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.
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.