From the article: “This project started in much the same manner as most custom-gun commissions: an initial call from a client who wanted something unique, made to fit, lightweight and well proportioned. That last part is the main reason behind using a Fox as the starting point—because of the gun’s slender action bar and its almost perfect visual balance with the rest of the frame. The base for the project was a NIB-condition Utica-made Sterlingworth in 16 gauge…” Read more at Customizing a Fox with English flair.
To see more pics and learn more about everything Dewey did to this gun, check out this post on his blog: “Anglicizing” a Fox (#005)
A decade ago or so, I met two Englishman at The Southern SxS: Peter Boxall, formerly a manufacturing director of Holland & Holland, and James Edmiston, former MD of the Sterling Armament Company. They had just launched a new shotgun company — Boxall & Edmiston — and their future looked bright.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out. But as of today, their website is still up and it’s filled with tons of info about guns and gunmaking. You can find it if you go here Shotgun Anatomy tab.
To a lot of people in the gun trade, “Best gun” is fighting words. Traditionally, it’s a handmadesidelock 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.”
For 30 years now, T. R. White Son & Co, Gunmakershas been building its reputation as one of Great Britain’s top gunmakers. a background that includes time spent at W. & C. Scott.
Established in 1989 by Tony White, whose background includes time spent at W. & C. Scott, the business includes his son, Matthew White, and gun maker Edward Atkinson. Together, they build SxS and OUs, boxlocks and sidelocks. In this video, you can learn a bit more about what drives them to create such beautiful firearms. Watch: T R White & Co Gunmakers, a film by Matthew Jopling
Last week I flew into Milan, Italy, and traveled east to Brescia to visit Beretta and a few other gunmakers.
People in the Brescia region have been building guns for 400+ years. Today, the area is home to 100+ companies who build 40% of the sporting and hunting firearms sold around the world.
In 2016, these companies shipped 395,000 guns to the U.S. alone.
Beretta is the biggest and most famous of these companies. This year they’re introducing a fine new OU called the SL3. I talk more about this gun–and about the other gunmakers I visited–in future posts.
I ran into Simon a few times, the last one at the 2016 Safari Club Show in Vegas. He was sort of the Steve Jobs of the British gun trade – a real visionary.
I have tremendous respect for what he accomplished. He built great guns and a great brand. He brought a new generation of craftsmen into the biz and gave work to the existing ones. He was also spread the word about British guns to shooters around the world.
From marketing to gun making, he knew what he was doing. People like him are rare. I hope Westley Richards has someone in line to take over with the same drive and feel for the future.
Gunmaking, like any task, can be practiced at different levels. The folks building these inexpensive Dickinson SxSs and the ones building Dickson Round Actions are doing essentially the same thing, but with different amounts of time, skill, and precision.
Today, few people practice gunmaking at the absolute top level. David Dryhurst and Richard Tandy are two of them. In 1982 they became part owners of W.W. Greener, and since then they’ve gone on to build some of the finest doubles coming out of the UK — or anywhere else. You can find out more about their backgrounds and see some of their fabulous guns on this new website: W.W. Greener – The New Guns
In the world of fine shotguns, a Best-quality double is just that: The very best side-by-side or over-under a company could make (or in some cases, the best one they retailed). Best guns were top-of-the-line, and top gunmakers made their best guns in special ways. This was called the “House Style”, and it was applied to the entire gun, from the engraving pattern and the shaping to the action, metalwork, and stock.
The side-by-sides you see here are Best-guns by Boss & Co. and James Woodward & Sons. The Boss is 12g made the later 1920s. The Woodward is a 16g. I think it’s from the 1930s. Even though these doubles have a lot in common, they are very different guns. Look closely and you’ll see what sets them apart.
British gunmakers are the blue bloods of the industry. Douglas Tate picks the best of British gunmakers
The beginning of the British gunmaker Westley Richards & Co story belongs to that classic British equation – a combination of skill and enterprise that characterises so much of the British Industrial Revolution. The early 19th century was a period of ferment when rank individualism, competition and disciplined industrial method all met together…
Read the entire piece now. Learn more about the history of British gunmaking, and find out which makers are Mr Tate’s favorite.
Time is our enemy. Second to second, minute to minute, it passes the same today as yesterday, last year, and a decade ago. That’s no the case with us. As time passes, we wear out and break down. The same is true with our shotguns.
When an old double needs work, getting it repaired right can be expensive – especially top-quality work on Best-quality guns. In this great blog post, Mike Rowe of Stephen Coker & Co talks about why the best quality pairs are expensive.
“So it must be”. These words flowed from the prolific pen of William Wellington Greener, whilst writing his epic tome “The Gun, and Its Development”. He continued, “Unless attention be given to every piece, no matter how seemingly unimportant, the gun is not well made, and may fail just where least expected”. And so it goes with repairs.
I am often asked during the course of my work on Best Quality antique guns, to provide an estimate on the cost of certain repairs or the making of a replacement part. Unfortunately for owners of fine English guns, repairs are not inexpensive. And it was the same a hundred years or so ago, when the guns were made. Most of the time my replies are met with either a look of disbelief, or stunned silence…
James Purdey & Sons is one of the world’s most famous gunmakers – and for good reason. They’ve been making some of the world’s finest rifles and shotguns for almost 200 years. This video is an interesting look inside the company. It’s good, but long (1 hour and 30 minutes). To make it easier to watch, here’s a cheat sheet of times & topics. The things I do for you!
00:00 – 10:00 – General History, with Richard Purdey
10:00 – 27:48 – Evolution of the Purdey Shotgun
27:49 – 32:40 – Inside the Purdey Factor – Barrel Making
32:41 – 39:20 – The Action
39:21 – 50:00 – The Locks
50:00 – 55:30 – The Triggers
55:30 – 1:11:12 – Stocking, unique jobs of Purdey Stockers
1:11:12 – 1:17:28 – Engraving
1:17:28 – 1:30:15 – Regulating & Finishing
The “proofing” of individual firearms is something we’ve never really done here the US. But in the UK, Europe, and in other parts of the world, proofing is a process required by law and carried out by independent “proof houses”.
This video takes an interesting look at William Powell, and it worhships the usual gods of the English gunmaking: handfitting, bespoke ordering, tradition, cost, etc. Interesting stuff, but we’ve seen it all before.
The cool part is at 4:16-5:00 and 5:42-6:00. That’s where you get a glimpse of how the Birmingham proof house goes about proofing shotguns. I’ve never seen this recorded on video before, and it’s definitely worth checking out. I love that shot of the smoke puffing out after the testing of the bbls…