Good guns at Julia’s: a 12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal…

A big problem with old shotguns is that they’re…well..old. This has given people lots of time to mess with them. And while I love double barrels, I hate ones that have been messed with.

12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal Shotgun at Julia's Spring 2012 Auction
12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal Shotgun at Julia's Spring 2012 Auction

That’s why this 12 gauge Holland & Holland Royal at Julia’s caught my eye. They’re calling it “An exceptional original solid gun.” That’s what I like to see.

I like honest wear. As long as a gun has been looked after mechanically, there’s nothing wrong with a worn, original finish. The Brits disagree. They love to refinish their barrels and buffing the actions. They call this “brushed bright and reblacked.” I call it ruined, and I hate how flashy these guns end up looking.

There’s nothing flashy about this old H&H Royal. Instead, it still has the quiet elegance that makes best-quality London guns so appealing.

Here’s the full write up from Julia’s website:


SN 30509. (ca 1923) Cal. 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 30″ Chopper lump bbls with slightly raised, concave, matted rib, are engraved “Holland & Holland.” and “98. New Bond Street, London.” on tops. Bbl flats are stamped with London nitro proofs for 1-1/4 oz of shot. Bottoms of bbls are stamped with SNs.

Unusual robust H & H Royal action is fitted with Purdey type third fastener as well as side clips and double triggers with front articulated. It also features typical H & H patent detachable sidelocks and gold band tumbler end cocking indicators. Action and locks are engraved in H & H house style with large shaded acanthus scroll. “Holland & Holland” is in acanthus device on each lockplate. Bottom of action is engraved “Royal Hammerless Ejector”.

Single beaded trigger guard is scroll engraved with SN at grip. Nicely streaked and fiddle figured European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14-5/8″ over 3/4″ ribbed wood extension fitted to orig curve of butt. Stock features drop points, standard 24 LPI flat top checkering with mullered borders and a vacant gold oval on toe line. Matching splinter ejector forend has Anson release.

Bore diameter: left-.733, right -.734. Bore restrictions: left -.040, right -.040. Wall thickness: left -.030, right -.030. Drop at heel: 2-5/8″, drop at comb: 1-9/16″. Weight: 7 lbs. 5.8 oz. LOP: 14-5/8″.

CONDITION: Fine. Bbls retain most of their orig blue, considerably silvered and grayed. Action and lockplates retain traces of orig case hardening color in protected areas, but are mostly silver, browning somewhat. Trigger guard has traces of orig blue. Stocks retain most of their orig oil finish with numerous minor marks. Checkering has slight wear, and is missing a number of diamonds. Wood of extension matches well, and surface is somewhat below buttstock. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout, with no visible imperfections. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are in time.

An exceptional original solid gun. Hollands in this configuration with side clips are considerably rarer than those of other makes. 4-45109 MGM202 (13,500-18,500)