I’ve known Sean & Liz Delaney since they started their shooting trips to the UK. I’ve watched their business grow and their clients list expand.
They’ve done this by offering clients great sporting experiences at prices that are more affordable than what British companies charge for the same thing. See for yourself what people say about Delaney & Sons in this long list of testimonials.
“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:
J. PIRE (Belgium) Best Quality SLE 12ga 28″ IM&F circa 1918: Model Best Quality SLE Configuration SXS Gauge / Caliber 12 GA Serial # 462 Country of Origin Belgium Barrel Length (in Inches) 28″ Choke R IM(.028″) Choke L F (.034″) Trigger DT (Double) Stock Configuration Straight Grip, Drop points, Silver oval, Silvers pad Forearm Type Splinter Forearm Rib Type Matted Concave Rib Receiver Finish Blue Engraving Type Fine Scroll Engraving Other Options Articulated trigger Condition EXC. Plus Condition Weight 7#5oz Dimensions 1 3/8 x 2 x 14 3/8 with 1/4 cast off Other Details Built to the highest quality, equal to any gun anywhere, Mfg approx 1918. Price:$10,000
Alex Martin BLE (12 Gauge 2 inch) SxS Shotgun: Serial Number: 6841 Ejectors: Yes Barrels: 26 inches Action: SE Triggers: Double Trigger Gauge: 12 Gauge Stock Comb: 1 1/2 inches Stock Heel: 2 1/8 inches Fore End: Splinter Butt Pad: 3/4 inches LOP: 14 3/4 inches Weight: 5 lbs. 8 oz. Price:$5,995
BC Miroku “My Luck” 12 ga model FE sidelock: Rare BC Miroku ” My Luck” FE sidelock 12ga Holland and Holland style 7 pin. Gun comes with the most beautiful piece of wood I have seen on. Miroku gun. It has English stock with pad and original l plate and splinter foreend. Barrels are 28 inch IC/Full and blueing is excellent… other than a little case color wear on corners of receiver, gun is in excellent plus condition. My guess based on Miroku history, My Luck guns were made in the 50s. Stock has great dimensions at 14 5/8″ x 1.5″ x 2.5″. Shotgun Gauge: 12 Gauge Manufacturer: BC Miroku Model: FE Barrel Length: 28″ Chambers: 2 3/4″ Ejectors: Yes Condition: 95% Metal Condition: 95% Wood Condition: 99% Bore Condition: 100% Action: sidelock Triggers: Double Stock: English Stock Comb: 1.5″ Stock Heel: 2.5″ Fore End: splinter Butt Pad: Yes LOP: 14 5/8″ Finish: Oil Weight: 6 3/4lb Choke Left: full Choke Right: Ic Price:$3500
Webley & Scott Model 702 12 Ga Boxlock SxS: 12 Gauge, 28″ barrels, nitro proof, 2 3/4″ chambers, about 1/4 and full choke borings with ejectors, Bores at .731 & .730, minimum wall thickness at .026″ and .026″, Frame and top lever with scroll engraving, retaining virtually all of its original hardening colour, 14 3/4-inch well figured stock. The drop at comb is approximately 1-1/2″ and the drop at heel is approximately 2-3/16″. There is very little cast, basically a straight stock. 6lb. 7oz., nitro proof. Comes in a lightweight case with original hang tag! Circa 1971. This is a nice boxlock with very minor handling marks (one mark on left wrist, see photos) that includes a case, cleaning supplies, snap caps (one cap broken), and original hang tag. Sharp checkering, a nice example of an affordable british boxlock shotgun with great measurements. Price:$3,499
CHARLES OSBORNE – BEST QUALITY BOXLOCK EJECTOR – ACANTHUS SCROLL ENGRAVED – 30″ BARRELS – GREAT WOOD: Charles Osborne, best quality boxlock ejector English made in 1920. This gun features superb Holland style acanthus scroll engraving and highly figured wood. Original case colors. Straight grip. Rib extension third fastener. Well timed ejectors. Barrels are 30″ with 2 3/4″ chambers. Right barrel measures .729 with 9/1000 choke (IC) while left barrel is .736 with 20/1000 choke (Mod). Gun is tight on face with forend attached, slight wiggle with forend off. No cracks to wood. No loose ribs. Manual safety. Auto safety mechanism is included if you want to install it. Weight of gun is 6 LBS 8 OZ. Horn butt plate. Vacant stock oval. LOP – 14 3/8″. Drop at Comb – 1 1/2″. Drop at Heel – 2 1/4″. Price: $3,250
It’s a 12 gauge J. Dickson & Son boxlock ejector with short, 2″ chambers. Twelve gauge shotguns with two-inch chambers were popular in the 1930s. People liked how they were lightweight guns, but they were still big enough to feel right to people who had always shot 12-gauge guns.
Today, these doubles are awesome side-by-sides for upland hunters.
LOT 1067: J. DICKSON & SON TWO INCH BOXLOCK EJECTOR SXS SHOTGUN: Cal. 12 Ga. S# 18014. Bbls. 27″ w/ Churchill rib. Ribbed surface is hand filed. Choked .007″ / .017″ (Light Imp. Cyl. / Light Mod.). Dbl. triggers. Ejectors. Auto safe. Bbl. lockup is via dbl. under lugs. Action is in the white. Blued bbls. & furniture. Checkered walnut straight hand stock w/ splinter forend. Action decorated w/ acanthus scroll plus “John Dickson & Son” in a banner on each side. LOP: 14 3/8″ over 1″ leather covered pad. DAC: 1 3/8″. DAH: 2 3/8″. Cast off: 1/4″. Minimum measured wall thicknesses: .032″ left & .036″ right; both measured 8″ from muzzle. Weight: 5 lbs., 12 oz. UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: leather very compact case w/ red baize lining. Accessory compartment in case holds case straps. Also includes Dickson & Son oil bottle & 2″ snap caps marked “MORTIMER & SON”. CONDITION: like many British guns, this Dickson has been freshened still retaining 95%+ bbl. finish w/ crisp engraving on the action & deep rich blue on the furniture. Wood shows minimal marking w/ 95% freshened finish. Checkering remains crisp where recut. Initial plate is engraved w/ “LCT”. Leather covered pad retains its dark brown color. Bottom of bbls. stamped w/ “GRIFFIN & HOWE” import marks. Bbl. flats wear 1979 London proofs w/ bore diameters marked at .729″ (still measure). Bright shiny bores. ESTIMATE: $1,500-2,500.
WESTLEY RICHARDS – SXS SMALL ACTION SIDELOCK, .410 Gauge: 26″ M/F – DOUBLE TRIGGERS – AUTOMATIC EJECTORS – STRAIGHT GRIP STOCK HIGH COMB STOCK – THIN RECOIL PAD – HAND DETACHABLE LOCKS – SLIM BEAVERTAIL FOREND – FULL COVERAGE ROSE AND SCROLL ENGRAVING OVER A COLOR CASE HARDENED RECEIVER 4 LBS. 14 OZ. 14 1/2″ X 1 1/2″ X 1 1/2″. Price:$49,500
DAN’L FRASER 500/450 #1 BPE- 96% COND. & ORIG. METAL & WOOD- MUSEUM QUALITY & MUSEUM CONDITION- BORES & CHAMBERS are PERFECT- ORIG. O&L CASE: #2026, Dan’l Fraser & Co., 4 Leith St. Terrace, Edinburgh: A Daniel Fraser 500/450 No. 1 BPE Double Rifle That is Totally Museum Quality & Museum Condition, Overall a 96% Original Piece on both Metal & Wood, Made about 1891, 27″ steel barrels with perfect bores (I don’t like the word perfect but it applies here), Rib extension dolls head with a third bite, Fold-up night sight, Full length hand filed rib with 1 standing & 1 folding sights with Ivory & Platinum, Intercepting safety sears on a Boxlock action, Bushed strikers, Bolted safety block, Carved fences, Swing lever forend release, Full length trigger guard strap to the profiled horn grip cap, Shadowline cheekpiece, Sling eyes, 14 7/8″ LOP over a Fraser horn buttplate with their rubber divider (A patented Fraser buttplate/pad), 9 lbs. 4 oz., Excellent wood with excellent color contrast, 98% coverage of period scroll engraving including the top lever, trigger guard and forend lever, Absolute original barrel blue at 96%, It retains 98% bright & vivid original case colors, The breech face and receiver flats retain 100% case colors, The inside of the opening lever and forend retain 100% bright and vivid case colors, The striker bushings have 95% deep heat blue, The stock & forend remain at 97%, The checkering is at 100%, The bores and chambers are absolutely like brand new and totally look like the day they left #4 Leith Street, The total of all the screws are at 98%. It is smack on face with all the bite left on the double underlugs with double bite. The whole is cased in the maker’s original brass cornered oak & leather trunk, ivory container with spare strikers, fish-hook sling swivels, 2 boxes of original Kynoch bpe cartridges, some brass & cast bullets, original cleaning gear and the original & correct trade label. The trunk case remains in excellent condition as well. It comes with a set of RCBS loading dies plus a lot of loading information. This piece embodies classic Daniel Fraser with strength, distinctive styling, high quality, elegance, grace and from a firm that is all things Edinburgh and Scottish. There are double rifles and then there are serious double rifles. Dreams of tigers and ships and palaces, fine spices and women and silk. ////////////////////////////////////////// Daniel Fraser apprenticed 7 years with the famous gunmaker Alexander Henry. In 1880 his patent #5403 became the famous falling block Fraser rifle. He was the designer of the ‘Velox’ bullet. There are very few Fraser double rifles as the original Fraser Co. did not survive after the First World War. Every Fraser and nearly every Scottish gun usually have very few apologies. Daniel Fraser died in August of 1902 at the young age of 57. Price:$23,500
F.LLI PIOTTI King No. 1 12ga Sidelock Best-Quality Pigeon gun: Price $19,000.00
Serial #: 8063
Barrel Length: 28″
Choke: R M(.019)
Choke: L IM(.031)
Trigger: ST (Single)
Stock Configuration: Pistol Grip
Forearm: Beaver Tail
Rib Type: Level Flat Filed Rib
Action Finish: Coin
Engraving: King I fine Italian scroll and bouquets by Granetti
Other Options: Gold crest in forend, Gold crown on top lever, Extra fine 32lpi checkering, Recoil pad, Factory leather case,
Condition: EXC. Plus Condition
Weight: 7lb 15oz
Dimensions: 1 3/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 14 1/4″ with 3/8 cast off
SIACE 28 Gauge Side-by-Side Self-Cocking Hammer Shotgun: Imported by New England Arms Co. Sidelock with self Cocking and 1999 Production Date, 28″ barrels with extractor choked IC and improved Modify, double trigger, articulated front trigger, engraved receiver by master engraver Cabrioli P. sharp checkering on both the grip and the butt plate Few small scratches on the stock and small oxidation in three spots nothing deep, bores are bright and shiny. Price:$5900 Manufacturer: Siace Model: SXS Bore: 28 Gauge Chambers: 2 3/4″ Ejectors: Yes Condition: Used Metal Condition: Very Good Wood Condition: Excellent Bore Condition: Clean & Bright Barrels: 28″ Action: Side Lock Triggers: Double Gauge: 28 Stock Dimensions: LOP 14 1/4″ Weight: 6.00 lb
BROWNING BELGIUM 20 BORE SUPERLIGHT- 1972- STRAIGHT STOCK- 26 1/2″ VENT RIB BARRELS- ORIG. I.C. & M CHOKES- OVERALL a 99% GUN- ONLY 5 Lbs. 13 Oz.: #2448 V72, Belgium Browning 20 Bore Superlight with a Vent Rib and a schnabel forend Made in 1972; It has 26 1/2″ Ejector vent rib barrels at .624 .005 & .014 (Imp.Cyl. & Mod.), Factory choke markings are I.C. & Mod., 2 3/4″ chambers, Single selective trigger, Game forend with the schnabel, Straight hand stock at 14 7/16 x 1 7/16 x 2 1/4″ over the factory hard buttplate, 5 lbs. 13 oz., The gun retains 99% barrel blue, The receiver blue is 99%, The wood is 98% with very few & light handling marks only, The checkering is 100%, The bores and chambers look like new, It remains as tight as the day it left Belgium and the mechanical life left is 99-100%. This is almost like buying it new in 1972. Price:$4,400
I’ve never been to Scotland and I’ve never shot a red grouse. But visiting the first to do the second is at the top of my bucket list. According to this article from National Geographic, I might want to cross it off soon.
This story appears in the May 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine.
The article’s well written and worth checking out if you’ve ever dreamed of traveling to the UK for the the Glorious Twelfth (simply August, 12, here) or if you just want to look at some gorgeous photographs.
Double rifles are another lust of mine. I’ve always wanted an Alexander Henry, and if I had to take it, this one would do just fine.
Alexander Henry was one of the most important gunmakers of the 19th century. These days, most of the sporting rifles you see from him have hammers like this one. Sidelock hammerless models, especially ones in .303, are very unusual.
(BTW: If you have an Alexander Henry double rifle or any other firearm you’d like to know more about, drop me an email. I would be happy to help you out: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alexander Henry .303 “Duke of Atholl” best quality sidelock ejector double rifle: 26″ chopperlump barrels with Metford rifling, proofed for 38 grains of Rifleite, an early nitro load. Excellent bores. Double triggers, automatic ejectors. Flat rib marked ” Alex. Henry Ltd. Makers to Her Majesty, Edinburgh and London”, single standing, one folding sight for 100 and 200 yards, auto-safe. The wonderfully proportioned sidelock action features the finest foliate style engraving, carved serpentine fences and gold cocking indicators. Beautifully endowed with rich vibrant case color throughout. Splinter forend with lever release, capped pistol grip, classic kidney cheekpiece stock of nicely figured walnut measures 14-1/8″ to a checkered butt with steel heel and toe plates. Stock oval bears original coat of arms. Completed in 1897 for the 7th Duke of Atholl, noteworthy that he was the only British nobility that was allowed his own standing army. Weighs 8lbs, 9oz. Cased in a later period canvas and leather trunk. Price:$17,900
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.
The amount of money and effort that goes into driven grouse shooting is fascinating. This video gives you a bit of an idea of what it entails and results in. It’s a bit long, but it’s very well done and worth watching. It was produced for the Angus Glens Moorland Group, a collection of rural estates throughout Angus, Scotland.
You can find out more about shooting in that part of the UK in this arcticle from FieldsportsUK: Grouse at Glenogil
Yesterday was the Glorious 12th, the traditional start of the UK’s red grouse season. While most of these birds are shot driven style, some are still taken the more traditional way: over pointers. Check out this video for a glimpse at what this is like. It was shot on the 30,000 acre Black Corries Estate in Glencoe, Scotland, and there’s some great footage — of the countryside and the dogs.
This video has nothing to do with gundogs or double-barrel shotguns and everything to do with what it’s like to be in the field with both.
Even though it’s about deer stalking and salmon fishing in Scotland, it’s really about the passion we into our sport and our love of the outdoors. It’s short, beautifully shot, and well worth you time. Enjoy.
Someone needs to buy this great looking Scottish side-by-side right away. This gun was made for Charles Ingram Gunmakers, of Waterlook St. Glasgow– a business that began in 1835 — and it looks like it has a lot of original finish. I love the scroll engraving and the reddish cast of the wood, too. This SxS has post-1925 and post-1954 proof marks on it, so it has been reproofed. I would take a close look at the wall thicknesses and also check to see if the barrels have been reblued.
British boxlocks like this are some of the best deals in the vintage gun market, so I’m sure it will sell quickly.
After John Dickson & Son, Alexander Henry may be Edinburgh’s most famous gunmaker. Mr Henry opened his business in 1853, and within a decade he was know throughout Scotland and the UK for his competition rifles, sporting rifles, and a major for the Henry rifling used in the famous Martini-Henry rifle. In 1870, he also invented snap caps.
Even though Mr Henry died in 1894, his is business lived up until about World War 1. The petite little double rifle / shotgun you see here was made at that time. The 300 Sherwood cartridge it uses was introduced by Westley Richards in 1901. Made for small game hunting, the cartridge pushes a 140 grain projectile at 1,400 feet per second and generates 610 foot pounds of energy — comparable to a .357 Magnum.
Alexander Henry & Co., Edinburgh, .300 Sherwood & .410 Sidelock Double Rifle/Shotgun: Scroll Engraved. AE, 2 Barrel Set: 19 3/4″ .300 Sherwood nitro proof. 1 standing & 4 leaf folding sights & 28″ inch Mod. & Full 3″ nitro proof. Pistol grip, Auto Safety, 14″ LOP to checkered butt. Highly figured Walnut Stock. 85% case color, 5 pound 1 ounce, & 5 pound 3 ounce. Original Oak and Leather Case with tools plus 50 rounds of Kynoch .300 Sherwood Ammunition. Price: $29,500.00
Bespoke. In the shotgun world, it describes a custom made. A side-by-side or over under for you. Gauge, wood quality, engraving, grip style, barrel length, chokes, weight, triggers, and stock dimensions are a few of the features we imagine “bespeaking”.
The Beesley action is ingenious. But compared to other sidelock designs, it’s complex and a pain to build. That’s why so few makers copied it.
Atkin used the Beesley on their Spring Openers, and Francotte used it on a few of his Best-quality sidelocks. But that’s about it. If other makers used the Beesley action, I haven’t seen these shotguns.
So why did Dickson do it? They created the Round Action, one of the most elegant side-by-sides of all time. Why would they build a shotgun on another company’s design? I suspect it’s simple: that’s what the customer wanted.
Lot 150: JOHN DICKSON & SON. A RARE 16-BORE BEESLEY 1880 PATENT SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 6553: 28in. nitro reproved chopperlump barrels (in 2013, require bluing), rib gold-inlaid ‘2’ and engraved ‘JOHN DICKSON & SON. 63 PRINCES STREET. EDINBURGH’, 2 3/4in. chambers, bored approx. 1/4 and 1/2 choke, wall thicknesses below recommended minimum, incorporating Beesley patent self-opening system, patent no. 31 of 3rd January 1880, toplever gold-inlaid ‘2’, automatic safety with gold-inlaid ‘SAFE’ detail, bold acanthus scroll engraving with decorative borders, the underside with a cartouche engraved ‘JOHN DICKSON & SON. EDINBURGH’, (some wear), 14 1/2in. replacement stock, weight 6lb.
Provenance: The makers have kindly informed us that this shotgun was completed as No.2 of a pair of ‘best sidelock hammerless ejectors (Purdey actions)’ with 28in. barrels in September 1913 for A.M. Spence.
Charles Ingram was born in 1816.. A gunmaker and marksman, he opened Glasgow’s first gunmaking business in 1836. The operation was a success, and it lasted until 1945 — well passed Mr Ingram’s death in 1885.
Ingram called himself a “gun manufacturer” and his shotguns and rifles were highly regarded in throughout Scotland. In his rifles, Ingram combined his gunmaking and shooting skills to turn out impressive long-range target rifles like the one you see here.
The side-by-side hammer shotgun here looks like a solid, mid-grade double. Judging by the keyed forend, and what looks like rebounding hammers, it was probably made in the 1870s. I’m not sure how it locks up, though. There appears to be some kind extension coming off the breech end of the barrels. I’m not sure if it’s an Ingram-patent, or if it’s a design borrowed from another maker. Too bad the pictures fail to show it more.
Here’s more about the shotgun from the seller:
Charles Ingram 12 gauge Side-by-Side Double Hammer Double: Circa 1870. This beautiful gun was made, & marked, “Charles Ingram 18b Renfield St Glasgow”. Features include; 30″ uncut barrels, 13.5″lop, dt, extractors & is nicely engraved. Finish on metal & wood appears original. Bores show some pitting.
My latest piece for Sporting Shot came out last week. Sporting Shot is the online brother of Shooting Sportsman magazine; my piece is about a spectacular collection of shotguns and rifles that I discovered last year.
The 12 gauge Daniel Fraser & Co. shotguns you see here are from that collection. As you can see, they’re fantastic side by sides. Check out the entire piece at Sporting Shot to find out more about them.
It was Saturday, a few minutes before noon. An hour earlier I had stepped off of a plane after a 1,200-mile flight, and my host had picked me up at the airport, driven me to his home in a suburban neighborhood of neat houses and nicely trimmed lawns. Now we were in his dining room,with the shades drawn against the midday sun. Ten leather shotgun cases were stacked on the table in front of us: Abercrombie & Fitches, nut-brown Bradys, and British oak & leathers with bright brass corners.
“How about right here?” I said, pulling aside an armchair and tapping one of the Bradys. I had a hunch about the case. It was tiny and had to hold a .410.
“Give it a go,” my host said, grinning like he knew I was about to be impressed. I sprung the case’s brass lock, lifted the lid and stopped.
After several moments of staring, all I could say was “Holy crap.” There, snug in the case’s red baize lining, was one of the rarest over/under shotguns on the planet: a Boss .410. And it looked brand-new.
“I told you,” my host said, grinning even wider. “And that’s just the start. We have nine more to go.”
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.
Dickson round actions are one of those shotguns that guys go crazy about. First patented in 1880 and the refined throughout the 19th century, these doubles are made on a unique trigger-plate action that gives the guns their unique, rounded look.
Because they’ve been making side-by-sides for 100+ years, Dickson round-action shotguns are easy to find. Dickson round-action double rifles are not, though. In fact, this one coming to auction on Saturday, 10/6, is the first one I’ve ever seen. And from what I can tell, it appears to be a very nice, and very original rifle.
Lot 341: 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. Estimated: $6000 – $8000
This first one shows some late summer training sessions, probably in Saskatchewan. The dogs look like pointers and setters, plus a nice cocker spaniel and springer spaniel. Check out the how reluctant that first setter is to point, and the low tail & body position when the dogs are on point. Also, check out the cover and the nice setter/pointer team at the end.
This video is from Scotland. Check out the size of the kennel operation, the quality of the facility, and how the trainer exercises all his dogs. You don’t see that kind of stuff today.