1920 and shows up on 12-gauges and 20-gauges through the ’30s (here it is on a gun they built in 1937). I’ve never seen it on a Boss OU built after WW2 (Note: Boss & Co just started building rising-bite actions again and completed one in the last year or so).
But Boss never patented their version of the rising bite. I’ve never seen any evidence that the company promoted this feature or offered it as an upgrade or an option. From what I can tell, it just appears on certain guns and then disappears.
One thing to note: While this gun was originally nitro-proofed with 2 3/4″ chambers for 1 1/4 – ounce loads, it wasn’t made to shoot modern, high-pressure/high-velocity shells. So if you buy it, do the gun a favor and use ammo like this.
Lot #110: Boss & Co. Best O/U 12ga Shotgun: One of England’s finest… Desirable, elegant, made for a shooter. This shotgun has simple lines yet elegant and exceptionally designed side lock. Currently, Boss & Co. only produces about 20 shotguns annually. This one was manufactured in 1919-1920, and proofed for modern shells. Solid rib barrels have a single silver bead front sight, marked with proofs, Nitro proofs and more near breech. Forend is highly ornate with metal side skirts along the back half of the top, engraved with a tight scroll and finely blued. Barrels mate with the hinge pin and special locking mechanism near top lever. Locks are engraved 1005 with fine English scroll. Top lever and trigger are blued and equally ornate. Case coloring is accented with lock pins in both a polished or bright blue. Chamber indicators have horizontal gold inlay. Auto ejectors are crisp and timed superbly. Auto safety. High grade straight English stock with oil rubbed finish completed with a checkered butt and metal plates protecting heel and toe. Choked “Full” and “Mod”, ideal for clays or pheasant. Includes original leather bound case, Boss & Co. label on inside. Factory accessories. Must ship to FFL or C&R Condition: Antique Excellent. Bluing is in the 90-95% with the loss in touch points only (lower tang, forend, top lever, etc.). Case coloring is around 40%, fences and transition areas exhibit fine color striations while side of locks is muted. Wood is excellent, hard to find imperfections, probably cleaned at some point. Mechanically excellent. Barrels and Bores are nearly blem free and mirror bright. Gun Measurements: Chamber size is 2 ¾” Bore Diameter: Over Barrel – From 9” at the breech .733, 12” from the breech is .731 and continues at .731 until it hits the choke and final measurement at muzzle is .714 giving it a “Modified” choke. Under Barrel- From 9” at the breech .7325, 12” from the breech is .7315 and continues at .7315 until it hits the choke and final measurement at muzzle is .694 giving it a “Full” choke. Barrel Wall Thickness: Over Barrel- 12” from breech is .038, 12” from muzzle is .033 and is consistent through to muzzle Under Barrel- 12” from breech is .039, 12” from muzzle is .033 and is consistent through to muzzle LOP @ Heel= 14 7/8″ LOP @ Toe= 15 1/4″ Choke: O=.709 (Mod) U=.689 (Full) Drop @ Comb = 1 1/2″ Drop @ Heel = 2 1/8″ Weight= 7.4 lbs Cast Neutral Barrel Length: 30″ Serial: 6605 Manufacturer: BOSS & CO., LTD. Gauge: 12ga Year-Range 1919 – 1920. Estimate: $25,000.00 – $50,000.00 USD
Piotti Boss style pre-owned pair of 28 gauge sidelock over & under’s with 30 inch barrels: Action: 28 gauge, Sidelock ejectors, Single triggers Non-Automatic safeties. Barrel Length: 30 inches, Chamber: 2 3/4 inch, Rib: Game solid rib, Chokes: Bottom : M/C Top : M/C. Deluxe Grade Walnut Stock. Length: 14 3/4 inches. Grip: Semi pistol grip. Butt End Finish: Chequred. Forend: Game Style Forend. Fine Rose & Scroll engraving. Case Colour finish. Weight: 6 lbs – 4oz. Double leather case. Date of Manufacture: 2013. Price: $175,000
OGDEN SMITH & HUSSEY IMPERIAL PIGEON SXS 12 GAUGE: 30″ WIDE PIGEON RIB 036 AND 038 CONSTRIXTION 2 3/4 NITRO, DOUBLE TRIGGER, EJECTORS, SPLINTER FOREARM, ENGLISH GRIP, EXCELLENT CONDITION, 7LBS 15 OZ, 2 1/8″ DAH, 1 1/2″ DAC, 14 1/4″ LOP. Price: $12,500
Extremely Fine Documented Parker $135 Grade 14 Bore – The finest early 14 bore known! This incredible early Parker Hammer gun is recognized widely by advanced collectors as the finest 14 bore hammer gun known. The gun is pictured on page 233 of “THE PARKER STORY” and described as a $135 Grade Gun. It was made with straight stock which terminates with a blued full steel buttplate, splinter forend with wedge fastener, and 30″ Damascus barrels. The gun is an early “Pin Lifter” as seen in the photos. The gun weighs 8lbs 8oz and retains about 60% gorgeous original case color. The barrels retain about 90% original damascus pattern. Bores are very good with some minor freckles but incredibly nice for a gun of this vintage. The checkering is original and crisp. The gun retains about 90% original stock finish. There are some minor ancient grain separations at the bottom stock fingers which have been expertly repaired. The full steel buttplate retains about 40% original blue! Unheard of on a gun of this vintage. Trigger guard retains about 70% original blue, toned a bit on the bow, quite strong on the tang. Widely recognized as the “finest 14 bore hammer gun known” this gun is a true treasure for a serious student of the Parker Gun. Price: $9500
Woodward – SLE – 12 ga: SxS, Ejectors: Yes, Trigger: Double, Grip: Straight Grip, Forend: Checkered, Lop: 14 3/4 “, Type of butt: Checkered Wood, Drop comb: 1 1/2 “, Drop heel: 2 3/8″ Cast amount: 3/16” Cast: Off Weight: 7 lbs, oz Manufactured in: England Finish: Case Colored Overall condition: Very Good Stock condition: Very Good Metal condition: Very Good. Price: $8,200
AYA No 2 16 Gauge Sidelock SxS Shotgun: 28″ Chokes: IC – IM L.O.P. : 14 1/2″ Drop: 1 3/8″C x 2″H Weight: 6 lbs 6 oz Ser. #: 16-03-291-03
To a lot of people in the gun trade, “Best gun” is fighting words. Traditionally, it’s a handmade sidelock side-by-side shotgun or double rifle built to the highest standards by one of the major London makers like Holland & Holland or James Purdey & Sons.
But today, as some of these famous makers are relying more and more on CNC equipment to build their guns, is it fair to still call these “Best Guns”? And do they still justify their incredibly high prices? Find out what one person thinks.
“With the gun first created in “virtual reality” and so much less hand work involved, one does wonder why the price of a modern best is so high, especially considering that one of the biggest names in best gunmaking now makes guns “for stock”, presumably for the buyer who just can’t wait for a bespoke gun. It might even be said that the buyer is paying for something that he is not receiving, because he believes that he is purchasing a handmade gun when in fact, that gun is mostly made on CNC machinery.”
Joseph Manton SxS Flintolock 22-bore: Incredibly rare 22-bore, double-barreled, flintlock Sporting Gun, initially completed in 1815 and cased complete with the original Manton parts for the field conversion to percussion ignition, ca. 1820. Weight: 5 Lbs 12 oz. Stock Dimensions:
14 5/8”x 1 1/8”x 2 1/8”x straight. Superb 30” rebrowned Damascus barrels with no dents or dings, excellent bores (.599”/.599”) and walls (both .060”-.033”). Joseph Manton Patent, Platinum-lined, touch holes. Manton Patent Stepped-in, and Inverted, Breeches which allowed for faster ignition in addition to directing rainwater away from the pan and toward a rectangular drain hole in the center of the breech allowing the water to flow out a hole in the bottom of the trigger plate just in front of the trigger guard bow. The Manton Patent Elevated Top Rib is engraved, “Joseph Manton’s New Improvements by His Majesty’s Patent”. Absolutely peerless quality locks, also loaded with Manton Patented features; Cocks, reinforced at the neck, Patent Hammers (frizzen’s), Gravitating Stops, with platinum-inlaid counterweights, to prevent the cock accidentally falling during loading with cocks inadvertently left at full cock. In addition to all these features, included with the gun are the parts and tools for rapid field conversion to percussion ignition (can be accomplished in under 2 minutes for each lock), likely added by Manton, ca. 1820. Locks tight and mechanically perfect in every way. Tang screw, side nail, both cock screws, and left frizzen replaced by LDA. The iron mounts are all nicely engraved in the pattern common to Joe Manton sporting guns of the late flintlock, 1815 -1817, era. The Figured Walnut stock has a repair to the head done by LDA and an old minor repair to the wood just forward of the finial on the trigger plate. Overall, the stock is in fine condition showing minimal wear and no abuse. The whole is cased in an ultra-rare original, two-tiered (for a pair of Manton double flintlock sporting guns), Joseph Manton case complete with all period accessories and a proper original Trade Label from the 1815-17 period listing many of the Manton Patent features found on the gun. This extraordinarily rare gun represents the ultimate development of the British flintlock sporting gun by, arguably, the greatest British Gun maker who ever lived, having all of the best innovations present and in working order on a single firearm by Joseph Manton. Overall, mechanically perfect and in fine condition throughout with traces of original finish. Price: $75,000
PURDEY – BEST DELUXE EXTRA FINISH, TWO BARREL SET, 12 GAUGE/12 GAUGE:
29″ BARRELS, M/F CHOKED – 29″ BARRELS, SK/IC CHOKED – DOUBLE TRIGGERS – HINGED FRONT TRIGGER – ORNAMENTAL ENGRAVING – 3 1/4 TON PROOF – BEAVERTAIL FOREND & SPLINTER FOREND – TURKISH WALNUT STRAIGHT GRIP STOCK – CHECKERED BUTT – SIDE CLIP – 3RD FASTENER – RAISED MATTED RIB – MAKER’S LEATHER MOTOR CASE INCLUDED 7 LBS. 11 OZ. 14 3/4″ X 1 3/8″ X 2 1/4″. Price: $49,500
Beretta AS-20EL OVER UNDER SHOTGUN (S 22364): 27 1/2″ barrels. Ic/mod. Solid rib. Double triggers. Long length of pull to a checkered butt. Straight grip. All the good stuff. 5 lbs. 11oz. One small depression in the stock (see photo) otherwise about perfect. Price: $8450
Perazzi MX28 (S138143) OU SHOTGUN: 28 guage. Ejectors: Yes. Condition: Good. Barrels: 30”. Stock Comb: 1 3/8”. Stock Heel: 2 1/8”. Fore End: English. LOP: 14 5/8”. Weight: 5lb 8oz. Single selective trigger. Perfect bores. Really pretty wood. Few knicks and scratches but a dandy little bird gun. Comes with Perazzi hard case. Chokes: Briley. Price: $7950
PARKER BROS. 20 GAUGE VH – 26″ BARRELS CHOKED FULL/FULL – STRAIGHT STOCK – DOUBLE TRIGGERS- SPLINTER FOREND -DOGS HEAD BUTT -CASE COLORS 45%: BLUE 90 % & – TRIGGER GAURD PATINA – CHECKERING VERY GOOD – ACTION TIGHT WITH TOP LEVER RIGHT OF CENTER – BLANK INITIAL SHEILD -LOP 14″ – DAC 1 7/16″ X DAH 2 1/16″ – WEIGHS 6 LBS. 2 OZS. – ALL ORIGINAL CONDITION. Price: $4,500
Boss & Co Round Body side-by-sides are some of the rarest shotguns in the world. Introduced in 1893, the company has made fewer than 400 of them to date. Over the last 20 years, I’ve come across around a 1/4 of them. The one you see here is the most unique one I’ve seen: Boss & Co. Best Quality SLE 12 bore Rare Round Body
While it’s “round”, it still carries some shaping from a standard Boss SxS action. You can see this ahead of the locks and behind the hinge pins. This shaping also continues onto the bottom of the action.
Why is this extra shaping there? I’ve seen Belgian shotguns with similar rounded actions like this. Maybe the person who commissioned this gun saw guns like that, too, and asked Boss to make him a similar pair. Or maybe the person wanted a Boss Round Body with a personal spin?
Of course, the Boss tradesman who filed up the action may have just finished the gun this way. Boss was a quirky gunmaker, and it’s not uncommon to see variations in their actions that make little sense — other than they may have pleased the man building the gun.
For reference, here’s a standard Boss Round Body:
Keith Thomas is one of the world’s top engravers. Check out the P.V. Nelson shotgun you see here to see why Thomas’s rose & scroll patterns are considered to be some of the finest ever cut.
Thomas began his engraving career in 1964 as an apprentice with Holland & Holland. In 1975, he went out on his own and since then he engraved guns for most of the world’s top gunmakers, including Boss & Co, W. W. Greener, Hartmann & Weiss, and A. A. Brown.
This nearly-new 12g sidelock shotgun is coming up in Poulin Auctions Spring 2019 sale, which starts 3/30. It’s a best-quality, British gun made around 1994, and it’s built on a Beesley action, just like a Purdey. Watch the video above to learn more about it.
LOT 1045: MAGNIFICENT HOLLOWAY & NAUGHTON BEST CASED TWO BARREL SET SIDELOCK SXS SHOTGUN: Both sets of bbls. are 12 Ga. w/ 2 3/4″ chambers. S# H&N 12-94. Bbl. 1) Length: 30″. Choke constrictions: .011″ right, & .021″ left. Bbl. 2) Length: 28″. Choke constrictions: .011″ right, .020″ left. A true Best Quality gun, this H&N is stocked to the fences with drop points. The firing pins are bushed. Exquisite Delahaut bouquet & scroll engraving decorates all of the action metal with carbona blue pins. A banner “HOLLOWAY & NAUGHTON” in gold with gold stripe cocking indicators provides a dramatic contrast against the elegant case colors. As the gun was made in 2006, it wears the vivid colors that made Ray St. Ledger a legend in the English gun trade.
Barrels are struck to perfection & finished with luscious rich blue that appears inches deep. No less impressive than the metal, mother nature’s most elegant marble cake walnut highlights the stock & forend. Smoky figure abounds throughout the auburn backgrounds with perfect layout for a gun of this quality. Both bbl. sets feature file cut concave game ribs with brass front beads. Both bbls. use the same forend. Both bbl. sets are chopper lump bbl. construction. Checkered walnut straight hand stock with checkered butt. Checkered splinter forend. Double triggers with front trigger articulated. Purdey style self opening action. Toeline of stock features nameplate marked “RDP”. DAC: 1 1/2″. DAH: 2 3/8″. LOP: 14 5/8″. Weight: 6.95 lbs. with 28″ barrels & 7.05 lbs. with 30″ barrels. UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: maker’s very compact 2 barrel case replete with “Holloway & Naughton” marked nickel plated oil bottle & snap caps. The body of the snap caps & fitted turn screws feature off white synthetic bodies. Ebony & brass 2 piece cleaning rod. Key is included. CONDITION: all aspects near excellent with 28″ barrel set (left barrel) showing faint thinning of blue for the last 1/2″ to the muzzle. PROVENANCE: From the Robert Pettus Collection. ESTIMATE: $40,000-60,000.
Not all revolutions happen quickly. Some, like the way over-under shotguns overcame SxSs to dominate the world of doubles, took decades to happen.
In many ways, the over-under revolution began in 1909. That’s when Boss & Co introduced its OU. While Boss & Co didn’t invent these shotguns, they did perfect it.
Firearms with stacked barrels have been around for hundreds of years, and Merkel started building breechloading, centerfire OUs in the 1890s. But Boss was the first gunmaker to build an OU with the sleek looks and a dynamic feel that could compete with best-quality British side-by-sides.
To date, Boss has built 500+ OUs. It’s not that hard to find them on the used market. That is not the case with the Boss OU catalog you see here. This is the only copy of this 1930s-era catalog I’ve seen in two decades.
Check it out for a unique glimpse into how Boss sold their OU shotguns back in the day.
BTW: If you have one of these catalogs or any other Boss catalogs/promotional materials (or shotguns) you would like to sell, please drop me an email at email@example.com
Back in the 1950s, Otto Weiss was a young gunmaker working at W. Glaser in Zurich. He had grown up in the guntrade, and by the time he was in Switzerland, he had already worked for two of Germany’s most famous firms: Ernst Thälmann Werke and Merkel. So he knew a bit about shotguns.
At Glaser, he had an experience which changed his life. “When I was in Switzerland and came across some high-quality English guns, I thought ‘this is what I have to do’.” Fulfilling this ambition took him to London where he worked for Purdeys and then back to Germany where he met fellow gunmaker Gerhard Hartmann. Together, they formed — Hartmann & Weiss.
Today, many people believe Hartmann & Weiss is the finest gunmaker in the world. The over-under you see here is a good reason why. Built on Boss designs (with some improvements from H&W) and engraved by Ralph Bone, it’s about as perfect a shotgun as I’ve seen.
Check out these posts to see more pics of stunning Hartmann & Weiss OUs: It’s 1905 all over again & A HARTMANN & WEISS 20g Over and Under Engraved by Alan Brown & The English and German Gunmakers. Hartmann & Weiss and Boss & Co.
HARTMAN & WEISS BEST BOSS STYLE OVER UNDER 28 GAUGE: I THINK THAT THERE ARE ONLY 4 OR 5 OF THESE IN EXISTENCE. ENGRAVED IN THE KELTIC STYLE BY THE LATE RALPH BONE 27″ BARRELS WITH A SOLID RIB IC AND MOD 2 3/4 SINGLE TRIGGER EJECTORS BOSS STYLE FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP CHECKERED BUTT NEW UNFIRED IN MAKERS CASE 5LBS 6 OZ X 2″ X 1 9/16″ X 14 1/4″ LOP. Price: $199,500
I’m pretty sure I’ve gushed about this gorgeous gun before. It’s a 16 gauge W.W. Greener side-by-side, built in 2005 by Richard Tandy and David Dryhurst.
W.W. Greener is one of the world’s most famous gunmakers. Founded in 1829 by William Greener, the company played a key role in the evolution of fine sporting arms. With SxSs like this G70 Imperial and this FH70, they proved themselves to be innovators and brilliant gunmakers.
Like most British gunmakers, W.W. Greener went through hard times in the ’60s and ’70s. In 1985, the company was bought out by a team which included Graham Greener (W.W. Greener’s great grandson) and two of the world’s top finest gun makers: David Dryhurst and Richard Tandy,
Dryhurst and Tandy have been building shotguns and double rifles under the W.W. Greener name ever since. The one you see here was made in 2005, and it’s of the finest side-by-sides on the market today. While it says W.W. Greener on the outside, the lockwork, ejectorwork, self-opening system and some other aspects of it are all Boss.
Boss & Co is another one of the world’s oldest and best gunmakers. In 1891, the firm was acquired by John Robertson. With a mind for innovation, an eye for aesthetics, and a whole lot of guts, Robertson revitalized Boss & Co and pushed it to the forefront of London’s gunmakers. The fact that two of today’s top gunmakers choose his designs as the basis for one of their shotguns is a testament to Robertson and Boss & Co’s brilliance.
W.W. GREENER PREMIER SXS 16 GAUGE: ENGRAVED BY TALLET AND COGGAN MADE 2005 29″ BARRELS SELF OPENING 006 AND 011 2 3/4 EVERYTHING INTERNALLY ON THIS GUN IS A BOSS DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTORS SPLINTER FOREARM PISTOL GRIP AS NEW IN MAKERS OAK AND LEATHER CASE 6LBS 5 OZ X 2 7/16 X 1 9/16 X 14 9/16 LOADS OF CORRESPONDANCE BETWEEN THE BUYER AND DAVID DRYHURST. PRICE: $89,500
There are a lot of Purdeys on the market today. Some are worked over, some are worn out and some are overpriced. A lot are of them are all three, and that’s why so many of these guns have been looking for buyers for so long. But every now and then a real legit Purdey pops up. When it does, it usually sells right away.
This is one of these nicest vintage Purdeys I’ve seen in a while. It has condition and it was reasonably price. That’s why it sold in fewer than 12 hours.
From what I can tell, this gun was made in the late 1860s, early 1870s. Westley Richards invented the toplever in the 1862 and James Purdey patented their underbolt in 1863. The Scott spindle used to connect the two was patented in 1865. The gun you see here uses all three, so it has to be post 1865.
This gun also has a keyed forend, a feature from the percussion era that Purdey stop using when they switched to the Anson-patent forend release (introduced in 1872), and bar-action locks, which Purdey was just switching to as it developed a more modern look for its guns. One thing it’s missing is drop-points. This is pretty common on earlier Purdey. The sideclips are interesting. You don’t see side clips on a hammergun, and this has to be one of the first doubles Purdey used them on.
James Purdey 10 Bore SxS Hammer Gun: Rare light weight (8 pound) hammer game gun. Outstanding all original condition with very nice wood and good amount of case cloring remaining. Excellent 31 inch fine damascus barrels.Rare side clips and top lever. Very nice engraving and checkering.Proper 2 5/8 inch chambers with open chokes. Throws outstanding patterns and feels like a 12 bore. Excellent shootable dimensions and 14.5 inch LOP. Very little lifetime use and overall excellent condition.
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
Boss & Co made some of the finest shotguns the world has ever seen, and the one you see here is a great example of what makes them so special. If you study it closely, you’ll notice how big and bulbous the fences are. You’ll also see how the tails of the locks are more rounded, too, and the stock is super straight through the hand. Then there are the beads that runs up and around the fences. They’re quite crisp and defined.
These are all parts of Boss’s house style, and they’re the subtle differences that set these guns apart from Holland & Hollands, Purdeys, and other Best-quality doubles.
This gun also has the refinements Boss introduced into its SxSs in the mid-to-late 1920s — disc-set strikers, pins in the fences to secure the strikers — as well as the streamlined engraving pattern the company also switched to at that time. Overall, it’s a stunning side-by-side and reminder of just how nice vintage Boss & Co shotgns can be.
BTW: Santa, throw this one on my list. You know I deserve it.
BOSS & CO SxS 1931- A BEST GUN from the BEST ERA by a BEST MAKER- SUPERB ORIG & CORRECT GOLDEN ERA- 85% ORIG CASE COLORS- DELUXE WOOD- 12 BORE: #7904, Boss & Co., 41 Albemarle Street. Piccadilly. London. W.: A 1931 – 12 Bore Sidelock Ejector That Remains Totally Original and Correct Plus it Remains in Superb Condition. This outstanding piece was made for Mr. Jas. T. McMillan from Detroit, Michigan and ordered January 19, 1931. He was the second President of Packard Motor Co. It was ordered exactly as follows; 26″ Chopper Lump barrels at the correct and original bore size and original chokes at .730 .008 & .019 (Imp.Cyl. & Mod.), Original 2 3/4″ chambers, London proved at 1 1/4 ounce with 2 3/4″ chambers, Bushed strikers, The famous John Robertson Boss patent single non-selective trigger, Splinter forend, Straight hand stock at 14 9/16 x 1 3/8 x 2 1/8″ over a checkered butt, Very slight cast-off for the right hand, Rolled trigger guard edge for the right hand, Dead-up 6 lbs. even, 95% coverage of very fine rose & scroll engraving by Mr. Jack G. Sumner, The barrel striking is perfect, It retains 98% barrel blue, It retains 85% bright & vivid original case colors, Deluxe wood with outstanding color & contrast with deep black & brown color, The original oil finish remains at 92% with light handling marks only, The trigger guard & tang retain 90% original blue, The screw heads remain at 99%, The whole is cased in the original maker’s leather trunk with the correct & proper trade labels, Boss marked snap caps & oil bottle, All cleaning gear, Original spare strikers in their leather pouch, The case is in the same condition as the gun with a full protective cover. This piece comes from the Golden Era of Best English guns with most of the Robertson family influence still in place. It was crafted with their full staff of Gunmakers as it is one of 112 sporting pieces built in 1931. In 1934 they laid off 7 Gunmakers and about 50 guns were made, the great depression was taking a toll. Here is the embodiment of 1931 Best Quality, original condition, correct bore size & chokes, 2 3/4″, great weight, deluxe wood, Boss single trigger and it comes to the hand with ease, style and grace. A true Best Gun from a Best Gunmaker made in the Best years for the modern game gun. This is special stuff here.
JOHN RIGBY BEST PRE WAR SXS DOUBLE RIFLE 22 HI POWER: SIDELOCK EJECTOR 24″ BARRELS WITH 1/4 RIB ONE STANDING SIGHT GREAT BORES DOUBLE TRIGGER PISTOL GRIP SPLINTER FOREARM EXCELLENT PLUS CONDITION MAKERS CASE WITH ACCESORIES 7LB 6 OZ X 14 7/8″. Price: $69,500
HOFFMAN ARMS CO. SIDE-BY-SIDE DOUBLE RIFLE: 10.75x68mm Mauser caliber (similar to .404 Jeffery). 26″ barrels with automatic ejectors and raised quarter rib with four leaf folding express sights. The frame and barrels were supplied by Sempert & Krieghoff in 1929 to the Hoffman Arms Co. It was stocked, and finished by Seymour Griffin formerly of Griffin & Howe. The receiver although unsigned appears to be beautifully engraved by Rudolph Kornbraith and has “HOFFMAN ARMS CO” in a banner on each side. Checkered forend and pistol grip buttstock with engraved grip cap and ending with a hard rubber pad. Condition is very high retaining considerable barrel blue, excellent casehardened finish on the receiver and triggerguard. Super wood and checkering. Beautiful mint bores. Weight: 9lbs 6oz. LOP: 14 1/8″ Comb: 1 1/2″ Heel: 2 1/4″. This rifle is very accurate and with the proper load and bullet will handle most anything. Price: $24,950
BERETTA – RARE – ASE – 20ga – 26″ – Vent Rib – Single Trigger – Prince of Whales – 1959 Hand Built Quality: IC / IM (.009 / .020), Tapered Field Style Vent Rib, Ejectors, Single Trigger, Prince of Whales Round Knob Grip, LOP 14-3/8″, Drop 1-1/4″ to 2-1/8″, Cast Off for the Right Hand, Weight 5 lbs. 8 oz. Appears to be all original and overall Excellent Condition. Clearly hasn’t been used hard. Price: $5,150
- Barrels – about perfect condition.
- Bores – as new and measure exactly as they left the factory in 1959.
- Forearm – excellent plus.
- Receiver and Trigger Guard – excellent plus.
- Butt Stock – original, but some finish issues. No cracks or repairs. New laquer fixes any problems with the Butt Stock. The butt plate has shrunk. I’ve seen this on Beretta shotguns from this era before.
WILLIAM R. PAPE ISLAND SIDELOCK 12GA HAMMERGUN: WITH RARE LEVER RELEASE, BEAUTIFUL TIGHT ENGLISH SCROLL ENGRAVING WITH TRACES OF CASE COLORS, 29″ FINE DAMASCUS BBLS WITH DOLLSHEAD, 2 3/4″ NITRO PROOF, 850 BAR, MIN WALLS, 28 THOU PLUS, CHOKED IC/FULL, STANDARD GAME RIB, EXTRACTORS, DBL TRIGGERS, HIGHLY FIGURED ENGLISH WALNUT WITH ENGRAVED TOE & HEEL PLATES, LOP 14 1/2, 1 3/8, 1 13/16, 6LBS 7OZ, BERY FINE ORIGINAL CONDITION, EXCELLENT BORE, TIGHT ON FACE! Price: $4,295
CHARLES DALY MODEL 500 20GA SxS BY MIROKU: The nicest Model 500 I have seen. Very few minor imperfections in wood and metal. Close to new. 28in barrels have had the chokes opened to IC and MOD . Price: $1200
Model: Charles Daly Model 500
Bore: 20 GA
Condition: Close to New
Stock Comb: 1 1/2IN
Stock Heel: 2 9/16IN
LOP: 14 1/4
Weight: 6.6 lbs
I love old W. & C. Scotts, especially Premiers. They’re one of the apexes of gunmaking, and in their day, they were one of the finest guns made (and extremely expensive). Scott sold a lot of them to American shooters, and most of the ones you see on the market today are hammerless models like this one, and, occasionally, bar-action hammerguns like this.
But here’s a W & C Scott Premier hammergun unlike any others I’ve ever seen. It’s a 12g Premier hammergun built on a bar-in-wood style action. A few years ago, a dealer called Mid South advertised one of these. I wonder if it’s the same gun? Actually, I hope it’s not.
On this one, some knucklehead F-up the bbls. They’re cut, and the chambers have been lengthened. Other than that, it’s a stunning shotgun, and it looks like it’s in great shape. When I first saw it, I was on the phone right away. I had 1/2 the dealer’s number punched in before I read the part about the barrels. Then I hung up. That kind of shit is a deal killer for me.
BTW: A gunsmith friend of mine told me that a lot of the English bar-in-wood shotguns he has seen came out of the same shop in Birmingham – at least in the early stages. This includes bar-in-woods with famous names like James Purdey on them.
This guns looks like the some of the Purdey bar-in-woods I’ve seen. I wonder if it originated in this same place.
A Boss is beauty. Side-by-side and over-unders by this maker can be stunning, and the nicest Bosses are some of the finest shotguns ever built in London, the UK, and the world.
The pair of Boss & Co. SxSs you see here is near this top — especially for modern guns. They’re .410s, and they were made in 2002/2003.
Notice how Boss put a nice black on the triggerguard, toplever, and forend iron? That’s the classic British way to finish these parts (sometimes the forend iron was color-case hardened). Unfortunately, not every maker does this today. Some are color-case hardening all these parts. This is a shame.
Another thing I like about these guns is the nitre-blue finish on the safety, the toplever pin, the hinge-pin cap, the pin at the front of the triggerplate, and the one securing the metalwork in the forend. Some of these details are signature elements of Boss’s house style, and it’s good to see the company was holding themselves to those standards when they built these SxSs. Again, not every British maker does that anymore.
Scaling a sidelock down to a .410 is hard to do. Some parts — like mainsprings and the ejector work — can only get so small before they fail to work. Others parts have to be a certain size to be functional (that’s why the triggers and the triggerguard bows on these look a little big). These factors can distort the gun’s proportions and throw off the lines of the entire shotgun.
I don’t think that’s the case with these guns. They look perfectly proportioned and as nice as a 12g Boss.
BOSS & Co. BEST PAIR SXS 410 SHOTGUNS: PROOFED 2003 THESE ARE THE SMALLEST FRAME GUNS BOSS EVER MADE AND STATED WILL NEVER DO AGAIN BOTH ARE IDENTICAL 28″ SELF OPENER FULL AND FULL 3″ CHAMBERS SINGLE TRIGGER EJECTORS SPLINTER FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP CHECKERED BUTT NEW UNFIRED IN MAKERS OAK AND LEATHER CASE 5LBS 3 OZ X 2 1/4″ X 1 1/2″ X 15″.
A friend of mine hates Purdeys. Even though he’s as much of a double dork as I am, he just can’t stand how people fall all over themselves for any shotgun with P-U-R-D-E-Y on the lockplate.
I get what he’s saying. I’ve seen guys foam at the mouth for tired, shot out SxSs by this maker and then dismiss a lesser known, top-quality doubles in much better condition.
But that’s the power of a name. And to be fair, Purdeys are fabulous shotguns (if they’re in nice, original condition). When you own one, you’re getting top quality, plus all the fame and mystique that comes with owning a true, best-quality, London-made SxS.
If you’re in the market for Purdey today, this is one worth considering. It looks very original, and the price is pretty reasonable.
James Purdey and Sons Side-By-Side 12 Gauge: Featured here is a rare Heavy Field Gun built by James Purdey and Sons in 1928 (serial number 23486, barrel assembly numbers 57810 and 57811). This gun features Frederick Beesley’s famous self-opening (or “self-operating”) action. This gun was originally built with 3 inch chambers. It has Purdey’s interpretation of the Greener patent single inertia trigger (combined with Purdey’s 1911 single trigger patent). As with most all of Purdey’s Heavy Field Gun, this gun has 30 inch barrels, side clips, and Purdey’s patent third fastener (or “third bite”). Barrel wall thickness measures .030 inch six inches back from the muzzles for both barrels. Price: $23,999.99
Caliber: 12 Gauge
Chambers: Factory 3 Inch
Metal Condition: Very Good 90%
Wood Condition: Very Good 85%
Bore Condition: Very Good
Barrels: 30 Inch .0285 / .030 BWT at 9 Inch from muzzle
14 Inch LOP, 1 1/2 Inch DAC, 2 1/8 Inch DAH, 1/8 Inch Cast Off
Butt Pad: Wood Checker
Weight: 7 Lbs 9.7 Oz
Chokes: -.009/ -.021
William & Son isn’t London’s most oldest or most famous gunmaker. But they are one of its best, and in this video you can see a bit of what goes into making one of their side-by-side shotguns.
Here’s a bit about these guns from the Chairman & Founder, William Asprey:
“..These are truly the ultimate in bespoke pieces and our London guns are considered to be some of the finest. While our craftsmanship and excellence in this field is second to none, our prices are better than many. Indeed, William & Son goes one better: it considers the whole experience that investing in a handcrafted shotgun entails and matches the customers commitment to an age old sport with our dedication to service. Our gunmaker, Paul West, is able to discuss the best gun for your needs, and meet any special requirements you may have.”
I love vintage British shotguns – especially sidelocks. But even though I think they’re as good as guns get, they can have problems. One comes from their age. Because they’re old, people have had a lot of time to mess with them. That’s why so many Purdeys, Holland & Hollands, and other top-tier British shotguns around today are tired, shot out, and pretty much dead.
This pair of best-quality Henry Atkins was made around 1896, so they’re very vintage. What caught my eye is their new stocks and barrels, all made by Atkin, Grant & Lang in 1988. They make this pair of 119-old SxSs part vintage and part brand new.
Whoever had these guns rebarreled and restocked spent a lot of money. Today, a single set of new barrels by Atkin, Grant & Lang costs £8995. These guns have two new sets – so that’s £17990, or about $28,000. All new wood costs $10,000+ a gun and brings the costs to $48,000 in all.
When you see the asking price — just $24,000 — you understand why these Atkins such a steal.
ATKIN 12 SIDELOCK PAIR- NEW CHOPPER LUMP Bbls. in 1988 by the MAKER- NEW BUTTSTOCKS by the MAKER- ALL LONDON: #912 & 913, Henry Atkin (From Purdey’s) 6 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, A Very Nice Pair of Bar Action Sidelock Ejector 12 Bore Game Guns, Both guns with modern and new 28″ Chopper Lump barrels installed and proved in London in 1988 when they operated as Atkin Grant & Lang & Co Ltd at 6 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London (The address on these barrels), Both barrels remain as new since 1988: The #1 gun London proved at 3 1/4 tons with 2 3/4″ chambers, #1 is .730 .008 & .020″ (Imp.Cyl. & Mod.), 2 3/4″ chambers: The #2 gun London proved at 3 1/4 tons with 2 3/4″ chambers, #2 is .730 .008 & .016″ (Imp.Cyl. & Mod.), 2 3/4″ chambers, Wall thickness all the way around at .032″, Both with new buttstocks with excellent internal inletting (I presume done in 1988 when the new barrels were added), Very nice wood with excellent color and contrast, The pair with Ejectors, Double triggers, Splinter forend with an Anson release, Straight hand stock and both 14 3/4 x 1 9/16 x 2 1/8″ over checkered butts, Both guns 6 lbs. 11 oz., Stanton & Son locks, 94% coverage of period scroll engraving, The action body’s still retain 15-20%
original case colors, The barrel blue at 97% on both, The buttstocks and forends remain at 94%, The checkering at 98%, Number 1 & 2 in Gold in 3 places, The engraving is very sharp & crisp and has never been brushed, All 4 barrels are almost as new inside & out, The pair is cased in what appears to be the original brass cornered trunk & now with the trade label from AG &L when the new barrels and new buttstocks were installed in 1988. Here is a very nice pair of guns with new modern Chopper Lump barrels & wood that will go a lifetime. These are a super pair of guns that are in much better condition than many of the vintage pairs offered on the market today. Price: $24,000