I’ve known Sean & Liz Delaney since they started their shooting trips to the UK. I’ve watched their business grow and their clients list expand.
They’ve done this by offering clients great sporting experiences at prices that are more affordable than what British companies charge for the same thing. See for yourself what people say about Delaney & Sons in this long list of testimonials.
I’ve always wanted to shoot in the UK — but not for driven birds. Instead, I want to go rough shooting, which is what you see in this video.
Nick Ridleyis the U.K.’s leading dog photographer. He’s also bird hunter, dog trainer, and a lover of cocker spaniels.
For years now, he and his Circle of Trust Rough Shooting Syndicate have been making videos of their shooting adventures throughout the UK. The one above shows them in Bedfordshire hunting pheasants and chukars in terrain that looks a lot like the northeastern US. As always, Nick shoots well and his cocker spaniel Ted does a great job.
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Opportunity – specifically the opportunity to get $1000 off on a dream trip to shoot in the UK.
For several years now, Delaney and Sons has given American hunters the chance to experience some of the finest driven shooting in the UK at very reasonable prices. Due to client conflict, a spot just opened up on their famed Beacons Shoot, scheduled for the end of the November, this year. Here are the details from Delaney and Sons:
“Sometimes life interferes with the best laid plans. Our friend and past shooter, pictured above, unfortunately has been forced to cancel his trip with us next month due to an illness. He has asked us to try to sell his peg for $7,700, a discount of $1,000.
If you are adventurous and have been wanting to come with us, now is the time. The 2018 price is $9,200 (there are only 4 spots left by the way.)
Amazingly, flights are still a decent price depending on the airport. We will be picking up our team at London Heathrow on the morning of Sunday 26 November at 9:30am. Everyone will be taken back to Heathrow late in the morning on Saturday 2 December. So please keep that in mind when looking at flights. Some shooters stay at the Marriott Renaissance Heathrow the night before pick up. We will pick you up in the lobby at 10:00am.
Please let us know if you might have interest, and feel free to give us a call as soon as possible at 717-919-5317.
The price for friend or spouse traveling with you is $1,600.
Click here to link to the relevant page on our website (about 2018 though).”
The British gun trade has always had ups and downs, but the 1950s were especially tough for the industry. Coming off of the ruin of WW2 and the hard times that followed for all of Europe, a lot of gunmakers were having a tough time finding people to build their shotguns and rifles.
E.J. Churchill was one of them, and as you can read in this letter, they were having so much trouble that they were turning away work. This letter was sent to an American customer looking to have a Churchill Premier sidelock double rifle made for him .22LR. Yeah – .22 Long Rifle! Talk about cool. To bad it was never built. Driven wabbits, anyone?
I don’t need any more hammerguns…I don’t need any more hammerguns …I don’t need any more hammerguns…
I need to keep saying this to myself every time I look at this SxS.
W. & C. Scotts I are some my favorite doubles–especially old and original ones like this. It’s on Gunbroker.com now and the listing ends 12/20/2015 @ 7:50:00 PM ET.
This 12 gauge was made in the 1880s, and it was a medium-grade shotgun in its day. But look at the quality — from the metal-to-metal fit on the locks & action to the colors. And check out how the stock is shaped up. The checkering is nice, too. Then there’s that deep, inky blue on the triggerguard. You can almost dive into it and swim around. Not even Purdey or Hartmann & Weiss does that kind of blueing today and those guns are $125,000+.
Ughh. I don’t need any more hammerguns…I don’t need any more hammerguns …I don’t need any more hammerguns…
Antique WC SCOTT HAMMER DAMASCUS SHOTGUN Very Nice: This auction features the pictured Antique W.C. Scott 12 Gauge Shotgun with exposed hammers and Damascus Barrels. This gun has been in storage for about 40 years and still has some dried grease that needs to be removed. A real Barn Find! This gun is tight and has good bores with a little minor pitting. The barrels measure 31 and 1/8 inches with very tight FULL CHOKES. The length of pull is 14 and 1/8 inches. Note all the remaining original Case colors!
This shotgun is an W. & C. Scott Excellentia Triplex, Scott’s B-grade hammerless double and one step down from The Premier, their best quality double. (Scott also made at least two back-action “Premier Extra Specials” during this time, but I don’t think that grade was ever officially offered by the company.) The color-case hardening is fantastic and I love the acorns chiseled on the locks and action. The brown on the bbls is great, too and so is the blueing (note: Those bbls were browned originally and never finished in black & white like some people believe). Check out the shape of the stock, too. Nobody makes stocks like that anymore.
Scott made back-action Excellentia’s from 1884 to 1888. I think this one was made in 1887. It’s on a Scott & Baker patent action and it has Scott & Baker patent gas checks, a version of Scott’s patent Triplex Lever Grip and Crystal Cocked Indicators and Needham & Hinton-patent Block Safety (intercepting sears) on the locks. What a gun.
If you have a Scott shotgun and are looking to find out more about it or sell it, please let me know. I would be happy to help you with it.
Here’s one for my Gallery of Great Guns. This is a 10 gauge W & C Scott Premier-grade hammergun, made around 1878. James D. Julia Auctions had this gun in their Fall, 2008 sale. It sold for $13,800.As you can see, this Scott in spectacular original condition, with fantastic color case hardening and beautiful barrel browning. On top of its condition, it’s also in its original case – something that’s very hard to find on any gun that 100+ years old.
Back when this side-by-side was made, The Premier Quality was W & C Scott’s finest shotgun. It was also cutting edge, and it came with almost all of the company’s newest innovations: their patent toplever/action spindle, their patent takedown lever on the forend, their patent adjustable front lump on the barrels, and rebounding hammers. Centerfires were still new back in the 1870s, so whoever ordered this gun
SPECTACULAR W & C SCOTT & SON PREMIER QUALITY TOP LEVER HAMMER GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE AND ACCESSORIES: SN 10666. Cal. 10ga. 2-7/8″ Chambers. Dbl trigger. 32″ Dove-tailed Damascus bbls are marked “Scott’s Patent Triplex. W & C Scott & Son. (THE PREMIER QUALITY) 10. GT. Castle Street. Regent. Circus. London” and have a triangle of scroll engraving on the extension of the smooth concave rib. Bbl flats have provisional and definitive black powder Birmingham proofs and are marked “10 B” “11 M” and “Not for Ball” and the left flat is marked “The Premier Gun.” Bottoms of the bbl are stamped w/ SN “10666″(1878). The front lump is fitted w/ Scott’s patented action tightening screw and is marked “USA Nov. 1-1870 Patent” The water table is marked “W.CS. S Patent Oct 65″ “2752″ in a rectangle, as well as, “W & C Scott & Son Makers”,”Patent Action” ,”The Premier Gun”, Scott castle logo, SN, and proofs. The action and lock plates have 85% coverage of beautifully executed scroll engraving. The serpentine hammers are nicely filed and scrolled engraved as well. Top lever is marked “W & C Scott & Son Patent”. Trigger guard has scroll, and is engraved “No.10666″. The well figured and streaked Circassian walnut full pistol grip buttstock measures 14-1/4″ over a checkered horn butt plate and features drop points, horn grip cap, and a gold shield behind the top tang, as well as, 20 LPI borderless checkering. The splinter forend is fitted w/ Scott’s patent take down lever and is checkered to match the buttstock. Bore diameter: left -.777, right -.777. Bore restrictions: left -.027, right -.026. Wall thickness: left -.029, right -.033. Drop at heel:2-7/8″, drop at comb:1-7/8″ . Weight:10 lbs 9oz. The original leather case has a green cloth interior, and original W & C Scott label marked w/ number “10666.” Case contains a leather wallet w/ 2 top lever springs, a 3-pc ebony cleaning rod w/ German silver furrels, cleaning brushes, and reloading tools to include rosewood capper and decapper by BGI, wad rammer by BGI, and roll crimping tool by James Dixon, and stuck case remover by J.L.Rawbone. There’s also a glass oil bottle w/ pewter top and a reproduction W & C Scott paper label. PROVENANCE: Notes from consignor detailing history of the gun.
CONDITION: Extremely fine. BBls retain 97-98% orig Damascus finish w/ a few rub marks at muzzle, and breech, finish thinning in an area 9″ from the breech from handling. Bores are bright and shiny w/ minor pitting just in front of chamber in the right barrel. Action retains 95% orig brilliant case color, silvered on the action beads, and thinning on the outer area of the fences. Lock plates and hammers retain 98%+ of their brilliant case color. Trigger guard retains 40% orig case color mostly faded to silver. Top lever retains 97% orig blue. Screw slots are excellent. Top lever screws show use. Wood retains 98% of orig oil finish w/ very few minor handling marks. Without doubt as fine an example of a gun from this era that you will find. Consignor states that this gun took a gold medal in the “Concours d’Elegance” in Millbrook, NY in 2003. Case: Leather is dry, cracked and rubbed, w/ pieces missing on the front and rear edge. Interior partitions are good and tight. Accessories are excellent. 4-35486 MGM17 (11,000-15,000)
Here’s a nice looking hammergun — too nice, really. Old doubles like this are like bird dogs – one is good, more is better. So if you buy this W. Richards and two years from now you have 4-5 more old doubles like it in your safe, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
W. Richards has been in business for over 200 years. According to their website, the firm was in Liverpool for most of their history (today they’re in East York).
W. Richards (Liverpool) Hammergun 12 Gauge: Trim action is adorned with fine scroll covering 60% of the action with perfussion-style fences for added flair. It is barreled with an exceptionally fine-patterned damascus finished in black and white. It’s stocked with a nicely figured piece of walnut and ends with heel and toe caps. The fore end fastens with a nicely engraved Rigby-style lever fastener.The gun locks up tightly on face with double under lugs and a doll’s head top fastener. Barrels were nitro proved at 18.9 mm (.744) in 1993 and remain at this diameter to date. Observed minimum barrel-wall thicknesses measure .022 on the right barrel and .028 on the left. Chokes measure .009 in both barrels. The gun is cased in a nice leather trunk case with the appropriate W. Richards Liverpool case label. Price: $1,999.99
Shows an elegant damascus pattern in black and white. No patina.
A great shotgun deserves great gun case. Here are three great gun cases on Ebay now. If you’re looking for the perfect vintage case for your favorite double, one of these may be it. All three were made in the UK for American sporting good companies.
These Abercrombie & Fitch cases are from the 1950s, and they were best-quality lightweight leather models in their day. These two are especially nice because they come with their original A & F snaps caps, two-piece cleaning rods and cleaning accessories.
Woodward started making guns in 1874 and ceased in 1948 when they sold their business to James Purdey & Sons. In the seventy-six years they made firearms, two of their most important patents were for the Woodward Automatic – a gun that cocked “automatically” when it was opened – and the Woodward Over Under.
This 28 gauge SxS was made on Woodward’s later hammerless design. It’s a pretty standard barrel-cocker, meaning the action uses the leverage of the dropping barrels to cock the hammers.
To my eye, it looks like it has been refinished. I wonder if it has been restocked, too? Either way, it’s probably the only one in the world like made by Woodward.
Here’s more about it from the seller:
JAMES WOODWARD BEST PRE WAR SXS 28 GAUGE: POSSIBLY THE ONLY 28 GAUGE SXS THAT WOODWARD MADE 26″ 022 AND 028 2 3/4 DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTORS SPLINTER FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP CHECKERED BUTT NEW CONDITION MAKERS MOTOR CASE 5LBS 1 OZ X 2 1/2 X 1 1/2 X 14 7/8. Price : $99,500.00
Puck and I are back from hunting. We had a great time. While I download some pics and pull together my thoughts, check out this great video of rough shooting in the UK.
Rough shooting is a lot like the kind of upland hunting we do here in the US. Check out the video to see what I mean, and to see how similar the countryside in Old England is to the stuff we see in New England.
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).
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.
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.
Really big bore shotguns (2, 4 & 8 gauges) used to be popular in the United States–until they were banned in 1918. Unlike market guns, ones like these were made to pass shoot big birds like geese and swans. Today, some states allow you to use them on turkeys and pests like crows and coyotes. Other states have completely banned them for hunting.
Fredrick Baker made guns in and around London from 1857-1913. While I’ve seen other guns bearing his name, this is the first hammerless 4 gauge by him I’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s the first hammerless 4 gauge I ever seen. It looks like it’s in excellent shape. The sleeved/nitro proofed barrels and ammo make it an extremely rare, and desirable, package. I bet it will go for a lot of money.
William Sumner was a gunmaker in Liverpool, England, from about 1858 to 1890. Eight gauges like this one are the most common ones you see. They’re usually the most affordable, too. This gun was probably made around 1880. With that 42″ barrel, you could probably hold it up and let the birds run into it.
The British double barrel shotguns that we revere today, the vintage Purdeys, Bosses, and Holland & Holland Royals, came about in a world of extreme privilege. Kings, Dukes, and other Lords dictated tastes. The few others who could afford it, followed.
The US and the UK: we both pursue game birds. We just do it in very different ways. Over here we hunt, in the UK they shoot. But on both sides of the Atlantic, well trained dogs are essential to having a good time and doing things right.
Take a look at this video to see how dogs are used on a driven shoot in the British Isles. The video is a bit long, but it gives you a thorough look at how things happens. As a plus, there’s some great video of some cocker and springer spaniels. Enjoy.