“Why …?” is a question I ask a lot when looking at guns. Why did Parker use a doll’s head? Why did Greener think a side safety was a great idea?
Another “Why?” I’ve asked many times is “Why did MacNaughton build a 28g Round Action shotguns?”
These guns pop up every now and then, and every time I see one, I scratch my head and wonder what the thinking was behind them. The one’s I’ve seen were made in the 1890s, had 24″-24 1/2″ barrels, and weighed around 5lbs. They also had adult-size stocks dimensions (which kills the whole “made for kids” idea).
People have told me these guns were made for walked-up woodcock shooting in the UK. I’ve also heard these SxS were made for naturalists gathering birds for avian collections. Both sounded like plausible explanations to me.
To learn more about MacNaughtons and their mysterious 28-gauge side-by-sides, check out this post from the John Dickson & Son site:
David McKay Brown Trio of 16g Side by Side Game Guns: Consecutively numbered, true trio of 16g round action trigger plate self-opening Side by Side game guns by Scottish maker, David McKay Brown. Each gun is built on the classic Scottish trigger plate action with its rounded bar. Each gun features two triggers, auto-safeties, color case hardening and wonderfully executed small English scroll by renowned engraver Dave Tallett. Each gun features the Maker’s name inlayed in gold on the bottom the actions. Finally, each gun is appropriately numbered “1, 2, or 3” in gold and and the word “SAFE” is also inlayed in gold. All three guns feature 29” chopper lump barrels with 2 ¾” chambers and 2002 London proof marks. All three sets of barrels are bored and choked the same at: 3/8 (.015″) and 1/2 (.020″) with smooth concave game ribs. The guns are stocked in a lovely set of well matched stock blanks with straight hand grips and splinter forend. There is a 15″ LOP over checkered butts and the guns are cast off 1/8″. The guns weigh a lively 6 lbs. 2 oz. and are complete in the Maker’s three gun motor case. The guns show some signs of use, but are overall in excellent condition, tight on face, and the barrels and stocks free from any dents, bulges or cracks. Each gun is a superb example of the classic Scottish round action game gun. According to Donald Dallas’ book, David McKay Brown, Scotland’s Gun & Rifle Maker, The definitive history authorized by David McKay Brown, (2011 Quiller Press), the three guns were finished in 2003 and are the only trio of 16g Side by Side Game Guns shown in the ledgers when the book was published. Price:$95,000
VERY RARE AH GRADE PARKER 12 GAUGE SxS SHOTGUN: Gun features a 30 inch barrel with an unusual 2 Ivory beads on it. Choked improved cylinder and modified. AH stamp on the water table as well as a number 6. 175k serial range. Original straight grip stock measuring 14-5/8 inches to the end of the Josten pad. Excellent condition with most original varnish. Sharp checkering. It has a gold inlaid unused inscription plate in the stock. This Parker is in beautiful shape with 85-90% bright case colors on the frame. Bottom of the receiver retains just traces of case color. The trigger guard is nicely engraved with a dog and has traces of blue remaining. Bottom of the receiver has a beautifully done dog with a bird in it’s mouth and a running deer. Both sides of the receiver are game scene engraved. Quite delicately done. Gun has the correct splinter forearm as well automatic ejectors. Also has the correct barrel markings “Acme Steel” on top of the rib. Overall this just a great gun. This is the 3rd A grade I have bought this week. This one came from an estate out of Fargo North Dakota. It has been identified in the Parker gun identification and serialization book having all the mentioned features. Has never been on the market before. Gun weighs 7pounds 5 ounces. Price:$41,500
Gorgeous early CSMC Fox XE-grade 20ga two-barrel set with case: Made in 1995, this fantastic early CSMC XE Fox has it all – and remains in exceptionally nice original condition to boot. The gun is engraved in factory XE Grade pattern, signed by Leopold Schickl. Made originally with two sets of barrels and two forends – one in 27″ and one 26″, this would be the one gun any man would need for all seasons. The gun was made with straight grip, double triggers, and splinter forends with Schnabel tips. The gun is beautifully engraved with quail on left, woodcock on right, and standing Fox on the bottom all surrounded by well executed factory oak leaf pattern. This gun was made with exceptionally nice highly figured dark wood, as per the original order. The stock terminates with the original checkered butt, and the grip is diamond shaped which is smooth and delicate. Initials “E.H.” in gold stock shield near toe. Each barrel with single ivory bead. The gun is housed in its original two barrel set case with all accessories. Overall, the gun remains in near mint original condition retaining nearly all of its original finish to both wood and metal. Mechanics are crisp and bores are brilliant and shiny. Price:$17,000
BERETTA – RARE – European Market – S57E – 20ga – English Stock Double Triggers Ejectors – Like New! Very Very few Beretta shotguns were imported to the U.S. with English Stocks. 1963 – Beretta – S57E – – 20ga, 2-3/4″, 26-3/4″ M / F (.014 / .024) Vent Rib, Mid Rib Bead, Ejectors, Double Triggers – Front Articulated, Completely Hand Engraved, Long Trigger Guard Tang, English Stock, Game Forearm, LOP 14-1/4″, Drop 1-5/16″ to 2-1/8″, Very Slight Cast Off, Weight 5 lbs 14 oz. Very tight gun. Still doesn’t fall open. Perfect Bores. Shot very little. Metal is 99+%. Wood about 97%. Shipping to CONUS included in price. Price:$2850
AYA sidelock SxS shotgun, No.1 20ga: This AYA is a 20GA with double triggers and a 26″ barrel. Both barrels are set in improved cylinder for the chokes. It comes with a hard case. This Shotgun is in very nice condition with little to no use wear. 20 Gauge. Metal Condition: Very good, Minor to no use wear. Wood Condition: Very good, Minor to no use wear. Barrels: 26″ Triggers: Double triggers Stock Dimensions: LOP 13 1/4″. Weight: 6 lb. 8 oz. Sights: Front metal bead. Chokes: IC/IC. Price: $2,499.99
Here’s your chance to buy one of the rarest and most beautiful side-by-side shotguns ever made.
John Dickson & Son has been building Round Action shotguns since the 1880s. Since then, they’ve made approximately 2,000 of these SxSs. Of these, I believe fewer than a dozen of these have been sixteen gauges.
Besides being a rare gauge, the one you see here is special for couple other reasons, to: First, the engraving. It’s an unusual pattern, probably executed by Harry Kell. Second, the damascus barrels. According to the seller, this gun was made in 1905. That’s late for damascus barrels, so whoever ordered this gun specified that he want them instead of fluid-steel.
Holland & Holland Royal SxS Double Rifle .303 British: A Back-Action Sidelock Double Rifle chambered for the .303 British cartridge. It has 28” rifled barrels, File cut quarter rib with platinum lined express rear sights – 1 standing (100 Yds) and 2 folding (200 & 300 Yds). Island base foresight, Bushed strikers (Disk set strikers) with retaining set screws, Double triggers, An extended top strap over the comb, Holland & Holland traditional full coverage “Royal Scroll” engraving pattern with case color hardened finish, Full length trigger guard tang to an engraved steel grip cap, Best quality walnut stock has shadow line (Beaded) cheekpiece, Drop points, Pistol grip, Splinter forend with Anson release, 14 1/8” LOP to a horn plate, 9 Lbs. 9 Oz. Price:$39,750
GREIFELT #1 PRE WAR O/U 20 GAUGE VL&D IMPORT: 26″ SOLID RIB IC AND MOD 2 1/2 CHAMBERS, DOUBLE TRIGGER, EJECTORS, 3-PIECE FOREARM, ENGLISH GRIP, MAKER’S CASE, EXCELLENT ORIGINAL CONDITION, 5LBS 14 OZ, 3″ DAH, 2″ DAC, 14 1/2 LOP. Price:$13,500
John Dickson of Edinburgh Classic 12 Gauge Round action with great original barrels and stock dimensions ~ Light at 6 lbs. 4.5 oz.! Makers case! This gun dates from 1934 . A very nice Dickson from between the wars with great wall thickness and dimensions. This is the period that many consider to be the pinnacle of the UK gunmaking trade. The Bores are bright and shiny with a few pits in the right barrel towards the muzzle but in proof and nothing deep. Serial Number: 7279, Ejectors: Yes , Barrels: 27″, Barrel Type: Fluid steel, Action: trigger plate round action, Stock Comb: 1 7/16″, Stock Heel: 2″, Stock Cast: 1/4″, LOP: 14 3/8″ to wood butt, Weight: 6 lbs. 4.5 oz., Choke Left: .028 full, Choke Right: .015 IC-Mod, Proof: Nitro: 2 1/2″ nitro, Minimum Wall Thickness Left: .029″, Minimum Wall Thickness Right: .028″. Price:$12,000
J.P. SAUER PRUSSIAN GRADE 45 SXS 20 GAUGE: EXTREMELY RARE IN 20 GAUGE. #184XXX. 28″ FULL AND FULL, 2 3/4″ CHAMBERS. DOUBLE TRIGGER. EJECTORS. SPLINTER FOREARM. ENGLISH GRIP. FACTORY SLING SWIVELS. EXCELLENT CONDITION WITH HONEST WEAR. 6LBS 1 0Z, 2 5/8 DAH, 1 5/8 DAC, 14″ LOP. Price: $29,500
James Purdey & Sons 450 3 1/4″ BPE SxS Double Rifle: Totaly original Purdey 450 3 1/4″ BPE double rifle, number 9809 made in 1877. Jones underlever, non-rebounding hammers with safeties, island locks, side clip action body. 28″ steel barrels with perfect bores, rifling is 12 groove with rounded lands. Obsolete scope mounts. 95%+ barrel blue. Faded case color on action and metal parts. No worn areas on action, locks, hammmers or underlever. 95% coverage of fine scroll. Wood and checkering about 95%. 14 1/2″ length of pull to a checkered steel buttplate, cross pin forend attachment. Original worn oak and leather case. Accessories include: 318 gr. hollow point grooved bullet mold numbered to gun, nipple wrench, stab crimping tool and a sealed envelope marked 9809 extra strikers. Price: $15,000
John Dickson & Son – Round Action – 12 ga – SxS – Shotgun: #5894. Gun is in good condition with some light handling marks. Price: $14,500
Grip: Straight Grip
Lop: 14 5/8 ”
Pad thickness: ”
Type of butt: Checkered Wood
Drop comb: 1 1/2 ”
Drop heel: 2 1/4 ”
Cast amount: 1/8 ”
Weight: 6 lbs, 8 oz
Manufactured in: Scotland
Overall condition: Good
Stock condition: Good
Metal condition: Good
Stock: Original finish
Metal: Original finish
Type of Case: none
Extra barrels: 0
Gauge: 12 ga
Chamber: 2 3/4 ”
Length: 29 ”
Rib type: Concave
E.J. CHURCHILL REGAL XXV SXS Boxlock Ejector Shotgun: 12 ga with a 25″ bbls measuring 15″ to the end of the English recoil pad. The receiver is beautifully scroll engraved. Top opener, automatic ejectors and double triggers. A very light gun. Overall in excellent condition retaining virtually all the bright case colors and original blue. Would be hard to improve upon this beautiful gun. Marked on the bottom of the gun “The Regal”. Made in 1970. Price:$ 7,250
A.H. Fox A-Grade 20 Gauge, SxS – FIGURED STRAIGHT STOCK NICE: Many gun lovers reading this ad regularly scour the internet for good deals on Fox shotguns. One thing for certain; the availability of graded 20ga. Fox shotguns has dwindled to nearly zero. Shooter/collectors have recognized the Fox 16ga. and 20ga. guns are the most well balanced, lightest weight, best handling guns of all the vintage American doubles. It is also known that they have the simplest, most reliable actions as well. They only made about 2400 A Grade 20ga. Fox guns, with likely less than 2000 remaining in action due to loss and damage. This little Fox A Grade, sn203917 produced in 1938, is an awesome find. First, it is a factory English style grip, which is very rare (less than 10% made with English grip, or 240 guns). The handling characteristics and aesthetics of an English grip little Fox is as close as an American double gun will come to being comparable to the finest English makers. This gun weighs just 5lbs. 14oz. and balances dead on the hinge pin…it seems to float to your shoulder and balances perfectly in hand. Next, the wood on the gun has much more figure than you will normally find on and A Grade Fox, and we all love nice wood! Then we have this beautiful condition and pleasing patina to this gun, with 65% bright vivid factory case color, perfect screws, superb wood to metal fit, modern dimensions with the original butt plate…all these things add up to a superior vintage Fox gun. The factory order card shows the gun “as shipped”; even the chokes and chambers are unaltered since leaving the factory. Price:$6,250
Browning BSS BOTTLE Sporter set 12 Ga. and 20 Ga. SxSs: Bottle Sporter set consisting of 12 Ga. and 20 Ga.side X side. This model got its nickname from a Mr. Bottles sporting store in Wichita, KS, who special ordered 100 sets of these guns in 1976.These guns have straight grip sporter stocks. The receivers are engraved with wild turkey and wood duck inlays, the shoulders are sculpted and engraved Exhibition grade walnut wood was used. These guns come with there own Browning airways case. They are still unfired and new in box. These guns would cap off any Browning Collection. Price: $11,750.00
95% original bluing with light handling marks. Rib has a single silver bead and is marked “PARKER BROS. MAKERS. MERIDEN. CT. U.S.A. PARKER SPEC. STEEL”. Bores are clean and shiny. 0 frame retains 30% original case coloring. Trigger guard retains 70% original bluing. Double triggers, ejectors and automatic safety. Pistol grip stock and forearm have had varnish added and have numerous light handling marks. Length of pull: 14 1/2” to the front trigger over a red recoil pad. Drop at comb: 1 1/2″. Drop at heel: 2 3/4″. Weight: 6.4 lbs. Mechanics are good. Price:$8975
Grip: Pistol Grip
Lop: 14 ”
Pad thickness: 1 ”
Type of butt: Rubber Pad
Drop comb: 1 5/8 ”
Drop heel: 2 1/2 ”
Cast amount: 1/8 ”
Weight: 6 lbs
Manufacture Year: Finish: Case Colored
Overall condition: Good
Stock condition: Good
Metal condition: Good
Stock: Original finish
Metal: Original finish
Gauge: 20 ga
Chamber: 2 3/4 ”
Length: 26 ”
Rib type: Flat File Cut
Comments: Gun has some wear and handling, pad will need to be replaced.
Francotte 14E 12ga. SXS Boxlock Ejector w/30 inch ejector barrels. A beautiful 1931 gun in exc. condition: This 14E is a fine quality gun with a considerable original finish. The Belgium Francottes can compete with the finest guns ever made. Unaltered except for the recoil pad–it features 30-inch barrels with ejectors that have fine bores–mirror bright. The chokes are Mod and Full–.021 and .037. Considerable case colors remain, even on the triggers–signifying low usage. The stock dimensions are a very shootable 14 1/2 x 1 7/16 x 2 1/4 inches. The mechanics and screws are excellent. Toplever to the right. Built is 1931 and imported by Von Lengerkt & Detmold in New York City–this gun ended up on a farm in Buck Co. Pa. A pheasant shooter for sure that would make a nice clays gun too. It weighs 7-3 and carries nicely. Price:$2750
Metal Condition: Good with scratches and some finish wear at the muzzle. Bright CCH on the receiver.
Wood Condition: Very good with handling marks.
Bore Condition: Shiny with good rifling.
Triggers: Double triggers.
Stock: Checkered walnut.
Fore End: Checkered walnut.
Butt Pad: Pachmayr Old English red rubber recoil pad.
Weight: 10-lbs., 7-ozs.
Sights: Hooded front bead, 3-position rear blades.
Piotti King #1 12 Gauge Sidelock Side by Side: 99% CASE COLOR, CASED, EXHIBITION WOOD. Year 1991, 12 Gauge, 6lbs 13oz, SxS. Piotti shotguns are considered Italian “BEST” guns and are equal to any double guns made in the world. Some say they even surpass a Purdey! A full sidelock Holland style action, engraved by Italy’s best, stocked to the fences, chopper lump barrels, all combine to make a fine game or clays gun. This Piotti, sn9032 made in 1991, has exhibition custom ordered factory upgraded wood, gold shield in forend, blank gold shield in belly of stock, 27″ barrels, 6lbs. 13oz., balanced on the hinge pin for dynamic handling, and the original factory case. This is a gun that would cost $46,830 if ordered new today at 2017 prices from William Larkin Moore. This is a grand investment, and will continue to grow in value as the price of new guns like it increase. Buying a fine Piotti at less than half price is the way to go! Price:$18,900
John Dickson & Son wonderful round action SxS shogun with original nitro proofed Damascus barrels: This is a very nice Dickson with original nitro proofed high quality Damascus barrels. Price:$14,900
Serial Number: 4386
Barrel Type: Damascus
Action: Trigger plate
Gauge: 12 gauge
Stock Comb: 1 7/16
Stock Heel: 2 3/16
Stock Cast: 3/8
LOP: 16″ (14″ original)
Weight: 6 lbs. 3 oz.
Choke Left: .013 IC
Choke Right: .008 Skeet II
Proof:Nitro: 2 1/2
Minimum Wall Thickness Left: .022
Minimum Wall Thickness Right: .023
Parker DHE 20 Gauge 30” Barrels Pistol Grip Stock Splinter Forearm All Original: 20 gauge, 30″ barrels, 2 3/4″ chambers. Chokes measure .018 right and .021 left. Full length matte rib with a silver front bead. The rib is marked PARKER BROS MAKERS MERIDAN CT USA TITANIC STEEL. Bores are bright and shiny. Double triggers, ejectors, automatic safety. Pistol grip stock is has a 14” length of pull to the front trigger over what is probably the factory recoil pad. Splinter forearm. Condition: Barrels retain 95% original bluing with numerous light handling marks and light scratches. The #0 frame retains 20% original color and the floorplate retains 30% original color. Forend iron retains little original finish. Trigger guard retains 10% original bluing. The stock retains most of its original finish with a few light handling marks. The forend had varnish added with a few light handling marks. Drop at comb: 1 5/8”. Drop at heel: 2 3/4”. Weight: 6.3 lbs. Mechanics are good. Price:$13,995
Ithaca 4E NID 12 Gauge SxS Trap Gun with 32″ F/M ejector vent rib barrels with 2 3/4″ chambers: Small white mid bead and large white front bead. Bores are excellent measuring .736 on the right and .741 on the left. Original barrel blue remains at 98%. Choked .033 right and .019 left. Reciever with typical 4E engraving retaining 90% vivid case colors. Cocking indicators. Rear position single selecive trigger. Pistol grip buttstock and beavertail forend with ebony inlay at tip. Deeley forend release. Vacant stock oval. 14″ LOP to new replacement Ithaca Sunburst pad. DAC-1 1/2″ DAH-1 7/8″ Weighs 8lb 15 oz
This 1926 production NID has every available factory option and remains in excellent condition. Lockup is tight. Lever remains right of center. Ejectors strong and well timed. Ribs solid. Buttstock and forend solid. An outstanding vintage trap or clays gun. Chokes reversed in the fashion that John Olin ordered his Model 21’s. Price:$4195
For decades now, AyA’s No 2 Grade sidelock shotguns have been one of the best deals in a custom made side-by-side. Introduced in the ’50s, thousands of them have been sold to shooters across Europe and in the US, including famous gunwriter Michael McIntosh, He had one built for him in ’90s, and he shot the crap out of it on trips around the globe. The gun didn’t seem to mind. After around 80,000 rounds,the only thing it required was a new firing pin.
Whoever buys this one will probably have the same kind of luck. It’s on Gunbroker.com now with No Reserve. The listing ends 3/12/2017 @ 9:00 PM.
AYA Aguirre Y Aranizabal #2 Round Body SxS 16 GA Shotgun: Choked MOD/IC. No dings or dents in barrels. Barrels are perfect, very shinny and no pits. Gun has seen very little use and spent its life in a safe. Cocking indicators, double trigger and ejectors. LOP 14 3/4″, DAH 2 1/2″. DAC 1 1/2″. Gun weighs 6lb 6.4oz. No cracks or chips in wood. Beautifully figured wood. A few very light handling marks. All screws are clean and show no sign of screwdriver use.
Pre-Owned John Dickson & Son ‘Round Action’ SxS Double Barrel Shotguns: A pre-owned pair of 12 bore John Dickson & Son ‘Round Action’ Ejector Shotgun with 27 inch barrels at our New York Showroom. John Dickson & Son best quality round action ejector with double trigger and automatic safety. Price: $45,000 Barrels
Barrel Length: 27 Inches; #2 GUN replacement barrels between 1937 – 1954
Chamber: 2 1/2 Inch
Chokes: # 1 GUN – Right: 1/2 Left: Full; #2 GUN – 1/4(R) & 3/4 (L)
Length: 14 1/2 Inches
Bend: 1 5/8 – 2 1/8
Cast: Off 3/16 face
Grip: Traditional straight hand grip Engraving
Description: Fine Rose & Scroll
Finish: Traces Case Coloured Finish
Weight: 5lb 15oz
Case: Double leather with canvas conver
Date of Manufacture: circa 1934
MIDLAND GUN CO, BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND, BOXLOCK 410GA, S/S SHOTGUN: CASE COLORED ACTION WITH SCROLL ENGRAVING, 28″ BBLS, 2 1/2, CHOKED MOD/FULL, RAISED GAME RIB, EJECTORS, DBL TRIGGERS, XXX MEDIUM DARK WALNUT, ST/SP, LOP 15″, 1 9/16, 2 5/8, 5LBS 4OZ, 98% ORIGINAL, VERY LITTLE USE! Price:$4,995
Chambers: 2 1/2″
Condition: 98% ORIGINAL, VERY LITTLE USE!
Metal Condition: 97%
Wood Condition: 97%
Bore Condition: 97%
Stock: XXX MEDIUM DARK WALNUT, ST/SP
LOP: LOP 15″, 1 9/16, 2 5/8
Rib: RAISED GAME RIB
Weight: 5LBS 4OZ
Engraving: CASE COLORED ACTION WITH SCROLL ENGRAVING
Cole Custom Beretta Special 20 Bore OU Shotgun: 30″ barrels with flush mount screw-in chokes, ejectors, 6 lbs. 3 oz., 14 1/2″ LOP over a pad, 1 1/2 DAC, 2 5/16″ DAH, neutral cast, round knob grip, wide vent rib with mid-bead removed, single selective trigger, bone charcoal case colored action, highly figured select European walnut with oil finish, low lustre matt blue finish on barrels, lightly used condition with minor handling marks. This is a Cole Gunsmithing custom gun on a Beretta barreled action but with Cole’s serial number. Note, this is a field gun but as 30″ barrels are not available from beretta on field models, the barrels only are from Beretta’s sporting line. A very attractive gun. Price:$4,500
Charles Osborne Model Boxlock Non Ejector SxS Shotgun Caliber 410 GA: This is a little gem of a 410 double built by London maker Charles Osborne. We have been privileged to handle several guns from the R. B. Dunphy estate in San Francisco. All the firearms are from the turn of the 19th Century. This little gem has 27″ barrels choked improved cylinder, improved cylinder. The length of pull is 14 1/4″ over the original wood butt. The bores are bright and shiny with the left bore showing light staining around the chamber area. The action is beautifully decorated in classic tight English scroll. Both right and left action panels bare the Charles Osborne company scroll. Some case colors remain on the frame as does blue on the top lever and barrels. Great opportunity to own a 410 double from a London best maker. Price:$2950
BROWNING SUPERPOSED 12 GA SUPERLITE OVER UNDER SHOTGUN: MADE IN BELGIUM IN 1968. BARRELS ARE 26 INCHES WITH A SOLID RIB AND CHOKED I.C. AND MOD. 95% CONDITION. GREAT SHOOTER OR NICE PIECE TO ANY COLLECTION. Price:$2,350
Condition: VERY GOOD
Metal Condition: VERY GOOD
Wood Condition: VERY GOOD
Bore Condition: VERY GOOD
Stock Comb: 1 1/2 ”
Stock Heel: 2 1/2 ”
LOP: 14 3/8 ”
Weight: 6 LB 14 OZ
James MacNaughton was a gunmaker in Edinburgh, Scotland, and he opened a shop in the city’s center in 1864. In 1879, he patented his ‘Edinburgh Patent Hammerless Ejector’ design, on which this double rifle is based.
With the lockwork mounted on the triggerplate and behind the standing breech, the actions on MacNaughton’s guns were very strong. Because of their strength, they could be adapted to the “Skeleton” design you see here and also used in double rifles, which generate far higher pressures and strain than shotguns.
MacNaughton’s hammerless design evolved over time, and I think this rifle is built on one of the earlier, or the earliest, variation. It uses the opening-motion of its extra long toplever to cock the locks. Later ones had regular sized toplevers and cocked on the drop of the barrels (here’s one in 12 gauge).
EARLY AND RARE MACNAUGHTON “SKELETON” ROUND ACTION DOUBLE RIFLE: SN 1156. (ca 1885 ?) Cal. .450 BPE. 28″ Dovetailed steel bbls are fitted with full length matted rib with one standing, one folding leaf rear sight. Leaves are unmarked and unnotched. Standing leaf has inset “certifiable antique ivory” sighting triangle. Central portion of rib is swamped and rises at muzzle to ramp holding steel bead.
Tops of bbls are engraved “James Mac Naughton” and “26 Hanover Street. Edinburgh.” Bbl flats are stamped with London black powder proofs, and bottoms of bbls with SNs. A sling eye is screwed into bottom rib. Bbls are fitted with early bail type extractor system, often used by Purdeys on early breech loaders. Round bodied, trigger plate action has wood which extends over bar in a style favored by MacNaughton, in which they referred to as their “Skeleton” action. This trigger plate action was the first (1879) of the famous “round” actions of Edinburgh. This basic design was used by John Dickson beginning in 1880 with resultant lawsuit over the concept. The action on this rifle is patent use no. “66”, and incorporates early long top lever which also cocks hammers. Central area is milled away to access action pin and view hammers through glass window as cocking indicators. Action also features MacNaughton’s toggling safety, pivoting third fastener, and dbl triggers. Large trigger plate has tail which extends to grip cap. Trigger guard is attached to trigger plate at front and back. Metal parts are engraved with near full coverage well cut scroll with Celtic knotwork borders. Top of action is engraved “MACNAUGHTON EDINBURGH”. Finely fiddle figured and lightly streaked, dense, European walnut horn capped pistol grip buttstock measures 14-1/2″ over checkered horn buttplate, and features slim shadow line right hand cheekpiece, and flat top point pattern checkering with mullered borders. A gold oval on toe line is engraved with wild boar in sling held by cleft in oak tree all over motto “Lock Sicker” (Keep Securely) This is the Douglas family crest – either Kinglassie or Sir Arthur Percy Baronet of Carr. This crest plate is behind sling eye engraved with star. Matching splinter forend has forward pivoting lever release. Drop at heel: approx 2-5/8″, drop at comb: approx 1-7/8″. Weight: 7 lbs. 14 oz. LOP: 14-1/2″.
PROVENANCE: Email stating that Dickson records indicate that a rifle with this SN was sold Aug 1895 to Sir A. M. MacKenzie (3rd Baronet), and “A relatively small amount of MacNaughton round actions were made about 400 in total. Of these, a mere handful were dbl rifles around 4 or 5.” (This rifle is most likely from an earlier period, and different SN series. Published records began with SN 110 in 1894. Info on Sir Arthur Percy Douglas and Banglapedia info on Sir Alexander MacKenzie (Not Alexander Muir MacKenzie).
CONDITION: Excellent, original, as found. Bbls retain 80 – 90% orig blue thinning overall, silvering on sides of rear portion from normal hand wear, with some attendant minor scratches and marks. Action retains 70 – 80% orig light case hardening color. Top lever retain most of its orig fire blue, as does cocking window housing. Stocks retain nearly all of what appears to be their orig hand rubbed oil finish, with some fairly deep scratches on the right side of butt, and some minor marks and scratches scattered overall, checkering lightly worn. Bores are very fine, shiny with sharp rifling throughout. There is some pitting toward breech end of right bbl, and a few other scattered light pits. Action has a hint of looseness with forend removed, feels tight with forend installed. Bbls are slightly off face. A wonderful Scottish deer stalking rifle. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000
Of all the iconic British designs for hammerless double barrel shotguns, the Dickson Round Action is certainly the most unique.
And according to a lot of people, it’s also the most beautiful. Take a look at this one which just came up at Lyon & Turnbull auctioneers in Edinburgh, Scotland to see if you agree.
James MacNaughton filed a patent for a the world’s first trigger plate, round action hammerless breech loading SxS shotgun in July, 1879. Six months later (January of 1880), John Dickson filed a patent for what would become his company’s legendary Dickson Round Action.
Both designs were innovative and brilliant. By moving the lockwork onto the triggerplate and behind the breechface, MacNaughton and Dickson freed themselves to build trim, sleek actions which were still extremely strong.
On this Dickson, the full-coverage scroll engraving and the Acanthus-leave carvings on the fences are very unique, and part of what makes this side-by-side so beautiful.
Winchester Model 21, 12 Gauge, Skeet Grade: This example is totally original and in excellent condition. It has WS1 and WS2 skeet choked barrels, automatic ejectors, single select trigger, and 26 inch barrels. It also has a straight grip “English” stock that measures 14 inches to a checkered butt. The blue is well over 90% with the majority of the wear on the trigger guard tang. The wood is excellent with only surface wear and minor scratches. This shotgun has a great “original look”. Price:$6,250
Beretta — AS20-EL Boxloxk Ejector — 20 Gauge, 2 3/4″ Chambers: 26 3/4″ O/U matted-vent-rib barrels of Boehler Antinit steel, choked modified & improved modified. 14 1/4″ pull from front trigger to checkered wood butt. 1 1/4″ – 2 1/4″ drop. No cast. Figured walnut stock with slender field forend, straight English grip, swivels, and classic point-pattern checkering. Shallow, scroll engraved, coin-finished, scalloped action with automatic ejectors and manual top tang safety. Weight: 5lbs, 9oz. Built 1962. 99% blue. Tight and with excellent bores. Price:$5975.
FR Jac Bartels Custom Sidelock SxS Shotgun, 16 gauge 27″ barrels: This side by side is custom made by the German gunsmith Weisbaden. It is in good condition for the year that is was made and have very few handling marks. Length of pull: 14 3/4″. Weight: 5lbs 10oz Drop at comb: 1 1/2″. Drop at heel: 2 1/2″. Chamber: 2 9/16″. Price:$3,995 Parker VHE 12ga. with 32″ Vulcan steel barrels: #231731, Chokes are full (.035″) and full (.035″) with excellent bores and 3″ chambers.Other features include a pistol grip stock with a 141/2″ LOP over an old No Shok pad,a Parker single selective trigger,ejectors,twin beads,and a splinter forend.Built on a 11/2 frame,this gun weighs 8-5 but is so well balanced that it feels and handles much lighter.The gun retains 90% case colors,99% barrel blue and 99% wood finish.There is a possibility that the gun was restored long ago,but if so,the work was really outstanding.The barrel flats have a repair code of EH3,meaning the gun went back to Remington for work in October of 1939.The barrels are tight and on face and lock up soundly with the top lever to the right.This gun would make a tremendous live pigeon gun,trap gun, or clays gun.With Bismuth shot it would be an outstanding duck gun.A real classic. Price:$3995
John Dickson of Edinburgh, 12g Round Action SxS shotgun with super rare sidelever: The Dickson round action is arguably considered to be the most elegant of all the side by side shotguns. Combine this with what is thought of as the most elegant of opening methods, the side lever, almost nirvana of the sidelock shotgun has been obtained. Only 26 round action Dickson guns were ever built. Great near perfect Damascus barrels with beautiful bores and excellent minimum wall thickness. Stock dimensions are excellent. If it were mine to keep and shoot I would have us remove the wood extension and install a best quality leather covered pad. This only costs and extra $300 and only takes two weeks. Built early in 1903. Price:$27,500
Ithaca Grade 2E, Side-by-Side, 10 Gauge 3 1/2″ Magnum: 32″ BARRELS, FULL AND FULL, VERY GOOD BLUE, MIRROR BORES, TWIN IVORY SIGHTS, AUTOMATIC EJECTORS. TYPICAL ENGRAVING PATTERN WITH A WOODCOCK ON THE RIGHT, QUAIL ON LEFT PLUS SCROLLWORK AND BORDERS, FADED CASE COLOR, EXCELLENT, ENGRAVED SCREWS, TOP LEVER TO FAR RIGHT. PISTOL GRIP STOCK, SPLINTER FOREARM, NICELY FIGURED WOOD AND NEAR PERFECT CHECKERING. GREAT DIMENSIONS 1 3/8″ X 2″ X 14 1/4″, 10 POUNDS. LATE GUN, NO COCKING INDICATORS. SERIAL NUMBER OVER 500,OOO. SCARCE – ONLY 164 GRADE TWO 10 GAUGE MAGNUMS WERE PRODUCED. CIRCA MID 1930’S. ALL ORIGINAL FINISH. Price:$4,750
William Powell & Son, Carrs Lane, Birmingham, SxS, 10g, For Fisher & Long, Detroit, Michigan: 10 gauge bar-in-wood William Powell, # 4834, built in 1872, 30 inch barrels, tight as new, 11.3 pounds, heavy, but the gun handles very well, imp cyl-mod choke in both barrels, patterns well, light pitting, could be honed out, these barrels are thick. The gun shows use, but not heavy use, screws are untouched, checkering is still good, now worn or recut, no cracks in stock, which is very stout. Barrels have not been cut, border engraved. Price:$1,950
About twenty-five years ago, the beginning of the double-gun renaissance began. The Double Gun Journal was a big part of this resurgence. So were Donald Dallas’s books on the famous London gunmakers.
Dallas published his first book — Boss & Co, Builders of Best Guns Only — in 1995. Books about James Purdey & Sons and Holland & Holland followed. While information about all these makers had already been published many times, Dallas’s books were these firms’s definitive histories. His original research corrected many errors and resulted in page after page of new information.
Dallas’s latest book — JOHN DICKSON & SON, THE ROUND ACTION GUNMAKER — does the same. With 352 pages and 447 photographs, this hefty, coffee-table size book tells two amazing stories: One is of John Dickson & Son; the other is of how much love the author has for this firm.
Dallas spent years researching and writing this book, and to get it into print he used his own funds. It is based on hundred of hours of original research, as well as on Dallas’s exclusive access to the maker’s archive and records. Along with the history of the company, readers will also find:
-Full color pictures of some of the finest Dickson firearms to ever be built.
-The ledgers of John Dickson & Son, with information on the 7,000 or so firearms the company built from 1840 – 2010.
-Production figures for Dicksons guns, rifles, and pistols.
-The patents of John Dickson & Son.
-The trade labels used by the company.
-A reprint of two John Dickson & Son catalogs, 1935 & 1962.
– The story of Charles Gordon, The mad Scottish gun Collector and Dickson patron.
Established in 1838 at 60 Princes Street, Edinburgh, the firm quickly gained a reputation for building very high quality guns and rifles, their two-groove percussion rifles achieving international acclaim. John Dickson (3) made the greatest contribution to the firm by patenting the round action gun in 1880 that instantly achived critical acclaim as a best gun utilising a trigger plate action. The beautiful and elegant three-barrelled gun followed in 1882 and by the time the ejector had been patented in 1887 the Dickson round action had been perfected. In 1923 John Dickson (3) retired and the business was sold. In 1928 the firm moved to 32 Hanover Street and in 1937 to 21 Frederick Street, the present day location of the firm.
This book goes into great detail on all the types of Dickson guns and rifles built and was written with the full permission of John Dickson & Son. 352 pages, 447 photographs.
James MacNaughton opened his gunmaking business in 1864 and in 1879 he introduced his Edinburgh Patent Hammerless Ejector – the world’s first “round-action” shotgun. The first MacNaughton round actions were lever cockers, and the locks cocked when you operated the gun’s top lever to open the breech. Later models, like the on you see here, switched over to a barrel-cocking design.
BTW: if you would like to have a new one, Dickson/MacNaughton will be happy to build one for you. Prices start at £38,775.
12 gauge J. MacNaughton & Sons, Edinburgh, #3558, Double Barrel Shotgun: This is the “Edinburgh Gun”. A Superb Conditioned and Very Elegant Hammerless Round Action Triggerplate Bar-In-Wood (Skeleton-Action) Double 12 Bore Nitro Made about 1933; This very gun, #3558, is the last recorded gun of the original MacNaughton business and their records, The record of this gun is undated and it is believed to have been delivered either during or shortly after WWII, The current owners have confirmed this fact, It has 28″ Ejector dovetail lump barrels with hidden third bite at .733″ .007 & .027″ (Open Imp.Cyl. & Imp.Mod.), 2 3/4″ chambers, Wall thickness on the right and left at .0275″; Original London Nitro Proved at 1 1/8 ounce and then London proved to 3 1/4 tons when the chambers were lengthened to 2 3/4″ from 2 1/2″ & marked with the proper reproof, The safety is a turning top lever on the top strap, Double triggers, The receiver top tang with the MacNaughton trap door, Splinter forend with an Anson release, Straight hand stock at 14 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 1 7/8″ over a 5/8″ removable leather pad with plugs, It will go 15 3/16″ with a 1″ pad, Cast-off for the right hand, Great game gun weight at 6 lbs. 11 oz., Very nice wood with excellent black/brown contrast, Good bite remains, 95% coverage of classic scroll engraving, 40% original case colors, 98% case colors remain inside the forend, 60% original case colors on the breech face, A professional reblack on the barrels and now remain at 97%, The stock & forend are at 95%, The checkering is at 98%, The bores are 100% bright and shiny and remain like new.
This is special stuff from one of the most famous Edinburgh Gunmakers of the 19th century. It is estimated that about 100 bar-in-wood MacNaughton actions were made and roughly about 200 solid bar actions. James MacNaughton was the patentee of the first round action similar to Dickson’s own later design. His round action triggerplate lockwork was patent #2848 of 1879 which included a falling block as well as this SxS. This patent is certainly the forerunner of all the round actions that are still made to this day. This classic MacNaughton system also carried a U. S. patent #264,723 of 1882. The firm became James MacNaughton & Sons at 36 Hanover in 1905 and remained there until 1940. In 1999 the owners of James MacNaughton bought John Dickson & Son Ltd and formed the company trading under the name of Dickson & MacNaughton to this day. Price: $27,750.00
Last week I put up this post about a rare Dickson Round Action double rifle. It went off at auction on Saturday, 10/6, and the hammer price blew away the pre-sale estimate. The Dickson hammered down at $23,700 vs. a pre-sale estimate of $6-8,000.
I was told that Dickson made fewer than 20 round action double rifles. That kind of scarcity, plus this examples good looking condition, are certainly the reason behind it’s high price. Here’s the info on the gun from the auctioneer:
John Dickson & Son side by side top lever double-barrel Express rifle, .500 cal., London and black powder proof barrels with ejectors, a highly scroll engraved receiver, trigger guard, lever and tang, a gold-filled safe indicator, a right-handed English walnut stock with a cheek rest, a pistol grip with checkering to the wrist and fore end and a brass escutcheon on the butt stock, serial #4655, 28″ barrels.