Here’s a gun you don’t see every day — and that’s one of the reasons I featured it yesterday as one of this week’s 5 doubles you don’t want to miss. The other reason? Well, just look at it.
Auguste Francotte & Cie. was one of the world’s premier gunmakers. Founded in 1805, they built guns in Belgium and exported them around the world. Von Lengerke & Detmold brought them into the US from 1889 to 1929; Abercrombie & Fitch took over in 1930 and continued until 1971. Altogether, about 5,000 or so new Francottes were shipped to the US.
Most were high-quality Francotte boxlocks like this and this. A few were top-of-the-line sidelocks like what you see here — possibly one of these “De Luxe” models Abercrombie & Fitch offered in 1930.
Of course, the first thing about this gun that catches your eye is the metalwork. I think it uses a combination of engraving and chasing (if I have the terms right). Overall, the work reminds me of guns done by Aristide Barré, the French artist who embellished some of the finest Purdeys out there.
The proportions and lines of the gun also stand out. I like how rounded the backs of the locks are and how your eye passes from there into the drip-like drop points. The stock looks broad and substantial, and there’s a little belly in it to secure and position the shooter’s hand. But it doesn’t look cumbersome or overwhelming. Overall, the gun stands out, without screaming for attention.
FRANCOTTE PRE WAR BEST SIDELOCK EJECTOR SXS 12 GAUGE: 28 1/2″, CHOKES .022′ AND .022″, 2 3/4 CHAMBERS, DOUBLE TRIGGER, EJECTORS, SPLINTER FOREARM, ENGLISH GRIP, CHECKERED BUTT, LEATHER CASE, EXCELLENT CONDITION WITH LIGHT HANDLING MARKS, 7LBS 5OZ, 1 3/4″ DAH, 1 7/16″ DAC, 14″ LOP. Price:$16,500
Here’s another addition to the Gallery of Great Guns. This double-barrel, side-by-side shotgun was auctioned off by James D. Julia Auctions in the spring of 2012.
RARE AND EXCEPTIONAL WINCHESTER MODEL 21 DELUXE SKEET GUN NO. 5 ENGRAVED WITH VENTILATED RIB.SN 13223. Cal. 16 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 26″ Barrels with raised, ventilated rib, match specifications in factory letter with Bradley red bead front sight and Winchester white metal middle sight. Bbl flats are stamped with “16 Gauge”, SN, patent information, and “2-3/4 Cham”. Bottoms of bbls are stamped “Winchester Proof Steel” “WS-1” and “WS-2”. Standard blued action is fitted with single selective trigger.
Action and bbls are engraved with classic pre-war number 5 engraving, as most certainly executed by Alden George Ulrich, with about 50% coverage of flowing scrollwork framing vignettes of dogs and game. Setter with bird in mouth is on bottom of action; pheasant on left; grouse on right side; rare vignette of pointer is on trigger guard bow. Nicely crotch figured American walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14″ over factory leather-faced open-sided red pad, with deluxe checkering pattern, checkered sidepanels and vacant gold oval on toe line. Matching beavertail forend has SN on iron, and rib between bbl channels. Bore diameter: left-.664, right -.667. Bore restrictions: left -.005, right -.002. Wall thickness: left -.029, right -.032. Drop at heel: 2-7/16″, drop at comb: 1-1/2″. Weight: 7 lbs. 2 oz. LOP: 14″.
PROVENANCE: Cody Firearms Museum letter with specs along with build receipts and final inspection reports showing this gun made for P. A. Roper and dated 6/13/40.
CONDITION: Extremely fine. All specifications matching those on orig factory build information, and nearly all orig finish is remaining, with only a few minor marks on bbls. Sharp edges of action are silvering, blue on bottom beginning to thin slightly. Trigger guard is graying on edges and grip. Stock retains nearly all its orig finish beginning to rub through on flutes and top of comb, with a few minor marks. Checkering is only slightly worn. Bores are excellent. Action is tight. Ejectors in time. Trigger works. A truly fine investment quality Winchester M21 sporting classic. SOLD FOR $34, 500
Many collectors believe that London-made shotgun built between World War 1 and World War 2 are among the finest side-by-sides and over-unders ever created. Take a look at the double rifle you see here and you’ll understand why. Holland & Holland was known for making the best double rifles in the world, and the Modele De Luxe was the top gun – the absolute very best of he best in 1933 and today.
HOLLAND & HOLLAND 240 MAG FLANGED ROYAL “MODELE De LUXE”- GOLDEN ERA of 1933- APPEARS UNFIRED: #31475, Holland & Holland, 98 New Bond Street, London: A Holland & Holland Hand Detachable Back Action Sidelock Royal “Modele De Luxe” Ejector 240 Magnum Flanged with the Bolstered Frame, Made in the Golden Era of 1933. It has 25″ Ejector Chopper Lump barrels with rib extension third bite, 1/4 rib with 1 standing & 2 folding rear sights, Fold over night sight, Original Nitro Proof at 31 1/2 Cordite – 100 grain bullet & a 2 1/2″ case. The small size action body is complete with a bolstered frame, Bushed strikers, Double triggers, Hand detachable locks, Extended top tang over the comb of the stock, Rolled trigger guard edge, The stock with a trap grip cap with a spare front sight, Shadowline cheekpiece, 13 7/8″ LOP over a 7/8″ Silvers pad, Proper 240 weight at 8 lbs. 5 oz.
This Royal “Modele De Luxe” has 100% coverage of the typical but seldom seen pre-war Deluxe engraving with baroque gargoyles, serpents, dragons, grotesque masks and sneering faces. This is very well cut engraving with a fair amount of cut relief. The stock on this gun is with Deluxe wood that has excellent color and contrast of deep blacks and brown. It has an engraved trap grip cap with a sneering face and a spare front sight inside.
The piece retains 99% original & vivid case colors, The barrels have 99% original blue, The trigger guard blue is 100%, The original oil stock finish remains at 98%, The checkering is at 100%, Every screw is 100%, The bores are excellent plus and appear as new, The locks are in the same condition as the outside of the gun, The stock inletting is clean and solid in every respect and looks like it was cut yesterday. The whole is cased in the maker’s original brass cornered leather trunk with a canvas cover, all accessories including spare strikers, turnscrews, snap caps & cleaning gear.
The piece has all the appearance of never being fired and is almost like walking out of 98 New Bond Street 80 years ago with a brand new gun. This Classic Royal “Modele De Luxe” piece remains in superb condition, a fun cartridge, outstanding wood that will go a lifetime, bores like new, bolstered frame and is a top drawer Deluxe gun from one of the greatest sporting gun makers of the British trade. We have loaded for this cartridge and can do it again if you want us to go there but it appears unfired. Price:$85,000.00
Fox Sterlingworths used to be one of the best buys in American shotguns. Hunters realized this and made it the company’s best seller. From 1910 to about 1940, the A.H. Fox and then the Savage Arms Company shipped around 140,000 of these great side-by-side shotguns to shooters throughout North America.
Most Sterlies were used hard for years. Swept across barbed-wire, smacked into rock walls by wincing owners, and carried with hope through rainy openings-days. Other Sterlies their stock cut down to fit a kid a brother and their blueing rubbed away by October after October of grimy, sweat-soaked leather guns. Not that the guns minded.
But today’s collectors do. So even though thousands of Sterlies have survived, few are in the kind of pristine condition that makes collectors crazy. That’s what makes the 16g Fox Sterlingworth Deluxe you see here so special. It’s also why it sold within a few hours of appearing online.
Fox Sterlingworth Deluxe 16 gauge, New in Box: AUtica-Made Sterlingworth Deluxe 16 gauge, 28″ bbls, Mod & Full. Featuring factory double ivory beads and factory Jostam pad. The shotgun shows very light handling marks and was used little if at all. Nearly all of the original case color and barrel blue. Includes original box and packing material. Any Fox shotgun in this condition would nearly impossible to upgrade. Price: $4,000.00
If you’re into nice shotguns, James D. Julia’s firearms auctions are a big deal. Held in the spring and fall, these sales bring some of the world’s finest shotguns and rifles to market.
This J.P Sauer Deluxe side-by-side is one of those great shotguns. Doubles like this rarely hit the open market. If you’re a gun nut like I am, just seeing something this exceptional is a thrill. Here are all the details on it from the auctioneerL
Lot 2206: AN EXCEPTIONAL DEEP RELIEF CARVED AND GOLD INLAID J. P. SAUER DELUXE GAME GUN: SN 122896. Cal. 12 ga. This wonderful top of the line Sauer gun has 29-3/4″ chopper lump bbls with raised, concave, matted rib, engraved “J. P. Sauer & Son” in milled out portion. Tops of bbls are engraved with Krupp steel information and 3-ring logos. Bbl flats are stamped with German imperial proofs, caveman logos, and are engraved “Prussia”. There are 2-1/2″ triangles of exquisitely detailed and beautifully carved, high relief, large, scrolled, open, shaded acanthus at breech ends; muzzles with more scroll and geometric bands. Scallop-backed boxlock action features non-automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), side clips, hidden crossbolt third fasteners, and double triggers. It is engraved with the same classic scroll as found on bbls, except acanthus leaves are more pronounced.
This exceptional scroll frames wonderfully detailed vignettes of feathered game; with relief gold inlaid trio of partridge on left; pair of flying geese over marsh on right; and family group of black grouse, one cock, lyre tail spread, standing on rock; with two onlooking hens. Blued top lever has pierced acanthus carved thumbpiece. Trigger guard, with matching scroll, has gold inlaid retriever on bow, and SN at grip. Dark, nicely streaked, and full fiddle figured European walnut steel capped pistol grip buttstock measures 14-1/4″ over matching scroll engraved skeleton steel buttplate. A gold shield is on toe line engraved “G. P.” Side panels are nicely carved with relief scrolled acanthus. Checkering is of standard point pattern. Matching splinter ejector forend has Anson release.
Bore diameter: left-.727, right -.722. Bore restrictions: left -.035 (Full), right -.026 (Mod). Wall thickness: left -.028, right -.036. Drop at heel: 2-1/4″, drop at comb: 1-5/8″. Weight: 7 lbs. 4 oz. LOP: 14-1/4″. Included with gun is Abercrombie & Fitch hang tag giving specifications, with a price of $500.00.
PROVENANCE: Letter from Griffin & Howe with specifications for gun, as taken on consignment in 1953. It was sold in 1953 for $500.00. Hang tag.
CONDITION: Excellent. Bbls retain essentially all of a factory quality re-blue, with minimal polishing and loss to engraving. Action retains a considerable amount of its orig case hardening color, vivid where protected. High edges and tops of engraving have wonderful hand worn brilliant silver patina, to very fine effect. Top lever is silvered at thumbpiece. Stocks retain what appears to be their orig finish with a few minor marks. Checkering is slightly worn. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout with evidence of a dent being removed from left bbl, 9″ back from muzzle. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are perfectly timed. Close inspection of this fine shotgun leaves no doubt as to why these are often referred to as “Masterpiece” guns. Tag is fine.
These guys have a few Winchester Model 21s and this 12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal Model de Luxe side by side shotgun that was made for the 1900 Paris Exhibition. This H&H may be a really nice gun. It has an original single trigger, beautiful engraving, and a lot of nice finish. The problem is that the barrels may have been cut from 30″ to 28″. Either way, it’s worth checking out.