This week’s 5 doubles you don’t want to miss…

 

J. Purdey & Sons - Best - Ultra Round Body - 20 ga - Over Under Shotgun
J. Purdey & Sons – Best – Ultra Round Body – 20 ga – Over Under Shotgun

J. Purdey & Sons – Best – Ultra Round Body – 20 ga – Over Under ShotgunSerial #29778, Ejectors: Yes, Trigger: Single, Grip: Rounded Pistol Grip, Lop: 15 1/4 “, Pad thickness: 0.75 “, Type of butt: Leather Covered Pad, Drop at comb: 1 3/8 “, Drop at heel: 2”, Cast amount: 1/4 “, OFF, Weight: 7 lbs, 2 oz, Manufactured in 2001, Overall condition: Very Good, Stock: Original finish, Metal: Original finish, Gauge: 20 ga, Chambers: 2 3/4″, Length: 30”, Chokes: M/IM, Rib type: Solid, Comments : Bulino Game Scene engraved by Giancarlo Pedretti. Price: $140,000

James Woodward & Sons ~ London Best~ Pair ~ 12 Ga
James Woodward & Sons ~ London Best~ Pair ~ 12 Ga

James Woodward & Sons ~ London Best~ Pair ~ 12 Ga: Metal Condition: excellent, Wood Condition: excellent, Bore Condition: shiny, Barrels: 29″, Triggers: double triggers, Stock Dimensions:
14.5″ LOP 2″ DAH 1.75″ DAC, Butt Pad: leather pad, Weight: 6lbs 7oz, Chokes: modified and quarter chokes. Price: $19,998

PERAZZI 12 MIRAGE LIVE BIRD GUN- 1978- 28 3/8" VENT RIB Bbls. at 11mm x 7mm- DETACH SINGLE TRIGGER- EVERY SERIAL # MATCHES- 96% ORIG. CASE COLORS
PERAZZI 12 MIRAGE LIVE BIRD GUN- 1978- 28 3/8″ VENT RIB Bbls. at 11mm x 7mm- DETACH SINGLE TRIGGER- EVERY SERIAL # MATCHES- 96% ORIG. CASE COLORS

PERAZZI 12 MIRAGE LIVE BIRD GUN- 1978- 28 3/8″ VENT RIB Bbls. at 11mm x 7mm- DETACH SINGLE TRIGGER- EVERY SERIAL # MATCHES- 96% ORIG. CASE COLORS#52562, Live Bird Gun, Made in 1978, 28 3/8″ Low Step Ventilated Rib at 11mm x 7mm, Ventilated side/midrib, .725 .014 & .022″ Briley’s in bottom barrel only (Light Mod. & Light Imp.Mod.), Top barrel factory fixed choke at .725 .042 (Full), 2 3/4″ chambers, KG 1,460 weight barrels, (The side ribs are vented,) Detachable single trigger with flat springs, Full forend with the round bottom and flat sides, Type IV forend, Pistol grip Monte Carlo stock at 14 1/2 x 1 7/16 x 1 7/16″ and 2 1/4″ at the heel over a 1″ Kick-Eez pad, 8 lbs., The gun is totally original in every respect with every serial number matching, It retains 96% original blue, The original case colors remain at 96-97%, The wood is still at 92-93%, The checkering at 99%, The bores are excellent. This piece is still tight with very good bite remaining. The piece comes with the original factory trunk case and the proof paperwork. This Mirage still has a lot of shooting life left and was well kept all these years. Price: $3,850

Abercrombie & Fitch – 20ga SxS Boxlock Shotgun, 26” IC/Mod
Abercrombie & Fitch – 20ga SxS Boxlock Shotgun, 26” IC/Mod

Abercrombie & Fitch – 20ga SxS Boxlock Shotgun, 26” IC/Mod: Round knob pistol grip, ¾” leather faced pad, boxlock gun with scalloped receiver, gold oval, 95% case coloring remaining, 80% wood condition, 80% barrels with several light rust spots from normal use, solid game rib, double trigger,splinter forend,  hidden 3rd fastener lockup, extractor, manufactured in Italy by Zoli & Rizzini with 1970 proof, an excellent field gun, available for immediate delivery. 14 ¼” x 1 ½” x 2 ½”, 6 lb., 6 oz. Price: $2,200

BERETTA S686 SPECIAL 28 GAUGE OVER UNDER SHOTGUN
BERETTA S686 SPECIAL 28 GAUGE OVER UNDER SHOTGUN

BERETTA S686 SPECIAL 28 GAUGE OVER UNDER SHOTGUN: 26 1/2″ BARRELS WITH MOBIL CHOKES I.C. & MODIFIED TUBES INCLUDED, MINT BORES, 14 1/2″ LENGTH OF PULL OVER FACTORY BERETTA THIN RECOIL PAD, TIGHT ACTION WITH LEVER RIGHT OF CENTER, 98% OVERALL. Price: $1,550

 

Cross pollination in British gunmaking: A 12g “by” Lang & Hussey…

LANG & HUSSEY UNDER-LEVER SIDELOCK NON-EJECTOR 12 GAUGE WOODWARD-STYLE SHOTGUN
LANG & HUSSEY UNDER-LEVER SIDELOCK NON-EJECTOR 12 GAUGE WOODWARD-STYLE SHOTGUN

James Woodward was one of the giants of British gunmaking. In 1872, he founded his firm–James Woodward & Sons. In 1948, after having built some of the finest doubles to ever come out of the UK, the company was sold to James Purdey & Sons. In the 76 years in between, Woodward built around 5000 guns. Even though the gun you see here is engraved Lang & Hussey, I’m almost certain it was made partly-or totally-by Mr. Woodward’s firm.

Why? Because it’s just too similar to one of Woodward’s most famous guns: the “Automatic”. It even has Woodward’s signature arcaded fences and T safety. And like all top-quality, hammerless Woodwards, it was made with Whitworth fluid-steel barrels.

LANG & HUSSEY UNDER-LEVER SIDELOCK NON-EJECTOR 12 GAUGE WOODWARD-STYLE SHOTGUN
LANG & HUSSEY UNDER-LEVER SIDELOCK NON-EJECTOR 12 GAUGE WOODWARD-STYLE SHOTGUN

The Woodward “Automatic” action was based on a design patented by J. Woodward and T. Southgate in 1876, and it cocks “automatically” when you open the gun by pushing forward on the lever wrapping over the triggerguard.

BTW: To learn more about James Woodward & Sons, check out James Woodward and the Vertical Double

LANG & HUSSEY UNDER-LEVER SIDELOCK NON-EJECTORHere is rare Lang & Hussey 12 gauge under-lever sidelock non-ejector, built in 1898.  The receiver features beautiful border and acanthus scroll engraving, arcaded fences, side-clips, and gold-inlaid cocking indicators.  The number “4” is inlaid in gold on rib and tang.  The gun locks up tight, and has a doll’s head extension.  The 30″ barrels have 2 1/2″ chambers and shiny bores, choked .040/.040.  The rib is engraved: LANG & HUSSEY Ld. 102 NEW BOND STREET. LONDON. MADE OF SIR JOSEPH WHITWORTH’S FLUID PRESSED STEEL. The stock is very pretty French walnut, and has various dings and indentations, but is solid with no cracks.  It measures 1 1/2″ x 2 1/8″ x 14 1/4″ over a vintage solid red pad.  There is slight cast off.  The gun weighs 7 lbs 3 oz. Price: $2,600

LANG & HUSSEY UNDER-LEVER SIDELOCK NON-EJECTOR 12 GAUGE WOODWARD-STYLE SHOTGUN
LANG & HUSSEY UNDER-LEVER SIDELOCK NON-EJECTOR 12 GAUGE WOODWARD-STYLE SHOTGUN

Auction alert: 20 gauge Woodward OU shotgun…

J. WOODWARD & SONS A FINE 20-BORE OVER AND UNDER EJECTOR GUN, NO. 6733
J. WOODWARD & SONS A FINE 20-BORE OVER AND UNDER EJECTOR GUN, NO. 6733

The shotgun you see here is a dream-double for a lot of guys. This 20 gauge Woodward Over-Under shotgun is one of the world’s rarest shotguns. If you have to have it, you can bid on it in Gavin Gardiner’s 4/18/18 auction.

James Woodward & Sons introduced their version of an OU shotgun in 1913 and built them until the company was acquired by James Purdey & Sons in 1949.

Before 1949, James Woodward & Sons built fewer than four hundred OUs. Of those, sixty or so were 20 gauges.

Gavin Gardiner’s Top Guns | James Woodward & Sons 20-Bore Over and Under Ejector Gun
Gavin Gardiner’s Top Guns | James Woodward & Sons 20-Bore Over and Under Ejector Gun

PT 2: Woodward’s first & second type Over Under shotguns…

James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under, 1923

A few weeks ago, I put up this post about James Woodward & Son’s first type over-under shotgun. Now that my life has slowed down a bit (sorry for being aways for so long), lets talk about how these first-type OUs evolved into the later model.

Woodward patented their OU in 1913. In all, they built around 300 of these guns before the company was bought by James Purdey & Sons in 1948.

Around 1922, James Woodward & Sons completed OU #6640, a lightweight 12 bore noted by them as having their “new type action and ejectors.” Woodward OUs with these new features are what I’m calling the “Type 2” guns.

James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. Pic shows redesigned, type-2 ejectorwork.

A great example of a Type-2 gun is shown here, Woodward OU #6664 from 1923. From what I can see, Woodward two significant changes on these:

  1. The design of the ejectorwork was modified and all the components were moved into the forend.
  2. They altered the flats on the barrels and the corresponding areas in the action.

Why did Woodward made these upgrades? I would say they were done to improve the cocking, ejecting & reliability of these guns.

James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. Updated, type-2 barrel flats
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. Note lack of ejectorwork on sides of bbls.
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. The interior floor of the action is flat to mate with the revised action-flat design. Note the tongue-in-groove fillets on either side of the action. They are one of the unique features of Woodward’s OU design.
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. The silver rod you see sticking out under the top bbl connects the ejectorwork to the shell extractors. Another crucial part of Woodward’s OU design was the split-hook pivot points on either sides of the barrels. This gave the guns their slim-action, low-profile design. Note: Boss OUs do not have these.
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under
James Woodward & Sons #6664, second type Over Under. Interior of forend, showing the revised ejectorwork. Because of the way the mechanics for the ejectors were fitted into the forend, a lot of wood had to be removed. This is why some Woodward OU forends — especially the smallbores–have bulges on their back ends.

Wow – looks at this 12 gauge Woodward…

James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun

I’ve been looking at old shotguns for twenty + years now, and the one thing I still love to see more than ever is original color-case hardening, especially when it has had decades to mellow and age.

This 12 gauge sidelock by James Woodward and Sons has tons of that kind of color. It also has killer engraving and all of Woodward’s signature features — 29″ barrels, arcaded fences (kind of like claw-foot pedestals), and a T-shaped safety.

James Woodward started out in the trade around 1825 with an apprenticeship with the London gunmaker Charles Moore. In 1872, he went into business as James Woodward & Sons with his two boys, James Jr. and Charles. The firm lasted until 1948 when it was sold to James Purdey & Sons.

James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun

Up until its sale, Woodward recorded 5,184 serial numbers (they started with #2,000 and ran to #7,184). So they may have made 5,184 guns. (Or, if they assigned serial #s to extra barrels and new sets of barrels, fewer than that.) Of these, I bet fewer than 2,000 are fully refined, hammerless SxSs shotguns like the one here. That’s not a lot guns. Considering they’re all 70+ years old, finding ones in excellent original condition like this are hard to do.

JAMES WOODWARD & SONS BEST SXS 12 GAUGETHIS IS THE HIGHEST CONDITION WOODWARD WE HAVE EVER HAD #69XX 28″ 004 AND 017 2 3/4 PROOFED  DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTORS SPLINTER FOREARM PISTOL GRIP MAKERS CASE EXCELLENT ORIGINAL CONDITION 6LBS 12 OZ X 2 1/4 X 1 7/16 X 15 1/8 Price: $39,500

James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun
James Woodward 12 gauge Sidelock SxS Double Barrel Shotgun

Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U…

Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U...
Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U…

Here’s an incredible over under. It’s an all original, nearly new Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector from around 1930. It’s in its original case and it comes with all its original accessories. Double triggers. Straight grip. All that color case hardening. Holy sh!t is right.

Ogden Smiths was a fishing tackle company at 62 St. James St. in London’s prestigious West End. In 1923, the company reformed with the addition of gunmaker Henry H. Hussey (son of famed gunmaker H.J. Hussey) to sell guns under the name Ogden Smiths & Hussey, Ltd. Even though this partnership lasted until 1933, very little is known about the guns they made. We do know that Hussey built firearms of different styles and qualities, including single-barrel trap guns, Anson & Deeley boxlocks and best-quality, SxSs.

Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U...
Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U…

This OU has 1925-1954 London proofmarks on it. It’s the second I’ve seen with the Ogden Smiths & Hussey name on it, and I think there are at least two more out there, including one that may be a 16 gauge.

All these OUs were probably built for Ogden Smiths & Hussey by the Hill family. Charles Hill was one of the creators of the James Woodward-patent Under & Over shotgun. After helping Woodward come up with the design for their famous shotgun, he built similar doubles for other gunmakers. When he died, the Hill family carried on this work and built OUs for firms like Henry Atkin, Churchill, and Ogden Smiths & Hussey.

BTW: If you have an Ogden Smiths & Hussey shotgun, case, accessories, or catalog, or if you know anything about the company, please drop me an email: Gregg@DogsandDoubles.com.

I would love to hear about them. And I would like to thank author John Newton for some of the information in this post.

Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U...
Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U…
Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U...
Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U…
Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U...
Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U…
Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U...
Best of the best: a 12 gauge Ogden Smiths & Hussey Imperial Ejector O/U…

This week’s good guns: Powered by Gunsinternational.com…

Symes & Wright, London, Best Quality 20 bore Sidelock Purdey-style OU Shotgun
Symes & Wright, London, Best Quality 20 bore Sidelock Purdey-style OU Shotgun

Symes & Wright, London, Best Quality 20 bore Sidelock Purdey-style OU Shotgun: 28″ barrels, stippled solid rib, 2-34″ chambers choked improved cylinder and modified (.009/.016).   Based on a Purdey-Woodward patent, the finely sculpted rounded bar action is engraved in the finest rose and scroll with vivid case colors.  Single trigger.  Highly figured French walnut pistol grip stock with black and gold highlights measures 13-3/4″ to a checkered butt. Symes & Wright, the partnership of two very successful Purdey craftsmen, produced only the finest London guns.  The Firm consisted of some of the most talented artisans in the British gun trade.  A boutique maker, they built only a limited number of guns to the highest standard.  This 20 bore over/under illustrates the high level of craftsmanship and style which was the hallmark of Symes & Wright.  Weighs 6 lbs, 7 oz.  Complete with fitted oak and leather case, a London Best.  Price: $65,000

James Purdey double rifle in .303 British - In superb condition in its makers oak & leather case Exquisite!
James Purdey double rifle in .303 British – In superb condition in its makers oak & leather case Exquisite!

James Purdey double rifle in .303 British – In superb condition in its makers oak & leather case Exquisite!Ever have a “Wow” moment? I sure did when I lifted the lid of the case and beheld this stunning double rifle from 1899 with almost all its case color on its locks and its stunning marble cake wood. Built in the waning days of the Victorian era (The blessed queen died in 1901) James Purdey was then what I consider at the pinnacle of their gun craft. This beautiful double rifle is a physical testament to the craftsman and company that is still today setting the standard to compare other gun makers. Small bore English double rifles in usable calibers are quite rare. This rifle is in superb condition with an excellent bore. .303 is readily available and is not considered obsolete, in fact being recorded by many to be an excellent caliber for North American big game. This rifle features the Beasley patent self-opening mechanism. The next owner of this rifle is a very lucky man or woman and will not only have an excellent investment but a work of art and craftsmanship from the golden age of English gunmaking. Price: $48,000

Phillipson & Nephew 12g SxS Sidelock Ejector
Phillipson & Nephew 12g SxS Sidelock Ejector

Phillipson & Nephew 12g SxS Sidelock EjectorStunning 12g sidelock ejector shotgun made by Phillipson & Nephew of Birmingham. Famous for making and supplying the majority of the trade with actions, they made a few guns under their own name which were always extremely well made, high end guns. This gun features 30″ barrels, beautifully engraved sidelocks with game scene surrounded in scroll retaining some case colour, double triggers, handsome and highly figured walnut stock measuring 14 3/8″ to centre. Cased with accessories in a leather case. A chance to acquire a very attractive, rare gun in excellent condition. Price: $11,995

L. C. SMITH - LONG RANGE 12 GA. 32" BARRELS FULL/FULL - 99% COND
L. C. SMITH – LONG RANGE 12 GA. 32″ BARRELS FULL/FULL – 99% COND

L. C. SMITH – LONG RANGE 12 GA. 32″ BARRELS FULL/FULL – 99% COND3″ CHAMBERS -PISTOL GRIP STOCK LOP 14  1/6″ – DROPS 1  9/16″ X 2  5/8″ – CASE COLORS 95% – BLUEING 99% – WOOD 98% – GUNS APPEARS TO BE ALL ORIGINAL.   HARD TO FIND ANY SMITH WITH THIS MUCH ORIGINAL CONDITION, MUCH LESS A LONG RANGE 3″ GUN. Price: $4,800

BERETTA - SO2 - Sidelock Over Under -- 27-1/2 Bbls - Double Triggers
BERETTA – SO2 – Sidelock Over Under — 27-1/2 Bbls – Double Triggers

BERETTA – SO2 –  Sidelock Over Under — 27-1/2 Bbls – Double Triggers: 2-3/4″, 27-1/2″ IC / LM (.007 / .011) Boehler Steel Bbls, LOP 14-1/2″ Drop 1-1/2″ to 2-7/16″, Weight 6 lbs. 15 oz. Somone has added a wood butt spacer and fitted a Beretta butt plate. Very nice work. The stock is 13-7/8″ without the extension. So, remove the extension and add a pad and the stock will go almost 15″ with a standard 1″ pad. Price: $3950

This week’s good guns: Powered by Gunsinternational.com…

JAMES WOODWARD & SON BEST SXS, SIDELOCK, 12 GAUGE
JAMES WOODWARD & SON BEST SXS, SIDELOCK, 12 GAUGE

JAMES WOODWARD & SON BEST SXS, SIDELOCK, 12 GAUGE: 26″ BARRELS, LM/F (.016″/.044″) CHOKED – DOUBLE TRIGGERS – AUTO EJECTORS – SPLINTER FOREND – ENGLISH WALNUT TRADEMARK WOODWARD STYLE PISTOL GRIP STOCK – HAND CHECKERED HORN BUTT – SOLID GAME RIB – FULL COVERAGE ROSETTE BOUQUET & MINIATURE SCROLL ENGRAVING ON COLOR CASE HARDENED RECEIVER – ARCADED FENCES – EXCELLENT CONDITION – STRONG CASE COLOR REMAINING – 1927 MANUFACTURE – LEATHER CASE INCLUDED. 6 LBS. 1 OZ. 14 3/8″ X 1 5/8″ X 2 3/4″. Price: $45,000

Charles Daly Prussian 12ga. Linder Diamond Quality Featherweight SXS
Charles Daly Prussian 12ga. Linder Diamond Quality Featherweight SXS

Charles Daly Prussian 12ga. Linder Diamond Quality Featherweight SXSWonderful Prussian Proofed Super Light Linder Daly. This 12ga. Diamond Quality featherweight weighs in at 5.6lbs. Auto ejectors, doub. triggers, LOP 14 3/8″ to leather covered pad, DAC 1 1/2″  DAH 2″,  26″ barrels have chokes of R. .026 (full) and  L. .000 (Cyl.) and orig. 2 9/16″ chambers with a bore dimension of .721 which corresponds with the water table marks of 13/1
Condition: This shotgun has had very little use and retains a high degree of original finish overall. The breech face retains nearly all of it’s case colors showing few rounds were fired and the remainder of the receiver retains 60-70% orig CC. Barrels retain nearly all their original blue. The barrels are on face with a tight lock-up tight ejectors and proper timing. Price: $9800

Verees & Co. 28ga. 28" auto-ejector, built by Lebeau Courally 1954
Verees & Co. 28ga. 28″ auto-ejector, built by Lebeau Courally 1954

Verees & Co. Side-by-Side 28ga. 28″ auto-ejector, built by Lebeau Courally 1954: Chokes F-F (.028) Doub. Trig., LOP 14 1/4″ to Silvers type pad,  DAC 1 3/8″  DAH 2″ Beaver tail FE
Condition:  nearly unfired with strong case color and blue. Price: $4750

PARKER REPRODUCTION 12 GA DOUBLE TRIGGER LONG LOPPistol Grip Stock and Splinter  Forend, 26″ Barrels  Ic/Mod, DAC 1 3/8″ DAH 2 3/8″ 14 3/4″ LOP, 6 lbs.8 oz. Outstanding American Walnut. Excellent used condition – 50% CC, 99% Blue, 99% Wood and Finish, No Dents, Cracks or Scratches.  Very few minor handling and hunting marks. Comes with Factory Leather Takedown Case, Canvas and Leather Case Cover, Keys and Snapcaps. Price: $3750

PARKER REPRODUCTION 12 GA DOUBLE TRIGGER LONG LOP
PARKER REPRODUCTION 12 GA DOUBLE TRIGGER LONG LOP
J. P. Sauer SxS Boxlock Shotgun in 12 Gauge
J. P. Sauer SxS Boxlock Shotgun in 12 Gauge

J. P. Sauer SxS Boxlock Shotgun in 12 GaugeExtractor model with auto safety. Very Clean. Price: $1,199.99
Chambers: 2 3/4 Inch
Metal Condition: Excellent
Wood Condition: Few light handling marks
Bore Condition: Bright
Barrels: 28 Inch
Triggers: Double Trigger
Stock: Straight Grip Walnut Stock
Stock Dimensions: 14 1/4″ LOP
Fore End: Splinter
Butt Pad: Sauer Plate
Weight: 6 Lbs 11 Ozs
Sights: Matted Rib with Metal Bead
Chokes: Full/Full

Holy handwork! Shaping up the action on a Purdey-style O/U…

Richard Barnes is a Purdey-trained action maker who has also worked for Boss & Co., Holland & Holland, and top makers in the UK and Italy.

Today, he builds guns under his own name, and in this video I think he’s shaping up the action on a Purdey/Woodward-style sidelock OU. In today’s CNC/computer-driven age, it’s amazing to see how much handwork Barnes uses to give the action it’s shapes and contours.

What the heck? A James Woodward SxS with a Purdey thumbhole?

12g James Woodward & Son SxS Shotgun with a Purdey-patent thumbhole underlver
12g James Woodward & Son SxS Shotgun with a Purdey-patent thumbhole snap action

Here’s something unsual: A hammerless 12g James Woodward & Sons side-by-side shotgun with a second-pattern James Purdey & Sons thumbhole lever. Very odd.

This Woodward looks like it’s right around the turn of the 19th century. In it’s day, the action was pretty current technology. But the mechanism that opens it — the Purdey thumbhole lever — is from an earlier generation of gunmaking.

James Purdey & Sons introduced it’s second-pattern thumbhole in the late 1860s. It was a refined version of the company’s first patent thumbhole, introduced in 1863 to go along with Purdey’s new double-bite bolt. By the mid 1870s, Purdey started transitioning to the toplever/Scott spindle setup on its hammerguns, and then it went to that system on almost all it’s shotguns by the the 1880s.

So what is this old fashion design doing with younger Woodward? I guess whoever ordered the gun wanted it there. Perhaps they were familiar with the system and wanted to stick with it on their new shotgun. And if that’s what the customer wanted (and could pay for) that’s what Woodward would have done.

12g James Woodward & Son SxS Shotgun with a  Purdey-patent thumbhole underlver
12g James Woodward & Son SxS Shotgun with a Purdey-patent thumbhole snapaction

 

I’ve been thinking about this Woodward O/U for 15 years…

JAMES WOODWARD & SONS Best Quality SLE O/U O/U 16 GA
JAMES WOODWARD & SONS Best Quality SLE O/U O/U 16 GA

I used to work at one of the finest gunshops in the world – New England Arms of Kittery Point, ME. While I was there,  I came across a lot of nice doubles – Purdeys, Holland & Hollands, Fabbris, Flli Rizzinis, etc.

Of all them, two stuck in my head as being far above all the others. One was a 16g Boss O/U we sold to a client in Austin, TX. It was the Boss over-under I ever handled and one of the most beautiful shotgun I had ever encountered. That gun is one reason I’ve been obsessed with Boss shotguns ever since.

The other shotgun I remember from back then is this 16g Woodward O/U. This double came to auction in May of 1999, and I bid on it on behalf of the shop. We didn’t get it, and I’ve thought a lot about it ever since. I still have the original auction catalog, and I’ve kept an eye out for shotgun, sure that it would pop up on the market again sooner or later. Fifteen years later, here it is.

James Woodward & Sons patented their over-under in 1913 – four years after Boss & Co invented the low-profile O/U. Woodward made around three hundred over-unders in all and just a handful were 16s.

JAMES WOODWARD & SONS Best Quality SLE O/U O/U 16 GA

16 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over-Under #6680
Auction catalog listing for 16g Woodward O/U #6680

Serial # 6680
Barrel Length 28″
Choke M
Choke 2 IM
Trigger DT (Double)
Stock Straight Grip
Foream
Rib Solid rib
Receiver Finish Casehardened Receiver
Engraving Type Fine Scroll & Rosette Engraving
Other Options original maker’s leather case with accessories, Leather covered pad, Lots of provenance
Condition EXC. Plus Condition
Weight Description 6#7oz
Description 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 14 3/4 with 1/8 cast off
Other Details Mfg 1923, A super rare, super nice gun

Price: $85,000

JAMES WOODWARD & SONS Best Quality SLE O/U O/U 16 GA
JAMES WOODWARD & SONS Best Quality SLE O/U O/U 16 GA

Best vs. Best: Comparing SxSs by Boss & Co. & J. Woodward & Sons…

12 gauge Boss & Co. SxS shotgun, late 1920s
12 gauge Boss & Co. SxS shotgun, late 1920s

In the world of fine shotguns, a Best-quality double is just that: The very best side-by-side or over-under a company could make (or in some cases, the best one they retailed). Best guns were top-of-the-line, and top gunmakers made their best guns in special ways. This was called the “House Style”, and it was applied to the entire gun, from the engraving pattern and the shaping to the action, metalwork, and stock.

The side-by-sides you see here are Best-guns by Boss & Co. and James Woodward & Sons. The Boss is 12g made the later 1920s. The Woodward is a 16g. I think it’s from the 1930s. Even though these doubles have a lot in common, they are very different guns. Look closely and you’ll see what sets them apart.

16g SXS, James Woodward & Sons
16g SXS, James Woodward & Sons
12 gauge Boss & Co. SxS shotgun, late 1920s
12 gauge Boss & Co. SxS shotgun, late 1920s
16g SXS, James Woodward & Sons
16g SXS, James Woodward & Sons
12 gauge Boss & Co. SxS shotgun, late 1920s
12 gauge Boss & Co. SxS shotgun, late 1920s
16g SXS, James Woodward & Sons
16g SXS, James Woodward & Sons
12 gauge Boss & Co. SxS shotgun, late 1920s
12 gauge Boss & Co. SxS shotgun, late 1920s
16g SXS, James Woodward & Sons
16g SXS, James Woodward & Sons
Top: 12g Boss & Co, Bottom: 16g J. Woodward & Sons
Top: 12g Boss & Co, Bottom: 16g J. Woodward & Sons
Top: 12g Boss & Co, Middle: 16g J. Woodward & Sons, Bottom: 20g Boss & Co.
Top: 12g Boss & Co, Middle: 16g J. Woodward & Sons, Bottom: 20g Boss & Co.

Seriously nice: a super rare 12g Henry Atkin O/U shotgun…

12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925
12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925

The London gun trade has always been a bespoke business. If you wanted it and could pay for it, a gunmaker would build it for you — or in the case of the Henry Atkin O/U you see here, the gunmaker would find someone else to build it for you.

Henry Atkin started in the gun trade in 1848 as an apprentice at Purdeys. Around 1875, he was building shotguns in his own name, and he did so until his death in 1907. His firm continued on until it was absorbed by Atkin, Grant & Lang in 1960. Even though Henry Atkin was a talented gunmaker, he never developed a design for an over-under shotgun. After he died, his company continued their focus on side-by-side shotguns. So in 1925 when one of their customers wanted an O/U, Atkin turned to another team of gunmakers and had them build the gun instead.  I’m 99% certain this team was the Hill family.

Charles Hill played a major role in creating the over-under shotgun James Woodward & Sons patented in 1913. Unfortunately, he received little credit for his contributions (or not as much as he though he should). So Mr Hill left Woodward and started turning out Woodward-style O/Us for other makers.

12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925
12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925

Up until the WW2, the Hills turned out twenty or so Woodward-style O/Us for other makers. I’ve seen one other Atkin O/U – #3217 (believed to be the only Atkin-Woodward-style O/U until #2680 popped up). I’ve also seen Hill-made, Woodward-style over-unders with E.J. Churchill’s name on them and the Ogden, Smith & Hussey name on them.

12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925: #2680. Twenty eight inch original fluid steel barrels with solid file cut top rib, choked quarter quarter and chambered for two and a half inch cartridges. The action is of “James Woodward” patent, fully engraved with “Henry Atkin” bouquet and scroll pattern, retaining full original colour and finish with double triggers. The stock measures fourteen and seven eighths with no extension, cast slightly for a right hander with a strait hand grip. Gun is presented in original maker’s oak and leather case with accessories. Price: £49,995

12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925
12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925
12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925
12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925
12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925
12 bore Henry Atkin over and under sidelock ejector circa 1925

 

On Ebay now: Genuine James Woodward & Sons shotgun cases…

Original label on the  James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Original label on the James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case

Own a best-quality British shotgun? Here’s the perfect place to store it. The rare James Woodward & Sons shotgun cases below are on Ebay now. Both are being offered at No Reserve.

Brady and other companies in the UK built cases like these for Woodward, Westley Richards, Purdey, and other makers. When a customer ordered a gun, the case was optional (so were the accessories). Most makers offered cases in different qualities. Oak & Leathers were the best, the most expensive, and the most durable. They were also the heaviest. The all-leather cases were rugged, but a bit smaller and several pounds lighter.

The cases you see here are in great shape, and because they include their original labels and some of their original Woodward accessories, both are incredible finds.

ON EBAY NOW: Genuine James Woodward & Sons Oak & Leather O/U Shotgun Case — NO RESERVE!

Original  James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Original James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case

ON EBAY NOW: Genuine James Woodward & Sons Leather O/U Shotgun Case — NO RESERVE!

Original  James Woodward & Sons Leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Original James Woodward & Sons Leather Over Under Shotgun Case

Wow: $3,000 for a 20 gauge J. Woodward sidelock SxS shotgun…

J. Woodward & Sons, English "Best Gun", 20 gauge, 28 inch barrels
J. Woodward & Sons, English “Best Gun”, 20 gauge, 28 inch barrels

No — that’s not a typo, and the price shown is not missing a zero. Here’s is a 20 gauge James Woodward & Son sidelock side-by-side shotgun for just $3,000. But of course there’s a catch: this double barrel is missing its forend.

This gun was made around 1896. For some reason, it looks like it was proofed for nitro loads a few years later. James Woodward was in business from 1874 to 1948. In all, they made around 4500 or so guns — far fewer than Boss, Purdey, or Holland & Holland. Twenty-gauge, best-quality side-by-side Woodwards are rare. The last one I saw sold for a around $40,000, and a decent one could easily bring $50,000+ today.

J. Woodward & Sons, English "Best Gun", 20 gauge, 28 inch barrels
J. Woodward & Sons, English “Best Gun”, 20 gauge, 28 inch barrels

Three thousand dollars isn’t a bad price for this one. Building a new forend will be expensive, but it is doable — especially if the barrels are sound and the rest of the gun is in good shape. But because the seller has listed the gun “as is,” you won’t know if restoring it is an option until after you own you own the gun. And if the barrels are bad, you’ll have spent $3000 on a paperweight, some firewood, and a fancy stake for a tomato plant.

So are you feeling lucky?

J. Woodward & Sons, English “Best Gun”, 20 gauge, 28 inch barrels: Being sold as a “parts gun” as it is missing a complete forend. Without the forend, it will not cock. Butt stock has been shortened and added to. Bore is shiny without evident pits. Right barrel on underside has small ding/dent, felt when running hand up and down. No evident pits on metal. Purdey and other English gun makers have been contacted for an appraisal as to restoring gun to shooting condition. Estimates have been as high as $31K. U.S gunmakers contacted have not been willing to undertake project. Gun closes tightly and is not loose in any part. Receiver metal has light patina. C&R/FFL needed. No sale to CA. Ask any and all questions. More photos can be asked for. Seller has given up hope of restoring as restoration cost may exceed value of finished gun.

J. Woodward & Sons, English "Best Gun", 20 gauge, 28 inch barrels
J. Woodward & Sons, English “Best Gun”, 20 gauge, 28 inch barrels

They cost how much? Check out this 1965 Holland & Holland new & used gun catalog…

1965 Holland & Holland Sporting Guns & Rifles Catalog
1965 Holland & Holland Sporting Guns & Rifles Catalog

Value is something I always think about when I’m looking at old guns. Is this Purdey a good value? What about this Parker? Which ones will people want 20 years from now? Which will fall out of favor? To understand stuff like this, I collect old gun catalogs – especially ones with price lists in them.

The catalog you see was an especially nice find for me. It’s a Holland & Holland New & Used Gun Catalog from the Spring of 1965. It’s full of ton of useful info: prices, lots of different guns from different makers, etc. More importantly, because this catalog was shipped to customers in the UK and the US there’s a key paragraph inside which unlocks the British £ to US $ conversion mystery:

“As an indication of your approximate total delivered costs including duty you may multiply the price of the weapon in £’s in London by 3.5. For example, a gun offered at £100 will cost you about $350, all charges and duties paid”

So what did a brand new, 12 gauge sidelock Holland & Holland Royal cost in 1965? £650 pounds, or $2,275 (that’s without a case or accessories). A 12 gauge H&H Northwoods boxlock was £200 or $700. New H&H Rifles were more expensive. A .470 Royal cost £985 ($3,447.50) with case and tools. It punished you with more than just recoil.

1965 Holland & Holland Sporting Guns & Rifles Catalog
1965 Holland & Holland Sporting Guns & Rifles Catalog

As for used guns, decent 12 gauge Royals were £375 – £425. A 12 gauge Purdey with new barrels by the maker was £500. The most expensive used guns are both O/Us: an early and super rare 12g H&H (#36000) and a 12g Woodward. Both are £950.

As for bargains, I spotted two. One was a cased Edwinson Green 12g Best-quality sidelock for £285. I’ve seen a few of these and they are fabulous – equal to a London Best. Then there’s a 16g Szulovsky sidelock for just £130. I’ve never seen or heard of a Szulovsky, but I bet it was a very fine gun.

To make sense of the prices, here’s are some figures from 1965: a basic Rolex Submariner was around $230, a Corvette Fastback Coupe was $3947 from the factory , the typical American home sold for $19,900, and the median American family income was $6,900. A new Rolls Royce Silver Shadow was £6,557.

Today, a brand new 12 gauge Holland & Holland SxS Royal costs $118,000. A stainless Rolex Sub runs $8,000, a new 2014 Corvette Stingray costs $54,950, the typical American house sells for around $213,000, and the median family income is $51,000. And a new Rolls Royce Wraith is $379,000.

And what about that H&H Royal from the mid 1965? In excellent original condition, here’s about it’s worth today:

HOLLAND & HOLLAND (A&F) MODEL SIDELOCK SIDE BY SIDE SHOTGUN

Maybe the only one: a Best-quality 28 gauge Woodward SxS shotgun…

JAMES WOODWARD BEST PRE-WAR SXS 28 GAUGE  Double Barrel
JAMES WOODWARD BEST PRE-WAR SXS 28 GAUGE Double Barrel

The side-by-side shotgun you see here is probably one of kind. It’s a Best-quality 28 gauge  made by James Woodward & Sons, London, in 1940

Woodward started making guns in 1874 and ceased in 1948 when they sold their business to James Purdey & Sons. In the seventy-six years they made firearms, two of their most important patents were for the Woodward Automatic – a gun that cocked “automatically” when it was opened – and the Woodward Over Under.

JAMES WOODWARD BEST PRE-WAR SXS 28 GAUGE  Double Barrel
JAMES WOODWARD BEST PRE-WAR SXS 28 GAUGE Double Barrel

This 28 gauge SxS was made on Woodward’s later hammerless design. It’s a pretty standard barrel-cocker, meaning the action uses the leverage of the dropping barrels to cock the hammers.

To my eye, it looks like it has been refinished. I wonder if it has been restocked, too? Either way, it’s probably the only one in the world like made by Woodward.

Here’s more about it from the seller:

JAMES WOODWARD BEST PRE WAR SXS 28 GAUGE: POSSIBLY THE ONLY 28 GAUGE SXS THAT WOODWARD MADE 26″ 022 AND 028 2 3/4 DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTORS SPLINTER FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP CHECKERED BUTT NEW CONDITION MAKERS MOTOR CASE 5LBS 1 OZ X 2 1/2 X 1 1/2 X 14 7/8. Price : $99,500.00

JAMES WOODWARD BEST PRE-WAR SXS 28 GAUGE  Double Barrel
JAMES WOODWARD BEST PRE-WAR SXS 28 GAUGE Double Barrel

Wow – what a Woodward. A Round Body 12 gauge Over-Under…

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

James Woodward & S0ns is a mysterious maker. Even though they made some of the finest double barrel SxSs and O/Us to come out of the UK, not a lot is known about the company.

In business from 1874 to 1948, Woodward created several influential designs, like the Woodward Automatic, a hammerless sidelock shotgun that cocked “autmatically” when you opened the shotgun, and in 1913 the Woodward-style over-under shotgun. Somewhere in the history of the Woodward O/U, the round-body action was introduced.

No one know why Woodward added this option to their O/Us. The London gun trade was brutally competitive. Makers were always looking for novel ways to set their guns apart. I suspect this is why Woodward introduced the round-body styling to their O/U shotguns. But like a things Woodward, we’ll never know if that’s the truth.

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

What we do know for certain is that this is an exceptional shotgun. It’s also exceptionally rare. I bet Woodward made fewer than 20 round-body over unders. I’ve seen 6-7 of them, and the one below is the finest one, by far. It’s coming up at Julia’s Auction next week. So if you like what you see, get your bids in today.

RARE AND FINE WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN WITH CASE. SN 7173. Cal. 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 29-1/8″ Demi-bloc bbls with solid, file cut rib are engraved “James Woodward & Sons. 29. Bury Street. St. James’s. London. England.” on left side of top bbl. Right side of top bbl and bottom of bottom bbl are stamped with London nitro proofs for 2-3/4″ chambers. Case hardened, round body, low profile, OU action features automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), gold band tumbler end cocking indicators, and non-selective single trigger. Action is engraved with well cut, classic, small, shaded scroll with rose bouquet highlights. “J Woodward & Sons” is in parchment scrolled device at front of each lockplate. Bottom of action is engraved “Woodward’s” and “Under & Over” in arches around recess cut for forend iron, which is engraved “Patent”. SN is on tang of scroll engraved small bowed trigger guard. Fully marbled and lightly figured European walnut straight grip

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

buttstock measures 14-1/2″ over leather faced, thin, red pad. Standard point pattern checkering with mullered borders is at grip. Toe line with gold oval engraved “G.P.” is shaped with about 3/16″ negative camber giving racy swept look. One piece matching ejector forend has Anson release. Bore diameter: top -.729, bottom -.729. Bore restrictions: top -.036 (Full), bottom -.037 (Full). Wall thickness: top-.024, bottom -.025. Drop at heel: 2-1/8″, drop at comb: 1-1/4″. Weight: 7 lbs. 12 oz. LOP: 14-1/2″. Makers oak and leather case with brass corners and leather trimmed canvas outer cover, is embossed with an early owner’s name on rectangular inset leather label on top. Leather is additionally embellished with embossed line borders with fleur-di-lis highlights. Interior is lined in scarlet cloth with gold embossed black leather Woodward label in lid. Case contains pair of A & F marked snap caps, red morocco wallet with cleaning brushes inside, 2-pc rosewood and brass cleaning rod with mop, Turk’s head and jag. There are also an A & F marked square oil bottle, hard rubber striker block, and the key.

PROVENANCE: Abercrombie & Fitch hang tags with specifications and known information.

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

CONDITION: Excellent. Action retains 90 – 95% of its orig bright case hardening color, silvered on sharp edges. Lockplates retain nearly all of their color. Top lever and forend iron show only slight silvering to their orig bright blue. Trigger guard re-blued, and retains essentially all of that blue, engraving still sharp. Stocks retain nearly all of a factory quality oil finish with some light marks and a small scuff in forend checkering. Pad added after making, as cut off piece of buttstock with checkered butt is in case. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout. Action is tight. Bbls are on

WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN
WOODWARD ROUND BODY OVER-UNDER SINGLE TRIGGER HEAVY GAME GUN

face. Ejectors are in time. Trigger works, but is a bit sticky (probably needs cleaning). Case leather is very fine with some slight darkening and rubs. Straps and handle are fine. Canvas outer cover has rubs and discoloration, leather trim also rubbed, with some slight tatters. Straps are good. Interior cloth is fine with some areas patched, lightly soiled, and marked by gun and accessories. Accessories are good. By SN, one of the last guns to leave Woodward’s after being taken over by Purdey’s. Records indicate it was delivered in 1949, so was most likely finished by Purdey’s. Round body Woodward O/Us are very rare. This may be one of the finest extant. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000

Genuine Woodward gun cases – perfect for your vintage O/U…

Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case

Old gun cases fascinate me as much as old firearms. The dings in the leather, the name embossed on the lid, the oil and powder stains in the baize lining, and the musty smell when you first lift the lid — that’s the tease before you get to the main show of the gun itself.

The two cases you see here are from James Woodward & Sons. Ones all leather and the other is an oak & leather. Both were made for O/Us, and they contain a mix of accessories. They’ve never been recovered or relined, and the labels are 100% original.

Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case

Woodward opened his shop in 1874, and he made all sorts of guns until his name and designs to Purdey in 1948. In 1913, Woodward introduced his most beautiful shotguns – the Woodward-patent Under & Over gun. You can see on the labels that these cases you see here were made to hold two of those famous shotguns.

Both of these cases are for sale. If you’re interested in them, drop me a note for full details & prices.

Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case
Genuine James Woodward & Sons oak & leather Over Under Shotgun Case

 

Great shotgun alert: an early 12 gauge James Woodward & Sons side by side…

James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:
James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:

Of all the London “Best” shotgun makers, nice doubles by James Woodward are some of the toughest guns to find.  Woodward was in business from 1874 to 1948. In that time, the company made fewer than 4500 guns, and that includes double rifles, sidelock and boxlock side-by-sides of all grades, and the company’s famous Under & Overs.

So if this best-quality, sidelock Woodward is legit and original, it’s a tough side-by-side to find and maybe a great deal:

James Woodward & Sons,  12 Gauge Double Barrel Shotgun: 12-3/4″ 12 Guage Side by Side Shotgun. Best Quality AE Sidelock, Number 1 of 2. 28″ Cyl. & Mod.  1-1/8 ounce Nitro Proof. Pistol Grip, 14-1/2″ Lenght of Pull to Checkered Butt. 6 Pounds 8 ounces. 90% Case Color. In origonal Leather Case.  Price: $17,700.00

James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:
James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:
James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:
James Woodward & Sons, 12 Guagem Double Barrel Shotgun:

Shotgun barrels – how thin did makers really make them?

Shotgun barrel wall thickness gauge, from Connecticut Shotgun
Barrel wall thickness gauge

I was up at the James D. Julia Auction Company a few weeks ago looking over the shotguns in their March 11 & 12 sale. A lot of doubles caught my eye – from this great 16 gauge Woodwards O/U to this fantastic, 12 gauge J.P. Sauer Deluxe.

There were lots of nice American shotguns there, too, and I spent a while looking over the 20 gauge Parker and the 12 gauge Lefever shown below. Both guns impressed me with their crisp, original condition. Wanting to know about them, I looked them up in the auction catalog and I was shocked to see how thin the barrel walls were on both side-by-sides.

20 gauge Parker AAHE Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun, owned by Fred Gilbert
20 gauge Parker AAHE Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun, owned by Fred Gilbert

INCREDIBLE, ATTIC FOUND, 20 GA. PARKER BROS. AAHE WITH CASE. SN 161999 “It is absolutely original..Cal. 20 ga. 2-9/16” Chambers…Bbls retain 70 – 80% orig blue….Bore diameter: left-.617, right -.616. Bore restrictions: Mod, Cyl. Weight: 5 lbs. 14 oz…Wall thickness: left -.018, right -.020.

12 gauge Lefever Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun, Special Order
12 gauge Lefever Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun, Special Order

EXCEPTIONAL SPECIAL ORDER EARLY STYLE LEFEVER HEAVY GAME GUN. SN 16438. “Cal. 12 ga, 2-3/4″ Chambers… has 30”. Excellent, as found.  Bbls retain 80 – 90% orig blue. Bore diameter: left-.732, right -.732. Bore restrictions: left – Full, Mod. Weight: 7 lbs. 9 oz. Wall thickness: left -.020, right -.016.”

Afterwards, I went back to both guns and took a long look at the barrels. After a lot of close looking, I couldn’t find any signs of repairs to the barrels. They had to be original. That means the barrels left the factory with those thin spots.

To learn more about bbl wall thickness and it’s importance, check out this article: Thoughts on Barrel Wall Thicknesses from the Parke Gun Collector’s Association. It’s interesting to see what people think today, and what the gunmakers thought back when they were putting these shotguns together.

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