If you follow this blog at all, you know how much I like H.H. Heiser’s shotgun. From 1874 – 1955, the Hermann H. Heiser Saddlery Co. of Denver, Co., made some of the finest saddles, shooting accessories, and leather goods in the country.
Today, items by H.H. Heiser’s s are very collectible. The leather, basketweave leg o’mutton you see here was one of Heiser’s more popular products, and I can’t imagine a classier was to transport and protect a vintage side-by-side shotgun.
Most leg o’mutton cases were made with a thin leather exterior, a cardboard middle to give the case its shape, and a lightweight wool lining. But not Heisers. Their cases are made from saddle-grade leather throughout, and the finishing on all the details is excellent. And that’s why these cases command such premium prices today.
Leg o’Mutton gun cases go with American double barrels like peanut butter goes with honey. Shotgun retailers have been selling these cases for almost one hundred years. Most of the ones on the used market were made with a layer of fiberboard sandwiched between leather and felt. This fiberboard gives the cases their rigidity. Over time, this same fiberboard absorbs moisture, rots and collapses. Not good.
But not every maker used fiberboard. Some used molded leather. While this was a more expensive way to do it, the cases it produced were tougher and longer lasting. H.H. Heiser was a maker who used the all-leather construction technique. Today his cases are as prized as the old shotguns they were made to carry.
Heiser’s cases came in a variety of styles, each with their own finishes. I’ve picked up several of these cases over the years and I’m at the point now where I have a nice little collection of them. You can see them below.
BTW: two of these cases came from the same person: the plain-finished model and the carved model made for a single shotgun. The seller was a gentleman in Texas. I bought the carved case off from him a few years ago. He offered me the other case this summer, in remembrance of his father, who owned the case and enjoyed reading this blog.